Saturday, 11 August 2012

The House that Jan Built

I need to warn any of you that are of a nervous disposition. You may not want to read this post. I am going to confess to doing something either downright brilliant or so stupid it will leave many of you a nervous quaking wreck.  But before I tell you what I need to tell you the why.

I told you in this post about a new bee I'd been asked to join: The hipBee.  I didn't hesitate in saying yes and have been excited about it ever since I joined.  August was our first month and the Queen Bee is the lovely Reene who blogs over at Nellie's Niceties.  Reene asked for house blocks and sent us some Summersville fabric and some Klona ash coloured solid.  Initially I'd thought about lots of small houses in one block as per this picture she referenced in her instructions.  However, I'm one of the last to make a block and everyone else has gone for a single large house. So I decided that doing a multiple house block like this might look a bit out of place in the final quilt.  I was tempted to go wonky, but my previous wonky experience is that wonky blocks eat fabric far more than you realise and so I thought instead I'd tackle something I'd never ever done before. Foundation Paper Piecing.

What? Did she just say she's going to take Reene's fabric and do something she's never done before. She's actually going to attempt foundation Paper Piecing?!

(I did warn those of you of a nervous disposition.)

Anyway, I got some grease proof paper out of the kitchen cupboard because it's thin and cut it to 12.5". I drew out the design of the house and I then broke it down into sections. A bit with chimneys, the roof, the main house and the garden.  I cut each section up because I couldn't get my head around how I could actually do all the sections on one piece of paper.  I don't really get foundation paper piecing if I'm completely honest.

Not only has she never done FPP, but she doesn't get it. She's still going to cut into Reene's fabric?

Then I opened up Katy's Foundation Paper Piecing for the Terrified.  I intended to do this and recently I read every single post and meant to start it the next day. Only I think I got distracted by low volume blocks or framed purses. But I did read it all. I figured as long as I re read the first two sections I'd be good to go.

She's a little bit mad isn't she? I mean she's got Reene's Summersville and now she thinks she can foundation paper piece a whole block just because she read a couple of posts Katy wrote.

The chimney and the roof went together a dream, ok in the interest of full disclosure I did get my seam ripper out a couple of times too many times to count because it's tricky getting my head around which way the fabric should be facing etc. The house was a little slower because I spent ages trying to find some fabric of my own to add (all the others have and as Reene likes detailing, I thought I might as well add a person in the house.)

Where I came unstuck was the final part.  The garden.  I hadn't really planned which of Reene's fabric I was going to use where. I'd pick up a bit and think - yep that would be good for the door and that would be good for the garden and had I planned it all out ahead I'd have realised that the square I had left for the path was not actually wide enough to make the path. I had to do a bit of improv piecing; a spot of crazy paving.  Whilst I was trying to get it to look more like a path and less like a dogs breakfast, I decided to add a dog resting in the garden.

I then had to add some more sky to bring the block up to size as I'd forgotten that chopping up each paper pieced section would mean rejoining them and losing seam allowance in the process.  (I also lost the pointy bit of the roof for the same reason. Ooopsy - hope Reene won't mind too much.)

House Block for Reene
I'm not sure if he's a shop keeper or a keen cook. 
Maybe he's just back from the village store with his shopping.

So now I just need to do my siggy block and this can go in the post back to Reene. And yes I know this could have gone either way. I could be sat crying on the sofa and plucking up the courage to ask Reene for some more fabric! And maybe I'll actually do some of Katy's course before I do any more paper piecing.

I also finished my Mini Quilt for Brit Quilt Swap 3.  It just needs the label.


A couple more ticks on my must-do-in-August-list!  I'll leave it to you to decide whether my block for Reene makes me ready for the mad house.


  1. ROFL I have laughed so much reading this funny blog post. I think this has to get an award for being the best blog entry this year.

    Well done on a fantastic block and finished Mini for the BQS3.

  2. I love your house block and I think the phrase that describes your block-making activity is 'bonkers...brave but bonkers' ;o)

    I'm so glad you tried foundation piecing and that it was successful - did you enjoy the process?

    I hope you're feeling a bit better now?

  3. P.S. Sorry, I was so taken aback by your foundation piecing that I forgot to tell you I love your BQS mini!!

  4. Fortune favours the brave (I'm watching the diving, can you tell!?)

    Well done x2 xxx

  5. Flippin fantastic J! Love the house block. Well done on paper piecing it too! Man you've got guts! Jxo

  6. Well who'd have known what angst you went through making this lovely block for me?! Well done you, I love it :)
    Your Brit Quilt swap looks great too, pop it in the envelope with my block ;)

  7. hee hee you're a braver woman than I!!! (Don't tell anyone but I had a complete practice of my whole block with scraps before daring to cut into Renee's lovely fabric I was that scared I would stuff it up!) - it's a brilliant house, and you should be feeling as chuffed as Tom Daley right now x

  8. Totally brilliant and woohoo for you for making your own pattern and doing foundation piecing (I am not yet that brave!!). Looks fab!

  9. Don't you just love when things work out well?! You are no longer a bee virgin. Congratulations. ;-)

  10. Lol, remember what I was saying earlier about not knowing you're meant to be scared helping? Guess it worked here :oD Love the dug lol

  11. Your house block is very cool and I`m a bit like you - two feet straight in, but you succeeded so yea for being brave! You know I love your mini.

  12. Your BQS mini is just yummy! Great make! Good for you jumping in and trying something new. Grow, J! Grow!

  13. Bravo! Bees really are good opportunities to expand horizons...and I think I made some of my best blocks in bees, simply because I was so worried about the possibility of disappointing (or looking feeble in the eyes of) a fellow quilter!

  14. The house looks lovely, as does the mini quilt.

  15. Yes!! Well done, you have conquered your fear. The house looks amazing: do you think you will do it again, are you now a convert :-)

  16. Your courage paid off Jan - another skill to add to the list! Love house blocks.

    The mini is gorgeous!

  17. You dived right in and made a brilliant block Jan, I think learning how to FP is so much easier if you are shown how so well done you.

  18. Much is accomplished by people who don't stop to think about never having done things before. Well done.

  19. lol!! I laughed at this post!! love it! good for you for diving in and trying it I haven't tried FPP much at all and cannot get my head round it either! love your bqs mini too! x

  20. I like how it turned out. Mum has an unfinished paper piecing quilt and I think she's nuts for even starting it!

  21. Your block is fantastic.
    I had to laugh when I read Jessica's comment... She doesn't know that we met because of that paper piecing quilt that I still haven't finished!! ha ha


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