July is here and I’m so ready for days of reading, crafting and basking in the sun… I want to dive into my pile of books too, so let’s. I’m starting of with this beautiful patchwork book that came out this spring. It’s so brand spanking new that you might not have seen it yet, but let me tell you, if you like hand sewing this is a book you should check out!
The title is All Points Patchwork – English Paper Piecing beyond the Hexagon for Quilts & Small Projects! Over 200 pages of colorful inspiration, published by Storey Publishing and authored by Diane Gilleland.
So what is English Paper Piecing (EPP for short)? It’s cut paper templates in different shapes that you baste a small piece of fabric to. When you have several shapes you hand sew those together and create a larger piece of fabric that can become a coaster, a handbag or even a big quilt if you continue long enough. This might sound like tedious work, and it can be… But it is also super soothing on many levels. And once you master it it’s even fun, I promise!
My favorite thing with EPP is picking from my trash-stash of tiny bits that can’t become anything but a small hexagon, and finally using them. Pressing down with the iron and attaching it to the paper template transforms those wrinkly bits into something that could almost be a finished piece all on its own. Then you get to continue sewing, tiny stitches in a slow way, combining favorite scraps together into something new and exciting that grows under my fingers and can be displayed in your home… Yummy, right?
If you want a great bring-on-the-go quilt project EPP is it! If you need to de-stress, this just might be the thing that helps you the best in the long run. Anyway, back to the book, because the book is full of fun inspiration and pretty project pictures…
Diane calls it an idea book rather than a project based book. That means there are plenty of fun ideas to be inspired by, but not any full quilt patterns or tutorial descriptions on how to make the super cute softie owl, notebook cover or the decorative pillows that are in the book. I love that it is an idea book, because that means more eye candy and inspiration to me as a reader. I already know how to sew pillows and if I needed too, I could figure out (or google) how to sew an ipad cover (imagine this: I still don’t own an ipad and don’t know that I ever will).
What you get from buying the book, beyond the inspiration to dig in and get started, is a lot of helpful pointers about template shapes, combinations of shapes, basting them to paper templates in the best way, how to sew shapes together, how to remove the templates and so on. There is a lot of information to take in, including how to draft your own templates, using a circular drafting tool called a compass! Phew, no need to have access to a computer, a copy machine and a printer just to get started with printing hexagons that are even. You just draw them yourself. Who knew it was that “easy” (some patience and precision is needed I guess).
Oh and EPP is not only about hexagons, even though hexes are everyones (and my) favorite. There are many other patchwork shapes included in the book, like: octagons, diamonds, jewels, triangles, tumblers, pentagons and curved shapes. Some look harder to do than others, but I am tempted to give at least one or two a try soon.
If you’re a beginner sewist you can copy the templates in the back and learn everything you need to know about English Paper Piecing from this book. If you’re more advanced you have the opportunity to try new shapes, to learn how to draft your own templates and sketch out your own designs and patterns, simply put: to go beyond the simple hexagon.
So go get reading, and I’ll see you back here tomorrow for a new post!
Also wanted to share this picture of my most recent WIP EPP-project, made from Diane’s pattern that I bought online last year:
Let’s stitch together this summer
Finally I just want to mention that the online embroidery class, STITCHED, where I’m one of the teachers, is still for sale and will continue all the way to next year. It includes a lot of stitching, both mixed media, embroidery and quilting projects, so you can learn something new for a long time if you are in the class with us. Get the info here.
Further EPP Inspiration
* All Points Patchwork – information about the book on amazon.com
* All Points Patchwork – the book has its own very cool homepage with video tutorials etc
* CraftyPod Blog – Diane’s personal blog
* Pattern for Patchwork ball – a PDF-tutorial I made for a EPP-hex-ball
* Book reviews – the library of previous reviews by me