About a month ago I was delightfully surprised to be selected as a Westwood Acres brand rep for their Liberty Subscription Monthly Club. In return for some glorious Liberty Tana Lawn fabrics I was asked to, alongside some other very talented reps, use the fabrics to make some items and share on my Instagram feed.
Naturally I decided that I was going to make three hand pieced Miniature Quilts using English Paper Piecing. In my quilts I wanted to highlight the flexibility of quilt design that you can achieve from hand piecing, and of course the scale of the design and quilt was to be significantly reduced.
So, for my first design I chose a traditional star quilt block that consists of squares and triangles. I picked out my favourite five Liberty prints from the bundle of eleven I received and paired them with some cotton spot and plain fabrics that complemented the colour tones in the Liberty fabrics.
I used the program Electric Quilt 7 to design the layout and nominate what fabrics would form the blocks. Once my design was done I could move on to the fun part. I cut out and basted all the shapes using my trusty Sewline Glue Pen. If you’re new to EPP this is one of my must have tools!
For the piecing I started by piecing each individual block, then pieced all the blocks together. I made some border block papers and hand stitched them on last. Then it was time to quilt, by hand, and lastly sew on the binding. I’m not going to give too much away with the construction as I’m planning on writing this quilt up as pattern and kit!
I’m very pleased with the finished quilt and it looks lovely hanging on my studio wall. It will be a great addition to my sample Mini Quilts to showcase my range of EPP papers.
This year I have decided to extend the range and sizes of paper pieces I sell in my shop for use in English Paper Piecing. I also decided it would be a great idea to make sample quilts using all the shapes I stock in all of their various sizes. The idea sounded great in theory until I realised how many sample quilts or hoop wall hangings I’d have to make! I still think it’s a good idea though, especially as next year I hope to take my little market stall to some of the local quilt shows and craft trade shows. I have a picture in my head of how my stall will look and it includes a back drop of mini quilts and hoops.
One of the new shapes I’ll be adding to my range of papers are Half Hexagons. This is a shape I myself had not yet sewn with. Being a new shape to my shop I decided this would be the perfect place to start with a sample quilt. I had a look on Pinterest for some ideas and settled on creating hexagon blocks using two colours of half hexagons. The completed design almost has a chain like look.
I raided my stash for some soft pink, blue and purple fabrics. I settled on 14 different prints & paired them up. I used half inch size half hexies (where the half inch is measured along the 3 short sides).
After completing my hexagon blocks I then played around with their placement until I was happy with the final composition before then sewing them all together.
To straighten up the sides I had to add 3 half hexagon blocks to the two long sides and a few extra half hexagon pieces to the top and bottom edges. Once I had pieced it all together I cut and basted the border fabric to large rectangle card and using small paperclips to hold in place, hand sewed the borders on. When it came to piecing the top and bottom border on I folded the extra half hexies I added to get a straight edge.
I wasn’t sure if I would need to quilt this piece, so I worked a little backwards when it came to finishing the quilt off. I picked a pretty floral fabric from my stash for the backing and used a light weight batting in-between. I chose a neutral fawn coloured cotton fabric for the binding and decided to add a little peeper border in pink, something else I tried out for the first time. I had a bit of trouble hand sewing the binding on around the corners due to the extra bulk of the peeper border, so I’m not entirely happy with that.
Once I had the quilt bound I decided I did need to do some quilting. I chose to hand quilt vertical lines running down the seams. I decided to just do every second vertical seam line, but then I made a boo boo and quilted down the wrong seam. There was no way I was going to attempt un-picking it so I decided to just quilt down each vertical seam. I think the finished effect looks really good. Because I wanted the quilting stitches to disappear on the front, rather than using quilting cotton I used the same thread when hand piecing the shapes together, Superior Threads Bottom Line in white. This worked perfectly as the stitches on the front have literally ‘sunk’ in to the pieced seams.
I’m really pleased with how this mini quilt has turned out. It was a pleasure to sew and it was nice experimenting with a new shape and pattern.
Here are the final stats:
Finished Quilt Size: 9.5” x 12.5”
Pieced Half Hexagon section finished size: 7” x 9.75”
Hello Maker Friends! I hope this post finds you well? I’m back to share some reflections on my making life for May. It was a rather busy with lots of little & big things happening. The end of the month saw illness descend on our little family. First Tilly contracted conjunctivitis, which we are still trying to get rid of after nearly 3 weeks. Then I caught a cold, which I have since passed on to both Tilly & my Hubby. I am still not back to 100% & I am now battling the last stage, an annoying throat tickle & cough. Last time it took about 2-3 weeks for me to shift Mr Most Annoying Cough in the Whole Wide World! Hopefully that won’t be the case this time.
On a much happier note we celebrated Tilly’s 2nd Birthday this month. I still can’t believe I have a two-year-old. My little baby has disappeared. We had a small party with just Tilly’s Grandparent’s, her Aunt, Uncle & Cousins. We had a beautiful day playing with the twenty or so balloons I had blown up the night before to fill our living room floor. Tilly was so excited to see them when she got up she didn’t even notice the pile of presents on her little table. We had a BBQ lunch & enjoyed birthday cake. I made a Strawberry Shortcake – vanilla mud cake with jam filling & white chocolate buttercream frosting, covered in fresh strawberries & shortbread crumbs. It was delicious. One of Tilly’s presents was a trampoline which she absolutely loved. She must have bounced around in it for about an hour.
