Tuesday, November 16, 2010

English Paper Piecing

I'll admit it - I'm in love with English paper piecing!!  It sounds very time consuming (actually it is very time consuming) but it is totally worth the effort.  If you aren't familiar with the process, it is, in essence, using paper pieces to stabilize fabric for hand piecing.  I'm working on a "Grandmother's Flower Garden" quilt right now.  I started about a month ago, and I have quite a bit of fabric gathered, but not so much sewn.  I did get one "flower" completed:

I'm really happy with how this turned out.  I completed one block first, just to test measurements and such.  It came out to 8 x 8.75 inches, which is what I calculated it should be before I started.  Yay for doing my math right!! I have found that many of these quilts (including the one my grandma is working on) are done in 1930's reproduction fabric - but I wanted my design to have a more modern design.  

I chose random fat quarters printed in all over large florals for the outside ring, and Michael Miller "Fairy Frost" fabric for the inner ring.  If you haven't seen the Fairy Frost fabric... it is beautiful.  It's got a metallic added to it for a wonderful sparkle!  Who doesn't love a good sparkle?  I found the Fairy Frost at my local quilt store Glacier Quilts in great 5" pre cut squares in 50 colors. 

Some of the blue Fairy Frost fabrics
50 different colors in each package!

I found if I cut these squares in quarters, I have the perfect size to use for my hexagons.  I plan on also buying some yardage of the Fairy Frost colors I like the most, but I haven't thought that far ahead just yet.  

I also found these pre-cut hexagons at Glacier Quilts

They are very accurate and are made out of a what I assume is card stock so they hold up really well to folding and repeated stitching.  I also found out that they iron really well, so after finishing my "flower" above, I was able to press it very flat and it was really pretty.  You can also order these here along with tons of other great pre-cut paper pieces.  I absolutely love anything that makes my quilting easier and more accurate!

I must add: having a good assistant is essential to the quilting process.  This is Louie, he's the best assistant a girl could ask for!  (Except when everything I own is covered in little bits of Louie fluff)

If you are looking for some great directions on how to do English paper piecing I found these sites to be most helpful:

I will post more pictures as I work on this project.  I find it extremely therapeutic so I tend to work on it quite a bit.  If you have pictures or links pertaining to English paper piecing or flower garden quilts, I'd love to see them!  Happy piecing! 


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