I have tried handwork of all kinds. Anything to do with needles and thread has been on my radar or in my project basket at one time or another. But every so often I discover something new.
|Scrappy Patchwork Pillow with English paper piecing by
Joanna Wilczynska, from Modern Patchwork 2013.
Several years ago I was helping a friend clean out her neighbor's sewing room and we came across a beautiful piece of handwork. It was a hand-pieced patchwork
block from a Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt and it captured my heart immediately. Not only was it pretty and colorful, it also told an intriguing story.
When I flipped the block over, I saw that it was pieced with the English paper piecing (EPP) method that I'd heard about but never seen. This method of piecing is done entirely by hand. Intricate shapes are cut out to the exact size of the finished piece, and fabric is basted around the shape. Two shapes are then whipstitched together, again by hand, and the paper is eventually removed.
In the block I had found, the paper was still intact. This quilter had used the paper she had on hand, the Sunday comics, and not only do the colored comic strips add an unexpected twist to the found block, they also date it.
Needless to say, I kept the block. It is now framed and hangs on my wall with the back displayed.
So when Joanna Wilczynska's EPP project was chosen by our editorial team to be included in this spring's Modern Patchwork magazine, I couldn't wait to jump in and try my hand at making her beautiful designs. Here is a summary of Joanna's tutorial on paper piecing blocks for a pillow, from Modern Patchwork 2013.
|Here are two of my paper-pieced
patchwork blocks, in progress.
1. Trace the single patterns onto template plastic or cardboard; cut out. Using the templates, trace the shapes onto paper; cut out the quantities indicated. Be sure to trace and cut carefully.
2. Pin the paper template to the wrong side of the fabric and cut around the template, leaving an approximate 1/4" seam allowance. Fold the seam allowance over the paper template and secure the fabric at the folds with a few basting stitches. Do not stitch through the paper; catch the fabric only. Carry the thread from 1 fold to the next, and do not remove the paper.
3. After completing 1 hexagon, 6 squares and 6 triangles, whipstitch them together to create a circle.
4. When you have finished piecing all the circles together, remove the basting stitches and paper templates.
I started piecing a few of these blocks and I have to say, they are addicting. The perfect project for keeping my hands busy while watching TV or my kids games.
You'll find Joanna's pieced patchwork pillow project and many more patchowork patterns for quilts, accessories, and home decor in the Spring 2013 issue of Modern Patchwork.
P.S. Have you tried English paper piecing? Do you prefer another method of making patchwork blocks? Share your experience!