EPP

Fussy-Cut Hexie Challenge Blog Hop: Tiny-Scale Fussy Cutting!

Fussy-cut Hexie Challenge Blog Hop

Today I am absurdly excited to be the first stop on The Fussy-Cut Hexie Challenge Blog Hop! This blog hop is to celebrate the fantabulous new book by my awesome friend Diane Gilleland (of Craftypod fame): All Points Patchwork.

All Points Patchwork by Diane Gilleland

I cannot tell you how much I love this book, but I’ll try: I FREAKING LOVE THIS BOOK. Seriously, dudes, it rules. I love English Paper Piecing, and hand-piecing in general, and you know I don’t often go for quick or easy projects. Quick and easy is for suckers. I absolutely love that Diane wrote a technique-oriented book, with a focus on learning a very specific technique very, very well – with full attention paid to every tiny aspect of EPP, from cutting fabric to the possibilities of each shape. There’s projects included, and they’re lovely, but the real prize here is all the other content – let me tell you, friends, if you have an even slight interest in English Paper Piecing or hand-stitching, you NEED this book. Go get it now now now.

So, for this blog hop, our challenge was simple: fussy-cut some hexagons. In case you’re not familiar with the term, fussy-cutting means that you choose the exact part of a print you use, rather than using all of a piece of fabric. I’ve never done any fussy-cutting before, so this seemed like the perfect challenge for me!

Tiny-scale fussy cutting!

Erm. Except that when I got down to it, I didn’t have anything terribly fussy-cut-friendly in my stash. Fussy-cutting is typically done with large-scale prints – florals or cute illustrations – and my stash is currently mostly small-scale geometrics and blenders. So how to combine my hostile stash with this technique??

Tiny-scale fussy cutting!

Why, cut up the teensy geometric elements, of course! I used 1/2″ hexies and went for fabrics that allowed the geometrics to be easily separated from the whole.

Tiny-scale fussy cutting!

Little stand-alone elements, such as the X’s in Cotton + Steel’s XOXO print work beautifully (Cotton + Steel in general has a lot of prints that work well for tiny fussy-cutting!), as well as stripes, zigzags, etc. There was a lot of trial-and-error, making hexies I didn’t use in the end, but even then, using tiny elements that repeat often on a print created much less wastage than fussy-cutting often does.

Tiny-scale fussy cutting!

My little wee quilt turned out to be 5″ x 19″ – just a sliver of a normal mini-quilt! And as I was sewing it together, the line ‘summer autumn winter spring’ (from one of my very favorite poems – “anyone lived in a pretty how town”, by ee cummings), popped into my head. It always charmed me the way that cummings lists the seasons in different orders in that poem, the years just going ’round and ’round, and that one gets stuck in my head sometimes. Looking at my tiny quilt, I realized these four hexie-flowers are a bit like the four seasons – and so my little quilt has a name.

Tiny-scale fussy cutting!

I’ve absolutely loved taking part in this challenge and finding a fun, new way to try this technique! Be sure to stop by the other fussy-cutting blog-hoppers throughout this week and see what amazingness they’ve created for this challenge!


But wait, don’t go yet! To celebrate the release of All Points Patchwork and this blog hop and everything good in the world, there’s a giveaway to enter: a set of Clover’s Black Gold hand-sewing needles and a Quilt Needle Threader!

Clover Giveaway!

NICE. International entries welcome, and entries will close at midnight on Sunday, June 7th, so hurry up and enter via Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hand-Pieced Mini Swap

I haven't any hand-stitching to do since I finished my peels appliqué. This are fun. #handpiecedminiswap #teamemiroos

As if I don’t have enough to do, I recently joined the Hand-Pieced Mini-Quilt Swap on IG, organized by Jo from A Life in Lists. I haven’t taken part in a lot of swaps in my crafty time, and I think this has to be my last for a while so I can catch up on other stuff, but with a hand-stitching void in my life since my peels were finished, I just couldn’t resist!

This is a little bit out of my comfort zone – everything else I’m working on behind the scenes is heading in a much more minimalist, quiet sort of direction, but I didn’t think that was my partner’s style. After a TON of doodling, I finally landed on this EPP design, with a fabric arrangement that I hope combines my urge to pare down with her love of brighter designs.

