achievement unlocked: paper-pieced home blocks, part five

wow, i haven’t posted in over a month. sorry, guys.

here are some more paper-pieced blocks i have made. i actually only have two blocks left to sew & then i can start worrying about how i’m going to lay them all out into a quilt top, given that they are all kinds of different sizes.


an ottoman. I love this hexagon print (left over from a quilt i made for ramona in 2013). if this ottoman was real, i would love to own it, even though it would inspire jared to make countless jokes about how “you oughta, man,” which i wouldn’t get until like four days later. i think this block tured out pretty well save for how that strip of pink is not completely even. i ripped out the stitches & re-sewed like four times. not sure what happened, but i’m just not going to worry about it.


stack of books. obviously i was going to use this old-timey newsprint font for the pages. it’s left over from the quilt i made for david & alana for christmas in 2013. i decided to go with dark, stately colors for the book covers, & the “title” on the book that is standing is cut from the selvage of some strawberry print fabric from the vintage market collection. they used those sewing machines to indicate the colors in the print & it was too good not to employ. i only regret not using one of the more solid prints for the standing book so the titles would pop more, but i think the teeny tiny zigzag stitch i used to sew them on looks really cute.


sewing machine! this block is pretty large, more than a foot square. so i decided to take a chance on using a large scale print for the body of the machine. the floral is called “social climber,” by anna maria horner. i originally purchased it to make a dress a year or two ago & just never got around to it (though i still may). i was nervous about using such a boldly colored, large scale print, but i think it turned out really well! especially mixed with such a low-volume shading print (the white is very subtly printed with sewing-related ephemera) & a solid background. this block isn’t perfect–the foot shaft is just slightly crooked–but i love how the fabrics play together.


stapler. an old-school retro stapler. i honestly would not necessarily have recognized it as a stapler save for the fact that jared has one with this same shape that he stole from the site of an abandoned mental hospital when he was a teenager. he is now haunted by the restless spirits of the wrongfully committed, but it was worth it. to be frank, the pattern didn’t excite me too much so i kind of punted on the fabric choices & just experimented. the cherry print i used for the body of the stapler is left over from the lining of the cape i made for ramona last year.


paper clip. this is another pattern that didn’t really fill me with enthusiasm. i decided to use an unconventional color for the clip, instead of trying to mimic a more traditional silver. just because. the stars on the background fabric are metallic & actually some kind of weird paint that is a giant pain in the ass to press. the colors of the stars play off the tone of the clip, which i really like, but i had barely any of the star print. i literally had a strip like two inches by ten inches or something. i just barely eked out the background with literally slivers to spare.

so, i’ve been plugging away on these blocks & not sewing anything else, even though my stash of fabric & patterns continues to grow. i’m looking forward to wrapping this project up so i can start on some fall sewing. i have a skirt i want to make before it gets too cold, since i always tell myself i’ll just wear my skirts & dresses with tights in the winter & then i never do. not that i need to worry about cold weather, given that it’s still in the 80s & 90s here.

i also bought some velveteen to re-upholster the wingback chair in ramona’s room. i think jared found the chair at a thrift store in philly like ten years ago. it’s in rough shape. the blue upholstery is discolored & ripped in places. the velveteen i got is a really bold pink & red print that i LOVE (i love those colors together), that will look really nice combined with the furniture of ramona’s that i have painted pink. let the record show that i did not paint her furniture pink because she is a girl. i painted it pink because a) i like pink & am tired of suppressing the instinct i have to always reach for pink first, & b) we had a half a can of free pink paint left over from when the landlord painted our living room. it was personal taste & cheapness.

however, i have never re-upholstered anything before, & all the research i’ve done is quick to say, “don’t expect this to be a quick weekend job!” what! but i just want it to be a quick weekend job! ramona is a real creature of habit (like all toddlers) & i’m worried that she’s going to lose it if the chair is missing from her room for a week while i spruce it up.  but seven yards of velevteen didn’t come cheap (even at 50% off, plus a bulk buying discount), so i’m just going to have to bite the bullet & do it.

all right, more paper-pieced blocks coming soon. oh yeah, jared bought me an iphone to replace my sweet 2004-era nokia flip phone so i’m on instagram now. (ps–i paid for the phone myself. jared just talked me into it & placed the order. in case you don’t know, teachings assistants are not really in the business of being sugar daddies.)

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

5 thoughts on “achievement unlocked: paper-pieced home blocks, part five

  1. Looking at your instagram, I see we have the same sewing machine! Except right now mine isn’t out & it’s covered with books.

    1. just the basic $100 brother? yeah, i got mine back when i knew i liked to sew but was kind of just dabbling & didn’t realize how much i liked it or what i wanted in a machine. i didn’t want to spend a lot of money if it wound up being a passing fancy. i’m pretty amazed at how well it’s held up & all the different things i’ve been able to do with it. i have yet to tackle a project that my crappy little plastic brother couldn’t handle, & i’ve been sewing almost everyday for two & a half years. not sure why people are so convinced that you need a $1000 bernina to get good results. (though, bernina, if you are reading this, i will gladly take a free machine & sing your praises high & low!)

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