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Book Review: Flossie Teacakes’ Guide to English Paper Piecing by Florence Knapp

Hello Lovelies,

There’s something about craft books isn’t there? I don’t know about you, but I have such adoration for them. Just like the yarn, fabric and thread we stash away, so we do the same with craft books, collecting them, lovingly reading and flicking through them and placing them amongst their friends on a shelf. Whenever I visit a book shop I always make a bee-line to the craft section. Usually, pickings tend to be rather slim though. Craft shows and shops are much better resources for Craft Books I find.

Craft books can inspire and ignite in us the passion to create. I must say though, the number of projects I’ve made from my craft books (of which I have many) I can count on one hand. Do you find this also? Why is it do you think? For me it’s mostly a case of time. Too little time to make all the wonderful things I’d like to. Still, that won’t stop me from adding to my collection!

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Today I’d like to share with you a most beautiful book: Flossie Teacakes’ Guide to English Paper Piecing by Florence Knapp. I’ve known about this book for over a year now. Let’s rewind back to late 2016 when I received a most wonderful Instagram message from Florence, telling me she was writing a book on English Paper Piecing and in it she wanted to feature EPPers that she found inspiring. Would I like to be involved? Well as I’m sure you can appreciate I literally did a little happy dance and quickly responded with an ‘Oh my gosh how exciting I would love to be involved in your book, thank you so much!’. What followed was over a year long wait of anticipation until finally last Friday I picked up my advanced copy from the Post Office.

The first thing that strikes you with this book is the amazing eye-catching cover. A beautifully fussy cut rosette that literally leaps of book. This book is far more than just another patchwork book full of patterns and projects. It is much, much more. Florence really delves in to what it is that makes EPPers (someone who partakes in English Paper Piecing) painstakingly cut up fabric, baste it to paper and hand stitch it all back together again, a pursuit that takes many hours.

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In this book Florence takes you on a journey, starting right at the beginning with a brief history of how and when English Paper Piecing started. She investigates the psychology and sociology that comes with a method of patchwork that is much more than ‘just a utilitarian patchwork technique’. In a series of short essays Florence discusses how our language is interwoven with sewing-related references, and how working with our hands has many physical and mental health benefits. Florence investigates how English Paper Piecing and the act of hand sewing is offering a new beginning to inmates, why many quilters embark on such long-term sewing projects, and what stories are hidden amongst a sewers stitches.

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In her book Florence also features EPP quilt makers both old and new. We discover famous quilts of Lucy Boston and Albert Small, before being introduced to eight modern EPPers that Florence credits as inspiring her. For me it has been such a thrill to be considered as an EPPer that is good enough to sit alongside so many other wonderful quilters.

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The final section of Florence’s book is where she gets down to the knitty gritty of English Paper Piecing. This section is full of techniques that are fantastic for the novice and experienced EPPer alike. This section is full of fantastic diagrams and photos that make understanding Florence’s tips and tricks a breeze. Florence tackles all of your EPP questions, what are the best tools, using templates, how to baste, wrapping different shapes and how to sew them together. She then goes on to explain in detail the subtle art of fussy cutting, a method by which you can create amazing eye-catching patterns in your EPP projects.

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Florence has included two projects in this book, both designed in the Flossie Teacakes signature style, offering the reader a chance to create one (or more) of her fussy cut designs. The book’s signature quilt design is stunning, a feast for the eyes.

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Readers who are familiar with Florence’s blog will know that her writing style is both informative but also reflective. Throughout the book Florence offers her own thoughts, ideas and insights as to why she pursues the craft of English Paper Piecing, but also why so many of us are addicted to this technique of quilt making.

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This book is a must have addition to your Quilting Library. It has been a joy to be apart of this book and it will be something that I shall treasure forever. Thank you Florence and Congratulations!

Miss Leela x

Flossie Teacakes’ Guide to English Paper Piecing by Florence Knapp, published by The Quilting Company, due for release 14 May 2018

https://www.quiltingcompany.com/store/flossie-teacakes-guide-to-english-paper-piecing

http://flossieteacakes.blogspot.com.au/

 

 

making

Garden of Patience

Many years ago, I discovered English Paper Piecing. Very quickly I fell down a rabbit hole that would lead me to spending hours upon hours, cutting out fabric, carefully basting it to cardboard shapes & then painstakingly sewing them together again…by hand. I started with the quite respectable size of one inch hexagons and began to make myself a scrappy hexagon quilt (a project that is still ‘in the making’). Then I discovered something even more amazing. Mum and I made our usual yearly pilgrimage to the Sydney Quilt and Craft show. Here amongst the rows of quilts on display I came across a small wall hanging quilt that was created with quarter inch hexagons. I was immediately struck by it, so much so that it’s hard to describe just how in awe I was. I was amazed someone could sew such tiny hexies together, or that they even had a desire to work in such a small scale. Something about that quilt stuck in my mind and not long after I came across a packet of quarter inch hexagons in a local quilt shop. Quickly, I found myself purchasing them and thus began my foray in to the wonderful world of Miniature English Paper Piecing.

