Staying Organized with EPP?

English Paper Piecing or EPP is quite an undertaking! Lots of hand stitching….slow and steady wins the race, eh? There are so many steps to this form of quilting. When first starting such an effort, it is hard to find the groove. Plain and simply it makes a mess!

How does one stay organized with EPP? I posed this question on social media and so far the replies I have received are not ones that will work for me. I had the suggestion of purchasing a small woolen mat to place next to my machine so I don’t have to make a partial mess in the kitchen. And that will not work for me. All of my outlets are taken and there is not room. Plus the idea of doing this at the sewing machine is silly since this is sewn by hand LOL.

What I have figured out is the following:

  • During fabric pull, pull and press a gob at once. I find if I prestarch all my fabrics they are crispy and easily keep their shape.
  • After starching and pressing, pair up those that I want in the common block.
  • If pieces are not in a strip, strip cut the scraps and then using the template subcut.
  • Pair fabrics for one block and cinch with a clip or pin.
  • At this point if you have not cut out oodles of papers now is the time to print and cut those out.
  • Glue your fabric to the papers (some like to baste stitch and I find this does not stay as flat during storage)
  • using a baggie or clip, clip all the glued fabric/papers together for one block. I then toss these into a shoebox tote where I am choosing to store everything together. Choose your tin or device large enough if you desire to store your completed blocks within.
  • Keep your bin of thread handy. Each block may require different color thread. I tried using a neutral thread on my La Passcagalia and those stitches show. Nothing I was doing wrong in the stitch, just used the wrong color.
  • And in a few moments of stillness, you will find the time to stitch your pieces together.

Because of my set up, and a little manic in trying to get one done to see if I like it, was quite the whirlwind of a mess.

I was at the desk with the printer, printing the templates.

I was in the bedroom pulling fabric (everything desired always is at the bottom of the drawer/pile/tote).

I was at the ironing board in the kitchen, starching and ironing the fabrics

I was at the kitchen table or sewing table gluing my fabrics to the papers.

I was on the couch stitching them out.

Because of the steps are a lot and because they happen in many corners in the house, a mess ensues.

Of all the steps, the fabric pull is probably the biggest one as I am in the bedroom pulling fabrics and then move to the kitchen to iron. You may wonder why do I not just move the ironing board into the bedroom? Logical. But the wiring in the house has failed in that room so none of the electrical outlets work. This hinders me at my sewing corner too, because my outlet is dedicated for my lamp and my sewing machine. No other outlets are available. (I am aiming to buy another house and these woes will soon be a thing to reminisce about).

Lots of ideas wanting me to buy this or purchase that to make my hobby easier. I am one who likes the idea of throwing good money at my hobby, but some things are not practical. I already had a plastic shoebox, so there was really no need to go out and get anything else.

Lots of people do all the EPP prep work at home and then use their “kits” for stitching while traveling. Not traveling in the near future, so this does not apply to me.

I have seen many pinterest pins of those who make a nice little satchel or book to keep their papers, blocks, thread, clips, needles, and thread. Perhaps that will happen over time. My mind is now focused on the stitching of blocks and dreaming of what this may turn into. I have a few ideas, whirling about. We will see….

Progress….

From this, to this…

I have one La Passacaglia block and several pyramids. I am liking the pyramids and probably will continue with this idea. This has become a great stash buster and scrap tamer. I have so many strips and these pieces are small.

Out of curiosity I have looked up how to remove the papers once they are glued in. That part of the process does not look fun or pretty. I am anxious to get to that point, but dread the unknown. For those of you who do EPP, is the glued in papers hard to remove? Is there a “technique” to this?

I would love to hear about your organization ideas in the comment section. If you have any pointers or tips, share them with the world. 🙂

And thank you for reading my blog!

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Playing with Fabric

Last night, I chose to see what I have accomplished this year in the quilting dept of life. This blog is like a journal for me. Some of my posts make me smile. In reading and looking at my accomplishments, I have gotten quite a bit done. Starting in nov until now:

A couple of jelly roll races, both complete.

