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Worth the Wait, Part One

I started this English Paper-Piecing (EPP) quilt over five years ago when we decided to remodel our store room into my quilting studio. Since I thought that I would be without my sewing room for about six months I chose an EPP project since it uses a hand-stitching technique. Tom decided however that it probably wouldn’t be a good idea for my mental health if I was without my sewing room for that long. So we just got rid of a lot of stuff and temporarily moved what would eventually go into the storeroom to other nooks and crannies in our house. As a result of that decision and a couple of other obstacles that led to a lack of motivation I didn’t get this quilt finished as quickly as I thought I would.

My journey with this project began when I found the book “English Paper Piecing: Fresh New Quilts from Bloom Creek” by Vicki Bellino in a quilt shop in Holdrege. I had done a couple of small EPP projects and was looking for a larger project to do. One pattern from this book particularly caught my eye. I then began looking for dark fabrics in purples, oranges, golds, greens, blues, reds, and browns. I found some in my stash and also picked up some when we would stop at quilt stores while traveling.

The dark fabrics were used to make 187 2” Hexagons for the center of the quilt and 94 diamonds for the border appliqué. In addition I needed 160 diamonds and 20 triangles in scrappy cream fabrics to stitch between the hexagons. I purchased the card stock shapes from a company called Paper Pieces and they worked like a charm.

I like the process of hand basting the fabric to the Paper Pieces and even found that I could whip stitch the hexies into a long row as we were traveling in the car. When it came to hand stitching the hexagons and diamonds together to form the center of the quilt, however, I ran into problems. The size of the 2” hexies hurt my hand because of the way I had to hold them together. Because of that I could only stitch about four at a time before my hand started cramping and I needed to take a break. Last summer I discovered Sew Tite magnets and started to use them to hold the pieces together. It was a game changer! I was much more motivated to work on this project and this quarantined life that we have been experiencing the last few months gave me the time to finish the center of this quilt.

My next task was to remove all of the paper pieces from the top. That involves unstitching the basting threads and popping out the hexagons, diamonds, and triangles from the back. While I thoroughly enjoy English Paper-Piecing and foundation paper piecing, tearing off the papers is definitely the most tedious part. I just look for a comfy chair, a good show on Netflix, and get to work!

Now that the center if FINALLY finished it is time to add the borders, decide on and stitch out the quilting designs, and add the binding. You’ll have to check back to the blog in a couple of weeks to see how this quilt turned out. In the meantime I hope you are inspired to tackle an EPP project of your own. My advice -- start small!! Happy Stitching!

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