My friend Virginia tried to explain foundation piecing to me years ago but I really didn't grasp the concept, and found her teeny-tiny dragonfly a mystery and a marvel. Then I signed up for Kate G's foundation piecing class at Creative Quilt Kits in Brighton, Michigan this week, and everything became clear. We made Kate's original design -- a 12x20-inch "Santa and Trees Holiday Wall Hanging" -- using her own paper foundation patterns and her very precise method of doing foundation piecing. I got another new piece of equipment -- a 6-inch Add-a-Quarter Ruler -- that we used to cut precise seam allowances for each piece of patchwork.
You can watch a tutorial on the foundation piecing method on CM Designs, Inc. makers of the Add-a-Quarter Ruler at: http://addaquarter.com/how_to.php.
The first block we learned was a cute little three-inch-square six-patch using one solid piece for the tree (instead of the nine pieces for the tree in the photo above). The Santa block was made of eight pieces added one at a time to the paper foundation. The tree block is made from 14 pieces.