Life is a funny thing – it brings such unexpected twists and turns. It’s brought a lot of that our direction lately, and these blocks are the sum total of my sewing for most of May and June.
I haven’t done much English paper piecing; my tiny hexagon beehive was my first try a few years ago, and a few months ago I made my first block for this ice cream soda quilt. My subscription for this project comes with paper pieces to make eight blocks each month. I now have five sets of blocks.
I am very slow at this. I feel like I’m pretty fast at hand applique but epp has been slow going for me. I learned about something called flat back stitching, a method that keeps all the stitches on the back of the block so you don’t see them, and I’ve been intrigued by the idea. I tried it on these two blocks. The block above was my first try, and my biggest challenge was learning how to hold the blocks and keep them properly lined up. I feel like I messed up a lot of points in that block, which could mean that I don’t know what I’m doing with this technique, or it could also be a result of stress.
I decided to try it again and see if I get the hang of it, and this second block turned out a little bit better. Once again, how to hold the pieces together was my biggest challenge, but I made fewer mistakes. I will probably try it a few more times to see if I get the hang of it. If not, I’ll go back to stitching them the way I learned, by putting right sides together and stitching along the edge. I’m finished with three of the forty blocks I should have done, so I do need to get faster.
The interesting thing about being so slow is that as I look at these blocks I think of all the places they went with me: the block with green in it waited in doctor’s offices while my daughter recovered from a automobile accident related injury. I will always think of those weeks when I see it. The block with a pink center has accompanied me while camping and watching my kids at the pool and tennis lessons. It reminds me of summer. The block with columbines in it reminds me of being with my son at his State science fair competition. Lots of memories get stitched in with my hand sewing.
My biggest goal for this project is to practice more fussy cutting, and to create blocks with good contrast. I hope to improve my skills along the way. Do you like English paper piecing? What methods/tips have you found most helpful? I’d love to hear!
Hand sewing is here to stay, I think. I did not think I would still be doing so much of it when I first started my Aerial Grove quilt last year, but I’m totally hooked. My current project is yet another Carolyn Friedlander pattern, the Collection quilt.
It’s divided into nine sections and I’ve completed the first two.
The first was fast and simple; the sections are designed to become more difficult as you go. I chose to use three prints instead of two, and enjoyed sewing with the very soft color palate.
The second section was fun too – four long strips with little arches. Once again I used more colors than the original quilt and I enjoyed working with colors I don’t use often. I haven’t planned this quilt out; I’m going to let it evolve as I go.
It’s nice to have started this pattern that I’ve been intimidated by for so long! Now to prep section three!
In the Birthday Mini Quilt Swap Part 1, I shared some mini quilts I made for a small group of friends in 2016. Today I’m sharing what they made for me. **None of these mini quilts are my work! They are gifts from talented friends that I now have hanging in my home.**
The first is this mini hexagon quilt, made by Kristin. It’s a reminder of the Kathy Doughty workshop we attended, and I love the colors and especially the fussy cutting.
Jennifer made these awesome little half square triangle blocks and finished them off with really great straight line quilting.
I also love the bright blue binding.
Pamela also took some inspiration from the same Kathy Doughty workshop and made some fun paper doll style blocks. She actually made them to represent each of my eight children, and I love it.
She took the time to embroider each of their names on their block. It is such a gift of thoughtfulness! My kids love looking at this one.
Jill did some amazing piecing to make this mini medallion. I love all the colors in it and am amazed that she made me something so awesome.
Look at her quilting! It’s such a beautiful keepsake!
Anna made these lovely flowers. I have loved this Sarah Fielke pattern and was so surprised to open this mini version!
Look at that darling gingham binding with a crochet edge!
I love the scrappy design, too.
I have a wall in my laundry room where I hang all my mini quilts. Sometimes I just stand there looking at all of them and smile. It’s so fun to have these thoughtful gifts from my friends keeping me company while I work. This swap was a great way to celebrate birthdays. I feel like the luckiest girl ever to have such awesome friends!