English Paper Piecing

English Paper Piecing Mayham*

I think it may have started with my hexagon pouch — which I never showed you, did I? Sorry about that, I totally forgot! Here you go:

Perfect for my embroidery tools! Anyway, I think that project started a little bit of a craze – in my head – for English paper piecing, which has now sort of taken over everything. I really enjoyed making that pouch, piecing it tiny bit by bit, and finally admitted that what I really want to make is a traditional, 30s-inspired, Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt. I have a weird obsession with those 30s reproduction fabrics, and have been quietly hoarding them for several years now. Bits and pieces, sale buys, a jelly roll, etc. I think I always knew I wanted to do a Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt, but I kind of know it’s insane. I mean, I actually prefer a long-term project over quick-fix projects – or at least like to have a balance – because I love the slowness of a long haul project. I mean, it’s nice to know that you really put your heart and soul into a thing, to watch it grow tiny bit by bit. It’s very satisfying.

Grandmother's Flower Garden Quilt, madness begun.

But this is extreme, even for me. I realize that this will take many years. That I look at it now, brimming with enthusiasm, but will probably hate the sight of it after a while. It’ll probably go away from time to time, when I need a break. But I want it. What’s the point of making something faster if it’s not the thing you really wanted? I’m using my hoarded reproduction fabrics and will keep an eye out for any on sale as I go, and I’ve already finished one flower!

Grandmother's Flower Garden Quilt, Flower #1

Yes, one out of a millionty, but it’s a start. (Sorry for the not-awesome photo there, I didn’t realize it until just now.) I even made a Pinterest board of vintage GFG quilts for inspiration as I go. Aren’t they stunning?

Then my mother asked for some decorative pillow covers for her bedroom, to add a little color to the room, for Mother’s Day (we still celebrate the US version, coming up next weekend. I’m not sure why, now that I think about it). Of course I thought of a paper pieced design, because why would I do something simple when I could make it ten times slower? She helped me pick the fabric to make sure it matches just right – a gorgeous Kona fat quarter pack from The Village Haberdashery – and she wants something of a traditional design. I teamed the solids with a piece of Tula Pink Plume from my stash and I’m going for a Lone Star-ish design, in part inspired by this amazing quilt by Fancy Tiger Crafts. I’m so in awe of that quilt. Mine won’t be a star shape, I’ll continue the diamonds solidly then square it up, if that makes sense. I’m not sure if there’s a name for that or if it’s still a Lone Star design. In any case, I’ve got a little start:

Lone Star-ish pillow covers, WIP

and just over a week to go. Oy. There may also be something going on with some extremely tiny hexagons and two crazy people, but that’s a story for another day!

* No, that’s not a typo. Paulie Walnuts fans will understand. Everybody else, just pretend it says ‘mayhem’.

Big Week Off: Sewing

Continuing my what-I-did-on-my-summer-vacation-esque tour through my week off last week (there’s a mouthful for ya), here’s a few things I sewed.

Because of my ouchy hand / arm, I did a lot of sewing over the week. Sewing is also the thing I often run out of time for, so it was nice to play with fabric for a bit. I’m not really a good sewer (sewist?), and I don’t say that to hint for a disagreement from readers. I don’t mean that I sew badly, more that my sewing skills are seriously limited – and to be totally honest, I’m not especially driven to expand them. I mean, I always like learning new crafty things of any kind, but I’m happy to learn new sewing skills in bits and pieces as I need them.

So anyway, if you follow me on Instagram or Twitter (gotthebutton on both) you probably saw some of these in progress. I made a pouch (fabric rescued from a handbag I made and didn’t love) and two box pouch project bags:

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I don’t really know what I’ll use the pouch for, I just wanted to save that fabric and this was the best use I could think of for it. The pieces I’d saved were almost exactly the right size. The project bags (yes, that top one needs an ironing touch-up, I just noticed – it honestly doesn’t look that blumpy in real life!) are just adorable and I had to have some. And once you start, it’s hard to stop putting together cute fabric / zipper / lining / pull tab combos. I actually have one more pile that may be made into a box pouch yet! I used a tutorial from It’s A Pretty Modern Life, which was recommended to me by Jaclyn from Urban Crunch (she made some crazy cute box pouches!).

I also pulled out my precious Tula Pink Plume charm pack and some leftover Ikea canvas to make this door stop, using Oh, Fransson’s tutorial:

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This was a much more practical project, solving an actual need in the room I work in. I like to keep the door ajar, but it tends to swing back open. I was using a partially full bottle of water to prop it, um, closed; this will be significantly more attractive.

And I couldn’t do any hand sewing, but I played around with the beginnings of this little project:

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Oh, how I love paper piecing and hand sewing! I made a whole bunch of these hexagons a while back with a quilt in mind, but then decided I’d rather do something different with them. Typical. So they’ve sat for ages while I think on how to approach the change of plan – until last week when I realized I could borrow a few of them to make … yup, another little pouch.

This one has a specific purpose though – a little embroidery kit. It may seem odd that I don’t already have one, but so it is. I guess I usually keep my tools with whatever project I’m working on at the moment, but now I’m at a point where it’d be helpful to have them in one place. But, see, I’m a giant dork and I like when things match. If I have a variety of project bags, one will match whatever project I want to put in it. But this type of pouch will have to (yes, have to) match all of my stitching projects. So I’m using all natural linens and grays , which just wee touches of muted color. I know, I know. But I don’t even like my pyjamas to clash, so no way I could let it happen to my embroidery!

More on that mini-project as it happens, and Big Week Off stitching progress tomorrow!

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