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Garden of Patience Issue One

I set about making hexie flowers. The first couple of times basting the shapes was tricky, but I quickly discovered a method that worked for me. I have tweaked my paper piecing methods over the many years I’ve been doing this style of patchwork. When I first started I used to tack through the paper and fabric, whereas now I baste through the fabric only. My method of folding and adding basting stitches has changed, and I’m always adjusting what seam allowance to cut based on which type of shape I’m using and the size.

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Garden of Patience Issue One

Once I had amassed a collection of hexie flowers I began piecing them together. I didn’t have a clear idea in my mind what size quilt I was making, I just kept making flowers and adding them in. Eventually I started to square the quilt up and decided I wanted to make it roughly A3 size to fit in an Ikea Ribba Frame. Once finished my first quarter inch hexie Miniature Quilt was made up from a total of 1,004 hexagons, with 129 flowers. I didn’t record the hours I spent making it, but it was many! I decided to name it Garden of Patience, very apt don’t you think?

I felt a great sense of accomplishment at the completion of my first Miniature EPP Quilt. It was a true labour of love. I discovered my passion in craft and making lied in hand sewing. The slow stitching nature of it soothes my soul and clears my mind.

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Garden of Patience Issue One

Not long after finishing it, a friend invited me to show my quilt at her stall at the annual Springwood Quilt Show. I happily accepted and helped man her stall over a couple of days, marvelling in the incredulous looks of people when they came to look at my quilt. I got a lot of comments like “How’s your eyesight” or “You’ll go blind doing that” and “you’ve got too much time on your hands”. I was ‘crazy’ and ‘insane’ apparently for hand stitching something so tiny. One thing that was true of the comments from viewers was that yes, I did have a lot of patience. Comments like these don’t offend me. I’m always proud of my work and what I can create on such a small scale. I always tell people that sewing quarter inch hexies is no different to sewing one-inch hexies, I use the same small whip stitches, just less of them and the pieces are just smaller to hold between your fingers.

After unveiling my Garden of Patience Miniature quilt, I received a call from a lovely local lady who commissioned me to make her a version, and so I completed my second Garden of Patience, Issue Two. This time I did record the time it took me to create, 186.5 hours! I added more hexagons and hexie flowers to this one so that when framed the pieced quilt extends a little under the mounting board so that no backing fabric can be seen.

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Garden of Patience Issue Two

I don’t really remember when I started Garden of Patience Issue Three and Four. I know I completed my Four Seasonal Garden Miniature Quilts first. Again, I started out by making flowers. I knew I wanted two different colour palettes, one in fresh pastel spring tones, and one in more muted tones. I dropped in and out of working on these two issues. By the time I had started them I had begun experimenting with other shapes in miniature size, diamonds, triangles and squares. I had also started making my Miniature EPP Hoop Wall Hangings, my core design of these being my Hexie Hearts.

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Garden of Patience Issue Three
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Garden of Patience Issue Three

Garden of Patience Issue Three was finished sometime last year…or possibly even the year before. I didn’t record my time for this version, but estimate it to be around 180-190 hours. The hexagon count is a bit less than Issue Two, 1035 total hexagons and 130 hexagon flowers. This time allocation doesn’t include appliqueing the finished piece on to backing cloth for framing as I haven’t done that yet. Garden of Patience Issue Four was finished this year in April. It has the same hexagon count as Issue Three, and I would guess time to create it would be around the same also.

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Garden of Patience Issue Four
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Garden of Patience Issue Four

Will there be an Issue Five? Well maybe, if someone wanted to commission me to make one, I might consider it. I feel I am done with this particular Miniature Quilt though. Hexagons are such a versatile shape when it comes to creating patterns and designs. I have so many ideas bouncing around my head and I think I’d like to realise them in Miniature Quilts.

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Until next time, don’t fear the humble quarter inch hexagon, it is worth the effort, and needle pricks!

Happy Stitching,

Miss Leela x

Garden of Patience Issue Three and Four are for sale. I can sell them framed or unframed, so if your interested in one of these Miniature Quilt Artworks (as I feel they should be referred to), please feel free to contact me.