And several tops:

One of these quilts was months and months of work! And then there is the 365 quilt block challenge that I have opted to put away for a bit. I needed to play with something other than red!

This was a gob of work as a combined effort. Plus I was working nights for a while which totally zapped my free time to sew. Plus this was a year with overtime usage at work, which zapped more of my life and turned it into money.

I kept beating myself up, not having any urge to sew. But in reflection, I have sewn! I have sewn my limit for the year. 10 quilts in one year is a little less than one a month. Plus the 365 quilt, which I am halfway done with which is 170ish blocks.

I needed a change, and debated on what this change should be. Is it really as necessary to be so productive all the time? The clear answer to me is NO. I think I will enjoy the coming months on working on a hand project. One which will not matter how much progress is made. One that will probably not feed the blog with pictures and progress.

I feel the need every night to keep my hands busy, and tatting has filled that gap, but when I pick it up, I put it back down. I am not sure what mind game I am playing with myself, but I want my hands busy, but because I have been so busy this year, the case of the “I don’t wannas” paralyzes all my intentions.

How does one work around this? Keep busy, keep busy with something small. I suppose the reason I put the 365 challenge away, it because it was too BIG. Even though each day is compartmentalized (key word mentalized), it was such a behemoth that I just do not want something that grand.

So what kind of project can I pick up and do with my hands and it be small so I can move on quickly, incorporating fabrics with pops of color???

I am a subscriber to the “Last Homely House” on youtube. I have been for a very short time. I am in awe of this lovely lady’s english paper pieced hexagon quilt. So English Paper Piecing, here I come!!! I think it is the answer. Perhaps not an effective blog decision, but life happens at a daily rate, so I can always post about other stuff eh?

Those of you who participate in english paper piecing, working with a variety of fabrics, does this help motivate you and keep you stitching at this? Should I worry I will abandon this? I mean if I only get a couple of blocks sewn, they will make lovely potholders if I jump off the bandwagon. The logic game just keeps telling me in the back of my mind that this is not the answer. Perhaps time will tell….

I picked up the La Passcaglia again and have gotten to this. This has been a day of enjoyment.

Included in the picture above is some new fabrics from the quilt store. It felt good to get out and get into a store.

Last weekend I decided to throw away my ironing board cover. I have a whole bolt of boring muslin and made a new cover with a easy drawstring clothesline cord. A project taken on, at the spur of the moment is very statisfying when you have everything you need without getting out.

My old aluminized cotton cover had so much starch on it, that it could have stood up in its shape after I removed it. Aluminized cotton was perfect for the ironing board. I will miss it. It is something that cannot be washed.

And then while rummaging for fabrics, I came across a book I bought years ago….Creative Triangles for Quilters. Lots of possiblilites in this book. The book is very dated, but using new fabrics it would be awesome. This has been on my bucket list. I love how they take a pie wedge and make a handle for the basket!

And then I remembered my mom had purchased a $2 package of Sue Daley papers and glue stick with needles, an amazing little kit. She also bought me some triangle templates of many sizes, so I can make this basket in any size I wish with the EPP process.

My stitches show because I have not purchased matching thread. I will use what I have.

What am I going to make with all of this? Not sure that I need to define a destination, because I would like to enjoy the journey. Does this make sense to any of you quilters? For the year we are having, this makes sense to me.

And the looming overtime will be happening some more for the remaining two weeks that I will be working. If the blog flatlines in this time, so be it. It will eventually get recessitated. I will refrain from worrying about the blog, there is plenty to go around in the worry dept this year.

Happy trails until next time. Thank you for reading my blog!

ALASKA QUILT ALONG

Well, I managed to get my act together and form two seams to get this to a top state. I would like to make it bigger and will probably add a border of black and/or blue to the edges.

