by Lesly / Thursday, 21 March 2013 /
In the summer of 2010 (if I recall correctly), I was looking for a hand piecing project. I had never done any significant hand sewing but I wanted something I could work on while watching television in the evenings. Jessica suggested I try English paper piecing, and on her blog I saw some of her spectacular quilts made with this technique. I decided to try it - I was particularly happy with the way it could use up some of my tiniest scraps. Here's what I produced the first month.
Several people have said that EPP is addictive. It certainly was in my case! I was surprised at how quickly the little stars went together. I assembled them the way Jessica showed in a little video that was on her blog, and like her, I used the plastic Quilt Patis templates. I made every star out of the same print, but used many different light diamonds for the background. I really like how I was able to use some of the oldest fabrics from the early '90s in my stash. Here are a few progress shots over the course of the 14 months it took me to make the quilt. A couple of the photos of the completed quilt top have been widely Pinned; if only they could see it now!
Jessica is such an EPP maven who has made so many beautiful quilts that it's no surprise that she was asked to write a book on EPP for Quarto Press. What was a surprise was that she asked me to share my quilt in the book, as well. After I finished piecing the top, it had been sitting around for several months. This gave me the impetus to get it finally sewn up. This was also the first quilt I had professionally quilted; it was done by the so-talented Shannon Baker. When it came home, I nearly fell over. I couldn't stop touching it! I took some photos, but I knew it had to keep a low profile. I do get annoyed when people say "I've been working on something top secret that I can't tell you about". I put one picture up on Flickr but didn't say much about it. Jess has made the announcement about the book so I can now show off my quilt! I admit it's been hard to keep quiet about it! These are some of my photos.
It was agonizing to send the quilt off to London to be photographed for the book! So far away and so many possibilities for going astray! They kept it for ages, but when they sent it back, they included some high res photos on a CD for me. I had made a little label using the alphabet letters on my machine, and they seemed to like this a lot. There must have been six or seven shots of the label alone. It wasn't even well done - my machine didn't seem to like the word "Ontario". Never mind. I'm including it here so you can see the Kaffe Fassett fabric I chose for the back. These are the photos taken by Quarto's photographer (I'm sorry, I don't know his or her name); the photo at the top of the post is theirs, too.
Edited to add: Sharp-eyed Jess noticed this little purple bit on the lower left corner in the photo above and wondered about it. When I was straightening up the edges before binding the quilt, the edges on the left and right had to be trimmed (e.g., whole hexagons cut in half), but the top and bottom had a more or less straight edge right from the paper piecing. However, I had forgotten to add the last little light triangle on that side, so I just used some of the binding fabric to cover the bit of batting that was peeking through.
If you want to learn EPP and how to make a quilt like this and many other things using this portable and addictive technique, be on the lookout for Jess's book Quilting on the Go. Published by Potter Craft, it will be available in June (if you are in the UK/Europe, look for it earlier and published by Search Press)!