Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Traveling EPP Stars

My EPP (english paper piecing) project had been completed.  Sleeve and all!  I thought I'd share the details here.   Maybe I will inspire someone to pull out an old project they pushed to the side, or take on a brand new piece. 
I'm often asked "how do you get so much done?" and that always seems to catch me off guard.  I guess when quilting is your job, and I follow along so many fantastic designers, piecers, appliquers, and longarm quilters, I can sometimes feel like I never get anything done.  That is why there is a statement that says, "Comparison is the Thief of JOY"

But enough of that.  Here are some of my tricks and tips on getting things finished.  Make sure you always have those hand work projects ready to go at a moments notice.  This piece traveled from WA to AZ to HI to NY to ON Canada and back to WA.  It also when to doctors appointments, the Friday night Street Legal Drags (yup, my guy is a car guy), and trips into town 20 minutes away.  I think you get my point.  It's very portable and easy to poke away at. The whole piece is hand stitched, from the basting to the piecing.

Here are my pieces in a hotel in downtown Buffalo, NY

When I finally had the stars all together with the setting fabric, I could put my rows together. Staying organized is very easy now with our smart phones.  A few quick pictures and you have captured your layout.

Once I had the center together, I could finalize the colors for the outside edges.  Plus I wanted to use the 1/2 diamonds for the side pieces and they were on order.

Close up finished edges.

Corner edges still with paper in behind them.  I am a thread baster when it comes to EPP.  I've tried fighting working with glue sticks, and for the record, the glue stick won.  So I continue to baste with hand quilting thread.  It does require a bit of time to pull out the threads, but I am pleased with my results so I stick to my method of choice.  Chocolate and vanilla, right?

Once I removed all the papers and got to the outside edges, I finished the process at the ironing board.   As I removed the papers, I gave the outside edge a quick spray of sizing and pressed with a hot iron.  Remember, I said pressed, not ironed.  You really want to make sure it's an up and down motion, not back and forth.  The edges are bias and I wanted to take care to keep a straight edge. 

I did one side at a time.  After it was pressed, I took it to my machine and did a line of stay stitching about an 1/8" from the raw edge.  This does two things.  It stabilized the bias edges, and keeps the seams from popping apart.

Once it was ready to quilt, I decided to quilt it with the KISS method.  Keep it Simple  Straight lines using a beige/cream So Fine thread did the trick. I also kept the binding narrow, and this is a single fold that started at 1 1/4"


Back and binding.  I used a wonderful Barbara Brackman print that I've been hoarding saving.

Another question I'm regularly asked, "How do I get my string fabric for my quilts?"   Easy, I save the trimmings.

See the thread line below?  Cut off the edge where there's stitching from the quilting process and pull the batting off.

And throw it into your strip basket.  That's one of many ways I accumulate various sized strips for later use.

Here are the details of the finished project.
13 rows
7 full stars
6 full 2 1/2 stars
49 stars + 36 stars (510 diamonds) + 12 1/2 stars (24 diamonds + 24 1/2 diamonds)
280 full background diamonds
14 1/2 BG diamonds
16 1/2 diamond triangles
814 diamonds
38 1/2 diamonds
14 triangles
866 total pieces
26.5 x 44.5 finished
Hobbs 80/20 batting
Straight line stitching
single fold binding cut at 1 1/4"

And yes, I've started another portable project.  This next one is 1" hexi's, 7 per block, 1" equilateral triangles as setting pieces, 12 per block, and 3" equilateral triangles as the joining piece for each block.  I estimate I might have that top finished by Dec of 2019.  I'll enjoy the journey!

Keep stitching,


Janet O. said...

Great job, Sharon. This quilt looks great!
I'm with you on the glue thing. I baste, too.
The quilting pattern you chose highlights the piecing well. An all around winner here. :)
You've shared some good tips that are really helpful. I've learned a few things, and I've been quilting almost 30 years.

Phyllis said...

I love this. For me quilts are so much about the fabrics, many fabrics. I love all the fabrics and colors in this one and your work is very neat and precise. Thank you for sharing so much about your techniques.

Lori said...

Getting stuff completed isn't magic, is all small bites at a time! Love that quilt, Sharon!!

Louise said...

I love everything about this quilt Sharon! You have done a great job....

Kyle said...

Your quilt is beautiful and has quite a history already. It's amazing what can be accomplished in small bits of time. I'm with you about the glue. Thread basting is one more thing to do in the car, or on the go.

taylorsoutback said...

I just love everything about this quilt...the design, colors and the attraction of EPP’ing...the quilting design adds so much to look too. Well done! I often look at some of my quilts that are completed and remember the thousands of miles they travelled with me while in progress...that just adds to the story of a quilt. (I am a devotee of glue basting with EPP’ing - like everything else, we find what works best for us)

Karen said...

I see you have clips on the side of your paper pieces. I am trying to figure out how you do your EPP.

Lisa said...

It's a beautiful quilt! And thank you for all the details that you included in your blog about the process and how you made it, size, etc. Thank you.

Mimi said...

Just love this quilt and loved seeing it come together. It has that old fashioned look and feel. I can see why you love it so much.

Aunt 'Reen said...

I enjoyed reading all the tips and tricks you shared.
But I especially LOVE your finished Quilt.
How fabulous it is to have a project that travels with you. Hopefully you will have fond memories of all those places stitched into this gorgeous quilt!

Unknown said...

It's beautiful, Sharon!! What fun to see so many of your fabric choices close up. You've inspired me to pull out my LeMoyne star travel project. I've got lots more to do on it, and a trip is coming up. Connecting big chunks an be intimidating, but I'm going to do it, thinking of you.

giraffe said...

Your quilt is gorgeous!!! Just not sure of all the "Y" seams with the diamonds. I did a "Tumbling Blocks" quilt several years ago and learned all about "y" seams! lol
Always LOVE the quilts you design and the fabrics you use in them. Scrappy is my favorite genre.
I so enjoy getting your new blog. Thanks so much!