26 February 2012

New York Beauty

A few weeks ago Thomas Knauer sent me fat quarters of his upcoming Flock collection with Andover. The cloth has the same wonderful feel and similar "faded brights" color palette featured in last year's Pear Tree collection. I decided to take it for a spin on my first foundation paper piecing project.
I drew up templates for a 12" New York Beauty block. I think NYBs usually have more points, but I wanted to give the prints room to shine. The finished radius is 11".

I was surprised how tricky the foundation piecing turned out to be.  For my first block, I had a lot of trouble placing the fabric so that it covered the space it was supposed to cover, and also aligning the directional prints for consistent orientation (especially the wedges of soaring birds). Every new piece was a new puzzle. I unpicked and restitched a lot of seams, several times for many of them. The template paper was in tatters by the time I finished.
The next three blocks I made at the same time, which was actually much easier. I only had to solve the placement puzzle for each piece on block one (for example, the leftmost blue wedge), then I could copy for blocks two and three. Then I moved on to the the next piece for each block. I spent my morning train commute on Friday tearing off the foundation paper.
I trimmed one of my seams at a wonky angle, so it's awfully scant at one end (near 11 on the ruler). I didn't realize it until after I attached the center 1/4 circle. It would be a big headache to unpick and replace the two over-trimmed pieces. I'm crossing my fingers and hoping a combination of Fray Check, fusible fleece, and quilting will keep that seam together.
I finished the four 12" blocks (plus a little extra to finish the edges) with the pink pinwheel print from Thomas's Pear Tree line. I love how well they work together. I hope to finish this 24" pillow sometime this week.

10 comments:

  1. It's great, I love the fabrics and I love how you designed the points to overlap.

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  2. Ah yes. Thank God for Fray Check, fusible fleece and judicious quilting!

    Very pretty - well done!

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  3. It's looking good Dan, I find foundation piecing pretty fussy as well....I usually stay away from it.

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  4. OMG, what luscious prints! And kudos on drafting your own NYB block.

    It is a brain-twister to get the pieces positioned correctly first time around those spiny arcs. If anyone's gotten through their first one without ripping out at least three seams, I don't want to hear about it. (My count was somewhere north of three).

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  5. I adore foundation piecing, personally. What I find unbelievable is that all your previous complicated piecing has been done without it! Anytime I have issues with "scant seams," I use a really small strip of lightweight fusible interfacing on the spot.

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  6. that is so beautiful! I made a NYB block last week and had all the same problems, but they are totally worth it in the end. Well done on a gorgeous finish!

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  7. Great fabrics. There is something about foundation piecing that creates a thought malfunction... all that reverse work I guess. Just found your blog and really enjoyed reading about your stencil giraffe quilt. Lovely!

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  8. Hi Dan! Looks really beautiful and your colours are great! Thanks for sharing your experience for the first try! Now I know what to expect, when I start mine. x Teje

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  9. Absolutley stunning! I am a big fan of New York Beauty blocks and yours is awesome!

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