Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Playing with English Paper Piecing

I was totally enamored the first time I ever saw an English Paper Pieced hexagon quilt, as they are extremely charming. The idea of stitching bits of fabric over the paper templates sounded so utterly relaxing. Over the years and on several occasions, I have set out to make my own wonderful stack of little hexies, dreaming of stitching them into pretty motifs.

And yet on each of those occasions I don't think I ever got past the second hexie before feeling bored and restless. (I think I once made it to the 3rd one, but that was it.) Apparently EPP simply was not for me and I put the notion to rest. So I thought.


However with Pinterest and Instagram, it seems that everywhere I look quilters are stitching up hexies and projects made from hexies that simply make me swoon with hexie envy, and once again I could feel my desire to join in the EPP hexie love-fest swelling.

"This time will be different" I told myself. But in my heart I knew it wouldn't be. It is just who I am... a person who is easily bored.

Then it occurred to me, why do I have to just stitch hexies? Why can't I come up with something that will hopefully hold my attention? And that is how these EPP blocks came to be. Within 10 minutes of thinking the thought, I had the design sketched out and printed onto card stock.

Four done and I am still enamored!


I did find by the completion of my first block, that the hand stitching kicked my hand pain back up into high gear. So I switched from hand-basting, (as seen on the left) to glue-basting, (as seen on the right) and that has helped considerably.


My goal is to keep it doable, making a total of 9 blocks. This will give me enough for a lovely little wall quilt, or a nice sized pillow. We will see.

On the heels of my last, admittedly long winded, (but I think important) post, I'd like to add my apologies in case anyone else has already come up with a similar design. It sure is possible because it sure ain't rocket science, just geometry. I only did a quick look afterwards on the blogosphere, and while I did see other EPP piecing projects that went beyond the hexie, I didn't see anything that looked like my block. If I am wrong, please someone, let me know!

36 comments:

cauchy09 said...

a lovely design, especially with your color placements. shot cotton?

Victoria said...

Thanks, and yup, shot cotton, my fav.

LynneMcL said...

I love the design and the shot cottons - yummy

Sujata Shah said...

This is an absolutely beautiful block! Simple geometry it may be, but thinking of it and actually executing the block is what makes the difference.
I can't wait to see it progress.
By the way, I don't think I have the patience for hexagons either. I admire those who do!

Jenny M said...

Stunning! love the shape & love the colours!

Cille said...

Lovely and very catching.... EPP is like a bug :)

Gina said...

I'm not surprised you are still enamoured with these, they are gorgeous. The colours and shapes are like jewels... Beautiful!

KrisR said...

LOVE IT! And loved your previous post so much I referenced it on my latest blog post.

Brenda said...

lovely, especially in those shot cottons! I admire all the EPP out there, but can't bring myself to do it either. I think I would enjoy the handstitching but not the prep. hmmmm,maybe I should glue baste too!

Ella said...

Gorgeous! Haven't seen anything like it in EPP before.

smazoochie said...

I'm not much for handwork & have done hardly any epp. But THIS, this excites me!
Very beautiful.

Nifty Quilts said...

Gorgeous! I never thought about the fact that you could take a card, sketch a design, and make your own paper-pieced block. Guess that's what they've been doing for years! I'll look forward to seeing how these blocks look when they're all put together.

Rachel said...

You are such an inspiration. Everything is so well thought out.

SandraC said...

How nice....will you be sharing your pattern for this? I also see everyone making hexie quilts and am envious. I am also one who always loved the old crocheted afghans with the wee granny squares, but never made it past making a few!! I have made a couple of hand-pieced quilts and one entirely paper-pieced and would love to try your block.

Victoria said...

Thanks so much to each of you!

Sandra, Definitely thinking about it... need to wait and see how the whole thing turns out first!

Jane S. said...

Those are beautiful! There's no reason EPP has to be hexagons. Those shapes and colors make it much more interesting.

I too am a glue baster. There's only so much pain-free handwork left in these mitts of mine, and I'd rather use it on actual sewing and not basting! :)

Diane J. Evans said...

Gorgeous! Where can I find instructions on how to do EPP? Are they on-line?

Diane

Anne Rust said...

So not boring...I love your blocks, the color play is great!

Victoria said...

