Archive for the ‘EPP – English Paper Piecing’ Category

I might need to shift gears and pull out my paints for awhile.  None of my quilting projects are tripping my trigger.  They are long term projects that I’ve lost enthusiasm for.   A few of the traditional ones are in the ‘bleh’ category.  The improv ones are past the design stages and into the finishing stage which then leads me to the question of what to do with them when they are finished.

Here are pictures and discussion of my current UFOs.

Long Time Gone by Jen Kingwell.  I’m doing this as a block of the month.  I like the fabrics (Japanese taupes) and the pattern is fine.  It’s just that it’s someone else’s pattern.  It’s like doing a ‘paint by numbers’ painting.


EPP diamonds.  I started this a couple years ago to test out the Eppiflex product.  Love the product (and Danni!) but EPP hurts my hands.  And, this is turning out so BORING.  SO traditional.  I might need to follow the advice I gave a friend about her UFOs…put it in a box, tape it shut and put it in the garage or under a bed until I want to work on it again (if EVER).  Or give it away.


My Favorite word is.  This is embroidery on fabric that my friend Candy gave me – graduated starburst-like shades of grey from light to dark.  I started doing freeform embroidery on it with the gorgeous Cottage Garden Threads.  In the center, I plan to embroider my favorite word.  (Any guesses???? lol)


EPP bag.  A pattern I bought at a local quilt show.  1″ hexagons out of left over Liberty fabric.  I’m using linen for the main bag.  It’s finished except for putting a string through the top.  Another ‘what am I going to do with this’ project.


Orange Kantha.  I do love this one.  It is simply a 1 & 1/2 meter chunk of fabric that I bought at Always your Design in Dell Rapids, South Dakota last year.  I LOVE the fabric and didn’t want to cut it up so I’m Kantha stitching it.  It may take a lifetime as the rows are about 1/2″ apart.  I like everything about it – but it’s rather boring work.  And, it feels like I will never get to the finish line.  I save it for days when I need mindless work or when watching cricket.


Camelot.  I started this one on a whim earlier this year.  A group of us went to a quilt show and I found this gorgeous William Morris fabric line that HAD to come home with me.  VERY traditional.  Trish Harper had this pattern in QuiltMania magazine a few years back and I had it the back of my mind that I’d like to do it someday.  This fabric seemed to be the perfect fit.  Plus, a friend had a bag of WM fabrics to share with me so I could make it really scrappy.

I have 14 of 16 circles finished.  I’m still not sure on the background color.  I like the scrappy neutrals but I also like red floral and the red tone-on-tone.  I like hand piecing – but the quilt itself is feeling rather boring.  I keep wondering how I can add an improv/modern slant to it.



Indigo and Lime Green improv.  I like this one.  I need to dye a back for it and then quilt it.  I have the back pieces prepped and ready for an indigo dye session – hopefully soon.


She Was Loved 3.  I like this one too.  It’s next in line to be quilted.  The first picture doesn’t show the completed top – only the background fabric.  This tryptic might need to find a place on the wall somewhere in our home.  I really like it.  It feels like art to me.



Ruby May.  Ahhhh, Miss Ruby May.  Liberty fabrics appliqued on linen.  Embroidered motifs with Cottage Garden threads.  It really is a quilt that wanted to be hand quilted – but hands are hurting and Sweetie was calling.  I started doodle FMQing this one a few days ago.  I’ve always wanted to be able to doodle with quilting but have let fear of sucking get in the way.  Well, I finally dove into the pool of doodling.  And on a fabric where everything shows.  It’s turning out ok.  I’m probably close to ‘over quilting’ it – but that’s the way it goes.


Houses, houses, houses by Yoko Saito.  I love Yoko Saito’s work.  And I’ve always been drawn to this pattern of hers.  Not sure where I’m going with it but I enjoy the freeform cutting and applique.  The blocks are 5×6″.  At one point, I thought about doing a couple quilted pieces to recover Mr. W’s reading chair.  I’m using the same color palette for this one and Long Time Gone so I could combine them for that purpose.


I think that is the extent of my quilting UFOs.  TIme to sit in front of the fire and keep warm before deciding which one to work on today.

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I’ve been fascinated with the Lucy Boston quilt (and her story) for many years but it has always felt a little too overwhelming to start.  Then Danni, from The Quilting Patch and Eppiflex came out with her templates for English Paper Piecing.  I still have not been motivated to actually do a Lucy Boston quilt, but I used the templates to make this design (the center part).  I think I have about 50 shades of grey.  I used these as a travel project to the USA last year.  And, I LOVE the Eppiflex product.  HIGHLY recommend it.

