English Paper Piecing Project – done (for the most part)

Well, after a weekend of hauling ass, the Craft Nook Sweatshop is officially closed. Which is good because my hands and arms are so tired, it is even difficult typing this.  I plan an evening off tomorrow.  But for now, I’ve finished up the EPP squares and here they are pre-trimming (I am just too tired to trim tonight – how sad is that?)


Close ups of each:

IMG_0839 IMG_0838

You’ll recall that my plan was to swap the gold triangles for purple which I did do but decided my original idea was better.  As you can see….


While the purple acts as a unifier for the four blocks, it’s a bit pandering – it doesn’t really work for the block itself, so, I swapped it back (another hour added to project).

I learned a lot doing this technique.  Matching the points got better as I went along but ultimately I had to do a lot of fussy sewing – some of those joins are actually four seams along the bottom each going point to edge so each section would join up and line up properly.  The only thing I feel I did not master was the edges.  Some of those are going to be truly difficult to join to the next piece because of reduced seam allowances.  I think I was trimming too much off the points before I joined in an effort to reduce fabric – I’m going to revisit that next time I do this technique but for now, I am IN LOVE with these color combinations and think these will look fantastic in the quilt… which is still in sections for now, but it’s slowly getting there. Off to watch TV and not use my arms for the rest of the night.  So exhausted!


IMG_0833My plan to pop in some color  to the quilt is coming out very monochromatic and similar to what’s already dominant in the quilt!  Think I’ll swap out the yellow for some purple. Hmm.

This is why these projects take me more time.  I often have to see stuff before I can decide if it’s what I wanted or not.  I’m starting to remember that this is my process at least so I  don’t get bummed when I have to swap things out (or at least not as much – work in progress like everything else.)

Getting a hang of the new technique.  A few glitches (like when I tried to sew on the smaller fabrics to the larger templates – I was convinced I cut the wrong size triangles for an hour until I looked over my supplies LOL) but getting it together.  Gonna take a few of these basting pieces upstate with me. I see why so many like these hexi projects – this is sort of addicting….

For now, off to work.  And it’s Tibetan New Year – Year of the Wood Sheep – so perhaps I should say Happy N’ewe Year?  :-)  Have a great day, all.



I’m about 80% done but wanted to post something before you all thought I was dead.  The little ties are the colors I’m going to use for those unfinished blocks.  Should be wrapping this embroidery part of the project up this weekend. Fingers crossed.

Close up of some of it:


The needle work is less lost in person which is nice :-)  Today we start the section on paper piecing.  Given how pale this is I’m going to try to bold it up on that next round. I’ll keep you posted.

Alley, out!


Very excited to begin embroidering.

IMG_1397So many colors.  Using some of the above, plus some newbies from Daytona Trimmings last night, below are the colors I’ve selected for the next part of the quilt.  (Posting for my own edification and notes if nothing else):

threadsI’ll post photos of the finished work when it’s done, of course.  Above, bolded will be the satin stitch featured ‘jewels’ blocks as well as the straight stitch blocks, the regular font will be additional straight stitch blocks (mystery pink is half a skein I found in a drawer – no number), and the last 3 are if it looks blah and I want to mix it up a bit (or run short of thread).  These last three are extremely similar to 3 that are already in the quilt but also match as well.  We’ll see.

Mishaps and thoughts on mishaps

For the next segment of the project, we are tracing embroidery templates onto our white fabric strips.  Reminder below:


using Saral transfer paper.  I’ve had great success with the white Saral paper but obviously I needed to use the darker color so I could see it.  But alas, it was a DISASTER.  I either got a bum roll or this roll has a ton of residue on it but the graphite color smeared EVERYWHERE – all over white stuff that will not be embroidered, the borders, me!  What’s more, the only way to get (most of) it off was to wash the squares.  Which means the preliminary work I did using water soluble pencil got mostly washed off as well.  Another couple hours down the drain.  Literally!

I took no photos.  I was in a tizzy and also rushing to get this done.

Which leads me to thoughts on mishaps. I became super attached to this not working.  I was upset, ‘hooked’ as Pema Chodron would say.  I’m was talking to another Buddhist student last night before our class – she (professional artist) was saying to live with the mistakes and make them a part of the piece.  It was helpful to hear that.  And also we discussed how time slows down when you have a meditation practice which is a really neat side product of that.

And yet, boom, hooked once again (post class) and again this morning by the graphite smearage.  I finally sat again and got to a place with more equanimity. Thankfully. All of this is a process.  Not a process of making the quilt, even, but a process of smearing things and dealing with that, loving your work and noticing that, hating the mistakes or color choices and noticing that. And not judging any of it.  Rachel had advised watching out for your perfectionism and it’s good and well heeded advice that I will need to remind myself of many, many times.

In any event, on a more positive note, I redrew 2 of the templates today just using light and the water soluble pencil and they are good enough to work with.  The art store where I bought the funky Saral paper is 2 blocks from work so I’m going to see if they will exchange it when I pick up lunch.  Daytona Trimmings has late hours and cheaper DMC embroidery thread so I did go and pick up a bunch of colors so I’m ready to go.  I have 2 templates drawn so I can actually start this tonight of the commuter train (teen is in a play, heading to NJ to see that tonight) and get that.