Among Tilly’s bought presents I also made her an amigurumi lamb. Not the funnest amigurumi toy I’ve made, I was well & truly over the bobble stitch when I finished it! I was also holding two yarns for the bobble stitch body & cap, a fake mohair with an 8ply acrylic, so that didn’t make it any easier. Still the finished effect is very lovely & fluffy which is what I was after. Tilly loves it. I used a pattern by Anatillea. I actually found the instructions for the bobble stitch a bit hard to understand & ended up using a tutorial by Sandra of The Cherry Heart to make the stitch instead. The pattern also calls you to crochet the body & head as one piece, but I elected not to do this & instead made them as two separate pieces & stitched them together as I normally would. Apart from those two things the pattern was very good.
Another gift make I finished was the crochet baby blanket I was making for my best friend’s new baby boy. I crocheted a ripple blanket out of Patons Big Baby 4 ply in colours 3911 (variegated) & 2582 (mint green)using Lucy of Attic 24 tutorial. I didn’t have the blanket done in time for when bub arrived, I actually just met him for the first time last weekend. I was pleased with how the blanket turned out, my bestie loved it also. I just wish I was a bit quicker at making crochet blankets. I’ve only been crocheting for the last 2-3 years & I find I’m still quite slow. Plus the yarn was quite splitty which didn’t help my pace much!
I’ve started work on another baby crochet blanket, this one is much smaller though. It’s for Tilly’s baby doll that we got her for her birthday. I started out experimenting with some treble & double crochet rows, working them in to the back & front loops, but this was a bit tedious I felt to do for the whole blanket, so I’ve reverted back to just treble rows. I also stuffed up a couple of times at the start of the rows so it’s not quite straight…I don’t think the doll will mind though!
I did a bit of work on one of my #makenine2018 projects for Tilly – the Granny Square Cardigan. I was thinking of using the blocks to make a poncho, but I’m thinking now I may just stick to the pattern & make it into the cardigan. I have been enjoying crocheting the blocks, they are quite quick to whip up & I make 3 to 4 at night. I think I need to strat weaving my ends in as I go though!
I went on a little adventure to the Autumn in Orange Fibre Muster with my Mumsie & a fibre friend at the start of the month. We had a wonderful time squishing lots of lovely yarns & rovings. I came home with quite a few goodies, some yarn, dyes & a hand turned drop spindle. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves & I loved being amongst so many fibre enthusiasts. The hall was pumping & the atmosphere was warm & friendly. As a thank you for driving us out there my Mumsie bought me a pottery mug with a little sheep on it. So stinking cute! Once we had finished, we headed back to Bathurst & had lunch at a charming Greek Restaurant with an awesome retro 50’s decor that had seen it’s last refurbishment done in the 80’s. So cool.
I have been steadily working on my re-branding…yes still. A complete overall of my entire business takes time! I have been re-thinking what items I want to focus on making with moving forward with Miss Leela Handmade. I have decided I will be launching a completely new brand/shop where I will sell my EPP supplies, as well as EPP kits & patterns, possibly fabric & hand dyed yarn. Miss Leela Handmade with then just be home to any items I actually make to sell, such as quilts & wall hangings etc. I have some ideas for pin cushions, needle keepers as well as project & notion bags.
As you will have seen in my previous post I received my copy of Flossie Teacake’s Guide to English Paper Piecing by Florence Knapp. I was so excited to be apart of this wonderful book. I have also been working on another editorial piece behind the scenes this month…all will hopefully be revealed sometime this month.
I have been working on two EPP mini quilts this month. The first is my Half Hexie Mini Quilt (which at the time of writing I have just about finished) & a Granny Flower Mini Quilt made with quarter inch hexies. I will do a more detailed post about my Half Hexie Mini Quilt, but I have enjoyed working on it immensely & love how it has turned out. The Granny Flower project is one I started a while ago. I have finished sewing the flowers together, but I’m now stuck on how I want to finish it. I’m not sure if I should leave it as is or add some different design elements or borders.
I celebrated my second Mother’s Day Weekend. On the Saturday Mumsie & I went to our local Brown Owls meet up for some making & chit chat. We then met up with my Dad & Tilly for lunch. Does anyone have any tips on how to keep a two-year-old quiet & sitting peacefully when dining in a public place?! She isn’t too bad, but sometimes her behaviour just turns me off going out anywhere in public with her! She now pretty much refuses to sit in a high chair so usually that means sitting in my lap which makes it very awkward to enjoy eating any kind of food. Usually the only way to keep her quiet is by watching cartoons on my phone. I hate the amount of screen time she’s having, but honestly sometimes it’s the only way to keep me from losing my mind! On Sunday I stayed home & had a lovely quiet day playing with Tilly & doing some sewing.
So that was May. I can’t believe it’s now Winter & we are nearly half way through the year. I’m not sure about you but I feel I am very behind in achieving all the goals I set for myself this year. I think the second half of the year is going to be extremely busy if I want to get all the things done I wanted to!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Until next time, don’t fear the humble quarter inch hexagon, it is worth the effort, and needle pricks!
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.