Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Bitten by a Bug

Help. I've been bitten by a bug. The English Paper Piecing bug. It bit me right in the middle of vacuuming, can you imagine? I felt faint and had to stop, sit down, take a load off my feet and make something from all of these lovely fabric scraps I ordered a few weeks ago. Has this ever happened to you?


Sometime last year I bought these paper diamond shapes at a quilt show and recently found them when I was looking for something else. Distracted again : )  And now I simply can't remember what I was looking for in the first place. Oh well. No matter. I have new plans!


If you haven't tried it, English paper piecing (EPP) is not difficult. It takes a little while to get the hang of it and then it goes pretty fast. They say it's a perfect project to take with you when you're on the run or  - maybe like me, not running but sitting still. I have been keeping it on a table near the sofa so I can pick it up when relaxing in the evenings.
 
 
I bought this book by Vicki Bellino around the same time I bought the paper pieces. I was determined to make some cute Star Flowers.
 
 
And, look - I did!
 
 
 
 
Don't ask me what I'm going to do with them. I will probably applique them to a background. The design will come later. Right now I am collecting these diamond stars same as I did my hexagons.


To get started, trace the template on the wrong side of your fabric scrap. Cut diamond shapes 1/4 inch larger than the papers all around. I like to cut a generous 1/4 inch.

Here's a great video on English Paper Piecing  that explains it better than I can.

 
I prefer to punch a hole in the center of the paper shape and stick a  pin through it to keep the fabric from shifting. This way it's also easy to pull the paper out with the rounded end of a seam ripper when you're finished making the individual stars.

 FYI - I did not go through the paper as the video shows - just basted around the sides of the fabric. Worked for me and it was much easier. I make my hexagons this way too. And - no need to remove the basting stitches when you're done
 

I also like to use plastic coated paper clips to keep the fabric in place on the paper pieces while I baste.

 
The papers I used were small enough that one large basting stitch on the straight edges and two or three anchoring stitches in the corners were enough to hold in place. As I mentioned, I did not feel the need to stitch through the papers but you may prefer to do it that way. Try whatever works.
 
Whip stitch the diamonds together. Sew three together and then another set of three and sew the two units together with a straight stitching line across rather than trying to set the diamonds in one at a time.
 
 
 
Don't snip the tails off, let them "wag." I will tuck them under when I applique the stars to the background.


Be careful, this can easily become an obsession. The other day it was so nice outside I sat in the backyard and stitched while watching the dogs romp (I should have been doing the laundry). I think I have found the perfect summer project.

26 comments:

Anna said...

This post made me a little breathless with excitement...thank you!

LINDA DOUGLAS said...

HI! NEAT! I THINK I MU8T TRY SOME TOO!
HAPPY STITCHING!

msstitcher1948@yahoo.com

quilting Jeannet said...

Wow....the small hole inside the pattern looks very handy!!

Paula said...

I am so addicted to EPP that my husband thinks I need a support group! Love EPP. and the fact that it is an easy take along project. I have shared my addiction with a few from my quilt group.
Keep on EPPing!

Heartsdesire said...

Looks like a fun summer project, and great way to use up some of those pesky scraps that I can't seem to reduce, not matter how hard I try.

Debra said...

Yes, OBSESSION (notice the all caps) is one word that comes to mind when I hear EPP! Wait until you start in on fussy-cutting all the diamonds to make the fabric "work" for you! Hours can pass as I sit and play with my EPP! (I'm doing honeycomb shapes)
EPP is perfect for a summer project! AND for Fall, Winter and Spring!
Welcome to the club!

audrey said...

The more I see of this method, the more I want to try it! Thanks for adding another nail in my coffin.:)

Saskia Smit said...

This is looking very good.I am bit by the Hexagon-bug. I still don't know what works faster/better for me: glue or stich the paperpieces.

Wonky Girl said...

I really like the star flower shapes. I would like to try EPP some day. Thank you for taking time to show all the photos of your steps.

Jan said...

What smart, quick tricks for EPP! I may actually try it now! And, yes, I have started something new because I was looking fo something, and a new idea popped in my head instead. And...I forgot what I was looking for anyway!

paulette said...

I love these...geeze...I hope I get bitten!! I need to find this book...and papers!
P

Terry Truesdale said...

I am addicted too!!! I love The Hillbilly Handiworks Blog. She sells these little kits for real cheap and I cant wait to get my new set each month!!!

Rosa said...

I`m bit too by hexies and hope to catch up some blocks this summer.Have fun!

Michelle Ridgway said...

Oh unfortunately your warnings have come to late...I too have that gorgeous book and love a good baste over paper. Your stars are beautiful. At least you know you have lots of similarly affected friends...enjoy :-)

Regina said...

I'm another one bitten by EPP, I'm finishing a Grandmothers Flower Garden. I'm going to try the hole in the middle of the hexie, I usually just pin in the middle. Thanks for the tip. Love the stars.

Tammy said...

Wow, it does look easy. I may have to try it. Where did you order your scraps from?

agullainquieta said...

Una buena idea, así parecen más fáciles de hacer.
Un abrazo

Sue Bennett said...

I love English paper piecing.. Your stars are wonderful.. I so far have only done hexi's. they will look great appliquéd on that background.

Beth said...

I have the bug too! I had it once and it sort of faded a bit. Then I relapsed when I went to spring market last year. LOts of hexie shapes. I also met Sue Daly. (You have google her her quilts are amazing). I am working on several EPP projects right now. ;)
Love your stars.

Anonymous said...

I seem to be obsessing on hexes -- ever since you gave us that challenge. I never finished the challenge quilt, but I am making pillow tops, drink coasters, and who knows what else. It is great for something to do when I am a passenger in the car because it is so portable! Perhaps I need to move on to diamonds and stars! Thanks, Gail in DC

PWiggs said...

Thanks for a great start to the morning -- amazing how projects pop up when in pursuit of another mission. Stars are wonderful - can't wait to try them.

Amy said...

I love EPP. I may need to get that book. I love the fabrics you are using! I have Sue Daly's book. I am getting extremely addicted to hand sewing!

marian said...

oh yes they are very cute, Kathy!! I enjoy doing paper piecing too, so i think these sweet stars will definitely go on my to-do list lol!! cheers...Marian

katyquilts said...

Oh gosh, that looks like fun! I will resist, I will resist....

sue said...

I was delighted to see your EPP post. I too have started with the very same diamonds. It is very addicting and want to incorporate this into a quilt. Starting small with a candle mat or table topper. It is so fun!!!!
sue

Donna said...

I hope you will show us the next step, how you take the paper out, is it reused...and tucking in the tails.

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