Monday, 30 July 2012

what I have learned about English Paper Piecing


  • English Paper Piecing otherwise known as EPP.

HEALTH WARNING!
EPP can be addictive!


I discovered EPP quite early on in my quilting journey through blog land.  I found the simple wrapping of fabric around papers and hand stitching a very satisfying and simple road into creating wonderfully complex looking creations and immense satisfaction at what I was able to produce with a few simple pieces of equipment.  This was before I had the full quilters tool kit of rotary cutter, various rulers, mat and whatever other notions I could justify buying!!

My first hexagon project -


I am no authority on this method but I have learned some things that suit me best and I want to share them with you and how much I love EPP! 

  • The Quilting Police will not turn up at your home and arrest you if you modify your method slightly to suit you!  Bloggers all over blog land have their own tips, techniques and wisdom to share.  It is useful to check out their blogs and what they prefer and then find what YOU prefer to do through making things. I'm a ginger monkey,  Self sewn, Lily's quilts.

  • I love the accesibility of EPP.  You don't even need a sewing machine to do or any fancy equipment and you can create the most beautiful things!  I love the connection it brings about with women (and men of course - Quiltdad, Thomas Knauer, Dan Rouse are men who love to quilt!) of the past who would create huge quilts in this simple way.  

  • I am frugal ( cheap!) and make my own templates but you can buy them for great value from Paper Pieces.com.  You can also print them off from various websites.  I use letter writing paper which is like cartridge paper almost.  Basildon Bond.

  • glue a dot in the middle of the template. Prittstick does fine, and stick to fabric or pin in place but I like the sticky stuff.  The papers are easy to remove if you just use a small dot.  Other people glue baste the fabric to the templates using fabric glue and this cuts down the amount of time needed with sewing.  Instead of using a large bating stitch they use glue and then stitch the pieces together.  

  • Aurifil, Aurifil, Aurifil for whip stitching the pieces together.  It is very smooth, doesn't tangle and no beeswax needed to prevent that, it barely shows  up your stitching on the right side of your project.  It is the King of threads in my humble opinion! 



  • it is flexible. You do need to have accurate templates but if a tiny bit is out it is not end of the world.  Aim for accuracy but fabric can be manipulated. 

  • I cut the shapes from fabric.  don't want to waste fabric.  Others cut squares, again personal choice! 

  • great for scraps.  I keep all my scraps!  Frugal remember!

  • encourages creativity. You can design your own patterns and mess about with the layout of shapes. 

  • satisfying portable project.  I keep my EPP bits in this lunch box while others use pouches which are great to just throw in your handbag and take to the park if you have kids!



I have re- learned the names of lots of shapes I forgot I knew; Hexagons, octagons, pentagons, rhombus ( diamonds) and so on.  I can now tell my kids with authority of that is a ..... shape rather than having to double check! 

You do need perserverance to keep going.  It is wonderful to see a project come together but it does take time.

Katy from I'm a ginger monkey has an awesome hexagon quilt along going on just now.  I had too much else going on to join in but take a look at all the wonderful EPPing going on as a result of her inspiring work.  


So there you go!  Why I love EPP.  So what do you love about EPP?  Or if you have yet to try then please do and let me know how you get on!
Collette xxxx

Oh there are some wonderful books out there too you can get with inspiring projects.   This one is on my wish list! -



Wednesday, 25 July 2012

WIP Wednesday!

Wednesday already and the sun is shining here in Scotland for a change!  Today I had some child free time this afternoon so got on with some sewing.

Today I am linking with Freshly Pieced blog's Work in Progress Wednesday.



Here is what I have been up to over the last few weeks.



Made this today and may turn it into a little wall hanging.  Going to embroider steam and the word "tea" !










Still working on these retro flower blocks which I love the look of!












I also made a tea cosy for my kitchen all for me!
And received some scrummy fabric! 

Starting next Monday I will be writing a few bits and pieces on English Paper Piecing and what works best for me and what I love about it!   I do hope you can join me and spread the word! 

Collette x








Monday, 23 July 2012

Just for me!

Hope everyone had a lovely weekend!  Up here in Scotland we weren't blessed with the most gorgeous of weather.  It has been windy and rainy but still quite warm.

So I finally got around to making a much needed tea cosy for my teapot.  I have made a few for my Etsy shop and for other people but my poor wee teapot has not had a cosy :(

So I used some of Hope Chest by Josephine Kimberling which is a beautiful fabric.  I love the colours and the prints are gorgeous.  I had some linen so just used that for background.  I got my Hope Chest from the lovely Annie at the Village Haberdashery.


Hope Chest - Floral in BlueHope Chest - Stripe Soiree in BlueHope Chest - Chic Wallflower in TurquoiseHope Chest - Flower Bed in BlueHope Chest - Hope Flourish in CitronHope Chest - Geometric Crochet in Citron


It is now fully functional and on display in my kitchen.  It makes me smile when I see it sitting over my teapot on my worktop!

I am still working on my Brit Quilt 3 swap but want to keep it under wraps now until I get it all finished up.  Lets just say quilting is next and it will be bright and bold!

