Wednesday, July 2, 2014

slow progress is better than no progress (and some rambling)

Neither of my quilts are coming along as quickly as I'd like,
but my stacks of finished blocks are slowly getting taller.

First up,
with what I think is a better name than 'my red and white quilt':

'Any Which Way'
with the exception of the block I sewed wrong, which will become a practice block for quilting,
no matter which way you turn a block,
it looks the same.

I've finally reached the half-way point on my blocks.

Not counting all of the prep work,
each block takes about 55 minutes to make.
(I explain the process in the post I just linked to.)
If I didn't have to press the seams open, that time would be greatly reduced.

I had thoughts of maybe trying to sell Any Which Way (in red),
but I'm thinking nobody is going to want to pay for it.
I've already got 38 1/2 hours invested
and I still have 24 hours for the blocks
and then there's 
and sewing it all into a top,
and the back,
and basting and quilting
and binding...

can you spot the mess-up?  ugh!
Good block to mess up on though; I hadn't given a thought to stripe matching when I trimmed the HSTs
so even before Tyler pointed out I'd put it together wrong, the block hurt my eyes. And my pride ;-)


And now for the stars into hexagons...

This quilt top will be sewn entirely by hand,
and as you can imagine
if you know me 
at all,
I love working on it!

Here are a few of my favorite blocks so far:

I really like this fabric! Wish I knew where I got it....

I'm not letting imperfections bother me. I'm not letting imperfections bother me. I'm not letting imperfections bother me.

I'm aiming for 10-20% fussy cut fabric. Wastes fabric and takes a ton longer, but my goodness the results are fun!

When Lily saw this fabric, she said, "This looks like it was made by the same person who made California Dreamin'."
Astute girl, that one.

 I still haven't settled on my perfect thread for EPP,
but I am leaning towards Gutermann 100% polyester Sew-All.
My biggest complaint is that it's hard on my fingers,
meaning that - as I pull my stitches tight, the thread almost cuts into my pinky.
If I am only sewing one star, it isn't an issue,
but for more than one star in a day,
it's a bother.
More than two (though that's rare) and I need a bandaid...
It also tends to tangle if I don't love it enough, so that's a little annoying.
My other complaint (and this may very well be an issue across the board with threads) is
different colors behave differently.
More than once, I've checked my spool (or 'reel' as they say across the sea ;-) to make sure that I had what I thought I bought,
and not some other type of Gutermann.

Bottom Line by Superior and a very similar thread by Gutermann designed for blind hemming in the sewing industry
are both nice to sew with 
in that they don't cut into me at all
and neither of them tangle, even with no lovin's at all.
I can also take slightly fewer stitches per inch, since the thread is so thin.
They both sort of 'fray' from the inside out;  I don't know how else to describe it.
The thread strands just randomly separate, causing me to question the strength of my stitches.
They also (the Gutermann Skala 200 more-so even than the BL) seem to be inconsistent.
By that, I mean that I can sew piece after piece (ignoring the fraying, and hoping that's not too foolish) with no troubles
and all of a sudden, experience a lot of thread breaks (totally not related to any visible stress in the thread).
I don't notice there being any correlation to my needle or particular fabrics.
(In regard to fabrics, I will say - designer cottons are soooo much nicer for EPP!
With quality fabrics, you only need to grab 2 threads of the fabric. 
With cheaper fabrics, I've found I need to grab a bigger chuck or the fabric will fray.
This, of course, means my stitches are more likely to show,
although I have learned to try to grab those extra threads from the seam allowance and not just across the side.
I fully realize that this makes absolutely no sense to you if you've never done English Paper Piecing. 
I do apologize.
I wanted to include the info for anyone newish to EPP who may happen upon this, as they may find it helpful.)

Enough of the thread discourse, and back to my stars....
er - hexagons....

My original plan was to make 110 hexagons for a 10x11 layout.
I am thinking I may need more, though, since the rows 'nest' together.

As of this morning, I've got 36 stars sewn together
and 6 completed hexagons,
all sewn either while watching a netflix show,
or in the car (mostly on the way to TKD)
or while waiting somewhere.

The fabric, you may remember,
is all scraps 
or from my stash (I am accumulating a stash - yay!) 
with the exception of some of the striped fabric, of which I purchased 1/6 yd cuts) 

I guess you could say it's a bonus quilt :-)

The biggest bonus being,
I love working on it.
But then,
I already said that, didn't I?

Linking up with Freshly Pieced WiP Wednesdays, where you can find all sorts of sewing goodness in varying stages of production.


  1. Amazing EP work!
    I am in awe of your skills!

  2. Wow, both of those projects are going to be spectacular! I admire you for keeping track of your time investment, by the way. I am pretty sure that if I knew exactly how much time I had spent making a quilt, NO ONE WOULD EVER BE ALLOWED TO TOUCH IT! ;-)

  3. I love your red and white blocks and am very impressed with your EPP!

  4. These are neat projects. The hexie blocks are beautiful.

  5. So pretty! I'm drooling, and geeking out that I kind of know what you're talking about!
    Jolene B.

  6. Tracy both of your current quilts are very detailed but will be beautiful. You are learning much about details along the way so both the process and the results are worthwhile. Do you use a thimble when sewing your epp? I find I end up poking a hole in my middle finger if I sew for a while within a day. Sometimes I add a tiny piece of bandaid to that spot to protect it - just as you could add a little strip of bandaid to the outside of your pinky before starting stitching if planning to work on it for a while.

  7. Thank you all for your kind words of encouragement; they make me smile.
    Rebecca Grace ~ you make me laugh!
    Karen ~ I *am* learning, which makes me happy. I've tried a bandaid, and the thread, instead of running nicely along the bandaid, often goes to either side and then gets caught up on it, creating new frustrations.
    (Maybe it's the kind I have though. Maybe I need special EPP bandaids ;-)
    I don't use a thimble. Which means I often have holes in my fingertips (which creates more places for thread to snag on...) I should probably use a thimble.

    Happy Stitching, Ladies
    ~ Tracy


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