I'm lazy, but even with that character flaw, I want whatever I make to look perfect. Perfection in quilt making is assured with foundation piecing. That's the main purpose of foundation piecing -- perfection. And anyone who has striven for perfection knows you can't just willy nilly throw something together and expect accurate seams and piece alignment.
Foundation piecing has intimidated me for years. So when I picked up Flip-Flop Paper Piecing by Mary Kay Mouton my hands trembled. But her step by step directions accurately took me through the process, beginning with the clearest, most understandable directions for basic foundation piecing I have ever encountered. Then patiently she added her innovative approaches that eliminate the need for more than one foundation piece per square.
For a lazy, accident prone person like me -- yes I'm the one who sewed my blouse sleeve to my quilt top -- I instantly embraced the elimination of extra foundation pieces. After all what I want is accuracy from this technique and without the alignment of two foundations, I have a much improved chance for perfection, even given my own ummm imperfections.
I really understood her directions. And the visual aids made so much sense. The way she showed me that if I am patient and don't cut corners so to speak I can easily color code my foundations so I will know exactly what I should do and WHEN! There's no reason to fail with this technique if whoever uses this book patiently reads through the steps one by one from the beginning. This is not a book written for people who like to start at the back or middle and skim. It is laid out in a reasonable format building upon information and technique as the reader's skills and comfort increase.
In Mary Kay's guest blog on (my) Subversive Stitchers: Women Armed with Needles website ([...]) she explains how this technique came about:
"I was constructing a block featuring a plaid fabric. Because I am nothing if not compulsive, I wanted that plaid to look continuous across the block, to be perfectly matched. And yet, I was tired just thinking of fussy cutting each piece and sewing each so precisely that the plaid would appear undisturbed, though actually broken by other non-plaids pieces in the block.
Suddenly I thought, why not just plop the plaid fabric down on a printed paper foundation. Then insert the other non-plaid fabrics by sewing them from both sides of the foundation! The plaid would look continuous because it would be continuous, and it would be precise because it would be foundation pieced on a printed foundation. By golly, I was on to something here!"
I'm with her. It makes so much more sense to use one whole piece of fabric rather than try to cut and manipulate two or three or ten. Her technique gives me so much more control and it encourages me to experiment and use fabrics I might not have otherwise. Stripes, plaids, prints -- they all will work with accuracy.
A beautiful plus is the Flip Flop Sampler one can make from the patterns in the book -- including the appliques that adorn the top and bottom of the project.
Is this a technique I will instantly find easy and successful? Well, knowing my track record, I can see this is going to take some effort and patience on my part. But, I think perfection is worth it. Love, love love the book and C&T can't be beat for the photography, lay-out, balance of white space with text and graphics and clarity of concept. I think it is worth every cent and more! I think this technique ranks right up there with Georgia Bonesteel's lap quilting for innovation and techniques that change the quilting scene.