The four sections plus centre were easy to piece, but difficult to put together.  I’m no gun at inset seams on the machine.  Perhaps if I come up against another block like this, I’ll piece the segments on the machine and then use good old-fashioned needle and thread for the final seams.

I’m yet to try out freezer paper piecing as Sandi suggested; I’d already started String Block when the comment came up.  Next one, promise. I can’t guarantee that that will be soon, though; there are some major Other Things happening.

One, I’m belting away — there is no other word for it — at NaNoWriMo.  I have to write 1,667 words a day or I fall behind.  Which would be easier if I didn’t have to earn a living or anything trivial of that nature 🙂  The book is terrible, absolutely without a doubt the worst fiction ever put to paper.  It doesn’t even have the virtue of being silly.  Many WriMo writers chuck ninjas and pirates in to spice things up, but I’m after a manuscript that could be non-toxic after a rewrite.  I need plot, and I have none.  Today I am writing 600 words every hour, on the hour, as fast as possible.  Then I’m free until the next o’clock.  I won’t subject you to a sample of the dialogue this method encourages.

Two, we’re finally, finally picking up our puppy on Friday at 11.  Then we’re heading straight down to the beach to introduce him to Mitzi, my parents’ dog.  Lots and lots of photos will ensue, without a doubt!

Maybe I need a puppy in my NaNoWriMo…  hmmm…

Patches in this block: 45

Patches so far: 609

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This is the first sampler block I’ve made in American Paper Piecing.  I’m not very confident with the technique, as I’ve only made about six blocks this way, total.  But there are certain blocks I can’t make any other way.  Gem Block was training for Linton and String Block (coming soon).

This version of Gem Block is adapted from Block 14 of Gail’s Midget Blocks Sampler (a Depression years sampler).

Patches in this block: 24

Patches so far: 472

I finished stitching my ten swap fabrics into flowers. Hooray! Time for a photograph!

I’m sorry it’s been such a long time since I posted. BF and I have Been Through An Ordeal with Netspace, our apathetic internet ‘provider’. After a week on dialup, we caved, and the blog is back.

In more interesting news, I also made a dress from a 1953 pattern: I’m wearing it now. I’ll get BF to take a picture tomorrow, and write the post that should have been today’s.

BTW: I’m also returning to ‘Masculine Quilt Advisor’. BF is such a blah name for a person I happen to quite like.

A simple one today. Jane used colour patches for the four corners of this block. I didn’t mean to make it differently, I just … forgot … somewhere between printing the pattern and cutting the fabric. I didn’t notice until I went to find the block number for this post. Oh well, can’t be helped, and nor can the fuzzy points. I was paying more attention to films this weekend than my sewing.

On that point, have you seen Salaam Namaste? If not, go down to your local Indian spice shop/DVD outlet, and get it. It won’t cost you more than a few dollars for a double feature. It’s set in Melbourne with a mixed cast (Bollywood stars, Australian and Indian born Australian and Indian actors in every combination, cast members’ wives and boyfriends, and others such as Tania Zaetta as an adorably histrionic love interest). The script flicks from Hindi to broad Ocker and back again without a hitch. It does come with subtitles. Plus, you get to meet an Indian Crocodile Dundee and his hilarious blonde girlfriend, and this film deals with some pretty big problems with honesty rarely seen in Bollywood, or Hollywood. There is a whole lot of eye candy, so don’t be expecting honesty in terms of the house these characters can afford – it’s in Lorne, anyway, not Melbourne – or the wedding scene on the beach, in bikinis.

Love a bit of pop on the weekend.

Patches in this block: 29

Patches so far: 383

Here we go for the first non-Western block!

This is a method of reverse applique developed by the H mong (‘mung’) people who are dispersed through parts of Vietnam, Thailand and Laos (and more recently, of course, places like Australia and America). It’s one of two basic methods of cloth decoration they favour: the other is a very colourful figurative embroidery, and there are many examples on the web. This is an expert-level flower cloth with an ‘elephants’ foot’ design:

The ‘flower cloth’, as this is called, is formed by folding a square of coloured cloth, making tiny cuts in the edges, and unfolding it again, then cutting and sewing along the lines formed. For this step, I suppose you might think of making cut-out snow flakes in primary school. Here’s my very first try at a basic pa ndau star, folded three times and basted, with chalk where I measured the places to cut:

There’s an extra cut on the long side, for reasons that will become clear.

Then unfold, and you’ll find you have concentric circles of notches. These will guide your reverse applique.

Place the coloured cloth on another piece of cloth (the base). Baste. The H mong will often add a third, but I’m going to quilt mine and need it to be thin.

This photo unfortunately doesn’t show the notches up very well (the cloth is too dark) but you can see where I’ve marked a star shape by joining them up. When that’s done, you simply reverse applique along the lines of the star, making sure that you don’t get too far ahead with the cutting and you don’t let one side get too far ahead of another (stability is the key). You can see here that I’ve started turning and sewing.

Keep going with the centre star, then the second and subsequent stars. There are three in this beginner’s style block.

When the stars are done, there will be an extra cut on what used to be the diagonal lines. These are, usefully enough, the inside points of the stars. They are for decorative little accents, viz:

I’m not that good at applique, but at least though it’s wonky, this is firm.

This block was originally cut a bit bigger, because I had a feeling (justified!) that I’d be marking and cutting a little wonkily on my first go. It’s easy enough to trim back.

I’m not sure that this is really a good guide to get started. I’ll think about explaining it better when I do another one: I want to try an elephant’s foot, now!

Here’s how an expert would make this block:

Patches in this block: a measly 2!!!

Patches so far: 290

There is no PDF for this as it’s not really meaningful. See for examples, photos, and links to more information: http://www.lib.uci.edu/libraries/collections/sea/hmong.html

Time to celebrate with a progress shot, no?

They’re all wrapped up in plastic so that they don’t collect dust and who knows what else in our crazy house before I’m finished making their neighbours!

I made this to practice gentle curves. I like it. It’s wonky around the edges, which had me worried for a while. However, it seems to be the right size and I’m reasonably certain that the wonk will go away once there’s sashing around the edges. Thank heavens for that, and for quilting – that crease is annoying.

Patches in this block: 17

Patches so far: 288

Get the pattern as PDF