PP Stash: getting my head round it…

The process of creation, that is.

OK, the process of making doesn’t frighten me any more. I’ve now made 6 blocks, accompanied by bad language, unpicking, cutting and recutting pieces I’d miscalculated, and hopefully the worst of the mistakes are behind me. Now, it’s a different problem. I want to make my own designs.


This block is Marley by 627Handworks, so-called because of the three ‘little birds’. Cute design, flawed make…

This is one of the ‘not quite right’ ones, and instead of going to an F2F participant, it’s going into my stash.  It’s not so much the piecing and accuracy, which is only OK-ish, it’s more that it’s 1/8 – 1/4″ short on two corners, and I can’t expect someone else to accept my mistakes. It could still be used, but the seam allowances would have to be fiddled with. The colour scheme may look familiar to one of you out there, and if you’d still like to have it knowing the problems, let me know.

I don’t have EQ and am not sure I could learn to use EQ even if I got it, so I can’t play with how things will look that easily. I’m quite good at visualising colour, so I’ll rely on that. However, there are all sorts of things I’d like to turn into blocks, but I can’t get my lame brain around how to arrange the pieces so that it works. Or perhaps it’s not the order so much as where to place the breaks between the pieces and keeping them to a minimum. Any hints, tips, suggestions or pointers towards online resources to help with this would be gratefully received – I know there are heaps of you out there who do paper piecing all the time.

TeardropStarTemplateI have drawn up two blocks I like. One of them is going to be used for F2F, so I can’t show you progress on that, but this one is the Teardrop Star I showed you before, and it’s for me, to add to my block stash. I’ll show you what it looks like when it’s done.

Now I just have to pick fabrics…


31 thoughts on “PP Stash: getting my head round it…

  1. tialys says:

    Clever thing – designing your own blocks. I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with. Will they all be for paper piecing? As for your faulty block – as Viv would probably say, a blind man would be pleased to see it.

    • katechiconi says:

      Probably so, but as it’s a fraction too small, I don’t feel right about sending it unless she says she wants it! I think probably every possible permutation of non-paper pieced block has already been invented, so I’m going to concentrate on the paper pieced version, because in theory you can do almost anything. I’m finding the process a bit brain bending right now, but if I can just learn the trick of it, I’m sure I’ll be fine.

      • I would LOVE LOVE LOVE it! I woukd gladly draw up any of your pp designs for you in EQ! Just send me a picture of a drawing and I can do it for you!

      • katechiconi says:

        That is so very kind of you! I WILL take you up on that offer, and if there’s anything you draw for me that you want to use, feel free! xxx

  2. EllaDee says:

    Despite, or maybe because of the bad language and creative process it seems like you’re enjoying the challenge. Accomplishing something new is often one part frustration one part exhilaration.
    When I first read, I thought it said the ‘not quite right one’ was going into the trash… oh no… but then I re-read… aha stash! Much better 🙂

    • katechiconi says:

      That wonky one took far too long for me to consider binning it! But you’re right, I am enjoying the new process, the discoveries and now, the notion that I don’t have to do what other people have done.

  3. claire93 says:

    I’m trying to see birds, I can’t see birds anywhere!

  4. knettycraft says:

    …. I like the patterns of 627handworks and I like the block you made. So if you made it for my colour scheme (I thought it could be Esther’s too because of the coral)… but it was meant for me I would accept also a little mistakish (does a word like that exist?) one. I find it really hard to cut a block exact on point – after every pressing it has another size. So I think 1/8 or a bit more different size can be handled.
    I would love zo create own fpp patterns too – but honestly: I bought EQ last year in May to my birthday. Although I’m not stupid or slow-thinking concerning computering until today I wasn’t able to understand how it works…. I tried several times learning from the handbook but suppose for the first steps I’ll need somebody to show me face to face how it works…. think I’ll try working with EQ again and who knows perhaps suddenly I understand it.

    • katechiconi says:

      It was for you, and if you like it, I can send it together with three others which are the right size! You can then choose whether you want to use it or not – it will be an ‘unofficial’ block! Since chemotherapy, my brain has trouble with spatial problems – not the kind that make it hard to reverse round corners, but the kind that make it hard to rotate a shape in your head to see how it looks upside down. And it definitely has trouble learning new software! If I work out a good way of making PP patterns, I’ll write a post and share the ideas.

