Sunday, April 16, 2017

English Paper Piecing Accidental Chanukah/Christmas Decor

Two weeks ago, I described my romantic hotel room rendezvous with English Paper Piecing. I used a simple pattern to make a bunch of kaleidoscopic stars that progressed veeerrrry sloooowwwwlly.

Back from our trip, I speeded things up, and made a bunch more blue-and-white star blocks, including the following....


With all that blue strewn around my sewing room, things were beginning to look a lot like Chanukah. I craved more color. So, just for fun, I dug this colorful and ancient Jennifer Sampou stripe from my stash,
I used my plastic locator template (details in my first EPP post) to find a good location to cut kaleidoscopic petals....
Traced the swirl onto the template with a waxy china maker (easy to erase), then drew close around the template onto the fabric, in pencil.
Cut out the shape from fabric leaving 1/2" seam allowances. (Over time, I've decided that, with EPP, 1/4" is too small, 3/8" is better, and 1/2" is best. Your mileage may vary.
 I glued the corners down and pressed them at the ironing board, which sets the glue immediately so you don't have to hold it down.
Then - don't tell Queen Elizabeth (the British invented EPP in the 1700's) - I zigzagged all the shapes together with invisible thread on my sewing machine.
 With the cardstock still inside....
Then pulled out the cardstock. As you can see, the machine stitching takes a toll on the templates (much more than hand sewing). I won't reuse these.
Backed it with felt, sandwiched rick-rack between the layers around the edges, did some decorative hand stitching with embroidery floss - there it is, a finished thing! 
That was so much fun I decided to do it again with a different ancient stripe from my stash.
 I cut the pattern pieces out of different areas from the stripe, again zig-zagged the pieces together, and here's what appeared:
 Added rickrack, and backed it with felt.
OK, by now I was sick of the same old hexagon-in-the-middle star. I decided to take my red "jewel" shapes, from the same Hoffman fabric, and point them inward. 
 Assemble in sets of three.
 Then joined the halves. I zigzagged over all the seams with a thick red thread.
It definitely needed more, so I nested blue/green hexagons in the concavities. Now it looked like a space station or a virus.
The back, after removing and tossing the machine-stitching-damaged paper templates.....
Diane Gilleland, author of my EPP bible, All Points Patchwork: English Paper Piecing Beyond the Hexagon for Quilts and Small Projectstold me I could straight stitch it onto felt. So I did, except I used two layers of felt for extra heft. I pinned first.
 Then all the way around with a straight stitch....
 And cut away the extra felt.
 The back.
Of course, it also needed some rickrack - doesn't everything?  So I picked a divine shade of green, strung it between the hexagons, tacking it in place with buttons. I couldn't decide on one button color, so I chose six.
OMG! It's an accidental Christmas wreath! I really had no idea until I started writing this blog post and looking at the photos! 

UPDATE: Insightful quilter Nili Marcia feels that it looks like a turtle with splayed limbs. Thanks, Nili....I think...

And so, happy Easter and Passover to all who celebrate. There are only 7 months until next Chanukah/Christmas! Have fun with these ideas! My original post that takes you through the steps of EPP is here. My second EPP post, about making polyhedra, is here.


4 comments:

  1. What fun to see thanks so much for sharing,

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  2. The Perfect thing to hang on your Chanukah bush! Love your whimsical approach!

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