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Boards

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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.

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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).

Notions

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Thanks and WIP

Thanks everyone for your support on my lack of desire to blog.  I feel very weary lately.

This weekend I had 4 days without leaving the property and I accomplished quite a bit. Here is a sampling:

Prepared about 30 pieces of fabric shabori-style for my next Indigo Dye day next Saturday.  A combination of folding, twisting, and stitching.  I believe I’ve used every piece of white/beige fabric that I have.  Next step is to raid the closets for anything light coloured and hit the op shops.

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Finished another 5 hexagons (Debby – I’ll be doing a detailed blog post soon about what I’ve learned and supplies I use so hang tight!).  The blocks are from the book The New Hexagon by Katja Marek and the layout is from the booklet Glorious Hexagon.  I also did about 20 blocks (based upon a quilt by Brigit Giblin and instructions from Emily Herrick’s The Mighty Lucky Quilt Challenge from February) plus setting triangles to audition for borders on this quilt.

Several needle cases made from my first indigo dyeing session.  I also added rust to them and quilted in machine sashiko style per Jacquie Gering’s lesson from The Mighty Lucky Quilt Challenge for March.

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I used a bit of my indigo-dyed fabric to mend two knee holes in my jeans.  I can’t remember the last time I actually wore out the knees of jeans.  These were ‘bought’ holes.  Some may think I’m too old to wear this style but I really don’t care what people think.  🙂    (I can assure you that you won’t see me wearing sparkly shoes or purple hats any time in the near future.)

Quilted 3 smallish improv pieces.  All three were in response to challenges on the Sherri Lynn Wood FB site.

Last week I bound a giving quilt.  The small group that I belong to is making quilts for a new resident facility.

Oh, and I did some more embroidery on my Voluptuous Woman quilt (there were quite a few hours of Rugby and Surfing competitions this weekend).  I’m still stuck on the naked lady image – but I haven’t given up yet.

 

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Eppiflex

One of our local quilt shops, The Quilting Patch in Nowra, NSW  has introduced a new English Paper Piecing (EPP) product called Eppiflex into the quilt market!

My hope is that she is wildly successful in this new venture!  I always like to give support to new business ideas and especially those ideas that come from women.  The bonus is that she is an incredibly nice and generous woman.

So, what is Eppiflex?  It is a flexible & reusable replacement for the papers used for EPP.   To me, it has a lightweight plastic ‘feel’ to it.  It has a hole in the middle for those people that use pins to baste and it has slots where you would typically fold your paper pieces.

This is the blurb from Danni’s website:

Our Eppiflex templates are

  • laser cut for precision – for more accurate piecing.
  • cut with a patented design which enables them to bend when you need them to.
  • strong and durable – reuse again and again
  • Transparent for fussy cutting and precise positioning.
  • heat resistant, so great for our “starch now, sew later” technique. 
  • hard at their edges – no more sewn in card. Templates remove easily without stressing the seams.
  • whip stitch or ladder stitch friendly!

This is what the 1 & 1/4″ diamond looks like:

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You can either thread baste these little templates or use a method that Danni calls “starch now, sew later” .  I tried both methods.

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I enjoyed using the thread baste technique.  It was a piece of cake and I’m typically a glue baster with papers.  The starch method didn’t work quite as well for me.  The templates slipped out while I was sewing.  However, thinking back on my technique, I didn’t use that little bit of glue that is suggested  so I probably should go back and try it again.

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The nicest thing about these templates is how reusable they are.  I decided to use the 1 & 1/4″ diamond template and make little building blocks (3 diamonds per block).  I used a light, medium and dark fabric – keeping the medium fabric the same on all the blocks.

Here is a picture of several of the building blocks sewn together.

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At this point, all the Eppiflex templates are still in the piece, but I could remove all the centre templates, reuse them to make more blocks and then attach those to the outside.  Since my piece is scrappy, this makes it easy to use.

The only drawback I found, if you want to call it that, is that if you want to wait until all your blocks are completed before laying them out and sewing them together, you would need a lot of the templates and that could get more expensive than paper pieces/templates.

One of the main benefits for me was that when stitching my pieces together, I didn’t ‘grab’ the paper.  My needle just seemed to slide past the edge of the Eppiflex smoothly.

The flexibility of the product is a huge bonus in my estimation.  They just feel better and lighter in my hand to the heavier paper pieces.  My hands take a beating in so many of the things I do that it is worth it to me to have products that make my enjoyment and ease of use factor higher.

Cost?  There are various prices – depending upon size of template and package size.  A packet of 50 1 & 1/2″ 45 or 60 degree diamonds is $15; 200 of the 36 degree 1 & 1/4″ diamonds is listed at $20.  But keep in mind that they are reusable.  And, Danni and her main squeeze will cut any size you need.

My thought is that when I get ready to start on my Lucy of the Crosses quilt, since that only requires 2 shapes, I will be buying these.  And, if I decide to do a scrappy hexagon piece like my friend Susan made (all beige fabrics, stunning in its simplicity), this product will be perfect.

Good luck Danni!  Like I said, I hope you are wildly successful with this product.

 

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