I would like to thank Edyta Sitar for this quilt along from Laundry Basket Quilts. I have seen her talent for years but always held back because I thought it was advanced for me. Her fabrics are beautiful, my SewQuester quilt is made mainly from her fabrics.

And her patterns are beautiful and worth your while to sew! I am pleased as punch with my Midnight Alaska!

I really am eager to start something new and fresh.

In my internet searching the last few weeks I came across a video that uses the kaleidoscope block and makes them into dresdens. The above Alaska quilt is a kaleidoscope quilt and I may reuse these templates for another project in the future.

Right now I am just glad I can feast my eyes on progress!

Happy Thanksgiving! Please be safe! And be truly thankful! Enjoy the sun on your face. Enjoy the nourishment in your belly. Be glad. Share your wealth, give this season. There are many with newfound status this year that is meager. Be kind, because everyone is fighting a hard battle.

I am thankful for all my readers! Your likes and comments are valued and appreciated. I am thankful for all of you!

Zilch!

I don‘t know about any of you, but lately I don’t seem to want to do much of anything. I see it, I admire my work up to the point it is. And, I have no desire to put three rows together. That is all Alaska lacks. 3 Rows of stitching. I have had plenty of time, and zilch!

I stare at my tatting project, and I can’t seem to bring myself to pick it up. I have a bad case of the I don’t wannas! Usually hobbiest are not an aspect affected by the I don’t wannas. Usually this only happens at work. And because I am forced to work, the I don’t wannas cannot clear the true air. So, it infects the things I like to do most.

Maybe this will reset at thanksgiving. I was talking to my parents yesterday, and I think I am starting to burn out with my job. There is so much variety in my job, one would not think it possible. I think my state of mind is in the state of BLAH. Hopefully time will turn this frown upside down. I think all of America could stand to see smiling faces again. Maybe that it part of it.

I have snapped no photos this week. Not that I couldn’t have. I had two opportunities to photo op with possums and geese.

Perhaps a slide show of stuff from the past:

All of these things are from past posts on this blog. Most of these things make me smile. Nature sure knows how to put on a show for the camera. Many of these cats are no longer at my house, but in someone elses.

I did manage to share a recipe with orange wedges in muffins. It is like eating a muffin and having a burst of orange juice in just one bite. Check out the recipe share here.

I will strive on, and maybe my next post will be full of enthusiasium and productivity. Stay safe, and thanks for reading my blog!

Alaska Quilt Along

The Alaska Quilt Along is coming right along! #AlaskaRainbowQuiltAlong

I only have one single solitary block left to make! And I am looking forward to piecing the top together over the weekend. (Yes I skipped ahead!)

Here is the stack:

That last block, I will have to cut one more strip as I must have miscounted. That is a bummer. Means I have to restarch fabric and re-iron and then pave the way for cutting.

Block 12 not yet pressed:

All of these are the same block over and over with only fabric re-assignment. The whole quilt top will be sewn in 2 weeks and 2 days if I get it done on Sunday. I am amazed at how quickly this went together with such ease.

I have laid these out a couple of times with key blocks not yet finished so there are blank spots. I am liking how it is shaping up!

I have managed to quilt some on the dream opal 108 panel. Made three whole passes! I am not yet to the center and therefore not even halfway done.

I think the reason this appeals to me so, is because you take a small portion of the quilt and quilt it. You are not looking at it as a whole, but compartmentalizing each petal, not getting overwhelmed. And then you choose your doodle and have some doodling thread fun. Hopefully I will get back to that this weekend too and snap some photos.

And I fear overtime is back on the horizon. Ugh! I will be coming to work in the dark and then driving back home in the dark. I love the sun and the photosynthesis it does to my skin to create vitamin d. Hopefully this time around will not be as long.

In last weeks post I had thought there would be a massive earthquake. The only thing quaking in the states besides small tremors is the quake of the vote. We are all ready for this to be done. Lets hope for a peaceful transition.

Be safe, and thank you for reading my blog!