Adventures in Paper Piecing

I've been diligently working on my bee blocks for Compass Quilters this week. While I feel that I'm getting the hang of paper piecing this particular block (the hummingbird), I'm still making mistakes all the time! Here is one of my test blocks:

These fabrics are for my block that I plan on keeping and not what the Queen Bee will be receiving. Here is what I've learned so far.

  1. Pressing to one side doesn't come naturally to me, but I love the way the seams nest perfectly when joining sections.
  2. I need to adjust where I sew for a scant quarter-inch seam due to pressing to the side. Otherwise I'm off just a bit.
  3. Making a template for each piece was the best advice I've taken away from this adventure. I think my previous paper piecing attempts would have been more successful if I'd known to do that.
  4. Despite the instructions, if I trim all 3 sides of the triangle pieces before joining them, I would consistently end up 1/8-1/4 inch small once the block was put together. So now, I'll trim the 2 inner sides and leave the long edges of my triangles untrimmed until the block is constructed. Then I have no problems squaring my blocks up to 5 1/5 inches.
  5. The June Tailor Half Square & Quarter Square ruler is perfect for squaring up this block. One of my best purchases ever.
Out of the 6 blocks I've made so far (still have 2 more to make) - I've only made 1 without any mistakes. If there's a way to mess it up, I have! Accidentally cut off what I've sewn instead of my quarter-inch seam allowance? Done it! Somehow managed to sew down one of the points of a triangle? Done it! Cut a piece too small, despite having the template, and it wasn't apparent until the entire block was put together and saw it when I went to square up? Yep! But that's okay. I learn best by doing and at least I can say that I haven't made the same mistake twice. If nothing else, this has given me the confidence to try some other blocks in the future. Would I attempt an entire quilt that is paper pieced. I don't know but only time will tell.


  1. Your test block looks like Shauna's test blocks in colour and fabric choices. Are you two secretly making a second quilt? :)
    I hope the rest are problem free.

  2. lol agree and this secret second quilt is gonna be lovely lol! Hang in there, pp will become easy peasy in no time!

  3. So glad you were able to figure out how to make the block work after the test block. I hope the last 2 finish up quickly!

  4. We aren't secretly making a second quilt, but if she wanted to send me the blocks I would. HEHEHE :)

  5. "If your not making mistakes then you're not learning" that's what I always tell my students. Sounds like you learned a lot. Yes! You are almost done. I hate how with PP you have to think backwards ... it's hard to wrap my head around! Great job :)

  6. Your blocks look good to me, paper piecing is a technique I still have to try but having read instructions have decided I need to see it being done and then just maybe I will be able to do it.

  7. Learning how to make it work is the funnest part. Eventually you'll wonder how it ever mystified you. :)

    The add a quarter ruler opened my world. I find it really helpful for paper piecing.


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