Adventures in Hand Sewing – Tula Nova

So, here I am once again. That place I swore I’d never go, doing that thing I swore I’d never do, becoming one of those people I swore I’d never be. I’ll be the first to admit that I get it now. Hand sewing is awesome. English Paper Piecing is now my favorite way to calm my mind, and boy, does having mental illness make that necessary.

I now have my Smitten quilt top done and ready for *gasp* hand quilting. But, if any of you know me personally or via my Instagram, you know I’m a die hard Tula Pink fan. And if you yourself are a fan of hers, then you know that all the happenings with Free Spirit Fabrics causes us all a bit of stress. Especially anyone who had pre-ordered All Stars and De La Luna. What a relief to hear that it’s all been straightened out, and our favorite non-beige artist will continue to make her gorgeous, rich, vibrant, and whimsical fabric lines. Yeah. I just said whimsical. That’s what this stuff does to me.

Already knowing it’s well worth my while to order the Paper Pieces kit for the Nova quilt, I did so and ordered the templates as well. My sewing time is so precious I refuse to waste time and risk huge errors by not using them. Plus, they’re hot pink, so what’s not to love.

Now, not every print is my favorite, some I’m not even fond of, but they all work so well together. To figure out how the heck I was going to set this quilt up, color and print wise, I stalked the #tulanova and #tulanovaquilt hashtags on Instagram.

The templates and paper pieces kit work beautifully and it’s a pleasure to cut, baste, and piece this using the gorgeous fabrics.

Here’s where I’m at so far.

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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. 🙂