All Points Patchwork: English Paper Piecing Beyond The Hexagon

By Diane Gilleland 

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106_cAlexandraGrablewski_ElongatedTableRunner_AllPointsPatchworkAll Points Patchwork covers English paper piecing from every angle: how to baste and sew patches, how to finish various kinds of projects, how to make your own designs and templates, and special tips for working with hexagons, diamonds, triangles, octagons, curved shapes, and more. There are 30 project ideas and 84 pattern ideas, but the book focuses on technique instead of specific project instructions, so you have more flexibility to dream up your own designs.

English paper piecing is a very old method for making beautiful, intricate patchwork. You don’t need any special skills or tools. All you need, aside from some basic hand-sewing supplies, is a stack of paper templates. When you baste fabric to these shapes, you get crisp, precise patches. Sew the patches together, and the paper does all the work of matching up the points.

IMG_7041I found EPP about five years ago, when hexagon patchwork began popping up around the internet. I was hooked after my first hexie. As much as I love my sewing machine, I find the slow, hand-stitched pace of EPP to be so meditative, and I can carry my projects with me anywhere. The craft goes way beyond hexies, too – you can EPP in any shape you can dream up, and you can work with great big patches or tiny little ones.

Learn more about the book at AllPointsPatchwork.com, and if you’d like to dip a toe into some EPP right now, try these simple free patterns on my website!

Storey Publishing is giving away three copies of All Points Patchwork to members and friends of the MQG. Enter here for a chance to win! We’ll select winners on Wednesday, June 17. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

Charity Quilt Spotlight: Kansas City MQG

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KCMQG on the loose with a project – QuiltCon Charity Quilt Challenge 2015

First order of business? Who will we choose to work on this TOP SECRET MISSION?

What? It isn’t a secret? Then why will anyone read this? Oh, because inquiring minds want to know! OR just because.

October — a small elite group of sewists take on the challenge. Marsha Rhoads, Elizabeth Rogers and Monica Vega meet discreetly at the downtown branch of the Kansas City library to avert attention from those who would be spies. They choose a pattern — Fractal from a book called Quilt Lab, and agree to collect fabrics from their stash. Elizabeth agreed to draw the design to scale along with suggesting color ideas.  

Next step, meet at a secret location. They chose a store front — cleverly disguised as a quilt shop, Show-Me Quilting in Raytown. Oh right, it is an actual legitimate quilt shop with a great selection of modern fabrics! Make a note to go there! Between them, they owned a few good fabrics but were able to buy everything else they needed there. Marsha and Monica snuck off to a secret hideout to cut the blocks. In a further attempt to throw off would-be spies, Marsha suggested they meet up at the Rainbow Mennonite Church fellowship room to finalize the fabric placement.

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kansas city pic3At an undisclosed location (her sewing room), Marsha worked long hours by candlelight… okay, maybe a light or two. Elizabeth and Marsha met to exchange the package. Elizabeth would toil long hours in silence to quilt the project. All that was left was the binding and other finish work. Soon the package would be off to the secret destination in Austin, TX. There, it would be mixed up with all the other “projects,” in the hope that no one would know what quilt was submitted by which group. Oh, right – they all have labels…  And that is a wrap from the TOP SECRET team from the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild.

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Charity Quilt Spotlight: Knoxville MQG

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The making of the Knoxville Modern Quilt Guild’s Quiltcon charity quilt was a collaborative effort spear-headed by founding member Emily Doane. Emily, who enjoys experimenting with graphic design in her spare time, used her skills with Corel Draw to create the quilt’s design, an updated take on the classic drunkard’s path and curved piecing. After coming up with the 3/4 circle block that would be the foundation of the quilt, Emily decided on the block size she wanted, 12.5”, and then varied the placement of the individual blocks within the rows of the quilt, experimenting with the amount of negative space between the blocks in each row until she was happy with the end design. The result is a quilt pattern with movement and space between the individual elements; each block unique in it’s coloring, pattern, and orientation to the rest of the blocks and quilt as a whole.

