English Paper Piecing

English Paper Piecing, EPP to most. Hand sewing. Basically, everything that has scared and intimidated me since I began quilting. I used to think, “Oh, I could never! Who would have the patience for that kind of nonsense?” Well, as it turns out, I do.

I have always loved the look of hexies, and can remember a Smitten quilt hanging in one of my favorite shops in Calgary. I loved the details, the itsy bitsy stitches, and how beautifully it came together. It was the last thing on my list of “I should try…”. Until it wasn’t. I picked up the pattern and clear plastic templates shortly before leaving Calgary, because where the heck would I find those in the Maritimes? Good call, because I still haven’t found any here.

So, for over a year, they sit on a shelf in the sewing room, until an Instagram post of someone’s Smitten quilt catches my eye and a little voice in my head yells, “Go for it!”. So, I go for it. Hubby and I were taking the kids camping, so I wouldn’t be able to take a machine anyway. What perfect timing. He takes credit mercilessly. 🙂

It turns out, hand sewing, and EPP in particular, are incredibly relaxing and calming for the mind. Which, when you suffer from PPD and PTSD like I do, is a Godsend.

It’s perfectly blissful work, and I’m loving getting to cut up some of my favorites in my stash. I have every reason to believe that this will be an absolutely hideous quilt to the eye, as the mix of patterns, prints, and colours are going to be an assault on the senses. But I’m not letting that get to me. I started in May, and figure I’m about 85% of the way with my blocks. And since I’m putting so much time into this quilt, I may as well go big or go home and am planning to quilt it by hand as well. Yes, I know. Right? I swore I would never. Could never. But I’m going to. And I’m going to use the most obnoxious boldly coloured threads I can find.

Here are some pics of my progress so far. Your retinas have been warned. 🙂

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You Say Cocoa, I Say Coffee

Lori Holt is a well-known gal in the quilting world, and for good reason. Her books offer a plethora of cute blocks, easy to follow patterns, and endless combinations. The love of my life is into tractors, so her tractor and vintagy style are what drew me to her work initially.   http://beeinmybonnetco.blogspot.ca/

I am working on completing a Summer block challenge quilt from one of my most favorite old haunts, Out of Hand in Calgary. They packaged up block sets to complete Lori’s Vintage Farmgirl quilt. I haven’t yet finished it, but I know once it’s done, it will be a favorite.

One of my reasons for not finished it, is that I’m so easily side tracked. This time, I was caught by Lori’s Cocoa Cups block in her Quilty Fun book  https://www.amazon.ca/Quilty-Fun-Lessons-Scrappy-Patchwork/dp/098817491X

As a mom to four, I’m often found with a mug of coffee in my hand, and this block, combined with a fat quarter bundle from Riley Blake fabrics, were the perfect coffee cup quilt partners.

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Wonderful Vintage

By now you’ve surely seen the line “Wonderland” by Cotton & Steel, if you haven’t, take a look.

I wasn’t initially drawn to it, but it was getting a LOT of traction on Instagram. While pretty enough, it wasn’t on my must have list until my Sew Sampler box arrived in April. In it, among many other goodies, was a fat 8th bundle. Well, I get it now. This line is striking in person. It feels amazing, the prints are vibrant and whimsical, and did I mention the fabric itself feels like a dream? 

I ordered at fat quarter bundle as the kids were already argueing over who would get the Alice in Wonderland quilt. 

I knew whatever pattern I used it in, that I wanted the beautiful prints to be showcased. A usual first stop is my Simply Retro book by Camille Rosekelly. In it, I decided on her Vintage pattern.

I had another FQB of vintage florals and an upcoming quilting retreat, so I cut and prepared both bundles. Hey, if you’re going to do one, you may as well do two, right?

They came together nicely and showcased the fabrics just as I had hoped.

Not to mention, my first ever retreat and full weekend ever away from all the kids was put to good use. I missed the kids so much though, that it confirmed I’ll never be one of those moms who pawns her babies off at every chance. Never. I’ll take a few hours of sewing a week and days upon days (though at times nerve rattling) with my kids anytime over shipping them off. I missed them far too much.

Although, maybe one retreat weekend a year would be nice. 

Churn Dash Quilt 

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The churn dash block is a classic, and after having completed my first quilt using it, I can see why.

This block comes together quickly and are pretty to look at. I like how it could be done with varied fabrics, and can end up being not so girly, as the many flowered blocks available are. Hey, I’ve got four girls, so I’m overrun with florals and pink and everything girly. While I love those too, this was a nice change. 

For this quilt, I used a Tula Pink Throwback fat quarter bundle.

The kids love ‘hunting’ to find the animals Tulaoften hides in her prints. 

I used my Bernina BSR and just quilted a repeating wavy line. I drew the first one I in *gadp* pencil and then just shadowed the rest. 

I backed in in fuzzy flannel, the preferred backing my sweet girls are ever so vocal about requesting. With more snuggles guaranteed, I happily obliged. đź’• 

Patchwork Swoon, Done.

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As part of #swoonalong2017, I finished the top for this Patchwork Swoon quilt relatively quickly, but didn’t get it quilted and bound for ages. It’s finally done. I backed it with some fuzzy flannel as requested by Little #2. Little #3 quickly stole it to use in a fort, but once she’s gone to bed, 2 has said she’s stealing it back because it’s ‘so cozy’.

