Monday, July 24, 2017

Point Problem

I can plan and plan and plan.  I make patterns three or four times to get the kinks out.   It looks like I am ready to roll so I start making blocks.  After 5 blocks I discovered some things that needed attention.

Problem #1.  I have some critical points that should meet at the seamline.  They meet OK, but can't be sewn.  One in particular has four points coming together (that is 16 layers of fabric at the point) and the piece to which it is seamed is the same so now there are 32 layers of fabric.  Oh Boy!  My machine took one look at that and decided to fudge the seam allowance.  So now the points don't match and the fabric buckles slightly, but too much for my taste.  A rosette on the back won't work because the seams on both big triangles all go the same way because of the order of stitching.

Too many points together at the seam

I consider this a design flaw so back to the drawing board.  There is still a point now (below), but it doesn't come all the way to the seam.  It sews nicely and the design is not affected by the minor change.
See how the point is moved over a little bit? Problem vaporized.
Problem #2.  My pattern involves sewing two pieced triangles together to make a square block.  There is a piece of fabric at one point of the triangle.  When sewn together these two end pieces look like a half square triangle.  No problem with that, except my pattern does not have that line on a 45º angle.  Thank goodness I noticed it this early in the game, because in my adaptation that is a critical design flaw.  I can fix the few completed blocks pretty easily and redraw the pattern, but what a nuisance.

PS.  I just looked at the pattern in the book.  I drew it wrong.  Book is right.  Oops!  Now I pay for that seemingly minor mistake.

Red line is the way I drew it.  
Blue line is 45º angle.  Have to redo the pattern slightly.
Two blocks not sewn together yet.  See the light and dark triangles in the middle at the bottom?
Together they should be a half square triangle with STRAIGHT lines.
Those are my personal negatives, but are related to the pattern not the process.  I would never have seen it without my design wall to stare at.

I must say, that so far the paperless paper piecing is going beautifully.  I now have a system.  I love the fact that I can see the block all together before sewing it.  I am finding that the paperless method is more precise than paper piecing.  I haven't had to redo any points except as related above.  Sewing it is easy, but does take some mental gymnastics to get it right at first so there have been a few stitches to pick out here and there.  It is a new way of thinking.  Another thing I really like is cutting the pieces to the exact size, plus seam allowance of course.  Almost no waste and each piece fits right in place with no guessing.  With paper piecing I almost always had a few pieces that ended up too skimpy and had to be done over in spite of lots of experience with that process.

Does it take longer?  I don't really know and I am getting speedier the more I do.  A major plus is that once the block is together it is done.  No picking out paper.

This process is a keeper!

Sew some happy seams this week.  I wish you straight seams always, except when they are supposed to curve.








Monday, July 17, 2017

Climbing the Learning Curve

Paperless paper piecing is done with glue basting before sewing.  The cut fabric pieces are put down in the reverse order of paper piecing on a freezer paper template with said fabric backside up.  You fold up the seam allowance of the first piece on one side, line it up in place on the template, and put glue (Elmer's school glue) on the folded-back seam allowance.   Then you set the next piece onto it so the seam allowances are together.  Press.  Each piece has one turned up side.  Now you are all confused so please take a look at this tutorial.  I made a couple of throw away testers to get the hang of it.

See the underlying template in the photo below?  The pieces are marked by number in the order they are to be applied.  The red dotted line shows which edge of the piece will be turned up. The glue will be applied to that bit of seam allowance.  The next piece is laid down with the fold exactly on its black line and with its other sides pressed on top of the glue on the previous piece.  The blue line (see #10) tells me to cut that side with about 1/4 inch extra fabric.  BTW:  I make the templates and pattern pieces in Illustrator and print them, but they could be drawn by hand.  When all pieces are glued down you sew the seams in the reverse order from which you glued.  The learning curve is a little steep at that part.

Just getting started.  Excess glue is white, but washes out.

Templates for individual pieces.  Note the red dotted lines and blue line on them too.
Problem:  I  glued my block into a corner that couldn't be stitched.
Analysis:  Oops!
Solution:  Redo the order of construction.  That did the trick.  It takes a little practice to get your head in the right place for planning so it can be sewn.  Start on something simpler than this.