Whatchu think about these fabrics, partner? #teamemiroos #handpiecedminiswap

Of course I can’t quite show you more yet, but you’ll see soon enough! And if you’re on IG, follow my sneaky progress peeks over there.

Project Flashback / Revisit: 1930s Hexies

1930s GFG Revisted

I can’t even remember the last time I posted about this forever-long, slow crafting project, but I’ve had my 1930s Grandmother’s Flower Garden on the brain lately. I even pulled them off the dusty shelf to stitch a few together over the last week, which I haven’t done in at least a year, I imagine.

I definitely lost interest in this project over time. The thing is, when I started these hexies, I had a completely different outlook on sewing, hand-sewing in particular, and quilting. For one thing, it was my only hand-work project at the time – my little bit on the side, if you will. There was no hurry about it because it didn’t compete with anything else.

But now? Now I have a million hand-stitching projects I want to get into. And basically a million other projects too. The hexies always got put aside from time to time, as other projects took priority, but I would always gravitate back to them as a quiet evening project.

My orange peels took over as my relaxing hand-stitching for many months, but now that they’re finished (more on the quilting of them, finally!, later this week), I have a hand-sewing vacuum. I’ve been considering other projects, and I’ve signed up for the Instagram Hand-Pieced Mini Swap, so I’ll have to get that started soon, but generally? My mind keeps drifting back to the 1930s hexies, feeling a little guilty that they’ve been so abandoned, and then I think … meh.

1930s GFG Revisted

I wondered for a few days why I’ve gone off them so spectacularly, when I loved them so much before, and I think I’ve realized that my quilting style and taste has changed somewhat since then. I wanted that to be a really traditional quilt, as if it came right out of the 1930s. I really thought it should be by-the-book traditional.

But now. I’ve noticed a lot of people using the term “Modern Traditional” lately (I mean, I’ve noticed lately – I doubt that’s a new term), and I feel that does really apply to my sense of patchwork style. Traditional and historical patchwork fascinates me, but I like to think about how those same patterns can be updated with modern fabrics and color combinations. So how is a straight-from-the-feedsack Grandmother’s Flower Garden going to fit into that?

As I was thinking this, I saw this quilt on Pinterest – pinned by my good friend, Christa. I’d always assumed that I’d set the hexagon flowers in paths of plain white, and I considered possibly adding diamond paths in green – but again, a very traditional, soft, 1930s green. But that blue! WOW. That’s clearly an antique / vintage quilt (tracing it down the Pinterest path reveals no specific information about it) but it’s so modern with that intense blue! Just looking at it immediately breathed new life into my hexies.

I have no idea what color I’ll use in the end – I’m sort of considering a deep gray right now, something quite dark like Kona Coal or Charcoal, or maybe even the nearly-black Pepper! The soft 30s colors would look so lovely against a dark color like those. More thoughts on this to come, I’m sure, but for now I’m just glad to have my hexies back on the brain.

Sew Together Bag FO

Eeeeep, how I love my Sew Together Bag so much!

Finished Sew Together Bag!

Here’s the basic stats:

Sew Together Bag Pattern by Sew Demented, available via Craftsy.
– I English Paper Pieced the exterior using teensy pieces of Liberty Tana Lawn and Kona Navy. The squares are 1″ and the exterior is quilted with plain batting, no interfacing.
– The embroidery on the exterior is done in a perle cotton, size 16, and the design is from a 1930s embroidery transfer I bought on eBay!

Finished Sew Together Bag!

– Inside, I’ve got fabrics by Anna Maria Horner, Lizzy House, Cotton + Steel (neeeeeed mooooore Cotton + Steeeeeeel) and a few I don’t know the designers of – shout if you know!

Finished Sew Together Bag!

– I used Vilene woven interfacing G700 in only the places the pattern says to use interfacing and my bag is incredibly sturdy. I’ve talked before about how much I love this interfacing, it’s so perfect for bags and pouches. I’m never really sure what designers mean when they say ‘medium-weight interfacing’, ‘heavy sew-in interfacing’ – etc – in patterns, because most interfacing isn’t sold that way, or at least not that I’ve seen anyway. Many places simply list the product name (i.e., Vilene woven G700) or have interfacing on the bolt. Unless you already have good experience matching interfacing to projects, it feels like a bit of a crap-shoot. I’d love if more designers put a ‘such as’ in their pattern materials list, so you at least have something to go on. Meanwhile, I just noticed that Jaycotts here in the UK has more descriptive product titles than most shops, so check them out if you aren’t sure what to buy!
– I sewed everything but the steps with a zigzag stitch with my darling Bettie, my Singer Featherweight 221K. I thought she might have a hard time with all those layers and interfacing, but she’s such a champ, just stitched right through it without a complaint!

