After a few days with very little pain I decided to retreat to my sewing room. The first day I worked on the North Star block for 45 minute, it went well and there was no increased pain. Yesterday I went in to finish the block and lost track of time, an hour and half later I had the final seam stitched and papers removed. I opened it up and the throbbing shock hit me. Remember the music in the shower scene in Psycho? That’s the throbbing shock I felt. Over the last couple of years I have made every mistake there is when paper piecing and chalked them all up to lessons learned the hard way. These are the lessons that stay with you and you never make the same mistake twice, yea right.
The most important lesson is, DO NOT remove the papers until the end or before checking your work, I know this and never do it prior to checking my work. I cant say never again. Perhaps it was my comfort with pp, the excitement of completing the block so I could share it with you all or maybe it was the sheer excitement of actually being back and removing the cobwebs and dust from my machine. Whatever the reason I know better yet I removed all center papers before checking, leaving only the outside papers on each template. The huge mistake I made though, after the final seam was stitched I removed every paper left before opening the block to inspect my work. Some of my issues could have been avoided had I just checked. My block was lopsided, I had sewn one of my pie shaped pieces on the wrong side and ended up with 2 corner blocks sewn together. No big deal right? Actually it was. Seams had to be ripped and re-sewn. Most paper pieced quilt blocks involve piecing tiny pieces that without papers would be almost impossible to accurately sew with traditional piecing. This block isn’t like the free God’s eye block I offer that can be easily completed by traditional piecing.
Once seams were ripped and pieced back together I began pressing and my center star did not line up. So I ripped that last seam again, realigned and stitched again. It was better but not right. At this point I am afraid to rip again because I don’t feel I will have a strong seam line if I do. How many times can you rip and re-sew the same sections together without weakening your seam? I’m disgusted with myself and decided to go ahead and press the block and hang it on the wall as a stark reminder of what not to do. While pressing I noticed a few other places that my pieces did not line up properly. Again, the papers had already been removed but even if they hadn’t too much would have needed taken apart to fix the problem. A problem that could have been eliminated had I simply checked each template before moving on, this is where my comfort of pp played a role in my demise on this block. My scrap practice block did not present any of these issues and why? Because I check my work, if all is good I move on. Sometimes you have to remove the paper bulk to confirm it’s as it should be. Take the spikes coming off the star extending to the outside blocks as an example. The spikes are long and narrow, with the added seams and paper its hard to judge if you lined things up properly without removing some of the bulk (papers). I still cannot believe I did not check all of these. Shame on me.
I can say I haven’t had a disaster like this since I first started paper piecing. A few of the spikes that look off are not actually off but instead from the variation in the fabric color and not a smooth press. Its also hanging from one of my quilt frames by a piece of fabric I tied to the bar to hang it. I haven’t figured out how to keep my camera from digitally stamping the date on photos, sorry I’m not real techy.
The moral to this story is… Whether you are new at or wanting to learn pp or even an experienced pp, NEVER EVER EVER REMOVE THE PAPER TEMPLATES UNTIL YOU HAVE CONFIRMED YOUR WORK IS ACCURATE!!!