When I saw people making little square fabric trays on Instagram, I wanted to make one. (I've been wanting to try something like this since my friend Susi made one a while ago!) Then when I saw the hexagon version, I KNEW that I HAD to make one. So I did.
The original tutorial from A Spoonful of Sugar has the shape topstitched on the sewing machine, but I thought it might work out to do it by hand. I love stitching things like this by hand! And I really like how it came out with the perle cotton.
But before I made the official hexagon tray, I made a couple that are more in keeping with May's shape theme...
For these I followed the tutorial (except for the shape) and top stitched on the machine. I'm not sure if I ironed them differently or if I'm better at machine sewing (unlikely!), but they came out smoother. Not so bunchy in the center. Truthfully, I like all of them no matter how they came out.
And I'm very excited about the little tag with the Wild Olive face. Stitching on this twill tape wasn't ideal, but I'm going to work on it some more and perfect it because I need to add little face tags to everything now.
I made two trays and in different sizes, mainly because I couldn't decide which fabric I wanted to use. And because they are so very cute. And because I realized that they would look really adorable nested!
I hope you give these a try. For the instructions, head over to A Spoonful of Sugar. (Be sure to check out all of their wonderfulness while you're there!). And if you want to make a pentagon tray, I've set up the templates I used in the two sizes. Have fun!
I love English paper piecing. I mean, I really love it. But when I first tried EPP five years ago, I have to admit, I was a little unsure about it. I had seen some folks making pretty things and wanted to give it a go, but I couldn't find good information.
The first thing I made was a pin cushion, which I find amusing, since I made a new EPP pin cushion to accompany today's book review. I followed a tutorial for my first EPP project, but I still felt like I was working without much help.
No one will ever have to try EPP that way again.
All Points Patchwork by Diane Gilleland is the much needed textbook on English paper piecing. This is different from most craft books because it's not a book of projects, but rather, it's an idea book and an overall how-to for the process. In short, this is the book that will allow you to design your own EPP anything.
And to make it even better, it's a beautiful book.
Diane (who is also a really wonderful sort of person) starts the book with a few chapters on the basics of English paper piecing: tools and supplies, techniques, building patterns. Then the rest of the book is divided into sections devoted to the most typical shapes used in EPP. These are the building blocks that allow you to create marvelous things.
There are tips throughout the pages for things that you will run into with specific shapes, and all have incredibly detailed photos. There are also general guidelines and when it's important to follow certain "rules". These are the kinds of things that I wish I had known when I got started.
Some of the information in here I've picked up along the way (often from Diane!), but as I flip through each section I learn more and more. That tells me that this is an important book.
For each shape, you'll find instructions for drafting your own templates, using a computer or the old-fashioned way...with a compass, protractor and rulers!
I got to see a digital advance copy of All Points Patchwork a while back (I can't tell you how lucky I felt!), and I've been putting its information to use ever since. The instructions for working with narrow angles were ridiculously helpful when I made my brother the Patchwork Death Star!
One of the things that I especially love is that you get to see how shapes can fit together. Some folks might find this intuitive, but I don't always. I can spot a pattern and figure it out, but I need to see it. Each shape section has a few pages like this displaying design ideas.
Remember how I said that this is a how-to and an idea book, but not a project book? That's true, but the ideas come in the form of photos of wonderful projects with brief descriptions of how they were made. They are perfect for EPP inspiration! And actually, you can probably figure out how to make them even without full instructions.
But, if you're looking for more help, Diane has created a website to accompany All Points Patchwork. She's gathered up all sorts of projects for you to jump into now that you've learned the techniques.
Since it's been a month of pentagons around here, I decided to make a project using that shape. I used the guide for making a pentagon sphere (which comes with the suggestion of making sachets), but filled it with crushed walnut shells to make a pin cushion.
With this type of filling, I found that it was pretty much impossible to have it be full and firm. So I took a little flower button (with five petals like a pentagon!) and pulled down the center which tightened it up. I LOVE it and it now makes its home in my EPP box.
On the back of the book, Diane outlines the four simple steps for English paper piecing. It really is that easy. And yet, even after a few years of working with this method, I find that this book is an indispensable resource. I fully expect that my copy will look very worn after a while because I'll be going back to it again and again.
Many thanks to Storey Publishing for providing me with a copy of All Points Patchwork, and thank you, thank you Diane for writing the EPP book we've been waiting for!
There's a whole big story behind today's project, and sometimes I think that it's even bigger than I think it is. It's hard to know where to begin, so it might be best if I start somewhere and then loop around as needed.
Hope. This isn't a banner that is about "I hope you have a nice trip!" or "I hope I get that new job." This is a bigger hope. And it's one that I've been thinking on for the last month or so.
Our church had its 10th Celebration of Hope, a 3-week time of getting to know about global needs, and how we as a church can partner with people around the world to help bring real change...real hope. We're talking about micro-loans, education, peacemaking, and more.
Here's a little loop in the story. For Mother's Day, I made this banner for my mom. Eucharisteo is a Greek word that means giving thanks in all things, but it's bigger than that. Bigger than I have room for here today. But it's a word that you'll encounter a lot if you read anything from Ann Voskamp.
The banner hangs in our kitchen now, but I thought it would be nice to make another. Maybe you'd want to make one too. But maybe with a different word? Hope came to mind.
And to connect hope and banners and Ann Voskamp, last week she shared a post on her blog about ISIS. I'd highly encourage you to read this post, but be prepared that it is a hard read. Terrible, terrible things are happening in our world, and as I was reading, I kept thinking, something needs to be done! But what? How do you bring hope to people who's lives have been literally torn apart?