Problem:  My points were too close to the edge where two triangle blocks were sewed together.
Analysis 1:  Did I put it together sloppily?
Solution:  Since it is only glued so far and not stitched, maybe I can unglue a tiny bit, fudge a little and re-glue.  The only problem here is that the points have to match with those on the other half of the block so too much fudging might distort the whole block.
   or
Analysis 2:  Did I trim the finished block too much?  That turned out to be the problem.
Solution:  I made a template of clear plastic, marking all the seam lines and outside seam allowance.  I can lay it over the top of the finished block now and mark the trim lines.  I also made a mark on the main template and the individual piece templates to remind me to allow a little extra fabric on the outside edges (blue line).

One triangle block completed, untrimmed.

Clear plastic template with finished size of block marked.
TIP:  I used to trim by laying a ruler over the plastic template and cutting with a rotary cutter.  Unfortunately, I discovered that it is too easy to shave little by little off the template until accuracy is impaired.  Now I mark by hand, remove the template, and then cut only fabric with the rotary cutter.

Problem:  One of my fabrics was not right.  It was too dark and didn't show up against the black fabric next to it.
Solution:  Of course >>> go to the fabric store!  I had fabrics, purse and keys in hand when DH mentioned that the road is closed.  Whaaaaat?  A dump truck went off the road and over the edge of a steep canyon (150 ft down).  Road closed most of the day.  How about the other road?  Nope, a car went over a steep embankment on a tight curve.  Road closed the rest of the afternoon.  The only road left to take me out of our mountain valley would involve too much extra travel.  Not worth it.  So I worked on another tester and will wait for open roads to go out for fabric.

Problem:  Again, seam allowance skimpy.  This time after sewing.
Analysis:  Apparently the stitching tightened up the block, shrinking it slightly.
Solution:  Cut extra fabric on all outside edges.  Don't trim until after sewing.  Try finer thread.

There is definitely a learning curve.  My first block had a major difficulty about which I will write next week.  The latest was wonderfully successful.  It took me about three hours to cut paper pattern pieces (reusable), cut fabric pieces, press, glue, and then sew two triangle blocks and stitch them together.  An assembly line will really help speed up the process, but the accuracy is fantastic except for the occasional pilot error.

Sew some happy seams this week.  I wish you gentle learning curves this week.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Enough is Enough

In my last two posts I have complained and complained, giving lots of reasons for not being able to sew.  Ha!  I finally came to terms with the real reason.  I couldn't yank up any enthusiasm for finishing my thread painted portrait.  This is my third try, but the eyes aren't quite right, the nose is too big and the lips look awful.  I finally admitted that I don't want to work on it and may not be geared for fabric portraiture.  Bummer!  Mind you, I am usually a finisher.  I don't collect UFOs so this really goes against the grain.  However, there are times in sewing and in life where you have to stop and admit that THIS IS NOT WORKING.

I cleaned up the sewing room and began to move on to the new.  I grabbed the key and went out to my stash shed to fondle fabric and make choices.  I will need to buy a little, but most of the quilt will come from what I have already stockpiled.

I finished my design and am so excited to get working on it.  It is all paper pieced and I am going to try my hand at paperless paper piecing.  It will take more time up front, but there won't be time spent at the end pulling out paper.  I won't have to buy the water soluble paper that I like to use.  There will be a learning curve, but I plan to make a couple of trial blocks before I use my chosen fabric.  I understand the process and have tried it a time or two, but now I have a fairly complicated block and am still trying to figure out how I will make it work...thus the trials.  Practice, practice, practice.  I am sure I will speed up the process as I gain competence and establish an assembly line.

TIP:  Interested in something new?  Try it!  Sometimes it works for you, other times it doesn't.  It keeps your brain alive and healthy, so test it.  Stay tuned!

Here is the block I am planning to use from from Carol Doak's "50 Fabulous Paper-pieced Stars" page 122 (yeah, I know...you saw it last week).  Variety on the blog is hard when you haven't been doing anything!  It will make a nice star as is (see last week's post), but I will finish with 36 blocks and numerous color changes.  The final product does not even look like stars, but rather like a colorful, square mosaic.  Quilting in the ditch will eventually show the stars on the back.  My plan is to use Prairie Points instead of the standard binding.  Another new process for me.

One block for "Desert Mosaic." 
Outline for the piecing.
The basics are together.  Now to figure out how to construct it.  Back to the Internet to read the tutorial again.

I have also calculated fabric amounts in Illustrator by drawing a rectangle around each piece representing the amount of fabric for that piece with seam allowance.  Then I duplicate that rectangle as many times as I need for the whole quilt.  Each color is on its own layer.  The document is 40" (about fabric width with a little leeway) and the height is 36," but can easily be made longer if necessary.  This process is a little tedious, but is all accomplished on the computer and really didn't take too long.   It is very accurate as long as the pilot doesn't err.  I work on a grid in Illustrator, which doesn't show up in the example below, but it helps determine the right size rectangle for the odd shaped pieces.  Note that one red piece below will be used 72 times in the quilt!  Illustrator also has rulers on the side and top, which tell me how many inches I am using, thus I can calculate yardage.

