Hi there! I’m super excited to introduce a new series here at The Crafty Dabbler called The Stitching Post. This series will share the projects we’re working on that require a needle and thread. We’ll also share our favorite resources for finding fabric, patterns, and notions. Let’s get stitching!
In my last post I said I like to travel with some sort of stitching project to keep my hands and mind busy. Today I want to share what I’m toting around in my carry-on bag this summer. I am starting my first English Paper Piecing project!
I’m super excited about this project. I’ve never tried English Paper Piecing (EPP) before. I’m not sure what I’m getting myself into, but I’m willing to give it a go! It’s so portable and doesn’t take up much room at all. This is even a great project for the carpool line once school begins again in the fall.
The first time I saw a completed English Paper Pieced quilt, I fell in love. This is my cousin Fran’s quilt. This pattern is called Grandmother’s Garden, I believe. I saw this quilt for the first time when I visited Fran’s home for her memorial.
Fran hand pieced and hand quilted all of her quilts, just one of the many things I so admired about her. I love seeing those stitches, seeing the work of her hands. I knew when I saw this quilt that someday I wanted to make one of my own.
My someday is here! Recently, the Fat Quarter Shop shared this video on their You Tube channel. I watched it and realized it looked easy enough even I could give it a try. I also realized how easy it would be to travel with this project. I also fell in love with this little English Paper Piecing kit. How could I resist the scissor bag?!
I knew I wanted to start my own EPP project, but I didn’t have a clue about a pattern. I found this free one online. The pattern gave me a guideline to follow for fabric requirements. I also learned about the various sizes of hexagons and how many I’d need for the quilt. I need 3, 563 1″ hexagons for the pattern I chose! I was happy that a 1″ hexagon could be made with a 2.5″ square of fabric. I knew it would be A LOT easier to cut 2.5″ squares than 1″ hexagon shapes with a seam allowance!
Making that many hexagons can’t be done without that many paper hexagons to use in the piecing. I was not about to cut out 3,563 of them with scissors! Nobody’s got time for that! There are several places online that sell pre cut paper pieces, but the choices seemed expensive considering how many I needed. I was super excited to find this hexagon shaped punch with perfect 1″ sides. I already had some heavy card stock at home, so it’s been a breeze making my own paper hexies. No doubt, this punch has saved me a lot time and effort in cutting!
In my search for a pattern I came across this Vintage Color Pop Garden quilt exhibited by Vicki Calahan. I LOVED it! It’s a slight variation on the pattern I picked, but I think I can figure it out. When I saw this quilt I knew I wanted mine to be colorful, too. I immediately thought of using Bonnie and Camille fabric. The fabrics I chose are from their Ruby, Happy Go Lucky, and Miss Kate collections. I really can’t tell you enough how much I love these fabrics. Just looking at them makes me so happy.
Ruby, Happy Go Lucky, & Miss Kate are older collections and a little harder to find these days. A simple search for each collection on Etsy can sometimes have good results. It’s hard to find whole collections, but there are some bits and pieces floating around out there.
Who knows how long it will take for me to complete this quilt! I’m not putting any pressure on myself. My intention is to have something fun to work on while I’m traveling this summer. I may continue to ONLY work on it while I’m traveling. In that case it could take years to finish. OR, I may be surprised by how fast it goes and try to finish it up quickly. Then again, I may never want to see another hexagon again after this summer. It will be interesting to see where I am at the end of August.
Have you ever tried English Paper Piecing? Let me know if you have any tips or advice in the comments! I need all the help I can get. 🙂