It’s now been seven weeks since lockdown started here in Switzerland. You would think that it’s the perfect time to sew but I’ve not really felt it. I have been sewing a little but with all the time spent on homeschooling my daughter I’ve done less than expected.
The fabric shop I’m working at, Alja nouveau, is expected to open again in two weeks time and my colleagues and I are going to sew a few masks. I’m sure lots of people are going to come to buy fabric and elastic but some might also want to buy finished masks. I’ve already sewn a few but I thought that among all that catastrophe sewing it would be nice to do something else so I’ve designed a couple of free English Paper Piecing (EPP) patterns for you.
The first one is called Comfort and I’ve designed it to become a cushion. I’m not sure why the bottom line isn’t in the picture, it’s there when I look at the picture in my photos. Anyway, the size is 16″ x 18″ as I like a slightly rectangular cushion and if you stuff a 20″ x 20″ cushion filler in it the cushion becomes nice and plump, just the way I like it. If you’d like it a different size you can, of course, resize it before printing it out. If you’re not sure how to do that, check out one of my previous blog posts Tips and Tricks.
You will need to print out each file twice to have all the templates. When sewing it’s easiest to start with a (the outside) and work your way through the alphabet or if you prefer to work from the inside out, start with g and work your way out to a.
I’m happy to help if you have any problems or questions with either of these patterns. Email me at sharksdinner (at) sunrise (dot) ch and I’ll do my best to help.
I really hope you like these two new patterns. If you do sew one of them and you are on Instagram, I would love it if you added me (@lemonshark) and/or used the hashtag #sharksdinnerpattern. Thank you!
Last one! That’s right, it’s the last tile for this block of the month. Then it’s time to appliqué the tiles onto a background, quilt and bind. And all this before the end of the year.
I’ve started with the appliqué but have only managed one tile so far. This month has whizzed past at an extraordinary pace and I have to admit that I haven’t finished my October tile. Shame on me, I know. I’ve just had lots of other things to think about and the BOM has sort of faded into the background. The main reason for my inability to sit down and concentrate on my sewing have been the raging hormones in my pre-teen daughter. I’ve simply been too exhausted to sew after all the ups and downs every day has brought.
As a blog post without at least one picture is rather boring I thought I’d post one of my little ‘helper’ Blue looking adorable.
Right, here’s the last tile:
I’m really curious about this one. I’ve had to think quite a bit about where to put my coloured accents but I think I’ve got the perfect placement now. The placement of the coloured fabric is actually the only thing I plan in advance, all the other fabrics are chosen as I sew and I never really know what the tile is going to look like until it’s finished.
I’m going to have to knuckle down, finish my October tile and get on with this one as soon as possible. I have to take things a little easy at the moment as I’ve been diagnosed with shingles. I see quite a bit of hand sewing and tv watching in my future.
How can it be October already? I feel like this year has flown past. It’s alright, though, as I love autumn and October is my favourite month. The light is amazing and I love seeing all the autumn colours on the trees. It’s my birthday month and this year it’s one of the big ones: 50.
I love the age that I am, I love that I know who I am and what I want. I love the person I’ve become and I wouldn’t want to change anything in my life as everything that’s happened, good and bad, has shaped me. So I’m happy to say bring on the fifties!
Anyway, enough with the rambling. Here’s my September block which I finished at the last minute and where I added some fun orange accents.
I’m getting more and more excited about this quilt. I’ve started appliquéing the tiles onto the background but haven’t gotten very far yet. I really need to get a move on, though, as there are only two more tiles to sew.
Curious about the penultimate tile? Here it is:
I’m a little bit at a loss on how I’m going to do this one and where I’m going to put the coloured accents. Once I start all of this usually falls into place quite quickly so I’m hopeful that I’ll come up with a plan soon enough.
I caught the English Paper Piecing (EPP) bug about seven years ago when I started my first hexie cushion. I still have it and when I look at it I see all the imperfections. However, I love it so much that It sits on my favourite yellow chair in the living room, reminding me of my humble beginnings…
Well, I’ve gone and infected my mum. She was curious to try out EPP, so I gave her some big hexagons and some fabric and showed her how to baste and sew them together. She made a gorgeous runner to brighten up her dark blue chair.
After she finished it, she wanted to make a cushion cover and picked diamond shapes and some turquoise, white and pink fabrics.
As soon as she’d finished she asked me for something red. I had just designed a cushion cover for my sister to try out EPP as she’d seen my mother’s beautiful creations. As there were two versions I gave one of them to my mum with various red fabrics.
Those pieces are quite big so she finished it in no time, turned round to me and said the magic words: “I think I’m ready to start a quilt now.” You could’ve blown me over with a feather. I grabbed my iPad to open TouchDraw and started designing before she could change her mind. I gave her the papers and some Gütermann fabrics I had bought to make a quilt for my daughter two or three years ago and she set off.