The triangle border is improv pieced and the outer fabric is from Frond Designs.  I bought the fabric at Fern Hill Gifts, Quilts and Antiques last year (an amazing shop and they are fabulous at personal shopping for you also!).  The back is also a Frond fabric which a friend of mine found here in Australia.  The green on the back is fabric I painted as I didn’t have enough of the tree of life fabric.

The quilting was done on the Sweet 16 with the design help of Ms. A and Sista Kay.  I also used techniques I learned in the latest Angela Walters FMQ quilt challenge (it was free and another one is starting May 13) and a couple of her rulers.

As I was folding the quilt up after taking pictures, I discovered that I had left one of the plastic Eppiflex templates in one of the pieces.  It has actually been quilted into the quilt.  Go figure.

And the wood pile?  Well, we finally finished moving the wood (2 ute loads) to the wood shed.  We’re ready for winter.  Figure we’ll be lighting a fire before the end of the week if the cold and wet forecast is correct.


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So this quilt can finally go into the FINISHED pile (well, except for a label)!  I am glad to be finished but it was a real joy to work on.

This started with the blocks from The New Hexagon book by Katja Marek  and the booklet Glorious Hexagon by Katja Marek & Liza Prior Lucy.  The outer border was an idea from a 2017 Mighty Lucky Quilt Club tutorial.


My friend Bossy Boots and I started this in November 2016.  When developing my fabric palette, I found this musical print online and really like the rust and turquoise colors so I used that as my starting point.  As I collected fabrics, I glued them onto a piece of paper and carried it with me.  I probably ended up with 150-200 different fabrics.  Some purchased, some from the stash of friends and family.

We both ordered packets of paper templates from PaperPiecers.  I cut my own clear plastic templates to use for those pieces I wanted to fussy cut.  I also used the glue basting technique.


I loved the process of making each individual block.  Most days after lunch I’d sit in the front room and work on my blocks.  It was also fun to do this project with a friend as we would share pictures of our blocks as they were completed.  The Facebook site was very encouraging also.

The part of the process that I really really do not like is sewing the blocks into rows and then sewing the rows together.  ugh.  I’ve made 4 EPP quilts now and I always forget how much I hate that bit.  Even the paper pulling out process is ok in comparison.

Another problem I had with this quilt is my borders didn’t fit my centre.  I tried about 3 different configurations before I found one that I liked and that I could make work.


I hand big stitch quilted it with freehand triple clam shells in the centre and triangle borders and a simple outline of the cross blocks.  I used DMC perle cotton in a variegated color.  I used Quilt Lite for the batting and left over fabrics for the back.  It’s a nice weight for our climate and I know I will enjoy curling up with it as Autumn approaches.

It’s a tad bright and bold and in your face but I’m ok with that.  I photographed it on my favourite fence on the property.  During the last wind storm, about 1/2 of it took a tumble.  We might be able to salvage some of it – but the fallen part is destined for firewood.IMG_2197

I’m linking to the AHIQ.  It’s not a TOTAL improv type quilt…rather a ‘fly by the seat of my pants’ type of quilt so I think it qualifies.  🙂


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I have 3 boards that I use.  They are about 12″ square and made out of 1/4″ plywood.  Our local hardware store will cut it for you if you don’t have the tools in your garage to do it.  Board one is left plain.  It is used for glue basting.  Board two has a fine grade of sandpaper glued onto it and is used for tracing the template onto fabric (so it doesn’t shift).  Board three has batting attached to it and is used primarily as a lap top table.  It keeps the arrangement of the blocks in place plus holds my tools.

Paper Templates

Make your own and cut them or buy them.  I’ve made my own using freezer paper (1st time), card stock (2nd time) and bought them (3rd time).  You can find template pages online.  If you do your own, you’ll be doing a lot of cutting.  The ones I bought this time were from Paper Pieces in the USA.  In Australia, Sue Daley sells them.


Plastic Templates

This is what I’m using for my next EPP project.  It’s a new product called Eppiflex.  It was designed and made by Danni and her main squeeze.  Right now, it’s only available at a local quilt shop called The Quilting Patch in South Nowra (but she’ll gladly ship to you!).  I did a separate blog post on this product so if you missed it, here is the link.  I’ve since seen a demo and am going to try using a glue stick WITH the templates and see how that goes.  I’ll keep you posted!

