Episode 117: Back to Business (on the Irish Chain Back)

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Meant to post this episode on Friday, but got a little bug instead, and then I couldn’t figure out something on Hindenberg … the usual excuses. Sorry to be late!

Above: The Irish Chain back. It’s now sewn together, but I need to lengthen it, it turns out, which I hope to do tomorrow if I’m feeling up to snuff.

A neat, brief podcast about an African-American quilting bee in Baltimore:



0 Replies to “Episode 117: Back to Business (on the Irish Chain Back)”

  1. So sorry you were not feeling well. You must have missed the memo forbidding spring bugs. Hope you are feeling well. I will listen to your podcast tomorrow on my running club run with the dogs. We are supposed to have a bit of snow which, in this dry Colorado community, makes for wonderful running! Can’t wait.

  2. The back blocks are great! I love the top right one.

    Our allergies are going nuts right now. There is so much pollen that it coats the ground and the cars are covered every morning. We are thinking of buying stock in Benadryl. 🙂 I hope you feel better soon!

    I would like to see your couch. It sounds great but I can’t quite picture it.
    I just read The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen and enjoyed it very much. Thanks for all the great book recommendations.

    I like Diary of A Quilter blog as well. Amy does a good job. (And she has a great name!)
    I also like http://happyquiltingmelissa.blogspot.com/, http://www.fromthebluechair.com/, http://moosequilts.blogspot.com/, http://www.dontcallmebetsy.com/, http://www.stitchedincolor.com/, http://crazymomquilts.blogspot.com/. I like the ones that share about their lives as well as quilty stuff. My list really is too enormous. There are so many talented people in the world sharing their projects. I am assuming you know all the podcaster’s blogs already.

    Thanks for the feedback on colors for your quilt. I have been on the lookout and collecting scraps for you.

    Paper and foundation piecing is hard for me. 2 things that helped me, were to start with simple 3 or 4 piece blocks with big pieces and a video to follow along with for the first few times. It is so backwards to what we are used to when piecing. Having a light box helps if you have one too, so you don’t have to pick it up to see through it. I used this block tutorial to start with: http://craftygemini.blogspot.com/2010/09/paper-piecing-tutorial.html
    Determining fronts from backs could be a HUGE help! Although I must say I loved doing my last attempt with a solid and a print. It made it much easier.

    Color… ugh. I stink at putting fabrics together that are balanced. I want one of the value tools that you look through to see what value the fabric is.

    Ten mile long comment! I probably should not comment as I listen. 😉

  3. This is the paper piecing method I use:


    It is different from the crafty gemini method because I fold the pattern on the line, trim 1/4 inch seam allowance, line up the next piece (right sides together), fold the pattern over the pieces, and then sew on the line.

    I prefer to use batiks or solids when doing a difficult pattern because then it doesn’t matter if I get things backwards. It took about 3 blocks before I really understood what I was doing and why it worked. Now I love paper piecing!

  4. AH! Very cool, Francis. I love interesting backs. The only problem is that I would have a hard time deciding which side to display 🙂 I have a few I’ve done like this, and I flip them over from time to time.

  5. Maybe we can see your couch when we come down for Katie’s graduation (2nd weekend in May.) I’ll bring you lots of blue scraps so we can play!

    Glad to hear more people on the Sarah Addison Allen bandwagon. I agree that she is a spring-y read with lots of thoughts on renewal and starting over. I like how her characters look at themselves and don’t blame everything on other people.

    All the best.

  6. I really think you’re onto something using a print to learn paper-piecing. Since I don’t have many solids, I never thought of confusing the sides when PP. (Also, I don’t usually do PP because the waste annoys me. I’m trying to get better about that.)

    Another method you might want to check out is Marsha McCloskey’s I saw her episode from a few years back on The Quilt Show (when they were allowing everyone to access past years free for National Quilting Day.) It seemed really clear and works great for me (so far.)

    I’m excited to try out the other blogs you mentioned. I’ve managed to keep mine going for six months (which is kind of a record for me!)

    I love pieced backs, although hand quilting through them can be a pain if there are too many seams. Yours looks great.

  7. About your blue mosaic quilt.. Are you keeping each block the same blue fabric within that block? That’s what it looks like from the pcs a few posts back. I have quite a bit of blue scraps, but not sure if I have enough and any single fabric. What amount do you need of each print you’re using. 1/4 yard? Just curious.. I may be able to pitch some to ya.

  8. I think the left-handed brain (as I have one) is a wonder to behold – a miracle that lends itself to clumsiness and confusion at times and paper piecing is asking a lot of this brain. A brain that is already backwards is being asked to reverse times two (the fabric, the paper, cover the space that is upside down, etc.) Laura’s suggestion for batiks is excellent. I have paper-pieced and like the precision but the air around my machine becomes filled with colorful metaphors as I tax my brain into something that is not natural.

    On the other hand, (the right one – hahaha), the wonky back of your quilt is lovely. And I loved, loved the sounds of the birds on your porch. It must be Spring!

  9. Haven’t even finished the episode yet but had to stop and comment before I forget all the things rattling around in my brain.
    First, thanks so much for the shout out! I totally fan-girled in the car when you said you read regularly.
    Second, Amy (of the advice world) totally bombed on that answer. Nothing about the rudeness and complete disrespect of not even saying thank you for a gift? I have gotten some crazy gifts and it would never occur to me not to even express appreciation for the thought behind it! Who raised those kids? Second, being a muggle is no excuse. Who in their right mind has the nerve to suggest that someone pre-approve a gift before giving it? I trained my kids out of that horrid behavior before their 2nd Christmas! Amy blew it and those new parents don’t deserve one bit of help, gifts, or free babysitting.
    Third, yes, I think prints will help you get the hang of paper piecing. I’m not a huge fan because of the waste and because I really struggle with the concept. But I once made a binding out of a solid black and it took me several tries before I got it going the right way.
    Love your back blocks and there was probably more but that’s all I can remember.

  10. Hey Francis! It’s Sarah, formerly of Stash Resolution. 🙂 My family is planning a vacation to the Carolinas and I’m wondering if I can email you to pick your brain on a few things. What is your email address?

  11. the newest American Patchwork & Quilting is about color–i got it right after listening to your podcast and it’s great in beginning to answer questions about color. also, Monique Dillard of Open Gate Quilts is running a free BOM –the cool thing is that other bloggers are reinterpretating each block with their own color combos so the blocks look completely different with the color choices. if you click around, you’ll see what i mean.
    as always, thanks for podcasting! (i save your podcasts for when the kids are out of the house and i have a nice long time to sew! 🙂

  12. Enjoyed the last podcast(as usual). I agree with your comments about Amy.
    I was always taught to say thanks for a present even if it wasn’t what I wanted.
    In the case of a quilt, I am sometimes not sure that non-quilters really understand the amount of time that goes into making a quilt. In fairness we seldom elaborate on that when we make a quilt for someone that we love, so perhaps we need to start
    Finally I just thought that I should let you know that “Foyle’s War” has returned. The new series just finished here in Scotland. It’s set in 1946 just after WWII. Foyle is now working for MI5( the equivalent of CIA?), Sam returns and some new characters. There are only 3 episodes but I think there may be another series.
    Have you tried “Mr Selfridge” ? It’s a new series made by Independent TV here and it’s set around the founding of the Selfridges store in London at the beginning of the 20th Century. I think that oyu might enjoy it.

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