Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Practically Paper Piecing Blog Hop - The Hunger Games Edition

It's my turn! All month long there's been loads of quilty inspiration for how to turn those paper pieced blocks you just had to do into useable projects, now it's my turn to show you how to create a piece of art out of your paper piecing.

I have had this project on my wanna-do list for quite some time now, and thanks to Kristy's kick in the pants encouragement, it is now a quilt ready to hang, after I spent many, many hours last week paper piecing, unpicking, paper piecing, embroidering and binding these beauties.

But now, I feel like I can paper piece anything. Anything! So pushing myself was totally worth it. And I can show this to my non-quilty friends and they pretend to be even more impresed than usually. Yes, I love this project enough that I am actually torturing my non-quilty friends with it!

Miss Phoebe, who is 10, is a massive fan of The Hunger Games. She totally sucked me in and I lost a couple of weeks of my life to reading the books back to back. We love love love these books. So to find that there's a free paper piecing pattern for all the book covers here made me very happy! I knew immediately I had to make a quilt for her. Liljabs is working on blocks representing all the Districts, but I couldn't wait that long, so this is what I came up with.

Here are the three blocks, and let me tell you, there are 100 pieces in each 10 inch square if there are 10! I didn't actually count the pieces, but there were plenty.

 I decided to piece them vertically, to make them more of a banner. And I couldn't resist embroidering the catchphrase, "May the odds be ever in your favor" - you must of course get your Effie Trinket on and say this in your best Capitol accent. After spending a number of hours in front of the TV on the embroidery (using metallic gold thread for another nod to Capitol opulence), I decided to quilt it very simply.

She is very, very excited to have this ready to hang, though she doesn't look it here. 

And some embroidery details...

 Now I am going to assume most of you can figure out how to turn a block into a quilt, so I'm not going to offer a step by step, rather I thought I'd share a few tips I've learnt on my paper piecing journey thus far...

Before you start
- check the seam allowances on your papers are 1/4inch, if they are then everything else will be okay. Trust me, printer settings can do silly things and when you've pieced an entire block for a swap to find it comes up 1/2 an inch short, tears seem like a very good option.
- break out the coloring pencils and color in all the pieces. These blocks were simple in that they were either black or colored, but coloring in the colored sections made it soooo much easier to make sure I was putting the right fabric in place.
- prefold all your seam line on the paper. It's just easier.

While you're piecing
- After you stitch a piece, fold back the next seam you're going to sew and trim your seam allowance on the piece you've just secured. Then you can just line up the next piece on the seam allowance. I know this seems like you might be double handling your seam trimming at times but once I figured this out I found it so much easier to place my pieces. Totally worth it.
- Use your smallest rotary cutting blade and ruler possible. Yeah, the ones you bought when you couldn't afford a big guy. They are perfect for little cuts like this.
- If you're not sure whether or not a scrap of fabric will cover the piece sufficiently, don't use it. You always need more than it looks like you will. And unpicking those tiny seams is a bitch.

After you've pieced
- Press all your sections before you trim them back to the paper. And repeat after me: Starch Is Your Friend. Use it, love it. It does tend to discolor your ironing board but it's totally worth it for how smooth you get you pieces.
- Try new things - for these blocks I decided to stitch the blocks together with the paper on. With about 15 units in each block it was totally worth it to do it this way.

Hopefully one or two of these tips will you help you with your paper piecing. And if you need more help, I might need to refer you to the Queen of Paper Piecing herself - Carol Doak! Carol has kindly donated one copy of her book, Show Me How to Paper Piece for me to giveaway! To enter, follow my blog and then leave me a comment telling me which of the blocks above is your favorite. I'll keep the competition open until Monday 20th August.

Happy Hunger Games - and may the odds be ever in your favor.

- Jane


  1. It is beautiful :)

    and funny enough almost exactly what I planed on doing with mine before I decided to make a full quilt with all the districts :)

    1. Thank you so much Lilja, and how funny it's what you envisioned too.

      I'd like to mmake a Districts quilt too, but first there's a boy around here with a Harry Potter obsession so I'd better make that quilt first!

  2. Colour the sections in! What a brilliant and yet so obvious idea! *smacks head* That will save some heartache in the future, thank you!! And seriously in awe of that piecing - so many pieces indeed!

  3. This looks so fantastic Jane! You did an amazing job on it - well done!

  4. Great job, great tips! :) i will get out ,y pencils!

  5. Ok so I might need to read those books now...please tell me that they are better than the Twilight series. I like that blue bird block...

  6. I love them all! :)
    Thanks for sharing.

  7. Wow! I like the red block best!
    Thanks for all the tips! I'm new to paper piecing!

  8. Oh these are fantastics works of art....I love the red one the best. I've just started paper piecing too.

  9. Those are great! I liked the books as well and I'm excited to see the movie when it comes out on dvd later this week! I like how you added the gold embroidery and great tips!

  10. Wow, those turned out really nice. I really enjoyed those books, too.

  11. i really enjoyed this post and your paper piecing! thanx for the opportunity to win a copy of carol doak's how to book ... i'm practicing pp with a dear jane and could use a little learning boost.

  12. Great project for your daughter. I liked those books too; sucked me in earlier this summer. Thanks for sharing.

  13. I'm new to paper piecing too, so thanks for the tips & for the chance to win the book. Great job on your blocks, my favourite is the red one.

  14. Those blocks look great, so many tiny pieces. I have a love/hate going with pp, love other people's finished blocks...hating the lack of progress on my own...I am inspired to keep trying though :)

  15. I'm another quilter new to paper piecing, and I'm excited about the new possibilities!
    I think I like the red block best, but they are all really great!

  16. My favorite is the yellow block. I love the arrow in it and also the wording. I just started doing paper piecing so I'm not quite ready to make this one YET! But after a few much simpler projects and I'll have to try it. Great post.

  17. The red one. Thanks for the chance

  18. I know what you mean about the love hate relationship with paper piecing! These look great though.
    I must admit that I am one of the few people who hasn't yet read the Hunger Games, but I do like the may "the odds be" block.

  19. Wow that's amazing! My favourite is the red block:)

  20. I just finished reading the book and will be starting the second soo :) I love the red one - and your gold letering is perfect :) amycav at hotmail dot com

  21. It's so fun to see you doing this with your daughter! I am drawn to the red block!


  22. That is totally cool! My niece would love it. Heck, I would love it!

  23. Fancy making us choose which is our favourite. The blue is probably my favourite though as not only is blue my fav colour - but I can appreciate all those little blocks that has gone into it.

  24. Still catching up on the PPP Blog Hop posts, love your banner. I read the books on holiday this month, had only brought the first so had to get my son to order the next two to be sent by Amazon. There was no way I was waiting until I got home to read them! Fabulous paper piecing :)