Award-Winning Peswara Quilt
Inspired by the tiles in an English cathedral floor, quilter Jean Biddick used a freezer paper-piecing technique to create Preswara, an award-winning quilt at the Quilts=Art=Quilts show held annually in Auburn, N.Y.
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Here are Biddick's instructions for drafting a freezer-paper pattern of this type.
Materials and Tools:
yardstick compass or beam compass
butcher paper or vellum (optional)
rotary cutting supplies
silk pins (extra long, thin pins; IBC brand preferred)
- background fabric (black in the sample) - 3/4 yard (or 1/2 yard for corners and scraps for the rest)
- scraps of bright fabricss for the detailed piecing
(This may be done on butcher paper and traced to freezer paper or done directly on freezer paper. Tape freezer paper with masking tape.)
1. Draw a 30 inch square and locate the center.
2. Use the yardstick compass to draw concentric circles in the center of the square. Radii of the circles are:
3. Use a protractor to mark 15-degree spacing around the center. Use a ruler to transfer these spacings to the second ring from the center.
4. Mark the center of each of the new lines in the second ring. Draw the Flying Geese using these center marks. The ‘geese’ need to fly the opposite direction to the desired finished pattern.
5. Erase the 15 degree markings and use a protractor to mark spacings of six degrees around the center. Use a ruler to transfer these markings to the outer ring.
6. Mark the center of each of these new lines. Join the centers with small straight lines to form the checkerboard motif in the outer ring.
7. Guest Jean Biddick cautions that unless you label everything, you’ll get lost when piecing the quilt back together. Label the pattern to help you stay on track once you’re piecing the quilt. Be sure to note the fabric color that you envision for the piece. You’ll work with the pieces of each ring first, then pieces the rings together. To make the ring piecing easier, add some marks for realigning them. You can accomplish this with numbered arrows, dots, etc.
Designer Jean Biddick used several different black fabrics for the background in Peswara, then added bright color from six different color families, with three to four fabrics in each family.
Once you've drafted a pattern, cut out the pieces and iron them onto the back side of the fabric, using your fabric color notes. With the pattern pieces as your guide, cut out each fabric piece adding a 1/4-inch to the pattern pieces to serve as seam allowance.
For the Peswara quilt, Biddick recommends sewing the separate rings together first, then stitching the rings together. When preparing to assemble the rings, refer to the diagram keys created when labeling the pattern pieces.
When stitching the pieces of the rings together, loine up corners of the fabric and pin using long, superfine silk pins. Stitch the pieces together at the freezer paper. Leave the paper on the fabric for now.
Once the rings are assembed, join them together. For this, start with the two most outside rings, and work your way in, removing the paper as you go to allow flexibility. Use the marks from step 8 to help align the rings, and pin the rings every four to five inches before sewing to help keep everything aligned.
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