i'm a lucky ducky and was asked by jessica to be part of a blog tour for the release of her new book quilting on the go. i got to know jessica through instagram and bonded with her over our shared seven sisters education and the fact that we have a mutual friend who now lives in seattle. and strangely it was that same friend, a fellow member of the seattle modern quilt guild, who originally inspired in me a love of engligh paper piecing (epp). i saw her working on hand-piecing hexagons at one of our first meetings of the seattle mqg and though i'd seen it online before, watching her work made me realize how wonderful it was that you could take a quilting project with you wherever you went. i immediately went online after that and, after reading through some tutorials and printing out some paper templates, got started with my first hexagon project.
i just cut squares from my scraps and basted a bunch of hexagons without any real plan. i think i originally thought this would end up as a quilt, but as time went on i thought i might scale back my plan and turn it into a sewing machine cover or a pillow. i've been adding to it slowly (emphasis on slowly) over the past few years, and while it's still hanging out in much this same state, i do enjoy having a project i can take with me whenever and wherever.
in fact, i had it with me this weekend to take to our seattle mqg sew-in at island quilter on vashon island. it made a great project for the ferry ride. (and, wouldn't you know that same day, june 15th, was also international quilt in public day! just doing my duty to spread the joy of quilting to the rest of the world, be they seafarers or landlubbers.)
unfortunately, as luck would have it, i had a long wait for the ferry ride on the return home, and with a dying iphone and no book with me, i was again happy to have some epp to keep me busy. huzzah, quilting saves the day again!
i've tried my hand at some other, smaller epp projects over the years, and really enjoy the satisfaction of finishing something quickly but knowing i put a lot of love and hand-sewing into it.
for our seattle mqg nametag challenge i made my nametag with some precious pink liberty hexagons and hand embroidery. i bound it with black essex yarn-dyed linen.
for our do. good stitches charity bee a while back i had free rein to make any block i wanted in the color pink. for one of my blocks i chose to hand piece some pink hexagons (hmmm... seems i have a thing for pink hexagons) and frame them with more pink. this is one of my favorite bee blocks i've made.
and recently our do. good stitches circle made a quilt out of these epp stars. i love that, while making an entire epp quilt on your own can be daunting, making one as part of a group effort is totally doable. you can see the finished quilt (by rachel of stitched in color) over here. if you're stumped for a project for an online quilting bee or group quilt, i highly recommend doing an epp block for sure.
anyhow, enough about me, what about the book? well, it's is a lovely book and, as any good quilting book should be, is full of pictures pictures pictures! a lots of diagrams. oh boy, do i love me some good diagrams. the book covers everything from basics such as choosing fabrics and what to put in a travel toolkit, to epp essentials such as basting, stitching pieces together, and how to finish projects. even though some tips are targeted at the very beginner, there are more advanced tips for those who have some experience with epp but might have more to learn. there are 10 projects included, ranging from very small (a travel sewing kit or a pincushion) to very large (some seriously showstopping quilts).
some favorite parts of the book:
- the page on preparing a travel took kit. it's helpful, but it also appeals to my desire for neatness and having everything in place. how satisfying is it to have your own little kit that you can grab and take with you on the spur of the moment?
- the tip about using plain old paperclips to help keep fabric in place over your templates while basting. this had never occurred to me before, and yet seems so obvious now.
- the handy chart that shows you what size to cut fabric for some basic epp shapes. i love things like this, as it means i don't have to do the math myself.
- the pincushion project. so cute, and it looks so satisfyingly quick. i will definitely be making this one.
- the pattern chapter which shows you all the different kinds of patterns you can make with a few, basic epp shapes.
- the graph paper templates at the back of the book that let you design your own epp patterns, plus templates for all the epp shapes shown in the book so you can copy and print your own.
seriously, this book is just plain cool, and it makes me happy that it was written by such a lovely and devoted english paper piecer like jessica.
we're at the tail end of the blog tour, but there is still time for you to win your own copy of the book! lucy at charm about you is giving away a copy of the book. and do stop by her blog because you have to see her stunning epp liberty print star. it literally took my breath away. her giveaway is open until june 21st and the winner will be chosen and announced on the 22nd.
June 11 Lesly at Stitch Literate
June 12 Clare at Selfsewn
June 13 Christina at A Few Scraps
June 14 Victoria at Bumblebeans
June 15 Amanda Jean at Crazymomquilts
June 16 Laura at Quokka Quilts
June 17 Lucy at Charm About You
June 18 Katy at I'm A Ginger Monkey
June 19 Ara Jane at What Ara Jane Loves
June 20 Kathy at Pink Chalk Studio Blog
June 21 Jessica at Life Under Quilts
and during the blog tour, paperpieces.com is offering a 20% discount on your entire shopping cart if you use the promocode UNDER20.
hopefully you can find quilting on the go at your local independent bookseller or quilt shop, or it's available now from any of these fine retailers: