Slow stitching…

What do you do when your get a creative idea in your head?  Sometimes I am able to jot it down in my notebook and move on and other times I have to just see if I can make it work.  My latest obsession started with some gifted Heather Ross fabric – some precious small pieces that I felt I needed to make good use of.

And so my latest EPP project was born…

pinochio octagon block

Last year, on a whim I picked up a Octagonal block kit during Paper Pieces sale.  I wanted to have some hand work that was NOT hexagons but I am not brave enough yet to do a complex project… my long term goal is to one day be brave enough to try the La Passacaglia block!  These Octagons seem a perfect step up from hexagons.

alien octagon block

Unlike my hexagons I am glue basting the sections of these blocks which is saving time… my Sewline glue pen is getting a good workout.

epp pieces

I have put together a little kit that I have been throwing into my handbag when I head out the door, just in case I have some down time.

my tools

Every good EPP kit needs some small sharp needles, a needle threader (if your eye sight is as bad as mine), wonder clips, thread conditioner, a good thimble and of course a nice thread.  I have only just started using Aurifil’s 80 wt thread in my hand piecing and I am loving it.  It is really thin but does not break or tangle.  I may be in love.

Miss piggy octagon

This is really a fun little project and I have tons and tons of Heather Ross fabric to cut into.  I got three blocks done during the Super Bowl party I was at and I am hopeful I can get a block done a week… and if I am lucky maybe more.

A pretty little finish…

This week I finally finished up my hexagon flower baby quilt.  This quilt came about after a small mistake with my hexi pelt… but it is definitely lemonade and not lemons…

hexagon baby quilt

For this quilt I took the hexagon flowers I had hand pieced and attached them to a low volume back ground… if you want to know more about my process for this you can check out my original post

close up flower detail

When it came time to put this quilt together I decided to use a high loft wool batting… which gives the quilt a plush softness that I think is great for a baby quilt.

hexi quilt detail

I did not want to over quilt so I echo stiched the block lines, leaving a puff flower center.    Because the flowers were stitched onto the blocks before the quilt was quilted the flower has a raised feel to it.

hexi flower detail

Plus there is enough fussy cut goodness in it to make for a good game or two of eye spy….

hexis

Since I made my hexie mistake I have been avoiding my hexie pelt.  I have over 100+ flowers made but I have not been brave enough to attach them to my pelt.  I am hoping finishing this project up will get me over my hexagon hump… but the pelt at the moment looks like this…

hexagon quilt wip 2

A growing EPP obsession…

Over the last couple of weeks I have been gallivanting to a wedding in Southern California, traipsing around Disneyland and teaching a bunch of wonderful 8 to 10 years old sew doll clothes.  It has been fun and action packed, but there has been only a sprinkling of quilting… and all of it has been English paper piecing.

My go to travel project has become my new obsession…  For the California trip I packed my mini Liberty dresden kit…

dresden travel kit

… I managed to get quite a few dresdens blades done while sitting on the plane or by the pool…

Liberty dresdens

… I have become a little obsessed with finding little scraps of Liberty to add to this project…

Liberty dresden scale

… and I really do mean mini scraps.  I can get two blades easily from a 2 1/2 inch square!

My other ongoing summer travel project, my hexagon pelt, has gone with me to games nights, picnics and camping….

travelling hexagon kitI grab this kit regularly when we are heading ona  long drive or out to events… just in case I get time to baste a few  hexies….

hexagon travel kit

I also have just started basting some mini Cotton and Steel hexies.  I had so many little scraps of fabric left over after making a couple of Cotton and Steel mini quilts for the swap (check out the post here to see two of them) that could not got to waste so…

cotton and steel hexagons

The C+S hexagons were made from scraps that were too small for my main hexagon pelt (main pelt hexie size is 1 inch)…

hexagon sizesNow three EPP projects on the go at the same time might seem excessive, but I am sure I can handle a couple more…. you see, last week for my birthday I got these books…

EPP books

..and the July copy of Love Patchwork and Quilting which had this free gift with it…

I heart patchwork packet

…plus I also discovered that you can use the EQ7 quilting program to print out quilt blocks in segments….. I think my obsession with hand work may have only just started…

Making paper piecing Lemonade…

So a couple of weeks ago I realised I had made a hideous paper piecing miscalculation…. it all started in December last year when I had lots of time sitting around hospitals with my darling husband.  I wanted to bring hand work but my hexie pelt…

hexagon pelt

..had become unruly and unmanageable.  I had taken the cardboard papers out of the center to help make it easier to handle but it was too big for me to keep adding hexies easily.  The solution was of course to start a second pelt that I could just sew to the first pelt when it got big enough.  Great solution right?….

In theory yes… in practice I stuffed it up big time.   Fast forward five months and I go to attach the second pelt only to discover my second pelt would not fit my first pelt.  The two pieces would not align no matter what way I put them.    My huge miscalculation resulted in a tantrum, lots of tears and copious amounts of swearing.

do not fit

My darling husband, who has claimed the hexagon pelt as his quilt, tried to comfort me…but somehow failed to grasp the complete heart ache of spending months hand sewing something together only to realise you are going to have to unpick it all.  The worst bit was that I had removed all but a few of the papers which made the flowers almost impossible to reattach to the main pelt… it is very tricky to get neat, even stitches without the cardboard supporting the hexagon.

paper less hexagon

So I put everything aside, not sure when I would be ready to face the horrible task ahead of me, and uncertain about what to do with the hexagons that could not be re-attached.  Then Sunday it dawned on me what I needed to do….

The idea came from a special quilt that was made for Rachel of Stitched in Color…. I had made hexagons for this quilt and watched it slowly come together.  This was the solution to my problem.

new hexagon blocks

And so I have started gluing….

glue down hexagon

and sewing my hexagons onto a 6 1/2 inch square low volume background…

sewing down hexagon

and I am loving the effect.

Design wall shot

I will have enough flowers from my second pelt mishap to make a baby quilt.  I  can not tell you how excited I am to find such a pretty solution to my issues.  I have definitely made lemonade out of those lemons!

Liberty Love

Last week, while drugged up on cold and flu medication, I decided to play with my small stash of Liberty fabrics.  I started slowly collecting fabric just over a year a go, when a darling friend gave me two Liberty lawn fat quarters as a thank you present.

Liberty Lawn

For those of you not familiar with the fabric it is a light weight, beautiful cotton that comes in the most fabulous designs and is made by the famous British store Liberty of London….Ironically I have bought quite a bit of stuff at Liberty in my time in England but never went to the fabric section!

Liberty Lawn 2

I had originally popped my Liberty cherry with the sample pillow for my Introduction to Paper Piecing class at Modern Domestic (my main Liberty enabler!).

Liberty paper pieced star

This 16 inch star used some bigger slices of my stash but I loved how the delicate Liberty fabric plays against the Essex linen.

class pillow detailAnyway this week I had the crazy idea to make some mini dresden plate flowers with my Liberty stash.  I wanted to go small because I also had a collection of 21/2 inch squares that my darling BF had bought back for me from London…and I wanted hand work because it meant I did not have to leave the couch.  The end result was this…

mini liberty dresden plate

The finished 16 point flower is 5 inches wide.

5 inch flower

Somewhere during this process my husband declared that I had officially gone crazy and I think he might be right.  I have made up a little travel kit and I am now obsessed with making these things….

my liberty kit

I found a pattern sheet on-line at AMC-Quilts that I used (LINK HERE)… their PDF pattern was the perfect size and I just printed it on card stock and cut out the petal pieces and started to sew.

mini Liberty dresden plates

I am not sure what I am going to do with them but for now I am happy to just make away.