Speling is Hord

Once upon a time, my oldest son was beginning 2nd grade. The teacher was having all her students fill out a questionaire on the student’s perceived strengths and weaknesses. When Matthew reached a page entitled, “What is your most difficult subject?” he wrote three words, ‘Speling is hord.”

I really enjoy different quilting techniques. I love trying new things, new rulers, new tools. In my block of the month patterns, I like including more than one quilting technique. Usually it is piecing and appliqué but many times I will include a couple blocks of paper piecing or foundation piecing. I think I heard a collective groan. I really enjoy paper piecing. It is so precise! My squares come out perfect. But I understand that “Speling is hord” for many and so is paper piecing. It has to do with left brain vs. right brain, I’m sure.

I have a tutorial I did on paper piecing (remember videos add 10 years and 25lbs to the actress) and I’ve linked it here for you. But if you have a hard time wrapping your brain around my technique, there are lots of different ways to do paper piecing. Search Youtube for different tutorials. Google paper piecing or foundation piecing to find different blogs. Someone, somewhere, has a method that will click for you. Don’t give up! Practice with some scrap fabrics first. Here is a practice project for you if you want to follow along with the video tutorial. ChristmasElfMugRugPattern

Now, if you didn’t catch all that and don’t want to sit through the chipmunks music again, here are a few easy steps.

  1. Copy your pattern onto some foundation paper. You can use printer paper but Carol Doak’s foundation paper is so much easier to remove. You can also use Alex Anderson’s foundation paper and leave it in. It will dissolve after it is washed. Trim away the bottom portion of the pattern. You only need to paper-piece the hat.
  2. Trace the lines and numbers on the back of the paper. This is to assist you in positioning your fabric.
  3. Pre-cut your fabrics. I estimate an inch or more bigger than the space it will cover.
  4. Start with number one. On the back side of the paper where you drew the lines, pin right side up the fabric piece so it covers the entire area by at least a quarter inch on all sides.
  5. Position the fabric for number 2 right sides facing together on top of the fabric for position 1. Check the position. Imagine if you sewed on the line between 1 and 2 to make the seam, then as fabric 2 is opened, it should cover the entire area of spot 2 plus a quarter inch beyond. Pin to hold it in place, flip it over and stitch the line between 1 and 2 with a small stitch. I use 1.8 on my machine’s settings.
  6. Finger press the seam open. Does the fabric generously cover position 2? No, seam rip and try again. Yes? Trim the seam to 1/4″ using a postcard to fold the paper over and an Add-A-Quarter ruler.
  7. Before adding fabric for position 3, it is easier to pre-trim the seam allowance on the line between two and three before adding the next fabric. From the front, align the post card on the line between 2 and 3. Fold the paper back over the postcard. Butt the Add-A-Quarter ruler along the card edge and trim the quarter inch. Now you can easily align the fabric for position 3.
  8. Continue in the same manner until you’ve covered all the pieces. Trim on the outside solid line and tear away the foundation paper.
  9. Cut a background rectangle 2 1/2″ x 6 1/2″. Trace the face onto the paper side of double-sided light fusible web. Follow your products directions. Stick to the wrong side of your fabric and trim out on the line. Trace the nose and mouth and then stick to the right side of the 2 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ rectangle aligning the face at the top edge of the rectangle. Heat set in place. I did a blanket stitch around the curve of the face.
  10. Sew to the bottom of the hat and give it a good pressing.
  11. Quilt and bind. You can add some rosy cheeks with fabric paint or crayon if you want.
  12. What about the hat’s pom-pom? On one mug rug I traced a quarter on some fusible web and created a pom-pom from some chenille. On another, I sewed a jingle bell. A button, yo-yo or yarn pom-pom would be just as cute! Have fun finishing him up.

Matthew eventually learned to spell. I am confident you will learn to paper piecing. Keep practicing!