Thursday, 9 August 2012

English Paper Piecing: Prepping

In between dizziness and watching the Olympics I have been working on a couple of English paper piecing projects whilst cheering on gymnasts, cyclists, rowers and the like.  A huge thankyou to all the supportive emails I got about labyrinthitis. I am not as spinny as last week but still hopeless on transport so I think recovery will be a gradual progress, and an extra big thankyou to Fiona for her very helpful email.  EPP is the perfect holiday project, easy to transport, compact and good to do sitting anywhere.  Graph  paper and custom shapes are available for free here but despite my often thrifty ways I would recommend Paper Pieces over that, great quality paper, reusable and mine arrived from USA in under a week.  Check out the discount code at Katy's blog- still useable until the end of August.
Buying Brigitte Giblin's book changed the way I view EPP.  I am working on a Medallion for my Brit Quilt partner and Tessellations II for me.  I thought I would share some of my prep for cutting and sticking- I use glue rather than basting to get my shapes ready and the only glue I would recommend is Sewline- fantastic stuff!  Brigitte captivated me with her fussy cuts.  I love fussy cutting, even though it is wasteful is is waste worth having!  To fussy cut the squares I used washi tape to create a viewing window on my quilt ruler.
For the triangles, diamonds and hexagons, I drew cutting templates on template plastic the size of the shapes plus 1/2" seam allowance.  I know this is generous but Brigitte recommends increasing seam allowance as the side lengths increase.  These shapes have 2 1/2" finished side length and a larger SA makes them easier to work with.  I use a Sewline fabric pencil to draw round the template, it is softer with a lot less drag than a standard pencil and can be removed from the fabric too.  Then I rotary or scissor cut the shapes.  The clear grid templates allow for fussy cutting too.
For the gluing stage, I work my way anti clockwise around the shapes and stick to that on all the shapes which makes them fit together better as the dog ears snuggle up and behave.   It doesn't matter if you go clockwise or anticlockwise but once you pick a direction, stay the same for all your shapes.  I start with a mini cross in the centre of the paper just to hold it in place on the fabric.
Then, I run the glue pen along about 2/3rds of the way along one side,
 And using a long pin to tuck the fabric over and allow for a bit of room for the stitches, I press the fabric down.  If you fold the fabric round the paper too tightly you will end up stitching through the paper itself which will blunt your needle, that pin adds a little ease.
The next stripe of glue goes right along an edge including over the fabric at one corner.  Use the pin again to get a neat corner and fold.
And repeat until the shape is complete. The dog ears are flapping away and I find the other shapes interlock and sit on them so they act like little shelves and are rather helpful!
I bought a new cutting mat for this project as my previous one was shredded and blunting my rotary cutters.  Following a recommendation on Instagram from Christina I plumped for an Omnigrid and was amazed at the difference in cutting- marks actually healed and my blades don't immediately loose their sharpness.
I am going for a change in colours with the Tessellation's Quilt away from my usual colour palettes.
 So far the centre rosette is complete and I have cut out the fabric for the next stage.  It is a slow grower, but very satisfying.
You can find more English paper piecing help here with Katy in her Hexy MF quilt-a-long for Fat Quarterly, here with Lynne and here with Florence.  All are well worth a visit for help, tips and inspiration.
sib blog

30 comments:

  1. Thank you for the insight, and I'm so glad you are feeling better. Those are some swanky looking projects you're working on! Can't wait to see more!

    P.s. Where did you get the Omnigrid mat from? I'm thinking of upgrading mine. Ive had it 2 years and it was only a cheapy ebay one to start with.

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    1. In case anyone else wants an Omnigrid I bought mine here http://www.cottonpatch.co.uk/acatalog/Mats_Cutters_and_Rulers.html
      Very well packaged- which is not always the case with online mat buying! Came in big cardboard envelope.

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  2. That's gorgeous! Labyrinthitis is no fun at all - hope you get over it soon.

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  3. That needle tip is a good one, I always just fold the fabric over ending up stitching through the papers - thanks! Your EPP looks beautiful Kerry!!

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  4. That is beautiful... You've got far more patience then I could ever have.

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  5. I have been quite scared of EPP but will have to try! thanks for the tips!

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  6. awww that is so lovely.. i love your fussy cuts!

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  7. Beautiful! I've just started glue basting and for triangles it's just mega wonderful ... strangely I still like stitch basting hexies !!

    Love the pin tip ... Not looking forward to ripping the papers out where I had to use a Pritt stick when my Sewline ran out ...

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  8. Beautiful! I have been eyeing this block.for awhile. may have to give it a go once I'm done with my Hexy MF QAL with Katie.
    I still use my Omnigrid I bought in 1991! Of course it has a good 12 year hiatus when I didnt quilt. but it still works wonderfully!

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  9. So beautiful. The fussy cutting is definately worth it! I'll have to look out fir that glue - just getting into EPP and that would help me get to the fun sewing bit quicker :) x

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  10. I love that block! It almost makes me want to do EPP...I said ALMOST! Ahhh if only I was a few years younger and didn't have arthur-i-tis!

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  11. Great tips Kerry! And your end result is so beautiful.

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  12. Your block is looking gorgeous! I'm really going to have to try EPP...

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  13. It's so fantastic, Kerry! And thanks so much for that tip with the pin. Mine are always too snug when I glue! And the sewline glue is absolutely my favorite for this too!

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  14. Your fabric choices for this are also outside of my normal, but I love the way it's shaping up! Beautiful and soothing! I have a sewline glue pen, but haven't used it much. Maybe I need to give it another go!

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  15. So beautiful! I've never tried to glue pen - will have to add that to my shopping list. And I love your tip about the pin - genius!

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  16. Because of your wonderful blog(and a few of your friends' blogs)I am taking my first quilting class this Saturday. So excited! You girls are amazing. Here are two silly(to you pros)questions: 1. When paper piecing, does the paper stay inside the fabric? 2. What are fussy cuts? mariamaberto1@gmail.com

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  17. oh that's beautiful and look not so difficulte i would have tought! thank's for the good picture.. i think I'll give a try soon

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  18. What a beauty! Looking at the website gave me a clue for a project I have been brooding on - needless to say i didn't come away with an empty basket!

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  19. Very pretty :o) Glad you're feeling a little better, hope things continue to improve!

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  20. Some great tips there missus; the final word made me snigger though! Sounds kind of nasty!

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  21. I think I am going get the glue pen you suggested! The quilting pencil sounds amazing as well!! Love your fuzzy cut! Thank you for sharing tips!

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  22. Hello Kerry - I love what you are doing with this block! Each interpretation takes a different direction which I always find fascinating ... Check out my Facebook page to see how one student - Sandra - ended up with something completely different... We called it Tessellations III
    Keep up the lovely work, regards Brigitte

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  23. Hi Kerry, Thank you so much for this GREAT mini tutorial. I LOVE IT. In fact I love it so much that I have made a pdf out of it and if you would like it for any of your readers I would be more than happy to send it to anyone that wants it.

    You are so going to cost me money too! I now need this book you recommended and everything else you recommended for that matter.

    Lots of Love
    Patti xxx

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    1. Sorry to make you spend you money! The book has been so inspirational for me, the best book I have bought in ages. There is a PDF converter at the end of each post- look for the little print/pdf icons at the bottom of the post where you click to comment but if anyone wants to get it via your PDF that is fine with me!

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  24. Beautiful!! I love them all...

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  25. this is amazing!!!!!!
    great job!!!!

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  27. I was intrigued by your blocks, so I went looking for that book. It's only available at one shop in the US and it's $45, so I'll be making do. Thanks for the tips! :)

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