Ratcheting down to normality

…or at least some semblance of it. I saw I. off at the airport today and am slowly beginning the business of settling back into life-as-usual. It’s always a bit disconcerting to shift gears from a two-person household back to a home of one, especially after a long visit from I., so it’s going to take me a little bit of time to adjust. I meant to show off my secret pal goodies today but just couldn’t muster up the energy to take all the photos so instead, here’s the bit of rambling on my first quilting project that I threatened to blab about right before I left (since I had already taken all the photos…). My apologies to my secret pals for not showing off the goodies yet.
Ever since I set eyes on the beautiful quilts that populate the pages of Yarnstorm, Bemused, and Knitting Wench, I’ve been dying to try my hand at the craft. So, for months now, my fabric hoard has been steadily growing, along with my collection of quilting tools. But even after reading carefully through the detailed directions in Denyse Schmidt’s Quilts, I still found the whole process too daunting to do much of anything with my new fabrics. Fortunately, I came across a wonderful post at Be*mused, complete with craft-itch inducing photos, about the technique of English paper piecing. After looking here and here, not only did I have a way of easing into quilting, I also had, at long last, some practical use for those annoying subscription cards that seem to flutter out of every magazine by the dozens. The directions for the piecing technique looked simple enough on paper and, much to my surprise, actually were so in application. A little scotch tape and some whip-stitching produced neater hexagons than I had ever dared to hope for (straight lines and exact measurements are not exactly my friends). And really, when else do you ever get to use tape in sewing? This little pieced block took hardly any time at all.
Here’s the front of the hexagon flower block...

And here’s the back where you can see the subscription card templates that are keeping each hexagon in such crisp shape.

Once I had the pieced block, I cut some batting and muslin for the actual quilting bit. I basted the whole top to the batting and muslin before popping out each paper templates as I stitched over each hexagon. Soon, I had myself a little pin-cushion top. I stuffed the center black hexagon with some poly-fill instead of sewing it down like the rest for some extra pin-stickability.

For the lower half of the pincushion, I used a slightly larger piece of black flannel in the same shape so that the bottom would be a bit rounded rather than flat. Add stuffing and voila! I had my pincushion for the June/July pincushion challenge -- a funky hexagon flower. (You can see all the other wonderful flower pincushions for the challenge here.)

So, all in all, English paper piecing is really very fun and easy. I'm quite inspired now to play around with other geometrical shapes.


Blogger aj said...

How sweet!! And it doesn't look too difficult. I've never done any real recreational sewing... mostly just buttoms and mending tears. I'd love to try something like this!

And the flower pin cushion gallery you linked to is stunning! All made by very talented people!

7:18 AM  
Blogger Philippa said...

I thought you'd be quilting soon!

Polyfilla (yes, that is spelled correctly. I think it's a brand name) is used here to fill holes and walls and seal windows. I guess you mean something different!

Hope life with I. so far away again isn't too sad.

9:47 AM  
Anonymous le chat qui coud said...

i love it !!! i love it!!!!

11:39 AM  
Anonymous francoise said...

It is lovely! What a satisfying project when you learn a new technique successfully (and enjoy the process at the same time...)

2:48 PM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

Be careful - it gets addictive! (Thankyou for the kind comments on my blog)

12:30 AM  

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