Red fabric Planning Sheet - I need 1 yard of red fabric.
I found out one thing.  Prairie points take a lot of fabric, but they will look so pretty on my quilt and are a unique finish.

Sew some happy seams this week.  I wish you a jump start on your current or next project.


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Best Laid Plans

The sewing table is ready, but I still haven't gotten back to sewing.  We have cheatgrass in the yard, which is pretty, but terribly invasive.  It dies off and turns brown by early July and does not provide adequate nutrition for the deer and elk, so it goes ugly fast.  DH weed-whacked most of the wild grass (no formal lawn here), but I am pulling the cheatgrass by hand from about 1/4 of the yard.  Then, we wait and see what happens next year.  Why am I telling you this?  My poor body is getting badly abused from grass pulling and dandelion digging.  Machine quilting forces the body to be in one fairly intense position without much moving around even if you have a good chair, table the right height, etc.  Stiff necks are very common, but right now it is my whole body that is stiff in spite of my daily exercise routine, stretching and walking the dog.

So what do I do when I am not sewing?  Cleaning house goes only so far.  I don't bake because we have cut out sugar and carbs as much as possible.  So I design.  I lay in bed in the morning free motion thinking as I awaken, and slowly the ideas are coming together for another quilt.  I killed time some months ago between projects making four paper pieced stars, each different.  Then I moved on and let them sit.  They have given me a start for new ideas.  As for the stars I don't use, I am thinking I might cut them into 2" strips and use them for part or all of a border.  I don't know if that will work or not, but it will be fun to try.  I should be able to make this quilt from my stash.  Won't that make DH happy?

I started with a design from Carol Doak's "50 Fabulous Paper-pieced Star" page 122, which I drew in Illustrator.  You can do this on paper, but I like working it out on the computer.  I changed the slant of one line just because.  I drew a hexagon for the center.
Two spokes of a star.  One hexagon.

Then I created a star by putting the two star pieces together and rotating the whole by 90 degrees three times to get all eight points.


Next I rotate the whole star three times until I have four stars.  Then I begin to take design pieces to add to the outside.  From here I just play.  For the center, a hexagon (6 sides) in an octagonal (8 sides) star?  Yes!  It doesn't "fit," but can be worked in a way that adds a slight bit of visual tension, which also adds interest.

TIP:  Don't be afraid to break the rules.  Many rules are mere guides.

I got this to a point where I sort of liked it, but wasn't truly happy.  I played with colors.  I put the hexagon in the center, which was a glowing success after I colored various, surrounding pieces so it looks like it flows out into the greater design (not shown here).  Once I was happy with a version of the whole I began to change colors here and there until I finally ended up with something that spoke to me. As I changed colors in different places I found designs within designs and nested boxes.

Another way to play with designs is to create a line drawing and fill it with color.  That's what all those colored pencils are for - right?

So far I have been playing, looking for design and color and sometimes my computer precision goes wonky.  Before I begin a quilt I will go back to the beginning and make sure that every line and connection is precise so I don't end up trying to sew things that got distorted and no longer fit together.  You are welcome to copy and enlarge the above and color it in if you want to.  I would love to see what you come up with.

TIP:  Simplicity.  Remember the whole design is nothing but one pieced triangle in a right and a left version.  Like the cells of your body make you a complex whole, so is a quilt design.

Sew some happy seams this week or have fun drawing out your creative ideas.
P.S.  My final design, because of color changes, shows no evidence of having begun as stars!!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Getting Back to Work

My Blog-cation is over.  We went to Seattle to celebrate the high school graduation of a granddaughter.  We had a great visit and loved driving across the country.  Wyoming was a green, patchwork sprinkled with antelope and angus cattle.  The desert was even green.  The drive home took us up one range of mountains and then down into desert, then back into high country and down again onto the flatland several times.  The western USA is an oversized roller coaster with endless, stunning vistas!   A good time was had by all, but it is nice to be home.