But I’m recommitting to mindfulness on this project which means minding the rushing and minding the ‘goal/deadlines’ and not making them into non-Buddhist projects. If the idea behind my practice is to stay mindful in everyday life – something I’m getting good at at the office but still failing at personally LOL- this project is just another way to practice that. And for that I am begrudingly (let’s be honest) grateful.  Have a good day, folks.

3rd time is a charm – sort of

I had 3 things to accomplish to move forward on this block project.  Take my completed reverse appliqué block, add a mitered border, then add a regular white border (to be embroidered) and then add another mitered border to finish.

The first time, I actually did it right!

IMG_0822Pleased with mitering:


But ultimately I really felt the green so close to that center square just washed the whole thing out.  So I took it out.

Then I tried this:


Which IS pretty but still wasn’t what I was going for.  And then after I finished it, I realized that that border was supposed to be 2″ wide, not 1″.  Fail.

I was pretty much out of that purple fabric due to another mishap making squares for a different part of this project that I actually abandoned.  More on that later.  But in any event, I DID have enough of the first fabric but in yellow and that seemed to look nice.  I finished that fabric off doing this but had just enough for the 2″ border.


Oddly, less washed out with yellow so it was worth it to swap it out.  But, what’s that you say?  The yellow border only looks to be 1″?  Yes, that’s because I WAS RIGHT THE WHOLE TIME about the 1″ border.  I did not need to rip out the purple.  It was actually correct.  Sigh.  In any event, when I realized I was wrong AGAIN, I realized that at least this time, I could just cut the yellow border down to the right size an the move forward.

I’m not thrilled abut the blahness of the colors here, although I do love these fabrics (and do prefer the yellow border over the purple and white – score).  That said, I’ve decided to do the FULL embroidery project and I felt any other fabric I’m using (heretofore unblogged) would overwhelm the needlework which is subtle and extensive and labor intensive.  I really do not want to do that much work and have it get visually lost.

The quilt is getting a bit too yellow heavy.  The remaining fabrics have a lot more purples, blues, dark pinks, reds and light blues.  I think I’m going to use the embroidery section to work those colors in.  it’ll be cool to see some colors we haven’t seen so far and then when I add those fabrics in, it will all look incorporated.

Off to grid my white band (for embroidery) and pick out my embroidery colors/figure out what i need to buy to finish the project.  8 hours later…. Learned a lot here, especially how to miter quickly and hopefully how to COUNT BETTER.  Sigh – the math is always my biggest challenge.

Reverse Applique Block


Pretty, right?  This was a very very fussy project but thankfully it came out beautifully.  I love the fabrics and colors and am getting more and more excited for the quilt.

This is reverse appliqué again using Kona Royal for the outside, Jeni Baker’s Lazy Daisy in Raspberry from her Dreamin’ Vintage collection (most of the quilt will be from this collection as I LURVE these fabrics) and 5 strands of yellow-green DMC embroidery floss (#472) for the not-so-blind stitch border.

Close up!


Things I love:

The color combo and I especially love the blue and green thread together.  This really came out beautifully and even looks better in person.

Things I did not love:

The freezer paper was really a struggle.  It was hard to get on and Rachel’s technique has you embroider over it and it was actually hard to get off after that.  Not impossible, but annoying since it was so hard to get it to stay on in the first place LOL.  I had trouble basting – ended up using spray AND pins which thankfully worked, and the blind stitch sort of took forever.  I’d have to really want this exact look to do this again; that said, it’s a really beautiful look and the lesson really taught me a lot especially about sewing curves, dealing with the points, etc.  I learned a lot here but I am tired.

And not totally done.  I still have to square this up (10 minutes) and then make the borders so I’m ready for the next lesson in embroidery.  As I am an old hand at embroidery, I’m actually considering some modifications at least as far as this quilt is concerned.  Rachel has a template to use but I don’t really dig it; rather I came up with my own based on this template which I’ll be using instead.  Also, she seems to favor a paler quilt (with good reason – she wants to showcase the stitching) but I really prefer bright and darker colors so I’m going to mix some of those in as well.  We’ll see; if it’s ugly or overwhelming – that’s what a seam ripper is for, right?

Also, I really really dodged a bullet tonight.  I was taking a break and watching Friends and looking at  all the solids I had just ironed and it dawned on me that while I never pre-wash stuff since washing is such a pain in the ass here in NYC (closest laundry mat is a pit and blocks away), I had a lot of reds and purples in there – colors known to bleed.  I pre-washed some with woolite in the bathroom sink and THANK GOD because wow, 2 of them took 3 washings to finish leaking dye.  Grateful I had that flash of insight. They are drying in there and ready for use – later.  I’ll still use a color catcher when I do a quilt wash but wow, so glad I thought of that.  Hopefully I caught all the bleeders.

Gonna get back to it.  Have a good night, all.