I finished the EPP Travel Pouch I am giving to Gerre for her birthday. I like the way it came out. I probably should have used more orange and pink to really suit her tastes, but I just loved that ice cream print and had to use it. I really hope she likes it.
The two times I have made this bag, I have thought it would be a quick project. There is so much handwork that it turns out to take longer than I expect the handwork to be relaxing, but it takes a big needle to push the thread through the many layers.
The other thing is that the directions are somewhat confusing. I made notes on them this time so, if I make this again, I won’t make some of the same mistakes again. The only thing that bugs me is that the piece does not have a handle. I really think it should have a handle. I am not sure where or how I would add a handle, but I’ll have to think about that.
Still, this project comes out well and has some clever elements.
I finished the inside of the Altoids tins to make them into little sewing kits and storage kits. I’ll have to figure out a decoration for the top next time. I wasn’t up for that challenge this time.
Gerre talked a bit about putting the Merit Hexies together in a project at the last meeting. This discussion was swirling around in my mind when I went looking through my media library (where all the photos I have posted to the blog live). Yes, I posted this photo back in February 2014, but with Gerre’s comments on my mind, it struck me anew today.
While I am not super bothered about sewing the merit hexies into something, I also don’t want them laying around for the rest of my life and then getting thrown out when I die. It would be interesting/fun to make pillows out of them, or cushion covers, and see how many I will make before the project peters out.
I thought a couple of things:
I could arrange my hexies in this shape on a pillow or bag.
I could make some extra Half Hexie Stars and make a pillow.
I really like the color combination here (is anyone surprised?).
Putting a straight edge on a cushion or small project would give me practice for the Half Hexie Star Quilt.
I kind of like the idea of a hexagon shaped pillow. I suppose I would have to stuff it and that would be a hassle.
I really like this pattern even though it gave me a few fits before I finished it.
I found this pattern somehow. It is free (for personal use only) from Zen of Making*. I wish I had thought of the name, because there is something zenlike about making and the name is cool.
The travel kit is part of a three part series, which includes a lesson on making the hexie flowers. The final piece is making a pincushion out of smaller hexies to use with the EPP Kit. I had plans to make that as well, but ran out of time.
This travel kit is awesome and the problem I had really had nothing to do with the pattern, but with the supplies I had on hand. I hand on hand, and wanted to use, some sew-in invisible magnet closures. Sara of Sew Sweetness uses these in a lot of her patterns and I find I have better success with them than the models with the ‘legs’ used in this pattern.
The closure is pretty awesome. I love the way the hexie flowers stick together. Very clever.
Once I figured out how to get the sew-in magnetic closures oriented in the right direction, the assembly went pretty smoothly. There is a lot of handwork in this pattern, which I wasn’t expecting.
The open look (right, slightly above) is a little odd. I think it might be because of the scrappiness of the whole piece. I think I should have used a backing for the flap hexie flower that matched the hexie flower (the one with leaves and a turquoise center). I do kind of like the scrappy look. I think I will make one that looks like a Dia de los Muertos celebration for a different friend. I definitely want to try different colors.
Altoids tins fit nicely inside and Haley (blog owner/designer) calls for two of them for this project. I had to scrounge them up. I put a piece of felt in the bottom of each tin to make them less rattly and a little nicer.
I cut and added some 5″ squares, and an EPP book to make the kit look full and fun.
*It appears that the name of the blog has changed to Red Handled Scissors. Not sure why, but the pattern is still there.
About a week ago, I showed you my big English Paper Piecing project. I have been working on it quite a bit and am showing it again with its new and attractive bulge on the lower right. I have thought about EPP a lot in the past week, wondering why I am enjoying it so much. I don’t suppose I really need a reason, but I do wonder.
What I have come up with is that I enjoy handwork, but something like needleturn applique’ isn’t really my thing. EPP provides a convenient type of handwork that is pretty different from machine work. Why would I hand piece something I can easily machine piece?
For a challenge?
After a few blocks, however, it is no longer a challenge.
EPP is handwork, but it is different enough in process to fill a hole. It is also strangely convenient and can be the catalyst for creating amazing designs. Have you seen La Passacaglia?
On my half hexie piece, I have been working on making dots on white half hexie stars and I am making progress with my next two rows (one with a white background and one with fabrics prints in colors.
I have done a little more on this piece since I took the photo, but it is slow going so not much.
Despite my protests yesterday that I wasn’t in a rush to finish this piece, I really do want to finish it so I can start the La Passacaglia. Having two large EPP projects seems ridiculous and I only have a certain amount of handstitching time, so focus is the requirement.
My big push now is to make dots on white stars. I need a lot of them and can’t move forward without them. I think I have three in process, but a number of strips cut, waiting.
I haven’t been happy with the right sides together method of whip stitching my EPP pieces together. I don’t like the stitches showing on the front. No matter how careful I am, I seem to always get a few stitches showing. ERGH!!!
I mentioned recently that I had heard about the Flat back stitch for sewing EPP shapes together. I watched the video thoroughly, eventually, and tried it. I like the technique, although it isn’t without hassle and have modified my stitching accordingly.
One thing the video shows is starting inside a seam. The idea is to slip the needle between the fabric and the paper, catching the knot on the inside. I never thought of that!
I have been using WonderClips to hold my pieces together. It is imperfect at best despite the fabulousness of WonderClips. The video shows using regular transparent tape. Another great idea.
There are a couple of other good things about the flat back stitch. First, you don’t have to bend the paper/card pieces when you insert a piece (Y seam idea). This makes the card last longer. Second, the stitches don’t show at the beginning of the line of stitching, which they can if you are even a tiny smidge not careful. DIY Addict has some info about this after the 2:50 minute mark on her video.
This technique takes me longer, but I like the look and really am not in a rush to get another star attached to this piece.
I know the last time I talked about this piece was back in February. I have sort of been working on it, though there have been long stretches where I have not worked on it. I got a little fed up because sewing big sections to the big main piece is really a pain and I didn’t want to do it. It made me think twice about La Passacaglia, but that is a tale for another day.
Finally, I put a new section on and it is looking good. A little boring and staid, but good.
I am going to try to put one or two stars on the main piece instead of larger secondary pieces. It means more handling of the large piece, but perhaps the duration of dealing with the main section will be less.
I have made a lot of progress on my English Paper Piecing project. I worked on it a bit during my recent trip to the North Coast.
I am now out of papers and basting thread, though I have more to use. I just didn’t have it with me. The papers are a bigger problem as I need to buy more or unbaste some from that big piece and reuse them. I will work on that.
I also tried a different way of stitching the sections together. I used an, supposedly, invisible stitch and I am pretty pleased with the results. The picture with the green star is one of the first tries at this invisible stitch and I can’t see the stitches. I am using Aurifil 50wt in the #2600 color, so I have thinness and a blendy color on my side. It is a bit of a pain to sew the pieces together, because you line them up side by side as they will look when finished. This makes it hard to hold them together while sewing. I can’t use WonderClips to pinch them together. I have resorted to a few stitches at critical points to hold the pieces in place and that seems to be working. I am pleased with the progress.
The back doesn’t look quite as nice. Fortunately, very few people will see the back.
In the photo, you can see my needle (towards the center of the picture by the green rabbit ear). That is how the sections, or stars, get sewn together. For the moment, I have been sticking to this method with big sections only.
I have found that using this method means that I trim more of the excess fabric, frayed threads, etc off the back.
So progress. Next on the list is to lay this on the bed and see how much more I have to make.
Finally! I made a Sew Together Bag for myself. I haven’t filled it up with my English Paper Piecing materials as of this writing, but I will have done by the time you read this.
I am not sure why I chose the paint can fabric for the outside. It was waiting to be ironed and it kept beckoning me. I couldn’t resist and it was perfect. It feels like a good outside for a working bag. I also think I won’t wonder why I chose it.
I didn’t mean to match the top, but I did a pretty good unintentional job, don’t you think?
I chose the inside fabrics very carefully. I wanted fabrics that I loved. A lot of these are new or new-ish fabrics, but have the feel of old favorites. All the choices has to be light for the inside so I can see the tools that fall to the very bottom. I did choose one dark violet/magenta Karen Lewis fabric. It isn’t light, but I think it will be fine.
As I mentioned the other day, I made this one at the same time I made TFQ’s. After I cut all the pieces I sewed the steps for one and then the next until the end when I had to get TFQ’s done because she was coming to visit and I needed to gift it. I finished mine in a few quiet half hours over the weekend after the fun and games with TFQ.
I added a couple of pinks for the inside of the pockets, but they are hard to see unless you have the bag with you.
I tried one thing on mine to try and cover up the stitching of the side panels to the lining. (If you look at the photo above, the area I am talking about is a vertical line of binding on the ends just in from the curvy handle). At the end of the process, when I was putting on the binding strips, I sewed the binding to the bottom first then wrapped it around to the top. I still had to deal with the thickness, but I was able to see where I had stitched and could make an attempt to cover it.
I received a zipper pull for Christmas and decided to put it on the bag. Why not? I had it. It would make the long zipper easier to pull and it would look cool. Also, I wouldn’t have a random zipper pull floating around the house.
It fits perfectly and looks cool (at least to me!). One problem is that the zipper pull is one sided. When I open the long zipper to access my EPP materials, the zipper pull ends up on the other side of the bag upside down. I know this is silly. It would be better to get a two-sided zipper pull. Since I already had this, I am going to continue to use it but I would advise you to get a two sided zipper pull if you are out buying one.
I have an idea of making one using beads for the next STB, but we will see.