Podcast Show Notes

Show Notes: Podcast Episode 6

Hello! I’m a bit late getting my show motes up for my latest Podcast episode. If you haven’t already watched it you can do so here. Please find below some info on what I talked about. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me via the contact page on this site or comment on this post, or on YouTube.

I’m going to keep these show notes fairly brief. Look out for in-depth blog posts on my finished makes: Garden of Patience Issue 3 & 4 coming soon. I will also do a feature blog post on my current EPP work in progress soon also.

Baby pram blanket: please refer to show notes from previous podcast, you can find them here.

Autumn in Orange Fibre Muster.

For info on the Fibre Muster please check out the Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1542272792500361/

For info on the Orange Spinners & Handcraft Group you can also check out their Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/ospinners/

Here is the list of goodies I bought:

From Felt Fine: 100g Skein of un-dyed chunky baby alpaca, 100g skein of un-dyed 75% super wash merino 20% nylon & 5% gold stellina, 100g of Glitzy Lightning spinning fibre, Koel Magazine issue 5

From Yummy Yarn and Co:  Ella Rae Lace MerinoLM-232, Malabrigo Lace 866 Arco Iris

From Virginia Farm Wool Works: Landscape Dyes

From Frank Williams Spindle Maker: Turkish Drop Spindle

Carcoar Pottery: Sheep Mug

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Here are some links to the other Fibre Fairs I mentioned:

South Coast Fibre Muster, Saturday 11th & Sunday 12th August

http://illawarrafeltmakers.blogspot.com.au/2017/11/2018-south-coast-fibre-muster-to-all.html

Winter Wool Fair, Friday 1st & Saturday 2nd June

http://spinnersandweavers.asn.au/

I also mentioned a yarn shop Skein Sisters, they have a website you can check out here.

I think that’s everything, I’ll get better at writing show notes I promise!

Miss Leela x

 

lifestyle, making

April Reflections

Hello Lovelies. One day I’ll write my monthly reflections at the end of the month & not half way through the following month! April began with some more autumn like weather, although it was still quite a mild month. It has taken the trees where I live a long time to start turning into their beautiful Autumn colours.

April saw a big focus on designing my new business logos. I finally finished my new Business Plan & also my new Branding…which I love! I think I will do a separate post to show off my new branding, but because I have already shared it, here is my new Miss Leela Handmade logo….

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Isn’t it lovely? It was designed by Maggi Molloy of Crooked Little Pixel I have tweaked the colours & fonts to my own choosing.

I attended my first local Brown Owls meet up which was lovely. It was great to sit in a room with other crafty women & quietly crochet whilst enjoying a chat over tea & cake. Not sure what a Brown Owls Group is? Brown Owls is a worldwide craft group which began in 2008 & was started by Meet me at Mikes owner Pip Lincolne. Essentially it is a group of mostly women aged between 16 to 70, who like to get together & craft, share ideas, support & teach each other all about their craft. You can find out more info here. 

I have worked on quite a couple of projects this past month. If you haven’t already cottoned on, you should know that I’m quite a monogamous maker. I like to work on just a small number of projects at any one time, though I have many MIP’s (Makes in Progress). I worked on a Custom Order crochet bear for a friend of a friend. This will be my last custom order for awhile (she says hopefully). She is very sweet is she not? For the bobble bow I used a soft acrylic pink yarn by 4 Seasons (available at spotlight). The bow was made with a baby yarn I pulled from my stash that I got from Lincraft ages ago.

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I worked steadily on my crochet pram blanket for my Best Friends new baby. I finished it last night actually so now I just have to sew in the ends, wash & block it. I’m quite happy with how it’s turned out. It was a bit of a pain to crochet though as the yarn split quite often.

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EPP wise I have been working solidly on my Garden of Patience Issue 4, which is now finished! Look out for a more in depth post about this too!

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I started a new EPP project using ½” Half Hexagons. I decided I wanted to make sample mini quilts & hoop wall hangings of all the shapes & sizes I offer in my Paper Piecing Packets range. I will be adding half hexagon papers to my shop soon.

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Parenthood has been a little on the tough side this past month…I’m not ashamed to admit it. Tilly has definitely decided that it’s time for the Terrible Two’s to start (she will actually be turning 2 in 11 days, at the time of writing this). She is becoming a very strong willed & stubborn little girl & when she doesn’t get what she wants or it’s time to stop doing something & she doesn’t want to, boy can she chuck a tantrum. She has the most ear splitting high pitched scream. Her dinner eating habits are driving me crazy, & unfortunately we may have facilitated an addiction to screen/device watching. Sometimes the only way to keep her still & clean up her poo is to give her my phone so she can watch nursery rhymes on YouTube. If that makes me a bad parent, then whatever, I’d rather not get crap everywhere thanks! I know we need to start limiting her screen time though, it’s just hard, ABC kids is such a good entertainer especially when I have business stuff to attend to.

