EPP with Love Patchwork & Quilting Magazine
I may be wildly adding on a few zeros in saying this, but it feels as though I have at least 10,000 things all queueing up waiting to be written about from the past few months and having a temperamental Internet connection really isn't helping me work my way through them. It's not beginning at the beginning, but let's begin with this cushion that makes an appearance in this month's Love Patchwork & quilting magazine (issue 9), along with a four page article on English paper piecing techniques, just because it's available now and tends to sell out fairly quickly and it's the thing that I'm most excited to tell you about because it's my favourite sewing magazine.
I also have a hand-pieced quilt in there too, but I'll come to that in another post. Although it's not written specifically for beginners, the techniques article covers all the supplies and techniques you'd need if you're new to English paper piecing. If you're interested in trying it, this issue also comes with a free pack of pre-cut hexagons in three different sizes, so it's well worth investing in. And, as usual, it's also packed full of crazily good patterns and editorial from some of my favourite quilters.
When I quilted this cushion in March, it was the first time I'd turned on my sewing machine for weeks, possibly months, and I spent a thoroughly happy hour mowing up and down it with my walking foot. I mostly favour hand-sewing, but sometimes it's just so delicious to do something quickly.
I designed the cushion to give a project-based introduction to fussy-cutting for English paper piecing. 'Fussy Cutting' is basically cutting the fabrics in such a way that a certain part of the fabric's print is featured - in this case, if you cut the same part of the print repeatedly, it's possible to create a kaleidoscope effect when you sew them together.
The article breaks down how to go about creating a similar kaleidoscope cushion in your own choice of fabrics.
Generally, I plan out my projects on an as-I-go basis, but I was worried about running out of time when I was designing this, so I planned it on the computer before making it. For me, a project can often grind to a halt for days while it sits in limbo in a what-fabric-should-come-next dilemma. If there was one character trait I'd most like to rid myself of it would be indecision. For some reason, this doesn't happen when I plan things on the computer as it's so quick to swap things in and out and come to an instant decision about what looks right overall. Without any as-I-go indecision, when I got to the actual sewing part, the piecing was really quick and a print-out offers the added benefit of having a 'map' to work from. Additionally, it's freakily good fun seeing an exact replica of your print-out gradually appearing as you sew (or maybe it's just me that would find that fun). Below is my pre-planned print-out 'map' on the right, and the real hand-sewn fabric version of the cushion cover on the left - I love how similar they look. I should really be pre-planning my Passacaglia cogwheels in this way as I've wasted a huge amount of time pondering fabric choices over the last eight weeks, but I haven't, because often I just want to dive into the fabrics after a day of working on the computer, rather than doing more computering.
If you're tempted by some EPP, but a cushion looks like too big a first project, I also have a free downloadable tutorial for some really simple hanging lavender sachets over on the Love Patchwork & Quilting Magazine blog. I've fussy cut the fabrics for these too (um, because I'm a fussy-cutting addict), but that's not actually necessary - I think they'd look gorgeous made up with some Liberty Tana lawn prints.
In other thoughts, isn't fussy-cutting an absolutely awful term? I can't believe I've just written a blog post where it appears quite so many times and where I even confess my addiction to it. Maybe 'precision cutting' would be better...