If you are opting to do the foundation paper piecing method (by far the easiest method), you can follow along with me, as this is the method I have chosen to do.
Each block will have a different sequence of fabrics, and, if you want, you can use many more fabrics than I have selected. I avoided any of the blue fabrics, as I thought that would take away from the tulips, and also avoided the very light cream used in the day lily flowers, for the same reason. I did include some reds, greens, browns, golden tan, and grays.
The paper pictured at left works very well, and runs easily through my computer printer.
Make sure when you are copying foundation patterns that you have your printer set on 100% scale, or "actual size".
Even with that, some printers are not accurate to size. Be sure to measure your first copy against the original and only continue copying all your foundations when the copies match the original size perfectly.
A very handy tool to use when paper piecing is the Add-A-Quarter ruler. It is not required, but will make trimming excess fabrics away very quick. It comes in a 6" and also a 12" length. The 6" version is adequate to do these blocks, but the 12" is a more versatile size. Here it is pictured butted up against the fold of the foundation paper. The 1/4" lip on the bottom of this ruler assures you are trimming to exactly a 1/4" seam allowance.
You will also need a small rotary cutter, and a small cutting mat to have at your work station. It also is a time saver if you have a small ironing pad and iron right at your station as well. Paper piecing requires that you press after each fabric addition, so if you iron is a distance from you work space, you will be traveling a bit.
A word about cutting out your fabric pieces on the straight of grain. The pattern author stresses that this is very important, and she does provide a block diagram in the pattern with grain lines clearly marked. If you wish to take the time to cut your pieces out with correct grain direction it will ultimately make the block more stable and less stretchy around the outside edges. However, I personally do not bother with this. I find as long as you use reasonable care when handling your pieces and particularly while pressing, you will have no problems assembling these blocks, or sewing them into the quilt. If you are really concerned about stability, you can always leave the foundation on the block until it is securely sewn into the quilt, then remove the paper.
AssemblyI will not go into great detail about the process of paper piecing, as it is covered extremely well in many books that focus on this technique. I will tell you a few hints to make your work easier.
Begin by placing your 1 and 2 fabrics right sides together and place them on the back of the pattern with the 1 piece wrong side to the paper. Align them so their common edges overhang the sew line between 1 and 2 by at least 1/4". Pin these in place, flip the pattern so the printed side is up and sew on the line between 1 and 2, beginning your stitching a little before the line starts and continue your stitching a little past the end of the line. Clip threads and remove from the machine.
Add each new piece in numbered order, making sure to align each piece, pin if necessary, sew on the common line between the two fabrics, then fold and trim. Very quickly you will get the hang of it, and most people really enjoy the process.
The pieces of fabric can be much larger than you actually need.
This is particularly important when you reach the outer edges of the block. Here, the numbered pieces must cover their numbered area and extend beyond the dotted line along the outside edge of the block.
Once all the fabrics are added, the block will be trimmed on this dotted line and that space along the outside edge is your seam allowance to sew you blocks to the adjacent blocks in the quilt.
We will then need to sew together chains of 1 1/2" scrappy squares (using lots of fabrics from your kits). We will need one single chain of 16 squares to go along the top of the Day Lily block, and a double chain of 2 squares wide by 13 squares long, which will be added to a 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangle and sewn onto the left side of the block as in the diagram on page 16 of your pattern. This is a great way of using up your leftover 1 1/2" squares from the Picnic Block.
Our block next month is the basket blocks. Just a warning, there are some rather important corrections for the cutting directions for these blocks. I might suggest you wait for my article in September, with corrections before cutting, or, make some sample blocks with scrap fabrics so you can make adjustments before cutting your kit fabrics.
Thanks for following along!