I always admired machine paper pieced blocks. They're impressive, often incredible really. So many little pieces, such complex designs and - wow - can they create incredible pictures! Still for a long time, I didn't think I wanted to actually sew that.
Over the years I've done a bit of machine paper piecing here and a bit there, gradually realizing it isn't "hard" or ridiculously tedious. But, honestly, it was in making these blocks for the Penny Sampler that machine paper piecing wheedled it's way right into my heart.
Why the change? I think, for one, I was sabotaging myself by avoiding picture projects before. I had machine paper pieced abstract shapes like stars and what not, but not still life art such as creatures or household objects. While I loved to look at that type of thing, I couldn't imagine what I'd do with such creations.
The Penny Sampler created a "need" for picture blocks because I was desperate to include the iconic Swedish Dala horse. I also imagined teacups and a tea pot, because sewing such household pretties always tempted me. My first "picture" machine paper pieced project was the teacup. And that changed everything.
Everyone knows that the best part of sewing is choosing fabrics. Well, the best part of machine paper piecing (at least for me) is that lots of independent pieces equals lots of chances to "draw" with fabric. Selecting just the right fabrics for a stripe on a tea pot, the lip of a teacup rim, the saddle on a horse... heaven.
Nowadays I'm finding myself sometimes choosing to paper piece even when I could piece traditionally. Some little squares and most diamonds on the Penny Sampler are paper pieced. With virtually no possibility of error and such pleasing results, it's easy to dismiss time spent ripping off papers afterwards as well worth the effort.
Plus, these simple projects are great introductions for anyone new to paper piecing. Our class is definitely appropriate for first-timers and somewhat-experienced alike. The Flower Pot project is our most challenging block. You should have heard Brandon grumbling when he drafted those templates. LOL.
So what about you? Have you been avoiding machine paper piecing? Does it seem too challenging, too finicky? Or... have you already fallen in love?