Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Blue

 
I've tried so many ways to make this block that aren't English paper pieced - I've sewn it by hand with a running stitch, I've tried using freezer paper to mark the shapes and then sewing it on the machine and I've tried foundation paper piecing. But all of them have lead me back to English paper piecing.

 
Although first they led me to the sewing machine repair shop having broken it during one of the machine-based attempts. Luckily, despite saying it wouldn't be until next week when I rang up to book it in, I think the repair shop sensed that they were dealing with an addict who may fall on the floor and weep if she didn't have a working sewing machine in her room and fixed it there and then (in my defense I said NOTHING to communicate that, so it must have been an aura of despair I was exuding). Amusingly, when my family came to meet me outside the sewing machine shop (having been on their own emergency trip to buy a Christmas stollen) they were laughing as they saw me holding the machine's case in the distance. They actually thought that I was so traumatised by the idea of leaving my machine there that I'd had to bring the empty case home with me like a large plastic comfort blanket. But no, I had a working machine inside it! However, during my brief time in the shop they introduced me to what might be my next machine. I adore my mechanical, which is so sturdy and reliable (the breakage was just some thread that had become trapped in an inaccessible place due to my doing something ridiculous while I was sewing), however, I often spend days on end working at my machine for several hours at a time and the idea of an automatic thread cutter and other conveniences is starting to have a great appeal! It feels slightly like I'm still using a typewriter when the rest of the world has discovered the wonder of the computer. There's an old-fashioned charm about it, but ultimately, it's tiring.
 
 
But anyway, these star-centred flowers are sewn entirely by hand and the decision to use English paper piecing now feels like the right one. Having made samples using virtually every different way that one might attempt to create the tiniest blocks (I've placed a £1 coin on the one above to show you the scale), the neatness and simplicity offered by English paper piecing feels refreshing,  and my love for the method is renewed, even though those tiny whip stitches are so time consuming.


I've three more of the tiny blocks to make and then it's on to the edges. The blue Oakshotts shot with black are lovely - just like the rubies, their shade changes depending on what angle you look at them from and enjoying this level of eye-entertainment while I sew makes me worry as to how I'll cope when I return to working with regular cottons after this project. I'll be craving some interesting patterns. Have you seen any new fabric ranges that you've fallen in love with recently? I have my eye on French General's Chateau Rouge and La Belle Fleur (which is due to be released in January).


Now that I've found a method of construction that I'm happy with my mind is turning to a frame, which I'll need to have made before it's completed if it's to be ready in time to give to my parents for Christmas. I adore the walnut frame I had made for the rubies, but I'm pondering over mirrored glass for the blues, although I don't remember seeing anything like that at the frame shop. My memory of the silver-hued frame department was a range that looked more like they'd been spray-painted to that colour, which appeals less. I wonder if next time I ought to buy the frame and then work to that size, rather than the other way around.
 

Any thoughts on frame colour? Would the walnut work?

Florence x

11 comments:

  1. The colours that these are coming up on my screen I'm wondering if light wood might work well?

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  2. Please tell me where I can buy a bottle of 'Essence of Florence'! I would love to have half of your energy and enthusiasm, I can't believe you are so far into your next project while I am still cooing over your last. Inspirational!

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  3. Lovely! I think grey or white frame

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  4. It's looking fabulous! Could you lay the red hanging on the floor and then place the blue pieces in a corner so you could see how it would look with the walnut?

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  5. What about a black frame?
    I've had an EPP project waiting to be finished for months. I picked it up again last night and kept thinking "How does Florence do this so quickly and beautifully?" I'm cursing myself for not researching construction methods before diving right in as sewing rows is proving to be a bit of a bugger. Next time I attempt such an endeavor it will surely be something in rounds to save my sanity (and fingertips :)

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  6. Hello - I tend to agree would a paler frame work a bit better. Think that's the way I would start with. It's looking so lovely. x

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  7. Ha, I love that the repair people could see the desperation in your eyes. My mum got a bit carried away at the Knitting & Stitching Show and, without me there to restrain her, bought herself a new computerised sewing machine. I have to say it does do some fancy things! As for fabrics, luckily the two collections I'm excited about aren't available yet - Cloud 9's 'In The Forest', which will be on their premium base cloth so I think usable for clothing, and Birch's knits. Not out till the spring so time to save up... You're an EPP machine! I think a silvery frame could work, if you can get one you like. x

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  8. I think the idea of a silver frame is just lovely. As a sewist older than you (but not old....)can I just say be careful with all this tiny stitch sewing. Try to have a break in between projects for the sake of your eyes. They are very precious and we will need them to sew into our old age when we will have oodles of time!

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  9. I so love these epp blocks you are doing with these gorgeous Oakshotts! Your stitches are so teeny! I think a silver frame might work too? xo

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  10. Love your work. I am not at all patient enough for this type, so admire you even more for that reason. I think your mirrored glass frame would be fine and I think it also depends on the style of your parents' home as it would have to fit there. personally I would be tempted to "pop" the blues with some wood in the orangey end of woody scales. Don't ask me which available wood it would be, I don't know. All the paler suggestions sound lovely too, but I really think that you need to take into account your parents' tastes. Good luck with all decision making!

    I think it was hilarious that your family was convinced about you hugging an empty case!

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I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x