Saturday, 16 July 2011

My Love Affair with EPP: English Paper Piecing

Hexalong anyone?

When I heard that Lily's Quilts was having an EPP QAL and she was going to be offering up some templates to make Hexies just a little more exciting than normal I just had to sign up.  You see EPP was how I first got interested in sewing and quilting as a child. When I was about 7 my Primary School class were asked to bring in old fabric and we spent ages making hexies and sewing them together as a class project. The finished Hexagon quilt was then donated to a local children's hospice.  We were also given a shape (in my case rectangles) told to select some fabric scraps and then we made a very simple 'block' which our teacher machined to some fabric, we'd had to bring in from home and thus we had a a cushion/pillow cover to take home.  This pillow took pride of place on our sofa until it fell apart. So started my love affair with English Paper Piecing.

Over the years I dabbled with EPP quite often. Never tackling a really big project.  Unless you count the time I sewed a tonne of tiny diamonds, that had been basted onto card, into a 3-D star; sewing tiny star sequins onto the points and finishing it off with a ribbon before giving it away to a neighbour as a birthday present. One I thought was fabulous, although I'm not sure it was received in the same spirit it was given, as I never saw it displayed in the house.

In my late teens I became very ill. Something which plagued me through most of my 20's, which were not a happy time for me. I remember the breaking point had come when I got up one morning and didn't recognise the person staring back at me in the mirror. So not wanting to smash the mirror and gain myself another 7 years bad luck, I smashed two glass vases near by. It was hugely satisfying feeling - although a tad messy and not very productive ;-) So I decided to revisit EPP and the Grudge Quilt was started. 

Although never quite finished...


It's entirely hand sewn and doesn't really need that much more work to finish. It just represents quite a bleak time of my life so I've never really picked it up to finish it.

Last year I joined another QAL on flickr and had so much fun making friends in the group and swapping fabric to make this quilt.  These are one inch hexies.  The only fabric repeated are where I hid some characters of the Wizard of Oz, as it's a tradition to duplicate just one or two charms as a little puzzle within the quilt.  Without the QAL to keep me going I'm sure this would have floundered like the Grudge Quilt. I blogged about this quilt for the Bloggers Quilt Festival here.

the piecing of the top is finished!

Next I wanted to go smaller. This needle book and pincushion are made entirely from half inch hexies. Yip they're tiny and fiddly.

Half inch hexies turned into a needle case and pin cushion

You'd have thought I'd had enough of hexies if not EPP, yet for round 3 of The Scrappy Mug Rug Swap I was back to EPP with a different kind of hexie.

Finished Mug Rug

There was some EPP Involved in my quilt for round 10 of DQS. But it's for Round 11 that I've gone the whole hog EPP wise...


One inch diamonds turned into hexies.

So it may not surprise you hear I'm really excited about the Hex-a-Long. My first instinct was to go scrappy. But I'm going scrappy for the Farmer's Wife QAL and I do like how a range like Lakehouse Dry Goods looks for this project and I've always wanted a Liberty fabrics only quilt...oh decisions, decisions. You will play along too, thought won't you?

Looking for the giveaway? Go here


  1. wow! Thats some amazing amount of hexies! I hope you do finish "grudge" quilt some day, it looks gorgeous :-)

  2. Really enjoyed reading your EPP story! Is the blue significant in your grudge quilt? Sounds like quite a blue time. off to check out Lily's quilts now...

  3. Wow! Your header hexie quilt is stunning! Love the rainbow effect - v.clever. Jxo

  4. I've zoomed over from the Hex-a-long Flickr group...and I'm in awe of all the hexie quilts you have made. A totally inspirational post. Sometimes it is the process that is important, not finishing, so perhaps the Grudge quilt will never be finished.

  5. I love seeing all of these thanks for sharing!

  6. I can't wait to see what you make for the HAL!! And I am so inspired by the fact that you have turned negative experiences into something (literally) constructive. Beautiful.

  7. you have the patience of a saint I reckon - such teeny tiny hexies! they do look lovely tho :-)


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