The pattern is a variation of @ThimbleBlossoms  http://thimbleblossoms.bigcartel.com/product/patchwork-swoon-pattern-200-paper-pattern original Swoon quilt, and comes together beautifully. It’s perfect for jelly rolls, and since I had found a long lost Scrumptious jelly roll hiding in the shelves at my LQS, the timing was just right.

Swoon, one is finished. :)

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Swoon patterns, Bonnie and Camille fabrics, the two go hand in hand like that perfectly sweet couple who have been in love since they first set eyes on each other. Over the last couple of years, the original Swoon pattern has been tweaked by Camille Rosekelley to include a mini pattern, a patch work pattern, and a Swoon 16 pattern. FYI, they’re all gorgeous and look so beautiful using any of the fabrics from the countless B&C fabric lines.

My love for Instagram is no secret (hello inspiration) and the #swoonalong was the push I needed to complete not one,( well, okay, I’ve only actually completed one so far) but two of the Swoon patterns. I managed to finish the original (that I started last year -whoops) and get the top done of the Patchwork version. Love them. They come together in such a beautiful way, and if  you haven’t done one, I highly recommend it. They are a classic.

 

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Basting Makes Me Sweary

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I loathe basting. LOATHE. I swear more when  I’m basting than I do when I’m driving. And that, my bloggy friends, is saying something. (continue reading below)basting1basting2I’m not sure this is even a strong enough word for the level of my dislike to this admittedly necessary step in the quilting process. If I could cue some Cinderellaesque forest creatures to complete the task for me, I gladly would. EVEN if it mean cleaning up after the little buggers for an indefinite period of time.

“Oh, you pooped on the carrot section of my garden? But, you basted my #patchworkswoon quilt for the #swoonalong? Carry on, little forest friend. I’ve got it.”

I’m not sure what’s worse. A diaper blowout from my now 8 month old, or trying to piece the backing for the heart quilt I chopped up my beloved Scrumptious jelly roll for. It’s a close call.

I did see, in the wild world of Pinterest, (hey, MIL, enjoying this post?) that they suggested rolling the layers in a giant roll. Well, the lovelies at my local chain fabric store were kind enough to give me a giant roll that was headed for the landfill. So, I tried it, and it’s an improvement. But for real, if any of you are working on a profound device to make basting these beauties any easier, get on with it already. There’s a market. I effing promise.

I Heart You Mini – A Free Pattern

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Instagram strikes again. Cluck Cluck Sew is a great, and I mean GREAT sewing blog. (You can find it here ( https://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiOxKayjf7RAhWm3oMKHVDGBl0QFggcMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fcluckclucksew.com%2F&usg=AFQjCNE88-dPIIJdjJY9Ql3RGvXN70mJEg&sig2=wPMlDBLnCoPJFn-89Ca2lg )   There’s a plethora of information, tips, patterns, knowledge, and encouragement. Best of all, inspiration. I’ve used a version of this free heart pattern and made my heart quilt. The hearts are really cute, and come together quickly. That’s a must for this busy mama.

Here is a link to the pattern ( http://cluckclucksew.com/2016/01/i-heart-you-free-mini-quilt-pattern.html ). For my fabrics, I stuck pretty close to the norm and used a few Bonnie and Camille pieces I had. I quilted it with simple straight lines and left a heart shape in the upper right hand corner in-quilted as I have seen done with this. It’s cute, easy, and adds a fun simple element. Plus, my helper enjoyed tracing a fridge magnet to get the shape and then using my Fons & Porter 1/4 inch rulers to draw on the straight lines for me.

To see lots of different versions of this super cute mini, search out #iheartyoumini on Instagram. 🙂

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Patchwork Swoon, Part 1

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It’s no secret that I adore Instagram. Endless inspiration comes from every angle there. As it turns out, so does a swift kick to the arse to get me sewing. There are several sew alongs that I would love to participate in. What’s a sew along? On Instagram, it’s where who ever would like to, commits to completing a project and updating their progress with  photos using the same hashtag as others who are committed to the same sew along.

One of the ones I joined this year is #swoonalong . Swoon is a quilt pattern designed by Camille Rosekelley of Bonnie & Camille. Currently, there are four versions of the pattern. The original, mini, 16, and patchwork. I had started an original Swoon last year, but only ever finished three blocks. The blocks are big, and at the time I was sewing on my dining room table and packing it up each time we had a meal was getting frustrating. Eventually, it was placed in a bin for ‘later’. The #swoonalong was great for getting me back at it. It is so helpful and inspiring to scroll through all the gorgeous blocks, colour combinations, and works of everyone taking part. Kind of like how Show and Tell at a guild meeting puts you in the mood to sew, so can a sew along.

When I signed up, I had no intention of doing a Patchwork version, but after seeing all the photos of how beautiful they turn out, and having a jelly roll of Scrumptious on hand, I started and was finished the top in just a few days.

Here’s some photos of the process.

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This Old Bag, Made a Bag 

Bags. With four kids, I’m always looking for a good bag to keep my stuff in. I’m also always looking for a bigger and better bag to carry everyone else’s stuff in. Cue Swoon patterns. They’re cute, there’s lots to choose from, and some are free.

I admit complete ignorance when it came to interfacing. That stuff was just the shelf at all the fabric stores with odd thickness pieces of shades of white stuff I knew nothing about. I still know next to nothing about it, but thankfully the Swoon pattern laid it all out in terms I could follow.

I choose the Swoon Ethel for my first attempt, and I’m pretty pleased with how quickly and easily it came together.

If you attempt a Swoon Pattern for a bag, there are lots of helpful tutorials both on YouTube and on blogs to help you on your way.