The answer is love. A ministry called Preemptive Love has been working in Iraq for about 10 years, and they've been bringing hope, and they're in a place where they are able to help people pick up the pieces that are left of their ISIS-attacked lives and find hope. It's simple really: Help women create businesses and help children get in school.
So I made a banner. And I helped support hope through Preemptive Love and a micro-loan through my church, and I will continue to look for ways (both financially and otherwise) to share hope. I'd love it if you considered doing the same. Starting with a banner?
You will need:
1/4 yard linen
1/4 yard floral fabric
1/4 yard fusible interfacing (I suggest Pellon WonderUnder)
Large skewer or thin dowel rod
Basic sewing tools, including an iron and sewing machine
Hope Banner Template PDF
Note: The PDF includes the complete alphabet so your banner can say whatever you want it to. Simply adjust the length of the banner to fit the word you choose.
Trace the letters and the chevron onto the paper backing of the fusible interfacing. The letters are reversed so that you can trace them this way.
Iron the interfacing onto the back of the floral fabric, then cut out the pieces. Cutting out the letters is pretty easy, as long as you have good scissors, and keep a steady hand.
Join the two banner template pieces, then cut out two banner shapes from linen. Iron the floral chevron to the bottom of one of the linen pieces.
Arrange the letters on the banner, then iron them down.
This part is optional, but it's super cute. Cut out a heart from the felt, and stitch a little face on it. Then, stitch it onto your banner with perle cotton and running stitch. I placed mine at the top of the floral chevron, but go with what you like!
Cut a 3-1/2 x 6-1/2 inch piece of floral fabric, and press the short ends in AT LEAST 1/2 inch. Press the entire strip in half the long way. You can see the creases in the photo. This will be the hanger for the banner
Place the front of your banner face up. Place the folded and pressed hanger at the top, with the fold facing in and the raw edges aligned with the banner. Place the back of the banner face down. Pin the edges.
Sew around the banner with a 1/4-inch seam allowance, leaving an opening for turning (be sure to back stitch the ends). Carefully trim the corners.
Turn the banner right side out, and poke the corners into place. Iron the banner, making sure that the seams are nice and open. Take care around the opening so that the seam allowance is pressed as straight as you can.
Stitch around the banner with perle cotton and running stitch, starting and ending on either side of the heart (if you added that). To get to the starting point, I tie a knot in one end, then go in through a side seam and come up at the place I want to stitch.
Since going around the banner takes a long piece of thread, I recommend coating it with Thread Heaven. You could also work with shorter pieces, and start/stop more often.
Cut off the skewer or dowel rod to the width of the banner. Slide it through the fabric hanger, then tie perle cotton to the ends.
At this point, you may also want to iron it one more time. Otherwise, it's ready for display!
Hang this banner in your home as a reminder of hope. As a reminder to bring hope. Or maybe gift it to someone who needs a reminder.
And then look for ways that you can give tangible hope.
This week's Thread Bits is a pretty literal take on this Monday feature...
I found these red, white, and blue thread bits scattered about my house. On my desk, on the floor, in a stitching bag. They're the sort of thing that inspired this series.
Since it's Memorial Day here in the US, I thought the colors appropriate. May your day be filled with good memories of those we have lost.
My pentagon play continues, and this time with a printable that, I will admit, can be time consuming. But also really cool looking.
These are similar to the paper chains we made as kids (okay, so not just as kids...I still love traditional paper chains!), but they stay flat, and get connected and decorated with washi tape.
You can make them with white card stock to show off the tape designs, or use colored stock for a brighter garland. I made two sizes of pentagons, and while the pictures here show only the small size, I'll be making some of the bigger pentagons soon. I expect that they'll make a longer chain much faster!
You will need:
Small Pentagon Paper Chains
Large Pentagon Paper Chains
Cut apart the pentagons, then cut out the centers. There's a line along pentagon "ring" that allows you to cut into the center, as well as to link all the pieces together. The cutting is the part that takes the most time.
Use washi tape to secure the ends of each pentagon ring together. Start with one, then add a ring to the chain and tape that one. Keep going!
I like to create a pattern with the washi tape designs, but you could do this however you like. They'd look great with every pentagon using the same tape.
Make your chain as long as you want. Wear it as a necklace (watch out for paper cuts!). Display it near a window. Decorate your desk with it. Hang pentagons everywhere!
My mom is planning on making a garland of them in red, white, and blue. She's doing the bigger size, and most likely they'll be up from Memorial Day through Independence Day. I think they'll look fantastic!
The other day I felt the need to draw a narwhal. It was one of the creatures that I considered having in my book, but left out, and that kinda made me sad. It was time.
Now you can get a very sweet little narwhal surrounded by some bubbles, seaweed, and such. And a word: believe.
Why believe? Well, I just love hearing from people that they didn't think that narwhals were real creatures. Sometimes I read comments from people who still don't know that they really do exist. If you're one of those people, go Google it. We'll wait.
Did you see? Do you believe me? They're real! There truly are unicorns swimming around in the oceans!
Although the design fits in an 8-inch hoop, and that's sorta big for one design, I'm calling this a mini pattern. Why? So that you can get this pattern for just $2.00, or get it in a choose 3 pack for only $5.00.
Of course, you don't have to use the entire design. You could change the word at the top, stitch the narwhal alone, or swap in another design within the undersea borders.
And yes, I did use metallic thread for this. It's some sort of magical thread that was super easy to work with. And get ready for this...I don't know where to get more or even the brand name. If I figure it out, I'll be sure to pass along the info of the incredible metallic floss!
By Mollie Johanson at Thursday, May 21, 2015