Unfortunately my poor house is in chaos right now with stuff all over the place.  Empty suitcases are still in the living room.  I am back to refinishing my mother's trays, but now that it is warm enough, I moved all the painting paraphernalia out of the sewing room and into the garage where I will continue to work on it.  Nice to get that mess out of the way.  Now my sewing is strewn all over the room to bare the table for a plywood top.  I work on a rectangular folding table, which generally works well, but it dips about 1/4 inch or more in the middle, which means my sewing machine tips away from me as I sew, and it bounces when I really get going. I tried a piece of wood under the back edge, which helps, but DH noticed the problem one day and suggested a plywood top, which is now under construction.

You are probably familiar with this kind of folding table.

Meanwhile we purchased annual flowers and they must get planted in my containers before they wilt.  The Golden Years of Empty Nesting!  Where are they?  The nest just fills up with other things, but not gold!

*************************

Later:  The board is done and fits on the table perfectly.

5/8 inch plywood on top supported by the substantial edges of the table.
It is heavy enough that it won't slide.

I covered it with some flannel-backed plastic tablecloth material that I discovered in my stash.  When on earth did I buy that?  Anyhow, it is the perfect material with which to cover the plywood...sort of like upholstering it.

Fabric ready to put on the board.  Styrofoam to sit behind the machine.

I also covered two pieces of 1-inch styrofoam cut to fit around the back of my machine.


Styrofoam covered.  
The raised surface prevents my quilts from falling off the back of the extender table and hanging up on corners when I am quilting.  Even 2 inches behind my machine makes a tremendous difference.The wrinkles in the tablecloth fabric from years of being folded have already relaxed and will not be an issue.
Completed table top.

I thought to take a picture of it all set up ready to sew, but the new surface didn't show enough after I put the extender table on the machine and set out all my tools and stuff, but I know it is done, and it will make sewing easier.  

TIP:  Sometimes a solution takes time away from quilting, but it is important to have your equipment fit your work style, so in the end it is worth it.


Sew some happy seams this week.  I wish a comfortable surface on which to work.











Thursday, June 8, 2017

Blog-cation Time

That's right.  My blog is on a short vacation.  Still varnishing.  Gardening and hauling rocks.  No sewing...and now no writing.  Take care and enjoy the summer while it is here.

These photos show life in the mountains.  I take my camera on my daily walks to record fun, funny and interesting encounters.

Young bull elk with emerging antlers, laying in the neighbor's yard.

Soon-to-be mama elk.
End of pregnancy blahs!

Sew some happy seams this week.  I wish you enjoyment of summertime.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

This 'n That


My brain is working on other things this week.  I am varnishing trays that my mother painted 50 years ago.  With usage over the years there has been some damage to the finish.  The only place I can varnish is my sewing room because I can keep it somewhat free of dust and dog hair by closing the door.  Meanwhile my thread painted portrait languishes because varnish, mineral spirits, brushes and paint have taken over its space.
What a mess!
This is a great time to take the sewing machine to my service person for its annual cleaning and adjusting.  I highly recommend that you do the same.  I sew 2-3 hours most days and it is ready for its check-up every May.  You get the best results when you take good care of your machine.  Just like a car.

Remember my post on folding fabric?  Well it looks great, but when I went to add a couple more fabrics I found it difficult to manage the long, folded pieces (about 10" x 6").  It is just hard to maintain the fold on both ends while squashing the rest of pieces in the drawer to make room for the new.  The most efficient way to do it is to remove the drawer, set it on its side, add the new fabric and replace the drawer.  Nuisance.

Long fold turned out to be inefficient.
Solution:  Fold each long piece of fabric in half.  This makes a smaller, fatter package individually, but doesn't take up any more space.  Much easier to manage.  I can go through a drawer and make the extra fold on all the fabrics in about 5 minutes.  When there is significant yardage it is hard to make this fold so I just leave it long.  It is thick enough to manage easily.

Much easier to manage.
I'll just do a drawer each time I go to my fabric storage shed.


Sew some happy seams this week.   I wish you a modicum of efficiency.



Sunday, May 21, 2017

Spring Sprung a Snowstorm

We were hammered last week as the sky darkened and snow fell for almost 36 hours.  I have never seen so much snow.  Our fence was buried and we had snow sculptures on everything sitting in the yard.  BBQ sculptures.  Birdhouse sculptures.  Bird feeder sculptures.

BBQ Sculpture
The trees were gorgeous with laden branches and pristine snow around them.  Dixie quickly took care of that as she dashed around enjoying being a "snow-dog."  The downside was loss of the Internet and since our phone is Vonage, an internet connection, we were incommunicado.  How dependent we are on the Internet.  It is wonderful, but also a chain.  What do you do when you don't have the Web?   Sew!  That worked until I ran out of thread and there was no way I was going down the winding, slippery, mountain road to get a spool of thread.  I wasn't even going into our little town, which is only one mile away.

