Monday, October 21, 2013

Paper Piecing - Hummingbird Block, (aka Periwinkle Star)

I like to think of myself as a Modern Quilter.  Being a modern quilter is subjective.  The Modern Quilt Guild gives a great description of what Modern Quilting is about.  We each have our thoughts, twists and turns on Modern.  

That being said, every once in a while I love to 'go back' in time!  Try something traditional, use fabric I don't normally use or learn a new technique.  I have always wanted to try paper piecing.  Having seen so many gorgeous blocks lately, it only fueled my curiosity.  

Paper piecing, foundation piecing or flip and stitch is a traditional method that has been on rise lately.  Fabrics are sewn to a foundation, either temporary or permanent creating perfect blocks every time. 

I was asked if I could make a couple pillows using a Periwinkle Star block.  After looking at the picture and with the help of Google, I decided this was the perfect time to stretch myself.  Jump in.  Go for it.  This block appeared to be the perfect start of my paper piecing adventure.  I watched a video...I could do it!  Well, I likely would have figured it out after many, many attempts.  It wasn't exactly detailed or easy to follow.

Hummingbird Block (aka Periwinkle Star)
When I saw that Rita from Red Pepper Quilts had just written a tutorial for the exact block, I was jumping up and down with relief and excitement!  I downloaded the template and soaked up the tutorial information.  The Hummingbird block and Periwinkle Star are one and the same.  Good for me and my new found paper piecing confidence! 

I began the process by printing the template and trying a couple test pieces.  

Make sure you print the template at 100%!  I didn't for my test pieces and I ended up with blocks that were 1/2" smaller.   

Knowing that I was going to be using a variety of feedsack prints, I paired those with a good selection of coordinating solids all surrounded by a bright white.  

I pieced the first part and was so pleased with the results!  Its time consuming, but there is something very rewarding about the entire process!

Perfect Seams!

Another good thing to remember:  when sewing your fabric on to the paper, use small stitches.  It really makes removing the paper so much easier.  

When done correctly, this is what your seams look like.  I seriously never thought I could make cute 'little squares' like that!  

I ended up quilting 1/4" on the inside of the white.  I was provided a picture of a vintage quilt, and wanted to stay as close to the original as I could.

I made two 18" x 18" pillow covers with a classic envelope closure.  Because the blocks were going to be 5" when finished, I added a 2" border around the center panel.  I think they turned out great.  I think they will be well loved when they make it to their new home.  

I love these pillows.  I can't wait to make this block again or even try something else!  I need to start looking for my next project in paper piecing.  I think I am kinda addicted now! Learning to paper piece isn't so bad.  I would highly recommend finding a great tutorial (like the one above) if you are new to the process like I am.  It totally save me and covered every single detail from start to finish.  

Paper Piecing.  Using a block drawn or printed and sewn on paper 


  1. So proud of you and your accomplishments! Trying something new is so exciting!

  2. Thanks Cindy! It was out of my comfort zone, but so much fun!

  3. Love your pillows! Great use for a charming block.

  4. Hi, just found you on Lily's Quilts, I love your cushions, the white shows off the vintage prints so well!

    1. thank you so much! I love the prints with whites too! Nice and crisp!


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