Friday, 9 May 2014

Master Mariner?

This week at my new Quilt Group we were tackling the Mariner's Compass block. Being organised as usual (!) I only looked at the supply list, that I had been sent, the night before the class, where I discovered that instead of paper for the foundation piecing I was going to be using stabiliser. Not having any of the recommended Stitch-n-Tear to hand and with no time left to find some, I had to rummage through my stash cupboard where I eventually found this.

 I bought this roll of stabiliser whilst we were living in Latvia, so I had no idea whether it was appropriate or not.

Fortunately, the next day at the class there were several versions of stabiliser on show and a quick feel of the others suggested that this might be slightly thicker than the recommended Stitch-n-Tear but otherwise seemed fit for purpose.

We traced the templates for the block on to the stabiliser fabric and cut around the shapes roughly.

Then we stitched the fabric to the back of the stabiliser along the traced lines. I had never used stabiliser as the foundation for piecing before and found it to be much easier to manoeuvre when stitching. Also, as we didn't reduce the stitch length as you would usually do when stitching on paper, unpicking was so much easier too!

 I frequently have problems getting points to match when I am joining paper-pieced sections together, but again the more flexible stabiliser backing seemed to make even this part go much better than usual, i.e. I only had to unpick once :)

Mariners Compass Star



I am rather pleased with how this turned out!

For the moment the stabiliser backing is still in place so I may revise my opinion when I attempt to remove it later, but so far it has all been good. I won't be attaching the star to the backing until the next class, which is not till June, so next up is a Drunkard's Path block to bring me up-to-date. Curved seams are so not my favourite thing!

This is my first paper-piecing project for what seems like a very long time, so I am delighted to be able to link it up to

Paper Piecing Party

25 comments:

  1. It's a beautiful block! Could you not just leave the stabiliser in place or does it add too much bulk?

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  2. This looks amazing! Like Fiona, I'm wondering if you leave the stabiliser in. I'd be much more enthusiastic about paper piecing if you didn't have to remove the paper :)

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  3. Your block looks wonderful. I've always admired the Mariner's compass but I'm not sure I'd ever make one myself as I'm not a great fan of paper piecing. Never say never though because it is a lovely block.

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  4. Look at those sharp points - YAY! That's a huge advantage to paper (or stabilizer, hehe) piecing :) PP'ing is really the only way I can get accurate seams in blocks with multiple pieces! I'm surprised that you don't shorten the stitch length, and I agree with Fiona and Janine about leaving the stabilizer in place - I tend to think it would make life easier :D

    Jodie Davis (paper piecer, author) has a great way of doing curved seams - she basically sews the tucks right into the block - HA!! I have her Paper Piece a Flower Garden book and although the technique means you use really large pieces of fabric sometimes, it gives a nice dimensional look to the projects. I would love to learn to master nice curved seams, but I'm rather partial to the easy "cheater" method :)

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  5. The block looks great! I'm one of those weirdos who likes tearing the paper off so using stabiliser might ruin it for me.... sorry, did I say one of those weirdos? I meant THE weirdo!

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  6. I'd vote for leaving it in too! I've often wished I didn't have to get all that paper out, It must be like those paper piecing panels you can buy in hobbycraft!
    Fantastic block too!!

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  7. I use LOTS of stabilisers, but mostly for machine embroidery, the only time I used it for foundation piecing I left it in place. You can buy " foundation by the yard" which is to be left in place - it's looking fab!

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  8. It looks awesome! It'll be interesting to see how you find it when the time comes to remove the stabilizer.

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  9. It looks STUNNING in the fabrics you've used, Fiona!!! I'm with Wendy; there's something I like about tearing the paper off.

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  10. It's an interesting thought--using stabilizer for foundation piecing. It might be worth a try. I too am interested in the ease of removal. Your fabric choices are fun!

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  11. Interesting!!! I may need to try your technique out! Your block is perfect!!!!

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  12. this has worked perfectly, I must get some stabiliser and try it myself, still not done paper piecing. Off to Malvern quilt show next week end so will look out for some

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  13. Your Mariners compass looks great, like quite a few others I'd be very tempted to leave the stabiliser in.

    ukcitycrafter@live.co.uk

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  14. very interesting. Stabiliser may well be the way to go! I hate tearing out all that paper and the tiny stitches can really cause havoc when unpicking (which has been my frequent experience in paper piecing!). It is a really lovely block :-)

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  15. Love your Compass! Great job! I have admired many but have yet to try one- I will be so interested in your findings on the stabilizer in the end. I do love paper piecing, but must admit I do hate tearing off the paper!

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  16. Your block looks so lovely. I have never heard of using stabilizer instead of paper but have been thinking about just that for a while now...it looks like you are doing the experimenting for me. Will be interested to read of your removal experience.

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    1. Thanks Gai, I have since checked the instructions for the stabiliser and it does say to remove it, but I will wait to see what happens in the next class before doing anything that drastic!

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  17. looks great must give it a try will you leave it in !!!

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  18. Interesting. I never seen PP with stabiliser. I don't really get how you would remove it? I hope you'll share some more once you do.

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  19. I was told you could leave it in and it would soften over time and with washing but I did not like the feel so removed it from the blocks in my sampler quilt. Easy enough to tear out but I'm with Wendy and love tearing paper- really weird!

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  20. Stabiliser? What a good idea .. I'm looking forward to seeing how this turns out!

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  21. Looks fabulous Fiona! Never used stabiliser only paper and there is something quite satisfying about removing it!

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  22. I use a lot of tear off stabiliser when doing applique, but this is way out of my league - You've done a fantastic job!

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  23. What an interesting idea! I'm definitely going to try that out!

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