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  1. English Paper-piecing

     The Basics

    Taking/Basting is part 3 in the 4-part process in making an English paper-pieced block.

    Tacking/Basting– the final preparation stage before sewing the pieces together.

    (I will use the term tacking)

     You will need:

    • the fabric pieces

    • the paper pieces

    • some thread – I use white over-locker thread most of the time but any random multi-purpose thread is good

    • a needle

    • a thimble and possibly a thumb protector – as you can end up with holes in the pads of your fingers from the eye end of the needle.

    • and depending on the size of the pieces, some pins


  2. English Paper-piecing

     The Basics

    Cutting Fabric is part 2 in the 4-part process in making an English paper-pieced block.

    Cutting Fabric

    First of all make your fabric selection. This can be a long or a short process in itself.  I will cover fabric selection/audition in a future tutorial.

    If you are making a quilt using the same fabrics for each block make sure that you have enough fabric for the whole quilt – including borders and sashing if you are framing the blocks. If making a scrap quilt having enough of the same fabric doesn't matter as much.

    I'm not good at doing this as I make things quite organically and I'm not a very good quantity surveyor and have been caught out a few times – but have luckily been able to get more fabric – although the times I haven't the project has had to be reduced in size.

    The best way to do this – and I'm no expert as I've just said... - is to work out how many pieces in the quilt are to be a certain fabric. Take the specific shapes – with the seam allowance which is 1/4 inch as standard and make up a symmetrical shape – Example:

    The previously used 8 inch Basic Star block

    • 8 black triangles

    • 4 black squares

    • 8 white triangles

    • 4 white triangles

    per block and there are to be 12 blocks in the quilt all in the same fabrics.


  3. English Paper-piecing

     The Basics

    As the name implies – English paper-piecing involves paper to form the shape of the patchwork pieces and to define the edges that will be seamed together.

    Drafting the block/s is part 1 in the 4-part process to making an English paper-pieced block.

    Drafting the block – creating the papers that the block/s is pieced with.

    The supplies to make this craft are very easy to come by and you probably have the majority lurking around at home somewhere. 

    Very basically for drafting you need:graph paper – 5mm squared graph paper can be used for both metric (cm) and imperial (inch) measurements.

    • graph paper – 5mm squared graph paper can be used for both metric (cm) and imperial (inch) measurements.

    • a pencil/pen – a pencil is better as it can erased – if you make a mistake or change your mind on measurements.

    • a ruler

    • an eraser if using a pencil

    • paper scissors


  4. English Paper-Piecing Patchwork is a very traditional form of patchwork - but can very much be used in a contemporary way. 

    One patchwork design that is often instantly associated with English paper-piecing is Grandmother's garden; a design which is completely based on hexagons and using the placement of fabrics to add detail to the design.  I have never used hexagons in my own work - but I do like to use other shapes in the same way specifically triangles and squares, and rectangles.

    English paper-piecing is a great portable handcraft and is an alternative to knitting or crochet.  I watch TV as I'm stitching at home and have stitched on trains, coaches, cars and ferries - all it takes is some preparation and forward thinking.

    English paper-piecing is also not restricted to traditional symmetrical quilt blocks - I have adapted designs intended for (machine pieced) Foundation Paper-Piecing and adapted the design of my husband's family shield. I have also use the basics of paper-piecing to make non-patchwork items such as soft toys.

    I definitely enjoy the patchwork more than the quilting - although the quilting can add to the overall design - it doesn't give as immediate gratification as the piecing does...

    As with anything you have been doing for awhile you develop personal habits and ways of doing things and everything included in the tutorials that will posted on this site are information I have retained and my personal opinion and way of doing things - so feel free to try it out and change how you do things to suit your own habits and preferences.

    Also feel free to comment on the tutorials (via Contact Me) to ask for clarification or to make suggestions about layout and other features that would be helpful.  I will take it all onboard and try to make the tutorials as understandable as possible.



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  5. On Tuesday we were down to 4 weeks until my due date - which as everybody keeps saying - has come around very quickly.  So far the only preparations I have made is to buy a new carseat, to fit all 3 carseats in the car, and potty train J (which has been achieved in about 6 weeks - thankfully).

    I really need to get on and do more but have instead been spending my time stitching - which is more enjoyable and has added to A's vocab as he points to the threads left on my clothes and says 'sewing' - very cute - and makes up for the times he messes with all the boxes and bags containing vital pieces and tries to chew his way into a plastic bag holding the very small paper pieces (which he did about a week ago).

    I think I'm procrastinating because it's all very daunting - and I'm worried what life is going to become - I have so many plans for this year and don't want to get sidetracked.




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  6. I have decided to enter 2 competitions this year - so far anyway - with the entry of both closing after the birth of baby boy number 3. 

    I am currently over halfway through piecing the top for a doll quilt with which to enter this competition, and am in the design stages for 2 quilts to enter in The Festival of Quilts held in August at the NEC - which I am also thinking about attending - as it will give me a chance to hit the merchant stalls - plus I will have the opportunity to spend time with my sister-in-law and only one child (and a mainly sleeping one at that). 

    So that's something to look forward to...

    Update: 27 May

    I am past the design stage and on to the making of the miniature quilt for the FoQ entry - and have even sent off my entry forms - now to design and start making the entry for the art quilt and to continue on with the doll quilt and doll - I also need to get onto Al to make the bed for me so I can get the entry in as soon as possible.


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    Today was my 29th birthday, the last year of my twenties – where has the last decade gone? And as with any passage of time I have been reflecting on my life.  The last almost 4 years I know where that has gone – into my children – the day-to-day of keeping them alive – I can't keep plants alive but I can keep my children alive – thankfully. My mother sent me a Facebook message this morning calling me her greatest achievement and I know exactly how she feels as I already feel that way about my children, having learnt how to be a parent from my parents – and I have great parents.


    I've been thinking the last few days whether I should do as other friends have and set myself a 'bucket list' or a '30 things to do before 30 list', but knowing how I procrastinate I would need to have a '50 before 50 list' to give myself the time to do it all – not that I know what I'd put on the list – I don't have any vices to give up, I'm not really into an exercise achievement or even though I did try to bungy jump 10 or so years ago it doesn't appeal any more. I would like to travel more – but plan on doing that after my children leave home – which will hopefully be before I turn 50.


    But maybe I should try to achieve at least one goal a year – and this is the first one – putting this website and all it contains out there to spread my passion (and some times obsession) to the world around me.


    Today my day was filled with the repeated emptying of a potty and putting a struggling, overly tired 18 month old to bed and I wouldn't have changed it for the world – so far my greatest achievement has been my beautiful boys and I am looking forward to June when I get to celebrate my new son's birth day and the further fulfilment of that achievement.


    And here are the 2 little people I got to spend my birthday with.




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