Thanks again and yes, EPP instructions can be found online. The process is really easy and you can learn to do it in a matter of minutes.

Lori said...

This block is so pretty! I'm finally gaining traction on my EPP hexie project that has been underway for at least 5 years but I keep eyeing other shapes & thinking I'd like to try something else too.

Anonymous said...

I love your colors and interesting shapes but - I hesitate to say this as I am no expert - do you have a seam allowance or will your beautiful corners be lost when stitching the blocks together?
Beverly near Yosemite, a lurker

Victoria said...

Lori, I commend you for staying with your project... such a labor of love!

Beverly, Thanks for your concern... yes, I have seam allowances, they are just folded inwards, as I will be hand sewing the blocks together, in the same fashion as the piecing has been done. (And I think I will be opening up the outer edge seam allowance when I get to the quilting and binding... I think...)

HOWEVER... I may have made a big blunder by cutting back some of those seam edge "points". Yeah... not suppose to do that. Apparently the rule is " Let those dog ears wag"... meaning let them be and DON'T cut, as you may wind up with not enough seam allowance when removing the paper. I also fear that the glue I am using may have made the thinner Fassett shot cottons a wee bit brittle. eek.

Well... we will see. I hope it all works out, but regardless... I am learning so much and really enjoying the process. My philosophy is always try, don't be afraid to make mistakes, learn as much as you can from the experience and keep on going!

Anonymous said...

Will you be sharing a how to?

Victoria said...

"Will I be sharing a how to?"...
That depends on how it all turns out!

CitricSugar said...

Now that's using your noggin! I got caught up in hexes once and never want to do another one but some of the other patterns intrigue me. This block you've designed is really cute - those shot cottons make them look luscious!

Lucinda Miller said...

Would love to see a tutorial or pattern for this.... my hand hurts when I do hand stitching, too! This would be a great way for me to have a 'hand project' without the pain.

Victoria said...

Thanks to you both, (and I do hope to be putting together a pattern for this eventually. Hopefully before the end of summer: )

Cheryl Arkison said...

These are stunning. I'm curious about the circles, do they go in like standard EPP? I don't think I've seen circles on EPP, but then again, I haven't seen much beyond the hexie.

Victoria said...

Thanks Cheryl! As for the circles, great question!

...I actually haven't seen EPP circles before either, and truthfully only incorporated them out of sheer EPP naivety and innocence. (Thank goodness ignorance is bliss or I may not have tried!)

The circles are in four quarters which helped somewhat, still, they were a wee bit of a challenge, causing me to try various ways to sew them in.

I finally settled on a preferred method, where I simply butted them up to the piece that they were to be attached to, (as opposed to placing them right sides together as in traditional EPP piecing) securing one side with a clip. Then starting on the other side and working from the back, I stitched them in place using a tiny ladder stitch.

Stephie said...

Victoria these are just gorgeous! And so you! It doesn't always matter whether a block is unique or not (as you say, it's geometry, someone somewhere may have come up with the shapes, whether it's in the form of a railing, a window or a quilt block!), but it's what you do with it that makes it unique and yours - your colour, fabric preferences, how you arrange them, how you quilt them. And what I love about your quilts is that in a sea of images you know which ones are yours :) x

Victoria said...

Thank you, Stephie, I so very much appreciate your kind words!

Anonymous said...

Um, am I missing something? Aren't hexagons 6 sided? Whatever they are called, they are beauties.

Rosa said...

Fabulous blocks and look a little tricky for me.Love them all!

Victoria said...

Anonymous, Thank you, and um, yes... I think you are missing something, but that is ok!!

The whole point was I didn't want to do hexies, (which seems to be what so many of the EPP patterns are based on) as they bore me. But I loved the idea of english paper piecing. So, the key for me was to design something that I could use the english paper piecing method on but that would also keep me plugged in and interested!

Happy to say the project is done and I will be posting about it in another day or two, (along with the pattern which I am almost done with!)

Rosa, Thank you!

wwkd said...

Very nice - colors so warm and vibrant. I don't hand piece often - last one I made was drunkard's path variation. I like that your thought of "why not?" brought you to this design.

I just discoved your site through Folt Bolt.

Stay inspired!

Ramona said...

These are beautiful... the shapes, the colors are just perfect. This would make me smile every time I used it.