Melitastitches4fun's Blog

English Paper Piecing
July 9, 2022, 2:08 pm
Filed under: Needlework and Textile Guild of Media

Thanks to a demo last month at The Needlework and Fiber Guild of Media at the Media Arts Council in Media, PA, I decided to give English Paper Piecing a try. This will be a coaster. It was going to be a pair of coasters but I don’t think so now. More on that later.

I picked up a few supplies after watching Tula Pink’s instructional videos (thanks to Linda for telling me about her).

Joann Fabrics didn’t have any micro serrated scissors so I stopped at Early Girl Quilt Company in Audubon, NJ and they recommended Karen Kay Bradley. The 6″ felt more comfortable than the 4″. The serrated edge prevents frayed edges. It comes with a plastic shield for the pointed end which allows me to store them safely. Very nice! Early Girl Quilts also had Aurifil 50 weight cotton thread (orange top) and a Sewline glue pen. I found out after I bought them that I’ll need the scissors for my fabric applique needlepoint class at the ANG Seminar. That was fortuitous.

I didn’t find Hiroshima Tulip Applique #10 Big Eye Needle but the Fons & Porter Hand Quilting Needles with assorted sizes 7, 9, and 10) appear to have a big enough eye. Plenty big enough to thread the needle without licking the thread. Tula is against that practice because the thread end expands as it dries. Make sense. But, you could also moisten, thread the needle, pull extra through and cut that end off. But, the eye of the needle is big enough to not moisten it anyway.

I got the needles at JoAnn’s along with some fabric with a simple pattern. I didn’t want to waste good fabric practicing but why I picked such light colors for coasters is beyond me! That is why this is now a single coaster turned doily for some knickknack around the house.

All the supplies fits in my Bargello Bag from Woodlawn! Well, not the fabric. I found out a week after this post that the purse was designed by Pat Mazu for her journeyman level Master Teacher Program and named it Flowers on a Trailing Vine. Pat taught it 3 times, once in the Potomac/Washington DC area. No wonder I fell in love with it. Pat’s designs are amazing!

I “fussy cut” the fabric which means selecting a specific part of the design from the fabric. I needed 6 hexagons to go around a center white hexagon. Now that I lay them out, I see they aren’t exactly the same all around the edge. Of the 8, you should be able to spot the really odd one of the group. You don’t have to iron them even though you might have cut on a fabric fold line which I did on one to see for myself that you’ll never see the fold after you glue it to the paper. Yes, glue. That’s what Tula recommends. I thought it would be hard to get the paper out after you stitch them together but it wasn’t. That seems faster than basting the fabric in place and allows for a crisper corner.

Answer: The swirl is moving counterclockwise on the upper left hexagon. I need 6 alike to make this pattern with the swirl moving clockwise.

However, I did not succeed at my first attempt. I sewed the wrong edges to the center and my corners are not lined up great. Unlike most needlepoint mistakes, these are not something that I will unstitch because the edges probably will be weakened. This gets tossed. Plus, I have way more fabric than I need.

With attempt number 2, I took more care about where I cut my 6 pieces. They are aligned and sewn the way I wanted. See how the swirl starts in the same place now. This is much better.

The center white hexagon allows the background to show. So, I cut another small hexagon and placed it inside the center without sewing – just pushed it into place. Then, I pulled out my fusible fabric and ultrasuede. I cut the fusible fabric slightly smaller than the shape, and basted it in place. I am not getting that stuff on my iron again!! Placed that on top of the ultrasuede and ironed for 15 seconds. Lastly, I cut away the edges just slightly smaller than the shape. I will not take the time to sew the edges. That fusible fabric works and I have other things to get to!!

Having a variety of colors would be fun to play with. But, I didn’t see a particular project that called to me. It boggles my mind to think of doing a quilt with 5,000+ pieces like Mary Corbet is doing (google mary corbet paper piecing). I’m glad I tried it though. And, I would not be adverse to doing more of it (especially with Linda’s scraps – hint hint – she has beautiful fabrics). For now, I would prefer to do another weaving piece over English Paper Piecing.

So, judge Melita scores Darning 2, English Paper Piecing 7, Tapestry Weaving 8, and the winner and still undisputed top preferred craft, Needlepoint!

This will be my Show & Tell item along with my finished tapestry at Tuesday’s 7 pm meeting of the Needlework & Fiber Guild of Media at the Media Arts Council (11 E State Street) in Media, PA. I’ll also demo needle felting on canvas and walk people through the Orna Willis and ANG Main Line Stitchers needlepoint exhibit. Join us if you are in the area.

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