eight by eight

march by Blair
March 28, 2008, 6:28 pm
Filed under: Blair, finished | Tags: , ,


Dear Daria,

You’re probably amazed at how ahead of our deadline I am this month (I know I’m amazed!). I think this one is my favorite so far. Paper bag piecing is so fun! For readers who may not know what I’m talking about, as I cut strips out of the individual fabrics, I put them in a bag and pulled them out in pairs- without peeking- and sewed them together. Then those pairs were put back into the bag, pulled out in pairs, sewn together, and so on. What you end up with is something like the idea of my finished pieced. I put a few pictures of the process over on Flickr. There was not a bit of thought as to how these were going together, I really followed the rule of no peeking!


What is really freeing about a process like this is that the colors just come together on their own, there’s no planning and wondering if there’s too much of one color here or a pair that doesn’t work over there. And its so quick! Because there is not much planning and contemplating, I completed this in one rainy afternoon, from start to finish.

The handquilting is rather, um, rustic. But I actually tried to do that (you believe me, don’t you D?). I bought some various colors of orange and blue thread and just played around with stitching different shapes. The muslin piece you sent worked perfectly as a neutral border and the twill tape became the top and bottom edge. I *love* the way the colors came together in this, and how they are framed by the neutral border. I plan to play around with this whole technique some more. Its so simple to think by just putting the strips in a paper bag and not actually looking at them when choosing could inspire me, but I often go through periods of overthinking color combinations.


OK, Daria, we are three months into this and I couldn’t be happy with where this project has taken me. It has not been daunting, it has not felt like a burden (well, except for when I was knee-deep in school auctions, but at that point sleeping was a bit of a burden too.) Quite the contrary, it has inspired me and gotten me thinking in new directions creatively. Hope you think so too.



11 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Blair, this is gorgeous. Off to get a big paper bag….

Comment by erin

I’ve been really loving the beautiful work you guys are doing, and wanted to let you know I linked to you in my blog today: http://findtruenorth.typepad.com/truenorth/

Hope that’s okay. Lots of luck with all the months to come! I’ll be reading.

Comment by Alison

Wow, man that is seriously cool. I wanna do paper bag piecing, it sounds so freeing…I have the scraps..but do I have the will power and incentive to get moving..um…haha well I am thrilled for you at how gorgeous your March piece has turned out. Orange and blue may be my new favorite colour combo! Thanks for sharing!!!

Comment by TACE

Such a cute idea, and very inspiring. I’m going to write this one down and try it – just as soon as I finished the backlog of all the other things I have to do…

Comment by Tanya

Love it, love it, love it. You both inspire us all!

Comment by Cathy T

So so great. I can’t wait to try it. I thought that the blue/orange would work, but it really just pops, doesn’t it?

Comment by daria

Both of your March projects are wonderful, love the mix of colors in both pieces.

Comment by Kirsten

This is great. I love the colors and the randomness. I have a really hard time being random in crafting. I feel like the things I create need to be symmetrical or follow a pattern. Really in nature things are seldom symmetrical. I like the idea of the no peeking paper bag piecing. I think I’ll have to try it. You may have helped solve my inability to be random when crafting. Thanks!

Comment by Jill

[…] Eight by Eight blog posted photos of the process for paper bag piecing and wrote about it on the Eight by Eight blog. I had never heard of this process, but Blair describes it as cutting strips of fabric and placing […]

Pingback by designShrine | Paper Bag Piecing | Interior, Style and Web Design Blog


Comment by Asha

I’ve done this technique before. It is quite liberating by not having to make any real choices other than the initial fabrics. To avoid 2 likes together I would “double-down” when that happened & pick 2 more at the same time to pair up with the 2 like ones.

Comment by Sandra

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