Blithe Blog Tour

I’m so excited to be part of Katarina Roccella’s Blithe Blog Tour! I’ve been a long-time fan of her whimsical fabric designs, and I have been a fan of Art Gallery Fabrics even longer! Katarina’s new line, “Blithe” is in stores now… I know it is at my local shop Cozy Creative Center… check to see if your shop is carrying these fun fabrics!

Blithe Fabrics EPP Pillow

Katarina asked if I would be part of this fun blog tour, and of course I said YES! I already had a project in the works… which is a funny story.

I attended Houston Quiltmarket in October. It was my third time going, and I really enjoy seeing what is new in quilting. I went to sample spree, hoping to get my hands on Katarina’s next line, “In Blue”. They didn’t have yardage yet, so instead I bought some Blithe. Which is equally beautiful. Really. The gorgeous colors and nature prints are just so inviting. And Art Gallery Fabrics always feel so nice, they are a pleasure to sew with. I don’t know what kind of fairy dust they weave into their fabrics – but if you’ve never touched AGF, you’re in for a treat!

I flew home after market was over, and was at the airport waiting for my flight. I had supplies with me for English Paper Piecing because I always have EPP supplies with me (and I had taught an EPP class that morning and done EPP demos while at market). I pulled out my Blithe and started stitching. I didn’t know what it would become… but my hands like to stay busy.

EPP at the Airport

By the time I’d gotten home, I had a message from Katarina. We have chatted via Instagram in the past – I created a quilt sample for a past line of hers. She asked if I’d like to turn what I was making into a project for her lookbook.

Of course, yes. I had a project that might get finished eventually. But now, it had a deadline. I was off and running.

finishing up EPP

English Paper Piecing is my favorite. I don’t knit or crochet, so this is the handwork that I can tuck in my bag and take wherever I go. When waiting at the doctor’s office, when waiting to pick up kids from school, in the evening in front of the TV… I love to pick up my handwork.

If you’ve never tried EPP, here is a video of me at Quiltmarket, showing
how easy it is:

You’re hooked already, right? Grab some papers and a glue pen, pick up your needle and thread, and start stitching!

Of course, once you’re done stitching, you have to finish your project. Since this was going to be a pillow, I pulled out the papers, ironed on some of my favorite Thermoweb Fusible Fleece, and did some simple straight-line stitching with my walking foot.

quilting EPP

You’ll notice I stitched to the side, and not “in the ditch”. English Paper Piecing doesn’t have a “ditch” to stitch in – the seam allowances are essentially pressed open. So quilting has to be done across the surface of the fabric.

Yes, I would love to have hand-quilted this piece. But time.

I did manage to put together another quick project for the lookbook… a simple clutch.

Stupid Simple Clutch

This is my “Stupid Simple Clutch” pattern that I’m still working on writing up. I’m hoping to release it this spring. Fingers crossed!

Those are the simple projects I created for the Lookbook, and for the Blog Tour… I hope you’re getting inspired to play with some Blithe yourself! Drop me a comment below and tell me what you’re planning to make!

 

 

That one time I got to Mingle with Midge and Madge!

I spent the weekend with friends, both new and seasoned, up in Denver, Colorado at the Create – Make – Celebrate Retreat hosted by the fabulous and talented Laura Kelly Walters. I got to learn some new crafting techniques, brush up on some that I’ve played with in the past, and even teach one of my favorites… English Paper Piecing!

The wonderful folks at Prym-Dritz sent kits for me to share so that I could teach the class. I was so excited to be able to share my passion with all these awesome creative gals!

Learning to English Paper Piece

Some of the gals tried it, and it wasn’t for them. But others… others really took to it! I saw ladies doing EPP in our group pow-wows throughout the weekend, and it warmed my EPP-loving heart!

epp-in-the-laura-kelly-stud

epp-at-retreat

playing-with-hexies

Two of the amazing ladies at the retreat – Midge and Madge – have a crafty YouTube series, and invited me to be a guest (WHAT!?). I had a blast chatting with them… please watch the video below!

In case you’re wondering, the quilt shown in the video is “25 Hexies” and the pattern is available for purchase on Craftsy.

25 hexies image small
And I did take a quick photo of Madge’s flappy EPP before she fixed it. This is too cute!
the-epp-faux-pas

English Paper Pieced Quilt Block

 

Have you tried English Paper Piecing? EPP is a method for hand-stitching together fabric with a paper template to keep its shape. Most English Paper Piecing you see nowadays uses hexagons (or hexies), but triangles and squares are popular shapes as well.

If you’ve done some English Paper Piecing, you might be wondering what to do with your piece once you have it all stitched together. A great option is to turn it into a quilt block for a larger quilt. I made this block as part of a charity quilt, so it will be combined with lots of other blocks to make one amazing quilt! I’ll show you how I did it.

Start with your EPP piece. You want to measure it to make sure that it is larger than the unfinished size of your block.

block ready for trimming

 

Lightly spray with spray starch or Best Press.

spray with starch

Iron flat. Since you starched the front, be sure to iron from the back – this is the easiest way to not burn the starch!

When it is as dry as possible, it still may be slightly damp to the touch.

still damp to touch

Carefully remove any remaining papers from the back of the block.

taking out papers

Press again.

pressing again

Start trimming up your block. Take as little off as possible, you can always cut it smaller later.

trimming block

Cut all four sides. My block was to be 8″ finished in the quilt, so I made it 8.5″ (to accommodate seam allowances).

back of trimmed block

Be VERY careful with your cut block. Where the seams are cut, it is very weak. Add stay-stitching at about 1/8″ to support the block. This will be inside the seam allowance, and not visible on the final quilt.

stay stitching block

Your block is ready! Make some more if you like, and stitch them together with some fun sashing for a great quilt!