Basting Methods

  1.  Glue – I like the Sewline glue stick and glue.  I’m sure others work just as good.  I tried a couple glue sticks from the office supply store but the application area was too big.  I like the smaller surface area of the Sewline stick.  Also, use less rather than more.  And, if it’s a hot day – pop it into the fridge to firm it up.  Keep the glue away from the edge of the paper template to make sewing easier.
  2. Thread basting – I tried it.  Both through the paper template and just at the corners.  It seems to take longer than glue basting.  My friend SB swears by it though and she won’t even consider glue.  When I did it, I used cotton thread.  If the template is small enough, you can just baste the corners.  Also, I found thread basting to the papers was somewhat hard on my hand because of the firmness of the papers (more cardstock weight than copy paper weight).



Needles:  I have been using Sue Daley Milliner’s needles since my friend SB put me on to them.  They are available at The Mulberry Tree in Milton if you’re local.  They are long enough, fine enough, bendy enough, they don’t break easily…I can’t say enough good about them.  Love them.

Thread:  I like Superior Bottom Line.  I had several colors from an appliqué project so I’ve been using mostly matching thread for my latest hexagon quilt.  I’ve also used YLI Silk 100wt and like that also.  Both are slippery threads so sometimes I’ll tie an overhand knot up at the eye of the needle to keep the thread from slipping out.  That little tip came from a gal on Ravelry and has certainly saved me pulling my hair out.  The next spool of thread I buy, I think I’ll go with a medium grey or beige so that I can simplify the color selection.

Sewline needle threader:  I wouldn’t be without it.  It is one of those little things that makes me smile every time I use it.

Clips:  I use these to hold the pieces together, to line them up prior to sewing.

Karen Kay Buckley scissors:  These little scissors are great!  They have little serrated blades, big finger holds and are lightweight.

My headlamp:  Petzl.  Not VERY attractive but oh, so useful!

Other tips

Seam allowance:  1/4 or 3/8?  I prefer 3/8″  It gives me just a little bit more fabric to work with.

Whip stitch or ladder stitch?  Whip stitch for me.  I can’t quite figure out the ladder stitch.  Think I need a hands on demo for that.

Folded or flat?  I do folded.

Google for tutorials and EPP designs/ideas!  Google is your friend for learning.  Hope this helps those of you that are tempted to dive into the addictive world of EPP.  Just remember – I warned you!

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EPP – or English Paper Piecing.  I am working on my 3rd hexagon quilt.  Yes, I know.  After number two I said “no more hexagon quilts”.  I was wrong.

The first one was done about 20 years ago.  Well, it was started about 20 years ago.  I finished it a few years (5?) ago.  It was done with scraps of floral fabrics.  I used freezer paper and enlisted the help of all family members to help me baste the little suckers.  It is hand quilted and lives with my nephew J.


I really love my 2nd hexagon quilt.  I called it Liberated Hexagon.  It’s made with Japanese taupe fabrics and combines both the traditional EPP technique and improv crumb piecing.  I used card stock for the hexagons on this quilt and a glue stick.  Once pieced together, I appliquéd the hexagons onto the first border (the medium brown).  This one is also hand quilted – but with big stitch quilting.


I’m currently working on a hexagon quilt based upon the book The New Hexagon by Katja Marek and Glorious Hexagon booklet by Liza Prior Lucy and Kim McLean.

These are pieced hexagons that finish at approximately 6 inches.  There is a total of 54 different block patterns.  I added some additional fussy cut blocks and a few tumbler blocks.  Plus, I needed 10 half-hexie blocks to make it rectangular.  Overall, I have about 75 blocks for the centre of my quilt.

I plan to add a narrow border and then a pieced outer border to bring it to 60×80-ish.  Any bigger and it will fall into the BAQ (Big Ass Quilt) category, which I really don’t want to go into.  However, that doesn’t mean that if I find the perfect border fabric that I won’t add an outer border.


Next post will be the tips and techniques I’ve picked up along the way doing this 3rd EPP quilt.  And full disclosure – I have a 4th one planned.  It isn’t a hexagon pattern though.  I’m not sure what it’s called but it uses the shapes from Lucy Boston’s Patchwork of the Crosses quilt – a honeycomb block and square.  I’m doing them in 1 & 1/4″.  Yes – I’m bat-shit-crazy.

The colors aren’t quite right on the next 2 pictures.  See the picture above  and the last picture for more true colors).

TIPS blog post will be coming in a couple days.



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