I am also getting excited about our first month of the Hipbees in August.  Our queen bee will be Renee who will be awesome and is full of bee wisdom which I am not!!! I can't wait!

Collette x


Friday, 20 July 2012

Happy mail day!

On Wednesday I literally spent all day looking at fabric, thinking about what to get, what I would use, and just being the most ridiculous procrastinator on this planet!!!! I think because I have a tight budget I need to choose carefully but all day?????

I finally made decisions on Wednesday night and today received this lovely bundle from Annie @ The Village Haberdashery.  Annie kindly sent me a little sample of Hope Chest earlier in the week and I fell in love with it all.  I am currently using these squares for a tea cosy for my kitchen!







My tea cosy has a natural linen background and I am stitching these circles down with the machine.  I am hoping to possibly add so embroidery possibly and binding will be some pieced Hope Chest fabric! 

I think Colin is quite excited as I don't make things for us all that often! 

I am off to fondle my fabric some more! x



Tuesday, 17 July 2012

busy bee!

I seem to have been doing quite a bit of sewing over the last few days!  Making up for lost time on holiday I think!

I bought the Retro Flower quilt pattern and have done this so far -



Now I started hand piecing the curves (crazy I know!) and machine pieced the pink Quilt Blocks.  The hand piecing vs machine took about the same time.  Both turned out lovely and curved but I much prefer the hand pieced finish!  Maybe I just suck at using the machine for curves?? I will be using my machine for all the rest of the piecing however!

I also added the borders to  my Wonky Stars table runner for my Etsy shop!  Now I just need to think how I want to quilt this lovely.  Any thoughts??


And today I got the best wee surprise from Annie @ the Village Haberdashery!  Her shop is awesome and stocks some of the most gorgeous and up to date fabrics out there.  She stocks a tonne of embroidery flosses in every colour imaginable and Aurifil too! 

A little sample of Hope Chest.  I can feel a fabric order coming on!





Friday, 13 July 2012

Foggy Friday !

Hello all!  This Friday my head is very foggy.  I woke up at 4am for no reason at all and had great trouble getting back to sleep.  :(

However, my day brightened when I received this through the post -


It looks great and I can't wait to get a good look at it when the kids decide to give me some space!

Last night I made a very small start on my retro flowers quilt.  At least I think I am going to make it a quilt all for me or failing that some cushions!! Love the idea of a quilt all for myself! 

This is only one petal and not fully sewn together. 

I am doing this old skool style!  You can buy acrylic templates and curved piecing feet but I need to be frugal during these hard economic times so I am using cardboard templates, fabric scissors for cutting ( carefully) and I am handpiecing the curves then I will use the machine for the rest of the piecing. 

Yes you heard hand piecing.  Am I mad??? Probably but I have been doing so much handwork lately I feel v comfortable doing them this way and I was inspired by this tutorial by Katie at There and Back to give it a go. I am really happy with how the curves have turned out!   They were pretty quick to do as well! 

Have a lovely weekend everyone! x

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

WIP Wednesday

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Wow Wednesday already!  Today I link up with Freshly Pieced and guest poster Kati from The Blue Chair. Kati has an awesome blog with gorgeous work so please take a look if you haven't already!

Well as you know I was on holiday last week so I don't have much to show for my progress this Wednesday but I still thought it would be fun to join in!

I joined up with the fabulous Brit Quilt swap number 3 and was assigned my secret partner.  This is my first Brit Quilt swap and only second swap.   After a fair bit of stalking I decided to go with this -


I have always loved English paper piecing (EPP) but really hadn't ventured much outwith the Grandmother's flower garden little hexie flowers.  When I found this fantastic tutorial at Clare's blog   I just had to try it out.

So I have made two other rose stars and the above is my third.  I thought this would make a lovely focal point for my Brit Quilt swap mini quilt.  So I pulled out my lovely Kaufman Quilter's Linen ( actually cotton) and it is a great background.  I have a few little other plans up my sleeve for this mini which I won't share just yet as I want my partner to have a surprise!

So that is my only WIP for the week so far!  Last night I purchased the Retro Flowers quilt pattern as I LOVE the look of this quilt but didn't feel ready at the time for the Quilt Along (QAL).  I can't wait to try this out but will be making my own templates with the pattern and cutting the traditional way with fabric scissors as my budget won't stretch to the other useful notions that help with this!  I am sure I will manage fine!
Retro Flowers Quilt


What have you been working on this week then?
Collette x








Sunday, 8 July 2012

Home sweet home!

Home at last!  We had a great holiday but it is always good to be home isn't it?  My comfy bed and cosy house.  Nothing beats it.

So back home means getting on with some sewing.  I really didn't do much hand sewing at all on holiday as I was too tired at the end of each day.  It was a whirlwind of activity with the kids.  We are all tired!




I have plenty to keep me busy during the summer.  I have the Brit Quilt swap 3.  My partner has been assigned and I have been stalking them for ideas!

In August we have our first month of our Hipbees quilting bee!  This is a new thing for me and I am very excited about it all! 
hipBee button image - original


That is all from me for now!  Hopefully have some sewing to show you all soon! 
Collette x