Isn’t it beautiful? I’m sorry the picture is rather bad quality but I think you can still appreciate the beauty of it. My mum first said she was going to make four rosettes, then decided that maybe six were in order. I still think she’ll continue and make nine, although she is sure she won’t. We’ll see who’s right, won’t we?
As for my sister (who’s a prolific knitter), we’re going on holiday together soon and we’re both taking our EPP kit with us. I’ll show her how to EPP and maybe just maybe she will catch the bug, too.
How are we in September already? I feel like this year has flown by and I’m sure it’s also because of this Block of the Month, as I have been looking forward to the new tile every time I’ve finished the current one.
Here’s my August tile:
I really like this green with the black, white and grey. And I also like how all my tiles look together on the background fabric:
As you can see Charlie was very happy to help with the layout.
You may also have noticed that my tiles don’t fit on my background fabric. This has meant that I have indeed gone back to my original plan and I’m going to appliqué them onto squares of fabric and hand quilt them before sewing the squares together. This will be my first ever quilt-as-you-go quilt and I’m really excited to try it.
Right. Are you curious about this month’s tile? Here it is:
I love EPP because it’s portable. I can sew at home on my sofa while watching tv or I can take it with me on holiday. I can sew on the train, in the garden and many other places.
However, I’ve now started a project that is EPP but most definitely isn’t portable. My Floral Star quilt started with a stack of fat quarters I was gifted by my lovely friend Paula. She knows how much I love anything designed by Kate Spain and I was thrilled to bits when she gave me her stack of Canyon fabrics. I knew I had to make something special with it and decided to try and supersize one of my designs. The choice fell on Floral Star and I couldn’t be happier so far.
The colours aren’t the same in my version so it looks quite different.
As you can see I’m not finished yet. I had to let Charlie sit on it as no one really understood just how big it is already. I don’t mind, though, as he is the cutest cat in the whole wide world. The smallest piece is about 3.5″ x 4.5″, most of them are over 7″. It’s quite a challenge but fun too. I had to use slightly thicker paper as normal 80g/m copy paper bent too easily with such large pieces. It makes the whole thing harder and heavier to handle so I can only work on it when I’m sitting on the floor or at a table.
Since taking this picture I have finished sewing on the magenta triangles and am now going to continue with some green, I think.
If you’re on Instagram you can check out my progress with the hashtag ⌗sharksdinnerfloralstar
It’s a new month which means it’s time for a new tile for the block of the month. I loved last month’s block.
I was going to do the pentagons in red too but used the grey sketch by mistake and didn’t want to change it when I realised it. I rather like the way it looks and am really happy with how it fits in with the others.
Right, here’s the August tile:
I think this one is a really interesting shape and I’m very excited to start this one and see everyone’s versions. I’m going to use a nice green for this tile, I think.
Time is flying when you’re having fun and I sure hope you’re having fun sewing with me.
I loved the June tile and thought it looked great half finished too.
Every evening I sit in my sewing room which is also my rat room to let my ratties Bailey, Blue and Quentin roam free for an hour or so. So far this has been no problem at all as they all thought that the floor was lava. This meant that they mostly climbed on the cage and on me. However, this week Bailey has discovered that the floor doesn’t swallow her up when she walks on it and has started exploring. Add to this the fact that she’s a little hoarder and suddenly nothing is safe from her. I was sitting on the floor sewing when she swooped in and tried to steal my Aurifil thread. She also tried to get my scissors but they were too heavy for her.
Anyway, here’s the new tile:
This one looks like it’s got little cat faces in it and I might try and play with this a little. This month’s colour for me is red. Once again I have to dive into my stash to see what I can find as I really don’t want to have to buy more fabric. Rather the opposite, I’m trying to lighten my load and use up as much as I can. The problem is, that EPP doesn’t really use up that much fabric at least not when you use lots of different fabrics or scraps.
I can’t believe it’s June already. My daughter and my cat Charlie have their birthdays on two consecutive days and it’s always very busy at the end of May. I managed to finish May’s tile quite quickly and was looking forward to June’s tile for the last three weeks as it’s one of my favourites.
Before I post the June tile I’d like to show you last month’s tile:
I found it a real struggle to find the right fabrics for April’s tile and I was a little worried that I was setting a trend but that didn’t happen. Once I picked the solid and the grey swirls for the centre square I was off and finished the tile in no time at all. I did, however, feel that I was always using the same black fabric and therefore went and bought a couple of fat quarters. You’ll see them in the next tiles, I’m sure.
This month I’m going for a sea green or turquoise accent. I have to go through my stash first to see if I have enough of one colour for this block as I’ve just cut lots of 4.5″ squares for a quilt. If not, I’ll have to buy some more fabric. The horror…
I can’t believe we’re already half way through this Block of the Month once we’ve completed this last tile.
I quite like my last tile which was made with Kona banana:
I did find this tile quite difficult. I have no idea why, but I found it really difficult to choose the fabrics for this one. However, I got there in the end and am rather happy with how this one looks with the others.
This month I’m going for a light pink accent fabric. I have to check which colour it is exactly as I don’t always write down the name. It’s definitely a Kona, though.