 

It hasn’t been all bad though. We enjoyed some painting & drawing & time in the garden. My Dad & I took her to the Hawkesbury Show, an outing that started well, until she had an absolute melt down that was only stopped by an ice-cream! But apart from that, we enjoyed seeing the animals, climbing in a fire truck, winning a toy at one of the side show games & then later at home playing with the crappy toys in the overpriced showbags we bought her.

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The day after the show (Saturday) I had a stall at the local Glenbrook Rotary Markets. It was a lovely day for a market but sadly not a great day sale wise. It was the first time I’ve set up, manned & packed down my market stall all by myself & it was hard work. I’d been sick with a nasty cold all week prior so I was absolutely stuffed by the end of the day. I think I’m going to give markets a break now until Spring. I think local monthly markets aren’t the best kind for me, it’s not really where my target market is I think. Next year I’d like to try & have a stall at local Patchwork Guild Shows & Fibre shows etc.

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So that is pretty much what went on for me in April. As you may have noticed you’re reading this post on my brand new website! I have been working on this these past couple of weeks. This is where you’ll find my blog, podcast show notes & other things I wish to share with you.

Until next time, I hope you enjoy your making time,

Miss Leela x

lifestyle, making

March Reflections

Hello Lovelies. So, I’m more than a little late with my monthly review post for March. I don’t really have a good excuse for my tardiness to be honest. I can’t say I’ve been too busy to blog, that’s certainly not the case. I think every time I thought to myself ‘I must write a blog post’ I just didn’t really feel like it. I don’t want maintaining this blog to feel like a chore, so I waited until the time felt right. That time is on my lunchbreak at work while I struggle with a nasty cold.

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March was the month for chocolate thanks to Easter. I am happy to say that my Mini Egg jar is full to the brim & I should have no trouble making it last until next Easter. How? I hear you ask. Well It’s stashed away in my studio where no-one else can find it & I only raid it when I’m working in there, which I’m sad to say isn’t as often as I’d like.

For Easter we went camping over the long weekend with our friends. We went to Windeyer which is out in the middle of no-where, about 30 minutes from Mudgee (NSW West Country). We went there last year as well. We had a great time, Matilda in particular had an absolute ball, running around & playing outside with the other kids. Unfortunately, she was sick with a nasty cold (the one I seem to now have) so the first night was a bit rough & we were just about ready to pack our bags & head home the next day. Fortunately though, she settled in to camping life & for the rest of the time she went to bed at night & slept right through to the morning with no problem.

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On the road to Windeyer

It was a wonderfully relaxing time, sitting around the camp fire, having a yarn (of the verbal kind). We had an Easter Egg hunt Sunday Morning. Tilly was mildly more interested than last year (she couldn’t actually walk last year which made it difficult). This year she picked up the few eggs outside our tent & then spent the rest of the hunting time re-arranging her rather small loot! Still she was happy, & truth be told being so young she doesn’t need the copious amounts of chocolate to survive like her Mother does!

I did take some crochet with me, as well as a couple of books & magazines to read but I really didn’t get much of a chance to do any hooking or reading. Most of the time I just chilled out, watched Matilda, ran after Matilda when she decided to go exploring, & played with Matilda & the kids.

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Much of the month of March I concentrated on my new branding & business plan for Miss Leela. I have put a lot of time in to getting my branding identity right & also making decisions on what I want my business to be & where I want to go with it. I’m really happy with the changes I’m going to make.

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I have been keeping up with my Bullet Journal – mostly. I have added a few new pages to track my blog posting & podcasting as well as To-Do lists for my business. I am still enjoying it & like to flick back & see what I have & haven’t yet accomplished this year.

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Making time has seen me concentrate mostly on sewing. I made a fair bit of progress on my Flowers Floor Quilt, but I have put it away for a little bit now.

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I pulled out another unfinished project, the 4th Edition of my Garden of Patience Mini Quilt, made from ¼” hexies & all paper pieced. At the time of writing this I am nearly finished, just working on the last corner. I will do a whole post dedicated to this shortly.

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I have been doing a bit of crochet lately. I started making Tilly an Amigurumi lamb for her Birthday in May & I have been working on a crochet ripple pram blanket for my Best Friends new Baby. I’m at panic stations a bit with that as she is due next week & it is still nowhere near bigger enough!

