achievement unlocked: “paper-pieced home” blocks, part seven

i am finally back to post more paper-pieced blocks! this project has been bonkers. all forty blocks are done & i spent three days figuring out how to lay out the quilt top, given that the blocks are all different sizes, ranging from 4″ by 6″ to 18″ square. penny doesn’t include any quilt layout ideas in her book, most likely because she never thought anyone would be bonkers enough to make all forty blocks! all of her project ideas are for smaller projects like curtains, bags, etc that can incorporate just one or two of the blocks.

anyway! blocks!


this is called “allie-gator”. it’s one of the biggest blocks in the book. i decided to use a playful green print for the alligator body, because it’s included in the “playthings” section. it’s supposed to represent more of alligator toy than a real alligator. i had some of this green elephant print left over from making the covers for “ella funt” #1. since it’s such a loud print, i kept my other fabric choices minimalist. solid pink for the background, solid white for the teeth, black for eyes, & a dense blue crosshatch print for the spikes on the alligator’s back.


totally one of my favorite blocks in the whole book! i was so looking forward to this one, but i was also nervous because it involves so many teeny tiny pieces, making the picture disc. i went with classic viewmaster colors for this one: red with a yellow lever. i think those are the colors of the viewmaster i had when i was a kid. i wanted to differentiate the lens pieces from the body so i used gingham for that & the actual lenses are applique. the images are fussy-cut from a print in the “A is for…” collection. i chose a butterfly, a spool of thread, a cat, & a little girl. & i used the blue strawberry print from the “vintage market” collection as background, to complement the red & give the whole thing a retro vibe.


bulldozer. this is also from the “playthings” part of the book, so i used the yellow strawberry print “vintage market” colorway to make the bulldozer more playful, & gingham for the light on top. i like yellow & purple together, so i chose this lavender print for the back, with birds to signify the idea of the bulldozer being outside. like a kid playing with a toy bulldozer in the park.


BBQ grill. this is another one with intimidatingly tiny pieces. i mean, look at the handle on top of the grill! for reference, the entire block is only 6″ by 6″, so the width of the handle pieces & legs is maybe 1/8″. i just kept this very simple with black prints of complementary values, a red & orange print for the flames, & wood grain for the handle.


this is technically a gardening hat, according to the book, but my sister pointed out that it looks a lot like a jello mold, complete with berries. i have to admit, this pattern didn’t inspire me much. i am not a very outdoors-y person & had trouble getting excited about a bucket hat, especially because the angles are so squared off. i tried to use different tones of blue to symbolize the different parts of the hat, with the strawberry print serving as an accent or hat band, but…i don’t know how successful it is. i used plain red for the background since there was so much happening with the other prints.


picnic basket. so this is where we get into blocks that i somehow forgot to photograph before i sewed them all into a quilt top & marked my quilting lines. that’s what those black lines are. as soon as i saw this pattern, i knew i was using this interesting brown polka dot print for the basket & wood grain for the handles. i think they look really sharp together. i thought it would be fun to use a fussy-cut animal from the “picnic pals” line, suggesting that a squirrel got into the basket. i wanted some kind of check or gingham to represent the classic picnic basket. i used this print to try to pick up the purple in the squirrel print & as a call-back to the beach tote block, but ultimately, i think the colors kind of clash with the red background. oh well.

only five more blocks before i can really get into talking about the quilt! all i will say for now is that i have worked on the quilting for 35 hours already & it’s still not done. it’s more than halfway done, but i expect to hit 50 hours or more before i sew the last stitch. & i am SO looking forward to being done with it so i can move on to some faster projects. i really need some instant gratification after this is all said & done. this isn’t the biggest quilt i’ve ever made, or my first hand-quilting project, but it is far & away the most time-consuming & labor-intensive sewing project i’ve ever tackled.

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.

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