A New Kind of Sewing

Way back in August while sitting in a friend’s backyard (most likely enjoying a beverage or two) and watching our 4 kids run, jump and play, I decided to join an instagram paper piecing swap.

I love swaps. I had only done one before, but I love the idea of them and trying new things and pushing myself to do something different… and you get something pretty out of it which is always lovely! I have been interested in paper piecing for a long time now – ever since Kim started doing it. I couldn’t figure it out! She had explained it to me many, MANY times but I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. But it was so beautiful, and looked like a lot of fun. While sitting in her backyard she convinced me I could do this. She twisted my *slightly* rubber arm and we both signed up for the swap.

The first thing we had to do was create our collage of patterns we would want to be gifted in the swap. The patterns were all from Quiet Play and she has a ton to pick from that are all beautiful! I already had a few (even though I had never done it before) and quickly put together the 5 or so I would want to be gifted in the swap.


A selection of the patterns I love and would love to receive in the swap!
After submitting my information and posting my mosaic for the swap it was time to wait for my partner information. The woman who organized the swap was fantastic. She was on the ball and ready for everything. She had us organized into sections, and I was happily in Team Canada (saves on shipping) and once I got my partner information I promptly creeped her IG to find out more about her style and what patterns she liked!

Along with the partner information, we were given a list of dates – dates to have our patterns picked, our fabrics pulled, a progress shot and our completed mini posted. It was great! Luckily I had Kim as she could remind me what the dates were – September was a little hazy!


I went with the geometric bear for my partner

I chose a V&Co hot pink ombre for the main, C+S black speckle for the back and C+S black birds for the back. Originally I was going to use AG Tessellation for the binding
The first two parts were easy – choose a pattern based on your partners mosaic and post your fabric pulls. Done! I decided to go with the geometric bear simply because I loved it and thought it would be absolutely beautiful if done with a V&Co ombre (which I could pick up locally). My partner posted that she loved colour but not rainbows (shock, I know) but also liked dramatic pairings. I decided to go with with a night/star look for the bear and I love how it turned out! Once I picked my pattern and my fabrics it was time to give paper piecing a try… and after about a month, I dived in!

I decided to start with the quiet play simplified feather. I had some leftover navy V&Co ombre from another project that was perfect and gave it a go. After a quick lesson/tutorial from Kim, I went home confident that I could do this. And I could… at least the first 3 steps. But then I completely forgot how to add the third piece. Thank goodness for youtube! I found a quick tutorial that showed me how to get the third piece added and after that I was flying along! It was a lot of fun and not difficult at all. I made a few mistakes, but things I quickly learned from and knew to watch out for when I started my bear (things like not using a big enough piece so leaving a tiny hole … oops!).

I worked on the feather and managed to finish it in one night. It was surprisingly fast and I quickly fell in love with the technique. It was time to get started on my bear as I was nearing the date to post a progress shot!

My first progress post – the great thing is I could do a little at a time before diving into orders

Once I got the back half together!
I think one of my favourite aspects about paper piecing is that I can start and stop it. I don’t need to complete it in a night – most patterns have a number of sections so I can do one or two to get my creative juices flowing, then move on to orders/other sewing. I did the bear over a few weeks, doing a piece or two at a time and it quickly came together. I love how it turned out against the black background.

One of the hardest parts of quilting (for myself) is deciding how I’m going to quilt something! I never know, and I always second guess myself and look at hundreds of photos for inspiration. This bear was no difference. Once he was done, I had no clue how I was going to finish him. With the stark contrast of the pink and black, I knew no matter what kind of quilting I did, it would be noticeable, so I was going to have to make it work. I looked around and originally thought I’d do a cross-hatch. Okay, so then what colour thread? See… this whole thing takes a lot of of thought! I decided on some beautiful metallic thread in a shimmery white. It’s stunning. I need all the colours. I absolutely love it. Then I saw another mini that was done with just some random lines and though, hmm… that may work… then decided against it and to do wavy lines…. then back to the random ones, then to the cross-hatch and back again. This went on for about two days. Finally, I decided on the random lines because it would be the quickest and *hopefully* give the feeling of shooting stars. Well, it worked. I love it! I am so happy with how it turned out and I really hope my partner is too! I finished off the binding with the black speckle and posted it as complete the day it was due. All-in-all, I am so happy with how this swap went, everything I learned, and I definitely want to make another!

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