Monday, September 3, 2012

my love affair with English paper piecing

I love EPP (English paper piecing), mostly because it is relaxing and doesn't require great cutting accuracy (the paper pieces offer the precision) -- very appealing all around. The problem with this romance is that it has (so far) been mostly about process and has produced few finished objects.

I was all hopped up on little hexagons about 18 months ago, when I bought a massive bag of 1200 precut hexies. Then I was into 60 degree diamonds, and pieced a lot of those too. And then last summer I joined Lynne and Gayle's "hexalong" and started working (very enthusiastically, I might add) with Loulouthi and a couple of Kona solids -- working both with precut paper pieces (from and ones I had made myself.

Process-oriented posts from last year are here, here, here, here, here, and here.

That project stalled by Fall and was left in a basket all winter, but I did pick it up again just last month -- and now it is quite close to being done.  Today it looks like this:

Loulouthi hexies, started summer 2011, now almost done

I'm quite please with how this is shaping up...and the fact that it is going to be a finished object in the not-too-distant future.

In other EPP news: I am planning a winter 2013 workshop with my good friend Miriam, the new head of Art at a well-known private girls' school in Toronto.  We're both very excited about it, more details in a few months...but for now I am getting geared up to do some test "rose star" blocks and to that end I ordered some new supplies from

newest additions to the paper pieces collection

I am particularly fond of the thick acrylic cutting templates, which are new to me -- and fabulously helpful when fussy-cutting.  I lovelovelove these things...with an ardour that must seem strange to a non-quilter, but which some of you might understand :) So let's take one more look at these, shall we?

cutting templates from

Finally, I have been playing with my new toys to make some stars (rose stars without one set of outer pieces) for a winter quilt project I started last year (is there a theme here?).  This one is destined for Frida's full-sized bed, where she has a couple of very sweet quilts but none that is quite big enough to overhang the sides and keep out the chilly draughts.  I shaped the project around 6 yards of a gorgeous Anna Maria Horner flannel from a sale, and while the back is lovely (long expanses of the Good Folks flannel combined with some pink and lilac solids), the front was  a bit too simple to keep my interest.

A few recent developments have re-ignited interest in this project: first and foremost, Frida is now obsessed with mermaids -- which is good news for my Mendocino stash (a set of FQs bought a couple of years ago).  And these look lovely with the Good Folks, as it turns out.  Yippee!  Here's what I'm up to now: mermaid stars to be appliqued to Frida's winter quilt.

mermaid stars in progress

EPP mermaid stars to be appliqued

I am so happy with this project now, and it's great to know that even with the severe limits on my sewing time right now I can still have some fabric fun.

I do love English paper piecing!

I hope all my friends in the U.S. and here in Canada are enjoying the long weekend.  Best to all.


Tong said...

I'm glad you picked back up the AMH quilt, it's so pretty. And I really really love how Frida's mermaid quilt is looking thus far!

Archie The Wonder Dog said...

I love both projects but am particularly excited about the hexalong project - are we the last two still sewing a long?!!

LizA. said...

Your hex along project is wonderful. I'm afraid mine is buried in a basket, destined to be packed up shortly and not to see the light of day until sometime next summer. I love your mermaid rose star. Thanx for sharing the news that carries the templates now too--you are a temptress.

Lesly said...

Gorgeous! I love both of these projects. Those mermaid stars are going to look fabulous appliqued onto the AMH quilt. I am a fellow addict - I just got my 60 degree diamond quilt back from the long-armer and it is wonderful - there is nothing that feels so satisfying as finishing one of these hand projects! I have 15 rose star blocks completed and soon I will have to spread them out and do some calculations as to how many I am aiming for. Right now I am just enjoying making them.

Catherine said...

I'm with you on the EPP: loving it. I am still quilting up my hexies from the hex-along, nearly finished!

Claudia said...

Both are lovely projects. I started some EPP a year ago or so but who knows where it is ... :)