Steppingstones- Judy Niemeyer Pattern
This quilt is a Judy Niemeyer Pattern. It is a difficult paper pieced design which took many hours of work to complete. It is called "Steppingstones", and is actually one of the easier ones to do!
I took a course in Stettler almost 2 years ago, on the Judy Niemeyer paper piecing technique from the owner of "Quilting from the Heart, a Camrose quilt shop. ( Feb 2015)
After approximately 80 (plus) hours of work (and rework) I am pleased to be done the whole entire quilt including the free motion (unframed) quilting and binding.
|Matching up the bali strip for the blocks|
I used 3 packages of Bali strips for this quilt and which luckily included some extra strips, more than the project had called for. The paper pieced blocks called for each strip to be used twice, but if the seams were not cut "bang on" to a quarter inch, or if you used too much of the strip to make one of the points, then there wasn't enough left to cover the other point. I had to use my seam ripper more than a few times to take a strip off, or finesse the next ones.
|Arranging the blocks, numbering the rows|
I also learned that not all the sections in the patterns were the exact same size. When the directions said "use strip 2 for section 2 and 4", you had to keep track and not use that piece of fabric for another section or it didn't cover it. The blocks all look the same in the photo, but there are 3 different ones (called block J, K and L) I wrote a list to have it handy:
I also learned to cut each strip a little longer that the directions said to make it easier to use one strip for 2 points. I cut each 2 1/2" X 42" strip into 3 pieces and that worked well. (About 14 " lengths.)
Another tip I would suggest for anyone doing this pattern is to write yourself a brief note of the piecing directions. Because I worked on it many times off and on over the course of 22 months, each time I took it out to continue working on the blocks, I had to remember the exact steps again.
Here's my note:
1. Glue strip 1 to underside of paper (just a dab to hold it)
2. Put strip 2 under the paper, on top of strip 1 and pin at both ends.
3. Sew line 1, back stitch at each end.
4. Press open strip 2 to cover section 2 (Section 1 is also covered now and needs to be trimmed when you are done the block to use that strip for section 11- but only on block J)
5. Fold line 2/ Trim seam to 1/4"(save for sec #4)
6. Put strip 3 on top, edge to edge (A new strip!)
7. Sew line2/ press open
8. Fold line 3/ Trim seam to 1/4" (save for section#5) etc etc
Once I got onto the pattern it went well, but it's the type of project where you have to concentrate.
I also found it helpful to trace all the lines and section numbers on the back of each pattern piece in pencil. (I put the paper up against a window and traced,; then its marked on both sides. Just makes the folding step easier.)
I finally completed all the blocks in December 2016. I spent far too much time arranging and rearranging the blocks on the floor of my sewing room to get a pleasing "perfect" pattern.
After much delay, and indecision, I realized that I disliked one of the blocks and wanted to remove it entirely, so I opened up a few seams and removed it. Then I printed up a new copy of the pattern for that ugly K block (the kit only came with a certain number of paper patterns) and luckily had some unused strips to choose from to make a new block to use, which I was much happier with.
|Arranging and rearranging the blocks|
Another thing to be aware of, if you do draw the pencil lines on the backs of the patterns, make sure you sew the strips on that side every time or you will get a block that is backwards/ reversed.
Yes, I accidentally did that, too, but luckily I was able to add an extra strip on the side and could still use it. You would be hard pressed to find which one it is in the quilt now, but at first it was noticeable to me that it was a bit different.
|Black sashing and border added|
Next step was to sew all the black sashing strips between each set of 3 blocks. Then sew the block rows together and last, to sew the black inner border around the outside.
Whew! Motoring right along!
After a brief sense of accomplishment, I realized that I was still far from done. I had to make the piano key outer border.
The directions called for the coloured strips to be paper pieced as well, but I thought it would be easier just to piece them together ,so I cut the fabric strips to 6 1/4 inches in length then started playing with colour placements for the borders. I decided to go with the colours of the rainbow as much as possible, red, orange, speckled orange, light yellow, dark yellow, speckled green, lime green swirl, light blue marble, medium blue, dark blue (indigo), then light violet, dark violet and repeat.
After sewing rows of the rainbow strips together I laid them out next to the quilt top to see if they worked well with the colours in the adjacent blocks. Had to do some rearranging, but I finally got a running pattern that I liked for all the sides.
But wait a minute! I still had to make the corner blocks!
Now things were getting tight. I had a few fabric strips left to choose from but each block was made up of 6 pieces of fabric so I wanted a combination that looked good together, plus would work with the border and not compete with the blocks nearby. Oh boy!
The red was too dominating, the light gold was too pale, and I didn't have enough of either blue or grey to make all 4 corners.
In the end I made 2 corners with a blue end and 2 corners with a grey end.
|Wind swirls and waves quilting pattern|