The African violets know it is Spring, but someone forgot to tell the weatherman.
I took pictures.  I shoveled snow.  I dug a path to my sewing storage shed and hauled in some more fabric to fold.  I made bread.  I straightened out some of the messes on my computer.  I watered my new airplants.  Truly, if you get creative, you can find plenty to do and still enjoy the snow.  It is so beautiful.  I do worry about the little swallows and nuthatches that have nested in our big birdhouse, but is hasn't been very cold, only enough to turn a lot of rain into snow.  Now the sun is out and I am sure it will melt away quite fast...unless more is on the way.

Deck Sculpture
I read an article in the latest "Discover" magazine about how our brains need solitude, meaning time without analytical, technical thinking.  Some call it "flow," others call it daydreaming, and I call it free motion thinking.  I do this most mornings as I lie in bed waking up.  I don't have to get up until I want to, but am usually out of bed by 6:30.  My mind wanders around when I am walking the dog or shoveling snow.  I do it when I don't have the Internet.  It is a time for letting your thoughts go where they want to, even to bizarre places, but it is a time when creative ideas seed the other part of thinking, which is the part that puts the pieces together.  It is important to use both kinds of brain work to stay balanced.  Your brain needs go off to strange places sometimes.  You are not being lazy, you are maintaining mental health and fostering creativity.

Birdhouse
 Sew a happy seam this week.  I give you permission to relax and do some free motion thinking.

A little bit of whimsy.
(Ancient birdhouse on driftwood with white, snow hat
)

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Spring Has Sprung

I sit down to write about quilting, but must admit that I haven't sewed a stitch this week.  We have had our first bout of nice weather and just had to get out in the yard.  We emptied all the rocks out of our faux pond and cleaned them off.  Next we will lay down landscape cloth and put the rocks back.  It will be so nice to see the pond without weeds.  We have occasional heavy rains here in the mountains so we designed the pond as a catch basin to slow the water down and reduce erosion.  Normally it is fake with no water in it.  While DH does the rocks, I dig dandelions.

As the yard improved the sewing room disintegrated.  Now I have to go in and straighten things out to get ready to sew again, but I can carry on for blog purposes with the next steps of creating my thread painted portrait.

I now have three copies of the design (scroll down to last week's blog to catch up).  The copy on mylar I leave on the foam core board, and set it up for viewing and checking as I progress.  I am going to cut out fabric pieces along the lines drawn on the paper patterns.  The beauty of this method is that you can see what the portrait looks like before you thread paint.  If a color is wrong, you can replace it with a different fabric before it is too late.

Copy #2.  The one that does not have the little red markings I place on my light table and cover it with a silicone pressing sheet.  Tape the paper pattern to the back of the pressing sheet or secure both paper and pressing sheet to the light table.  The point is to avoid slippage of either one while you work.

TIP:  I use a plexiglass sewing machine extender table as my light box.  The light is provided by an OTT light folded out flat.

TIP:  Set out another pressing sheet on your regular ironing surface for use with fusing, and for ironing freezer paper patterns to the fabric.  I even have a protective cover for my iron.  All this is to reduce the amount of errant fusible gumming up my equipment.

Protective cover on my iron.  Pressing sheet on the ironing board (left).
I also keep a little Clover iron hot for tiny pieces.
sub-TIP:  Keep the ironing space separate from the cutting space if you can (I didn't).  See below what happened to my extra pressing sheet.  Next time I will tape it to the ironing board (at least at the front) so the scissors can't slip underneath and slice it while I nonchalantly cut my fabric.

Oops!!
Copy #3 is going to be cut into pieces as patterns for cutting the fabric.  I cut only one piece at a time, starting with the lightest value.
**Roughly cut a piece of fusible (I like Soft Fuse) a little bigger than your pattern piece and fuse it to the wrong side of your chosen fabric.

**Then on your protected ironing surface, lightly press the paper pattern shiny side down to the right side of the fabric.  The fusible side sticks to the pressing cloth, but pulls right up leaving the fusible where it belongs - on the back of the fabric.

**Lift up the fabric and paper pattern as a unit and cut the fabric around the pattern.  The first pieces are those of lightest value.

**Any edges with red markings will need about 1/8 inch extra fabric, seam allowance so-to-speak, in order to slip under the next darker fabric.