I filled the bag on Friday. I took my regular handwork bag and put some items from that bag into my new Sew Together Bag. I took all of the stuff I might need for English Paper Piecing. I may have mentioned that I intended all along to use this for my English paper piecing project. Two problems I had in the filling: would I get a second pair of Gingher snips to put in my regular handwork bag? I also forgot thread. I meant to go upstairs and get another spool and I just forgot, or got distracted. That forced me to go to quilt shops over the weekend. 😉
In using the bag in the car, I found the best part to be the ‘tray’ that the bag formed in my lap. With my old handwork bag, it didn’t open as far as this one so my lap was my tray. Also, everything was sorted into pockets. As I got used to where my tools and supplies were located, I found I could work relatively quickly. I finished on two EPP stars in the car, placing the bag with the pincushion towards me. I found it to be very useful and convenient.
I think the strips for the long zipper would lay better if they were on the bias.
The bag needs some feature to which Wonder Clips can be clipped.
I tried a few different things and cannot get the top stitching to look good where there are many, many layers.
WonderClips are a godsend for making this project. I used about 12. They are not listed on the supply list, but I think they are essential for this bag.
Make the pincushion (mine is a little too large on this one) and the exterior at the beginning of the bag making process. It is such a hassle to stop and do the fiddly bits when you are so close to finishing.
Use a two sided zipper pull
I have an idea for one more that I want to make, but it isn’t a requirement and I think I will let the feeling lie for awhile.
After making this bag 4 times, I am tempted to try the Bionic Bag just to see the differences. I am trying to restrain myself. I need another bag pattern like I need a hole in my head.
I have been working on the EPP project while watching TV instead of sewing the sleeve on to FOTY 2014.
A week or so ago, I was in desperate need of some dots on white, so I spent quite a bit of time cutting fabrics to make some stars for the alternate rows. I can’t reap the rewards without papers.
Mostly I have been making stars, but I needed to free up some of the EPP papers so I sewed a section together and will sew it to the main piece next. Once I sew the section shown to the main piece, I can pull out some of the papers. yes, I could buy more, but it seems ridiculous to do so until the papers I have fall apart. I could make more papers from the subscription cards in magazines, but I am too lazy.
I don’t like doing this. I wanted to make all the stars and then sew them all together. I know there were some times where I just couldn’t help myself and sewing sections together is sensible, but still.
I have made my half hexie star project larger. I like making the stars and, as I have said in the past, they are great for a traveling project. However, I seem to be obsessed with making the ‘top’ piece larger. I don’t know why, but when I sit on the couch to watch TV with DH, I add a star or a row of stars to the larger piece. It wasn’t in my plan to do that, but I can’t seem to help myself. Even the sleeve from the Russian Rubix is languishing, because of this new obsession.
I really need to keep this project going through 2017, so that I have something on which to work when I travel with DH on his rounds to the various parlors. I can’t just zoom through it.
The other night I sewed a row of dot-stars (I decided to make the piece have a stripey effect with stars made from dots on white alternating with the other scrappy stars) together and then added them on to whole piece (see top of picture). Yesterday, I laid the piece on the bed to see how big it needs to be. I estimate that it needs to be 2.5 -3 times as wide as it is now to be a bed quilt with a bit of drape over the sides.
Friday night I pulled out a lot of the center papers, because I was running out, so now there is just a row of papers left around the outside. I got a little over enthusiastic with that process and pulled out half of one on the edge. I didn’t want the stitching to come out, so I sewed the blue batik star to the purple star to keep the purple seam from being lost. That is why you see the blue batik star sticking up, seemingly at random, on mid-bottom right. I didn’t really mean to add another row to the top.
The lavender dot in the lower right hand corner is just clipped to the piece so I remember to place that star in that location. I need to sew it to a white dot star before I sew it to the whole piece. It isn’t hard to inset the stars, but it is less work to sew two together and then add them at once.
What I really wanted to talk about was thread. I have a hand sewing kit I use when I sew on the couch that has random bits of thread and everything I need to do almost any kind of hand sewing. I don’t always have the exact color, but usually I can find one in there that will work for whatever my project is.
At some point I ran out of Aurifil #2600 and never replaced it. I could just walk upstairs, wind a bobbin and voila. Sadly once I have parked myself on the couch there will be very few steps added to my FitBit. As a result I haven’t replaced that thread.
I am using an Oliver Twist thread that came with a pack of those threads when I bought them several years ago. It is quilting thread, I think, so fairly thick. I don’t think it is ideal, but it doesn’t fray like some others, though it is hard to thread.
I feel like adding only two stars to the larger piece is major progress. I like the symmetry of the [kind of] rectangle. Somehow this looks like I am making something.
My plan is to make the piece big enough to cover a bed. I will slowly make the stars as I travel with the Grand President (HA! DH) then add them to the piece when I am at home.
I know it seems like I should be able to take this piece with me. It is, however, 1.5′ x ~1 foot and I want to keep it as flat as possible because of the cardboard EPP templates still inside. Making one at a time is better for travel.
I have a bin of stars that I have been making. I pulled out my bin of stars and picked some to add to the piece later. I made the stars and stored them in the bin thinking that I would just make the stars and put them together eventually. I couldn’t wait, thus I started putting the piece together into what you see above.