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Questions Answered Edited from email

I am very interested in ordering your pattern for the Nativity scene. I have done very little paper piecing so I would consider myself a beginner. I'm wondering if this pattern would be considered difficult to do? I wasn't sure what the skill level would need to be to complete it. I'd appreciate your opinion/suggestion.--Karen

Hello, Karen
     If you can do other paper piecing, my designs are the same, just more, smaller pieces. The larger the pattern, the more time investment.
      I think of Paper Panache patterns as intermediate. Once in a while I get an email from a person who started her paper piecing career with one of my patterns. It all depends on the person, and whether they are determined or discourage easily.
      I suggest starting with one of my free patterns and reading through the howtos. Choose one that you think might stretch you a little bit. You could also download the mystery block. Doing a small block in conjunction with my instructions will definitely give you a better idea.
      Also, if possible, find, observe and befriend others who paper piece (say, at a guild). When you see how smoothly the operation can proceed, any fear may melt away.
     Best wishes!--Linda


Hi Linda,
     Many hours and 3 camels later (no contrast, too dark, just right), I have completed the top of the Nativity. I feel triumphant but now I would like a bit of guidance on how to most effectively quilt this beauty. Did you use clear thread? I can see adding some rays to the night sky and stitching around the figures. I need to get it in the mail so don't have unlimited hours to quilt it. Thank you--Robin T

Hi, Robin
     Ah, every once in a while someone writes this same email and I am sure it is disappointing when I tell them: I have not made nor quilted this pattern. I worked with a friend of mine who made two of them for testing purposes. Her sister then did the machine quilting.
     I do recommend machine quilting for anything paper pieced. Not only is it faster, but saner going through all those layers. (As you surely already know.) I think clear thread would probably be best [better advice below!] Please ask someone you know who does machine quilting whether it would be best to do a small all-over pattern or to do outlining, because I'm not sure...I've looked at some of the ones sent to me in the past but I have reduced them and cannot tell if they are one or the other.
     [In case you are worried!] I design and then sew 99% of these patterns. And then I add them to a very tall pile of unfinished tops. Now you know the awful truth! :) --Linda

Robin wrote back and has allowed me to include:
     I thought I would update you on the quilting of the nativity, in case you are asked again. It actually applies to all of your great projects:
     1. Select a multi-colored backing since you will be using many different thread colors for the quilting. I chose a printed cotton that is not remotely Christmas oriented, but has many of the colors in the nativity.
     2. Stitch in the ditch closely around the inside edge of all major pieces. A small meander works beautifully in the foreground area. Use same color thread for top and bottom in case your tension is not perfect or reacts to the different thickness throughout the quilt top.
     3. To add sparkle, use metallic thread (solid, non-metallic bobbin) for the radiant lines from the main star.
     Hope you are having a good holiday season.--Robin T
    PS. I consulted a couple of people who warned that invisible thread often catches the light and looks like what it is, plastic. I decided not to use in on the nativity, not after all the piecing work!

Thank you, Robin!
     I copied your suggestions to another person who asked me nearly the same question just this week, and she was very interested in your machine quilting advice. Thank you for helping me out!



     Linda, I saw the pattern The Frog Family which has frogs and dragonflies. It suggests tablerunners, placemats, etc. but not quilts. I could adapt but would rather have a pattern that includes instructions for a quilt. Do you know if this pattern could be made into a quilt? I need a frog pattern to make a quilt for my daughter-in-law. Thanks, Janis S

Hi, Janis
     Sure, this pattern could be made into a quilt in a million different ways!
     Most of my patterns are only starting points. I don't do a lot of things with borders, or full scenes. People make the pieces they like and then combine them with other blocks, settings, borders, etc. into the quilts they want. I have only done half the thinking, which is a philosophy I quite agree with.
     The frog family pattern contains a "fill-in triangle" on the sheet. These will help take a hexagon to another shape, but not necessarily a square one. Another option is to add pieces, or redesign the sides of the patterns into a square before cutting the pattern apart for piecing.
     It is nice when you can find a pattern that has it all right in the package, but, still--I don't think most people find exactly what they want.
     Perhaps you know another quilter in a guild or elsewhere who could help lead you into putting together something special!
     Best wishes!--Linda






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