english paper piecing

Summering

Like most self employed parents, summer is a twisted evil. Yay for free time! Oh crap, how am I going to get anything done? This year I’ve prioritized the family and the family business. Which has meant odd hours of working and as much play as we can fit in. It’s meant cabins and camping and fancy hotels. It’s meant friends and cousins and celebrating.

And only a little bit of quilting. I won’t lie, it’s been nice to take a break from the churn, from the need for More. Content. Now.

Morning Make with the kids, quilting when I can figure out my tempermental machine, hand stitching by the lake or on a plane, storm watching, getting our feet dirty, eating as many cherries as our bellies will hold, milkshakes in the afternoon.

Summer so far…

Johnston Canyon Lower Falls

Johnston Canyon Lower Falls

Castle Mountain

Castle Mountain

Sunset swim (plus moonlight and all the day swims)

Sunset swim (plus moonlight and all the day swims)

Best friends on the beach

Best friends on the beach

Euroa on the beach

Euroa on the beach

Vegas pool views

Vegas pool views

Actually went to Vegas to work (Woodworking tools trade show - a little bit bigger than Quilt Market)

Actually went to Vegas to work (Woodworking tools trade show - a little bit bigger than Quilt Market)

Plugging away at quilting this scrappy beauty

Plugging away at quilting this scrappy beauty

Here’s to summering where ever you are. Or wintering, for those in the Southern Hemisphere. Either way, let’s raise a glass to enjoying each day and prioritizing what is right for you right now.

Euroa Quilt Update

Euroa Quilt English Paper Piecing

And done.

Not the quilt, just the second row. It seems I am on track for one row a year as I started this quilt a little over two years ago. I haven’t quite worked up the energy to assemble the two rows together. More accurately, I haven’t found the time to clear the dining room table to do so because that is the only place I can do it.

This whole thing is sewn together via the flat back stitch. I love it! Unlike a whip stitch, which most of us seem to use for EPP, the stitches totally disappear with the flat back stitch. On the small scale it is no less portable than the whip stitch. I always have my sketch book with me so I tape my pieces together on then get right to stitching. On the large scale though, like when I have a mega block together or am assembling a row like this, I need to go back to my old stand by - the dining room table.

In time for summer I should have the two rows together and the next batch of blocks ready for work. Slow and steady on this project. I will say that finishing this row is motivation. Yes it is only row two out of five, but seeing it all together is exciting! It reminds me that my work is indeed getting me somewhere. One block at a time it seems interminably slow, but I am drinking in the process. Camping, road trips, and the odd lazy afternoon are coming up, perfect for a little more assembly. Probably by the time I get the third row done it will be dandelion season again!

Euroa Quilt Update - October 2018

Euroa Quilt English Paper Piecing

So, it’s been what? 17 months?

I started the Euroa Quilt in May 2017. One baby block at a time. 400 of those. Four together to make 1 block. 100 of those. Four of those then together to make a mega block. 25 of those. That’s the plan.

For anyone new here and to remind you all, this is the quintessential “Quilter Inspired by a Tile Floor” quilt. I snapped a pic in a doorway in a small town in Australia. That town was Euroa. It turns out this is not an uncommon tile pattern in Australia in the Mid Century. This quilt is an homage to that trip in so many ways,

Here’s where I’m at.

Modern English Paper Piecing

7 Mega Blocks.

30 Blocks Done (and 1 in final assembly)

3 more blocks prepped for hand stitching.

That might seem slow to you, but it seems about perfect to me. I do this project in quiet moments at the summer campsite, while hanging out at the pool/ballet studio/fencing gym, sometimes while watching TV, and on the rare quiet Sunday when I feel like handstitching instead of being interrupted reading. I didn’t stitch for 3 months last year as I struggled with tennis elbow. Things are a bit slow going right now as I don’t do a lot of sitting (newsletter readers know what I am talking about - subscribe below!) and you can only stitch so much standing up.

The truth is, I am in no rush. You’ve heard me say before that quilt making is about the process for me - the making more than the quilt itself. I absolutely love having such a portable hand work project. I really don’t care how long it takes me to finish. If I did then I would have made this smaller! As it stands, the baby blocks are 4’’. Which means the quilt as I have it planned will be 80’’ x 80’’ of hand stitched goodness.

Euroa Quilt Modern Scrappy Quilts

To assemble the quilt I sew the mega blocks together then sew those together in columns. Not sure why, but in my brain I made the far right column first so I am working right to left. I usually prep one or two blocks at a time, laying out what I have so far so that my random scrappiness is somewhat controlled - no two fabrics right next to each other. It does require vacuuming the studio floor and keeping the dog out. I can do the basting and stitching of each block while in any number of places, but save the mega block assembly for home, on a large table.

Oh, and I wholeheartedly recommend the flat back stitch when it comes to English Paper Piecing.

I’ve been asked if I am bored yet. Nope. Not at all. It is highly repetitive. I think if I were working on very controlled fabric/colour placement I might be. Or maybe I would switch to foundation paper piecing for that project? But the scrappy nature of my fabric selection and my infinite patience to pick it up, put it down, and pick it up again is keeping me from getting bored. Quite the opposite, I get super excited each time I finish a block!

The printable templates are still for sale on my Etsy site, if you are interested.

Summer Play - Improvisational Piecing With Solids

Improv Piecing Solid Fabrics Cirrus Solids Robert Kaufman

A little bit of this, a little bit of that. We sew when we can.

The Improv triangle work started as a class sample. Then I liked it so much I kept playing. Still, I play. I set some parameters for the play. This is always a good thing to do, especially if you find Improv Piecing overwhelming. These are mine:

  • Two colour blocks, high contrast in value.
  • Only solids.
  • Fundamental construction revolves around the techniques I share in my Improv Triangles class.

I've invested in some more solids because my stash is minimal in that department. These are all a combination of Cloud 9 organic Cirrus Solids (so seriously dreamy) and Kona cottons. I work only 2 colours/1 block at a time. No rhyme or reason to my choices other than I think those two fabrics look fun together. 

Kids started summer vacation over the weekend. And we were going hard with activities until that Friday night. We are all totally pooped. The sum total of the sewing I've done (minus the quarter circles that got me on a tangent) in the last month is right there on my design wall. Hand sewing my Euroa quilt while still on pool decks and soccer pitches, and little Morning Make triangle bits slowly, ever so slowly adding up. Whether it is after dinner frisbee tossing or sewing triangles together, I'm having fun with this summer playtime.