EPP Diamond Pillows FO; or, How it Took 18 Months to Sew Two Pillows

EPP Diamond Pillows

Huzzah! The EPP diamond pillow covers are finished!

I can’t believe this project took me a year and a half. I do think I was a bit overzealous taking these on when my only EPP experience was with a bunch of hexagons: for one thing, hexagons are magic to sew together. I can’t really say why exactly but they are just easier than other shapes. Or at least I think so. And the other thing: I hadn’t hand-sewn anything more than a few coasters on a deadline when I thought this project up. I somehow didn’t realize at all how long this would take, with each round of diamonds larger than the one before, and so very much basting to do. There was a point where I was so frustrated with how slow it was going, I had to put it away for a while (ahem, months) before I was able to face it again.

EPP Diamond Pillows

So perhaps it was a little foolish to take on such an involved project with a deadline – as a gift. But luckily, Mom is understanding of these insane things and didn’t make me feel bad about it. When I did pull them back out again, I’d done some more involved EPP in the meantime and that little bit of extra experience made a big difference. (I can tell I’d learned some stuff in between, because the stitching on the second pillow is far better than the first.)

EPP Diamond Pillows

So finally, finally, they are done and ready to be given to their new owner. The tops are completely hand-sewn, then machine quilted and assembled. The fabrics are all Kona Cottons with one print from Tula Pink’s Plume line (oh, how I love Plume and desperately wish I could have some more – those feathers!!!). And, well, that’s that!

EPP Diamond Pillows

Now I’m thinking about some new pillows for my own bedroom – but not sewn by hand. Probably.

There’s more photos of these pillows in my Flickr photostream if you’d like to see!

EPP Pillow Progress

EPP Pillow Progress

It’s been a while since I updated you on my Finish-along progress – and, in fact, I’m finally ready to call my finish-along finished!

I didn’t exactly finish everything, but I’m done with it all. There were a few projects I formally decided not to finish. A few I didn’t get to but didn’t really expect to anyway. And the rest are all done!

Except for these paper pieced pillows for my mother, which have been in progress for a looooong time. I think I bit off a little more than I could chew when I started them – I wasn’t an experienced enough EPP-er to really know how much of a commitment they would be. But it was worth sticking with it, because they really have come out beautifully (ahem, if I do say so myself)!

EPP Pillow Progress

These photos show the tops almost quilted – I had run out of thread when I took these photos. But I finished them off yesterday and only need to square them up and stick backs on them before they can finally be given to Mom!

Lily's Quilts

I’m linking this up to Lily’s Quilts Fresh Sewing Day — what a cool idea to get to know new bloggers!

Star-Hexies on Sew Mama Sew!

I’m so crazy, ridiculous, bonkers excited to tell you that my first tutorial for the always-awesome Sew, Mama, Sew is today’s post! EEEEP! How crazy is that?!

Star-Hexies with Sew, Mama, Sew!

I’ve contributed a little English Paper Piecing tutorial for these lovely Star-Hexies (a star-in-a-hexagon) – I’m absolutely smitten with them and could make a million, just for the hell of it. I hope you’ll go over there and check it out!

If you’ve popped over from Sew, Mama, Sew – hey! how you doin’? And if you love English Paper Piecing like I do, I hope you’ll stick around – there’s some exciting EPP news in the works as we speak! It’s all happening!

Finish-along with &Stitches

If you are an &Stitches reader (and I hope you are!), you’ll know that we’re starting 2014 off with a finish-along. A good way to start a new year, I think – tidying up the project basket and getting things done!

My finish-along goal might be a little different than others, because I don’t have one project to focus on, I have a pile:

Embroidery to Finish-along with &Stitches!