**Proceed as described moving to darker and darker fabrics.

Once you have finished cutting your first piece, pull off the freezer paper pattern and stash it where you can find it.  I collect all my cut pattern pieces in a pie tin and set it aside where it won't get dumped.

Pattern pieces in case I need them again...and I did!
Place the fabric piece on the pressing sheet aligning it carefully into its special place as guided by the paper pattern guide underneath.  Lightly touch it with the iron in a couple of places so it adheres to the pressing sheet.

TIP:  Be careful:  your light table surface is probably not designed to be an ironing surface.

Below see the start of the fabric part of the design.  It is on the pressing sheet, which is over the paper pattern, all of which is taped to the light table.

Getting started.
  I didn't like the grayish tone of the swirly fabric.  Lips are too pink.  I removed those offending fabrics and ran to the fabric store where I found a perfect white to brown ombre.  Glad I saved the pattern pieces and didn't have to make new ones.

Below is the finished fabric creation of my portrait.

Success!  Ready to thread paint.
Sew some happy seams this week.  I wish you good sewing and some time outdoors.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Redux

I have tried twice unsuccessfully to create a thread painted portrait.  The thread painting went great.  I find it easy and relaxing.  Color choice was the issue.  I took a class from Lea McComas awhile back and she suggested doing the portrait on fusible Pel-tex (or Tim-tex).  No quilting required except maybe the background.  I fused background fabric onto it,  printed my portrait on fabric and fused it down.  Everything was fine until I got to the shadow side of the face.  Way too dark.  By the time I knew I didn't like it, it was too late to take it out.  Thread painting is a bear to remove so I didn't even try.  I did the whole portrait twice and still didn't get it right.

TIP:  You've heard me say it before.  Let it sit and percolate.  So I did.

Lea McComas does her big, photo-realistic quilts by fusing fabric down onto four layers:  background, canvas, batting and backing.  As usual I am using her basic method with a difference.  Sometimes I don't follow directions well.  In order to avoid ruffling at the outer edge resulting from heavy stitching I am stitching the face on canvas.  I have made a separate background, which I will quilt.  Then I will cut out the finished, stitched portrait and stitch it to the quilted background.  I have done this before and have been pleased with the results.  That is the overview of my plan.

TIP:  You don't  have a design wall?  Try a flannel-backed tablecloth.  You can see mine with the bottom turned up in the photo below.  Why turned up?  Only because my sewing machine is right there and the fabric being stitched sometimes gloms onto the flannel and knocks the whole thing catty-wampus and then I have to crawl under the table to pick up fallen pieces.

Now to start.  There is a lot of prep work for a project like this so I will give you the short version of my method for a 12x 16 inch portrait.  If you want more in-depth instruction I recommend Lea McComas' book, "Thread Painted Portraits."

Photo, posterized full size photo, mylar drawing on foam core board;
unquilted background in the back to the right.
1.  Create a full-sized, black and white, posterized version of your portrait with 4-6 value divisions.

TIP:  If you want you can do your posterized version in color, but drop the opacity way down so the color doesn't distract you.  That is what I did in the above photo.

2.  Tape the posterized photo to a foam core board and cover with a sheet of mylar.  Using a black, fine tipped Sharpie draw around all the lines delineating the different values.  The pen lines can be erased with a little rubbling alcohol on a Q-tip so don't panic if you make a mistake.

TIP:  The fine tip Sharpie is the only one to use (so I am told) because the others don't erase with alcohol.  I had some that wouldn't come off from my last project and found that "Goo Gone" does the job too.

3. Trace the lines from the mylar to freezer paper.  You can see through easily to trace.  Give each value a number:  #1 = very light.......#5 or 6 = the darkest value, and write that number in the appropriate spaces on the freezer paper.  Make another freezer paper copy exactly the same.  (See - it is a lot of busy-work, but believe me it is worth it.)

4.  All the pattern pieces are now marked except the itty-bitty ones.  On one paper copy, starting with the lightest value, use a red pencil and make tiny arrows wherever that piece bumps up against a darker value.  This will be a guide to remind you where to add a little extra when cutting your fabric so it will go under the darker fabric.  Don't worry about the itty bitty pieces.  We'll deal with those later.

Pattern pieces defined and marked.
Shows the posterizing better.  I tried doing all the labeling
on the computer.  Forget it.  I went stark, raving mad!
Now you have two copies and the one on mylar.  You will find that you use them all.  That should do you for this week.  Check back next week to see how I use all those copies.

Sew a happy seam this week or do some drawing instead.