Finished Sew Together Bag!

I essentially followed the pattern to the letter, except for a few notes:
– I used longer zippers for the interior pockets, then trimmed them back once the three pockets were all together. This was simply because I had them lying around and didn’t want it to turn into a pricey project, but I’ll do it that way on purpose for the others I’ve been told I’m making for family members. :) If you have a longer zip, you can move the slider completely out the way and not have to worry about getting around it at all. Sure, you can stop halfway (with your needle down!) and slide it up, but if you have them handy or you aren’t paying more for the extra length, I’d go with a slightly longer zipper and skip the whole bother.

Finished Sew Together Bag!

– I hand-stitched my binding around the sides, just because it’s always neater for me that way. I had to do it by machine along the zipper length and that took me a couple of tries to get it looking as invisible as possible, but it worked out ok in the end.
– I did machine-attach the bag handles just as the pattern describes, but I’m not really that happy with how it came out. My Bettie did great, but it was so difficult to keep everything lined up nicely with so much to sew through. You can’t really see that stitching here, but I think it looks a little sloppy. I think I’d just do that section by hand next time – I might even rip out that 1″ of stitching one day and re-do it by hand on this one.

Finished Sew Together Bag!

But anyway, holy cow, how I loved this project! Even though I rushed it to be done for the Fat Quarterly Retreat and it could’ve been a more relaxing project, I still loved the hell out of it. It seems like it’s going to be tricky, but it’s such a fun and clever pattern and if you just do as you’re told, it will all work out in the end. I love my bag SO much!

Sew Together Bag WIP (+ Fat Quarterly Retreat Link-Up!)

I’m writing this post to share a project, but also to take part in the Fat Quarterly Retreat linky party! It’s only a couple of days away now and I’M SO DAMN EXCITED! I never thought I’d get the chance to go, so it’s an extra-special treat for me and I seriously can’t wait to meet everyone!

There’s me, up in the right corner over there, and I’m taking the hand quilting, screen printing, lampshade making, Touchdraw, Getting Into Print, and Fracture quilt classes. PHEW. We’re going to learn all the things! It’s like nerdy sewing summer camp!

As soon as I was sure I was going, I decided to make a Wiksten Tank (so, so far out of my comfort zone, but been on my list for ages) and a Sew Together Bag (also on my list for ages, and I’d need to carry all my sewing junk around anyway, right?). Well, I ran out of time before I even got to the tank, but my Sew Together Bag has been an epic journey.

Not that it’s that difficult really, just that I managed to make an already high-maintenance project even more complex. Because I couldn’t just make a zippered pouch with three zippered pouches inside. I had to make it with a hand-stitched, paper-pieced exterior –

Sew Together Exterior

– which I quilted (even more than this progress photo) and then stitched –

Stitching on Sew Together Exterior

– using a vintage embroidery pattern from the 1930s. Naturally.

Sew Together Interior

Here’s my interior, basically finished. I couldn’t find a piece of felt that matched (how do I not have a piece of felt that matched?!) so I skipped the needle landing, though I did want to include it. Maybe I can hand-stitch one in later. And I used some of the Cotton + Steel pretties that I’d pre-ordered from The Village Haberdashery – I cut right into them almost immediately upon delivery. (And now I’m slightly panicked and will absolutely need more, STAT. Especially those tigers. Oh, the tigers!)

I hope to get it the last bits of construction done today. I better, because I still have a ton of materials to gather and prep before Friday. If you’re coming to the Retreat, I can’t wait to meet you – just look out for the goofy American with dark hair and glasses, or my high-maintenance Sew Together Bag. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram or Flickr, you’ll probably recognize me by my avatar, ’cause I’ll wear my stitched nametag while I’m there!

And for the rest of you, I’ll show you my finished bag next week!

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