Dahlia Block, from Dreamcatcher: Round the Year Quilt – part 1

I am so excited to show you a block I just finished from a fellow quilting bloggers design!  Todays post is all about Dahlia, and a beautiful one she is.  I found this gorgeous image on Pinterest:and followed the links to Mads post of the completed quilt: completed quilt.  She lives in India and has access to some amazing fabrics, but also buys from the US and other manufacturers we know.

I fell in LOVE with the quilt, design and blocks.  I knew I wanted to make it!  She gives detailed instructions and downloadable pdf files for both the paper piecing and the step by step photos.  She has fabric requirements for both the dusk colorway, shown above, and a rainbow version.  I am partial to rainbow colorways but the dusk was so striking!

Here is my attempt at the first block: Dahlia.Dahlia block finished!.JPG

It is not perfect, but completed!  (Sometimes that is more important.)  It was a VERY challenging block.  It has over 85 pieces!  There are some very creative ways to chain piece a paper pieced block that are in the instructions.  I will show you my process and then you can decide if you would like to join with me in this Round the Year Quilt.  Or maybe just bookmark it for when you are ready for a good challenge.  Here is the link to Mads site with all the blocks, pdfs, instructions and more: all the blocks.

I started by pulling all the yellows, golden and oranges from my stash.  I did this when I was avoiding working on another project I should have been focusing on.  It was just so exciting!Dahalia fabrics yellow & orangeI then looked for blues.Dahalia fabrics blueI bundled all of these items in a box and put it in a spot I would kick often, right under my ironing station, so I would think about them many times a day and be ready to plunge in!

Finally I chose the exact fabrics for block 1 and cut as specified.  Left a few extra scrap out, just in case.  This post, part 1, is about the paper piecing only.  Part 2 will be about the assembly of each of those papers.Dahalia fabricsAll of the paper piecing patterns laid out, ready to cut apart.  Am I sure I am ready to do this?  There are SOOO many pieces!Dahalia step 1 pattern

Each strip has the fabric code and color – almost like a paint by number!  Mads also had a genius way of chain piecing the strips.  There are 2 sets of colors: one starts with yellow, the other with orange.  Here is the chain piecing method: sew one after the other on the line with a small amount of space between, iron open.  Step 1 complete & on my way!

Only there was a small problem!  See how the blue fabric does not cover the paper of the last in the chain (top left photo)?  My little pink seam ripper came out of her home and stayed out for the rest of the block.  I used another blue piece to redo (right photo).

Next is to cut apart each of the paper pieces and trim the excess fabric to a 1/4″ seam.  I bought an Add-A-Quarter ruler for another project & LOVE IT!  Very handy when doing many paper piecing projects.

Back to the sewing machine and add the next strip of fabric.Dahalia step 5 sew as a strip

Repeat these steps until all fabric strips are on the paper.

Run into a few other shortages here and there along the way.  I used scraps from the others to fix this one.

Start the orange first set of paper strips next and repeat these steps.

I intentionally have my sewing area, ironing station and cutting space all a short distance from each other, maybe 5-10 steps.  Some days this is the only way I can reach my 10,000 steps a day goal.  Especially with a project this big!Dahalia step 6 sew other set as strip

There is a little pucker here and there.  Pink seam ripper to the rescue!  Maybe I should make her a tiny cape, like a super hero!Dahalia step 7 fix fold

Last step of sewing to the paper templates was the center.  Not to complex for this one, but for some reason to complex to add the photo here.

I then did a rough cut around all of the paper pieces.  Using my rotary cutter I cut very close to the sewing line.  Here are the before & after shots.

Each one makes a small pile of scraps, but together there is a big pile at the end.

I really liked to see the progress here of the beginning piles and completed work.

I will begin with assembly of this block on part 2, tomorrows post.

What do you think so far – want to join me yet?

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