Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Curved Piecing- the Enemy!

Once, a long time ago, my mom read about this "easy" curved piecing technique.  It involved glue sticks and freezer paper and I'm sure it really is much easier than the old method of curved piecing (whatever that is).  We tried it together, and my result was this heart pillow (previously seen here).

My pillow turned out fine, but I found the procedure to be sufficiently painful that I have since avoided curved piecing.  Total shout out to the people who make such lovely quilts that way.  My mom, on the other hand, seemed to like it and has made many things using the technique including an entire round wall quilt.

Fast forward to last Christmas. Having successfully made our gradient dyed fabrics and tried out the Shibori-style technique, I decided to make a wall-hanging using the results.  I thought I would give curved piecing another try so I drafted a leaf pattern, to match my tie-dyed piece, and used the same piecing technique as with the pillow.  Alas, it was a big painful mess.  I got it all pieced but was very grateful it wasn't a full quilt.  I decided the blocks were kind of boring with all the solid (albeit gradient) fabrics, so I cut them up and mixed them around.  I added a small strip to accommodate the parts of the pattern that would be lost in seam allowance after cutting and reassmebling, and the pieces lined up ok, but not quite perfect.  Here's the top.  I really love the way the tie-dyed leaf came out, I'm kind of ambivalent about the pieced leaf blocks on either side.  I'm actually kind of sad I used up all the gradient pieces making the leaves since I think I'd rather have saved them for something else.

I free-motion quilted it on my home machine; I just treated it sort of like a sampler.  It was good practice (I can never get enough quilting practic) and I actually like it much better after quilting it.  I think the quilting adds some interest to the plain leaf blocks.

This curved piecing experience painfully intruded on my consciousness again this year when we were at Asilomar for quilt camp. One of the things we learned in Caryl Bryer Fallert's class (discussed here, and here) was her appli-piecing technique.  It's a combination applique/piecing technique specifically designed to enable one to avoid regular curved piecing.  I got so excited and mentioned to my mom that it would have been a great approach for this leaf wall hanging.  She replied that she'd learned a similar technique in a class by Vikki Pignatelli.  When I asked when she'd taken that class, she replied vaguely that it had been a few years.  Really?  Really? As in before the horrid curve pieced leaf extravaganza?  Why yes.  My dear mother watched me flounder and struggle with the curved leaf pieces all the while having stored in her brain the perfect alternative technique.  Apparently, she had forgotten.  Ahem, not one of your finest moments Mom.

Anyone else have a technique they're just not crazy about?