Thursday, November 12, 2020

Almost Ancient: English Paper Pieced Mosaics with Cheryl Lynch's New Fabric

My newest finished piece!
It's a tabletopper or wallhanging, about 20" across, made up of seven English Paper Pieced (EPP) blocks. The faux mosaic fabric - those little pieces aren't separate, they're printed - are from a fascinating new collection by my friend, quilt designer Cheryl Lynch. 

In recent years, Cheryl's been designing mosaic quilt patterns, made by cutting fabrics into small pieces. But even more recently, she designed fabric with the look of complex mosaics - but you can finish in a fraction of the time. 

Cheryl gifted me with these FQs.

First I cut out a bunch of 3.75" equilateral triangles, and moved them around.

For the next test, I pulled a purple floral print from my stash. 
Etcetera. I liked all the options - Facebook and Instagram polls of my friends resulted in no clear winner - so I put those triangles aside and decided to see what this fabric would look like in the smaller, more complicated stars in my EPP book, "Hexagon Star Quilts".

I started by printing seven patterns from the book onto my newest notion, water-soluble "Hugs'n Kisses Applique Paper," by Helen Stubbings. (No affiliation). In the past, when planning to do EPP by machine, I printed designs onto Decor Bond (by Pellon), a medium-weight fusible interfacing, which remains in the project. But I was eager to see how the applique paper would work. Here's one  page printed onto the applique paper - I cut out Star 5 from this page.  
With EPP, each piece is fused to a slighly larger piece of fabric; the fabric is wrapped around it; then everything is sewn together by hand or machine - I used the latter. Here's more or less what Star #5 looked like finished.
I made six more blocks (all 6" high), including the next one which is the centerpiece. This green fabric isn't one of Cheryl's - it's from my stash, and I stitched the white lines to give it a mosaic look. 
The stars surrounding the center include Star 39, below, with the addition of a gold-brown print from my stash:  

Next, Star 56, with my violet print added: 

Star 65: 

Star 28

And last, Star 15

The results are in the photos on top of this post, and the bottom. How did I like the applique paper? Compared to Decor Bond, it's not quite as stiff, and therefore more challenging to fold small sharp-angled pieces accurately.

But I discovered that when I scored the fabric with a sharp-edged piece of plastic - like a credit card - next to the interfacing, it made accurate folding and basting more achievable. The big advantage of applique paper over Decor Bond is that the former will dissolve in the wash, presumably leaving a softer project than the latter. 

Here's the back after all the pieces were sewn together. 
From a distance:
I laid it on batting, traced around the top (with a water soluble marker), then cut out the batting inside the traced line. This results in a slightly smaller piece of batting than the top. 

Next I placed the top on my backing fabric, and cut out the backing fabric about 3/8" larger than the top all the way around. All the concave angles must be clipped, in order to get them to turn under.
Make a sandwich: Backing fabric on the table,  wrong side up;  batting on top of that; and the pieced top on top, right side up. Pin or clamp the edges every few inches. Do a hand whipstitch, stitching the outer folds on the top piece to new folds you create as you go, on the backing fabric. Finally, I stitched around the edges with a machine straight stitch.  You can't see the hand whipstitches in this photo from the back, but you can see the machine straight stitching. 

The entire back:
And the front, all quilted, this time on a white background. 

Very European, esta bien? And thanks to Cheryl's fabric, it took a lot less time to make than, say, Gaudi's Parc Guell in Barcelona. See more of this fabric, and projects made from it, in this excellent new article. It is now available in quilt shops. More information about my EPP book is here. 


  1. Hi Cathy, I love to read your blog posts and see how you do your work. The new fabric looks ancient and regal in the hexies. I love your color choices. Rich and saturated. our machine technique is so clever. Thank you!
    I got bogged down at the start of the quarantine and haven't found my blog mojo yet. When I read yours I feel hopeful and inspired to sew and blog. There is always a new day to get back on the blog horse! Two thumbs way up for your latest, Best, Jane

    1. Thank you, Jane, I so appreciate your support. I'm sending you virtual mojo - tackle something very small, and just relax and have fun! Maybe some fiber art postcards for the holidays?


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