This pile is my official entry to the &Stitches Finish-along, because it’s all embroidery. It might seem a bit excessive, but this whole post (embroidery and otherwise) is full of projects that are nearly all at least 80% finished — and I don’t honestly expect that I’ll finish them all. So pictured above:

  • French Knot sampler, with only one partial section left to complete.
  • Orangework Sampler, not quite half done, but this is a fairly small and quick project.
  • Eels lyrics embroidery! Oh, how I love this project so, and am so sad that it got so deeply buried at the bottom of the basket. There’s not much left to do really, but I was stumped by the best way to stitch those teeeeensy flowers and it was put on pause.
  • The cross-stitch pictured is from a kit bought at the Bronte House about 12 years ago. It’s a reproduction of a sampler Charlotte Bronte stitched as a little girl. She must’ve had amazing eyesight, because this has lingered for so long simply because it is so tiny I can barely see it. But there’s only one line left to stitch!
  • And lastly, those blue-gray blobby flowers? Those are updated from a pattern book from 1915 and are something I started a very, very long time ago. I honestly doubt I’ll get to this one in time, but I can give it a sporting try, right? Those flowers are all done in satin stitch, and there’s leaves too, and it’s a slow project – but I do enjoy it a lot.

Although not officially tied to the &Stitches finish-along because it’s not embroidery, I’d also love to see this pile finished:

Knitting Projects to Finish-along

Again, all projects nearly done, it’s just silly that they’re still lingering. The magenta is my Henslowe shawl, which only needs blocking. The white is a secret thing that may possibly become a pattern – with very little knitting left to do. The camel alpaca project is a new shawl for my now-home-from-the-hospital mother. To be fair, this has only been on the needles for about a week, but I’m already on the edging and I don’t want it to linger, so I’ve included it. And the mustard colored project is a sock for my brother (the second of the pair) which is perfect for train travel and my upcoming visit to Amsterdam.

EPP project to finish-along

And lastly, this set of English Paper Pieced pillow covers, a gift for my mother now over a year late. Yikes. EPP is slow going, which is why I like it, but it is admittedly very unlikely to be finished quickly. However, one top is already finished and the other is about halfway, so it’s worth mentioning it here and hoping for the best.

These are, sadly, not all of my UFOs, but they are the UFOs that I: a.) definitely want to finish. There are one or two I’m not convinced about continuing, so they aren’t taking part in the finish-along, and b.) are far enough along that quick completion isn’t a pipe dream. Long-term UFOs like my Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt don’t count, those are meant to be ongoing. I tend to only get frustrated by projects that linger unnecessarily, and that brings me to my one and only crafty resolution for 2014:

Less projects, more often.

Because I start too many projects at once, they all take for-ev-ar to finish, which means I’m totally sick of the sight of them by the time I get near the end, which means I let them pile up to this point I’m at now but I really don’t want to work on them anymore! This year, I want to have fewer WIPs going at once, so that I finish them and move on to new things faster. Shortening the cycle, as it were.

And the best place to start? Clearing out the basket. Let’s go!

FO: Snow Crystals Mini-Quilt

Snow Crystals Mini-Quilt

Such a wonderful, comforting project, sadly finished. I mean, I’m happy to be able to hang it somewhere and move on to something new, but this was one of those rare projects that don’t come around that often.

Snow Crystals Mini-Quilt

I loved everything about this little quilt, from picking out the fabrics on a lovely day out with a friend, for no reason other than their charm, to picking the traditional Snow Crystals block for them, through the paper piecing phase and the quilting. Every bit was a joy.

Snow Crystals Mini-Quilt

I sewed this entire thing by hand — well, nearly anyway. I sewed the binding onto the front by machine – I’d probably have done it by hand for the sake of completism, but I just did it automatically. I notice now that my corners are over the place; I suppose I could block it and see if that helps? I’m not sure exactly what’s up with that whole quilt-blocking thing. And my only real complaint is that I used a red Pilot Frixion pen to mark the quilting lines and no matter how hard I ironed, it’s still a teensy bit visible. Not enough to get upset about, but I won’t use a red one again. I don’t think I have the same problem with black or blue.

Snow Crystals Mini-Quilt

This project meant a lot to me, so it couldn’t be named for just any old song (I always name things for songs, that’s just how I roll). I chose Elvis Perkins’ “Send My Fond Regards to Lonelyville”, which is just so, so beautiful. Perkins is a very special artist, totally, massively underrated, and never ever fails to make my heart swell. He’s an amazing songwriter, has one of the most captivating voices I’ve ever heard, and he makes the kind of music that makes me feel like it’s hard to breathe. In a good way. So, so beautiful.

Snow Crystals Mini-Quilt

Anyway, so there we have it: a tiny quilt that helped keep me comforted through a rough time, named for one of the prettiest things I know, ready to live on my wall and just be quietly lovely.

(Click over to Flickr to see more photos.)

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