      • Ha ha Here I was thinking this beauty was going to live with me! Oops!!! Still would gladly draw your designs for you!!! Hugs

      • katechiconi says:

        Sadly, it’s for Annett, yours are already in the mail, but I think (hope) you’ll like them just as much! Her colours are a little different, but lots of people in this block swap have quite a similar palette of colours so I think I’ll be using the same fabrics for a few other people too!

    • katechiconi says:

      I have found this tutorial on creating PP templates on EQ, with pictures and step by step instructions. Maybe it will help you!

  5. The block is very pretty but I understand why you wouldn’t want to pass it on. And just let me say, BLESS YOU for that! I’ve received group blocks that were mis-sized enough times that I don’t ever want to make a group quilt again. 🙂

    Challenges, creative challenges open new space in our brains. It is hard at first, trying to wedge a new thing in there, making the connections needed. But then something breaks free and we can make the adjustments, and then we can do something completely new. I have a new project that feels pretty new to me, using space differently. In many ways it’s the same — after all, I’m still cutting fabric and sewing it together. But mentally it is somewhat different.

    Good luck getting some resources for making the PP design process easier. I don’t know if Ruth McDowell’s work will be helpful for you. Also just googling on designing PP, I saw this. Didn’t look at it so I don’t know how it reads, but you might take a look… https://www.caroldoak.com/userfiles/file/QNMJuly-Aug2003.pdf

    • katechiconi says:

      Thank you so much! I had a quick look at the link, and it seems to be the sort of basic step by step information I need to get started.
      I really couldn’t face the idea of just sending off something that would make life hard for someone else – in the event, she’s seen it, liked it and wants it despite the size issue, so all is well. She’ll get another block the right size anyway…

  6. manicmumdays says:

    Love the colours in those cute blocks! 🙂
    Is EQ a programme or app to help design blocks?

    • katechiconi says:

      Me too, I’m quite sorry she’s decided she wants it anyway! Still, it’s all good.
      EQ is Electric Quilt (http://electricquilt.com) and they do books, software, online tutorials, etc. It’s great if you’re making a quilt with traditional blocks and just want to see how it will look in your chosen colourway. But I’m happier with a pencil and a ruler and my imagination, I suspect!

      • manicmumdays says:

        You’ll have to make another to keep then 😉
        Very cool! Thanks for the link 🙂 I love my quad paper and coloured pencils lol

      • katechiconi says:

        I’m planning to, I love the block! I must confess I rarely plan a quilt out on paper – they tend to evolve in my head and one thing my brain is still very good at is holding a mental image of how I want it to look!

      • You can design your own blocks in it, too, and there is some leeway for nontraditional layouts. I haven’t used those functions enough to feel comfortable with them. For those I’d rather draw it myself, too.

      • katechiconi says:

        It does seem as if the general consensus is that drawing the idea out by hand is the best way – even the link you sent me recommends it.

  7. I sympathise with your drafting difficulties – I am hopeless at it, and my designs are usually rather hit or miss! Your block looks fine from where I’m seeing it. Could you join it with sashing and fiddle the seam allowances?

    • katechiconi says:

      Trouble is, it’s right on two corners, and scant on two others… Best left as it is, and Annett has said she wants it anyway. I shall be making her three full-sized ones – this will be her bonus block!

  8. Grannymar says:

    Every fault is a fashion. I stopped formal patchwork for this very reason, so I have no helpful suggestions.

  9. Emmely says:

    Most of my PP problems stem from my stupid printer not printing correctly. Do you have Illustrator or Photoshop? I sometimes use these programs to create blocks when I want to draft something myself. It does take some time to learn how to use it properly though, but there are loads of tutorials out there.

    • katechiconi says:

      No, I don’t have Illustrator or Photoshop, though I’m very aware of what they’re good for, having worked in the graphic design industry for 25 years. I *like* the feel of a pencil and ruler in my hands, and the simplicity and clarity of drawing something and rubbing out lines. What I’m hoping someone will advise me on is working out where to put the lines that break up the design into pieces in the simplest possible way…. I’ve Googled it endlessly and there doesn’t seem to be any kind of clear advice, or formula or best practice for doing it. So I’ll just carry on faffing about till I get the hang of it! 🙂

  10. I use Adobe Illustrator to draw my blocks. I have it for work, but similar drawing programs might be available for far less money. I know I could use graph paper, etc, but I love the ease of drawing precise measurements with the computer.

    • katechiconi says:

      I suppose I could buy and learn to use something like that, but I find I tend to work a bit more instinctively than this would allow. My quilts so rarely depend on very exact measurements!

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