Speaking of my Best Friend, she had her baby shower at the start of the month & so I busied myself making some decorations. I made lots of lovely long paper garlands made from moon & star shapes in the colour scheme of her nursery. I almost thought I wasn’t going to make it to the shower as Tilly was sick with a Gastro Bug the day before. I planned to just go & set up all the decorations & flowers, but Tilly woke up perfectly fine & dandy & so I stayed for the whole shower making sure to not breath directly on anyone & risk passing the bug on (a bug I got exactly a week after Tilly, & then my husband got exactly a week after me).

For Rachael’s present I had my mum make a crochet cardigan out of yarn that I dyed. I also crocheted her a pear rattle toy & a Bunny Buddy toy.

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Much of March was spent going through my stash & chucking heaps out for my De-Stash sale, which I wrote a detailed post about here. I’m still feeling good about what I’ve managed to cull out. I shall be taking my de-stash stuff to the Glenbrook Rotary Markets Saturday 21st April, as well as my handmade items. This will be my last Market Stall for a while.

Well that’s pretty much all that March had install for me. A busy month of planning, looking ahead to the future & de-cluttering. I feel refreshed & ready to dive in full steam for the rest of the year.

Happy Making,

Miss Leela xo

lifestyle, making, Uncategorized

To De-stash or not to De-stash that is the Question

Over the past month I have been slowly going through my craft paraphernalia. It is amazing how one can hoard so much craft stuff, from fabric & wool, to ribbons & lace, buttons & beads, paper craft & other bits & pieces. For some crafters, the phrase de-stash may conjure up feelings of distress & sheer horror. The thought of clearing out items from a well curated stash might seem like an unbearable thing, a terrible torture to inflict on someone creative. And what about all the money you spent on acquiring your stash? Surely you just can’t give it away for nothing in return?

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When I decided I was going to do a de-stash, I made sure that I did it with conviction. I think this is the key. You can’t go in to it half hearted, you can’t procrastinate on a single thing because that will cause your resolve to waver. I’m not saying it’s easy. It took me three goes to de-stash my patchwork fabric collection, and even now I still think that maybe I have held on to some fabric I’ll never use. But I persisted. Some of it was easy & I found myself thinking ‘why did I by this?’. Obviously I had liked it when I bought it, but tastes change, & you may find yourself drawn to other styles or themes of fabric that leave items in your stash redundant. This has definitely been the case with myself. As I am re-branding my business & in a sense re-branding my entire creative making style, I decided not to keep any fabric that didn’t fit in to my new brand. This made chucking fabric out just that little bit easier.

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De-stashing my fabric was definitely the hardest but I found going through everything else much easier. Now that I have discovered Indie Hand Dyed yarn & I’ve a growing appreciation for quality wool products, throwing out almost my entire collection of acrylic yarn was like eating a piece of cake. The same went with all the ribbons, lace, buttons & beads I had acquired over the years. If I couldn’t see myself making something out of it that wasn’t in-line with my new branding & making style, then out it went!

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So after one has cleansed themselves of un-wanted stash, what do you do with it all? Well I decided to have a Studio Open Day & De-Stash sale. Unfortunately for me the day I picked turned out to be incredibly hot so I didn’t get a stellar turn-out – though I greatly appreciated the lovely ladies that did come & take some of my stash of my hands. Still you never know how these sort of things are going to go if you don’t give it a try. It was nice to sit in my studio & sew all day, surrounded by my craft hoarding & feeling a great sense of relief that I was getting rid of some of it.

 

So what to do with what is left (which is still a massive amount)? I will bring it along to a couple of markets with me & try to sell it that way. It is all quality items, especially the fabric, so I would like to see it go to people who will be able to use it in their own making endeavours.

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I do not regret doing a de-stash, in fact I feel rather great about it! Plus it now frees up storage space in my studio for new stash! This time however I am going to be rather more critical when buying for my stash. Fabric & yarn must be bought with my brand in mind. I’m also going to try & only by items for specific projects, rather than buying something & thinking, yep one day I can make something lovely with that.

So if you’ve been thinking about doing a de-stash, do it! It might be hard, at first you might barely throw anything out. Consider doing a swap with another maker or crafter. This may make the releasing of stash items from your closely guarded collection more bearable. Go in to it with an open mind & you may just feel a great sense of relief & peace with it all.

Happy Making,

Miss Leela x

Tutorials, Uncategorized

English Paper Piecing Tutorial #1

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Hello There!

Just popped by to let you know I filmed my first in a series of Tutorials about English Paper Piecing. Tutorial #1 is all about Basting & Sewing Quarter Inch Hexies. You can view the Tutorial on my YouTube Channel here!

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask!

Happy Stitching,

Miss Leela x