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After the design was set, Emily created a key for the members of the guild to follow to create the individual blocks. Participating members signed up to sew one or more of the individual blocks in the chosen colors.

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The blocks were collected from individual members, and then pieced by Emily, along with a generous donation of the background Kona Ash from member Dawn Green, into the quilt top. Member Pat Pike (Emily’s mom!) donated backing fabric as well as the use of her Gammill longarm quilting machine, which Emily used to quilt the quilt with an interlocking squared circle design.

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After the quilt was finished, Emily described the process as “very rewarding;” to see her design transform from idea, to pattern, to real quilt in “REAL fabric!” In the end, the guild’s quilt is a melding of Emily’s design efforts, the collaborative sewing of the guild members, and the modern quilting aesthetic.

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KMQG would like to thank Emily for her time and effort in designing, piecing and quilting the guild’s quilt, as well as all of those members who participated by piecing the individual blocks and/or generously donating materials for the quilt.

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Charity Quilt Spotlight: Boise MQG

Over the next few months, we’ll be featuring the work of some amazing charity quilts from QuiltCon 2015. Our first post is by the Boise MQG. Take it away!

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Laura Pukstas took the lead on organizing the Boise Modern Quilt Guild 2015 QuiltCon Charity Quilt submission. She gathered member feedback, finalized the design, and quilted it on her longarm machine. Most of the guild members wanted a lot of negative space and a non-traditional quilt layout. With this in mind, Laura worked on a quilt design that incorporated these elements. Laura says “I liked the idea of a block slowly building and getting bigger with additional elements being added to it. With the blocks getting larger in size, I wanted it to be emphasized by adding another color to each block. I liked the cascading feel of blocks starting in one corner and leading to one large block.”

Once the design was set, members were assigned a color, raided their fabric stashes, and helped to sew the individual blocks. Laura gathered the blocks and pieced together the quilt top, looking at it for several days to decide on a quilting design. She quilted some of the star block designs, various-sized flying geese, and a variety of filler designs to fill the expansive negative space. Two layers of batting made the quilting seriously pop, especially in the less-quilted areas. The quilting took a long time because it was so densely quilted.

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Once quilted, it was Angela Bowman’s turn to apply the binding. She chose some blue fabric from her stash and tried to stop staring at the stellar quilting long enough to bind the quilt.

 

Michael Miller Fabric Challenge — QuiltCon 2016

Michael Miller Glitz Fabric Challenge at QuiltCon 2016

Hold on to your sewing machines, because the fabric for the next QuiltCon Michael Miller Fabric Challenge is here! And we’re excited to unveil these fantastic metallic prints from Michael Miller’s Glitz collection.

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This year’s fabrics include 12 glamorous prints from Michael Miller, and each participant will receive six fat eighths at random. Like previous fabric challenges, we have many more members than available fabric bundles… We wish everyone could get one, but the bundles are first come, first serve. That said, we ask that everyone who signs up to please plan to submit the final quilt to the Fabric Challenge category at QuiltCon — like other categories, this category is eligible for judging and awards up to $1,000!

To be eligible, quilts must primarily use the fabrics above, but additional coordinating Michael Miller solids are permitted. Once completed, these quilts will be entered it into the Michael Miller Fabric Challenge category at QuiltCon. The top prize for this category is $1,000!

The registration link will be sent to members via email on May 9th at 10 a.m. Eastern time, 7 a.m. Pacific. To make things easy, here’s a handy time converter so you’ll know exactly when the link will be available to you. Registration is open until all fabric bundles are gone or until May 23. Bundles go quickly, so if you’re sure you want to enter, don’t wait! (However, if you’re not ready to commit, remember that you don’t have to get the free fabric to be involved – all you have to do is use the fabrics above in your quilt.)

All fabric will be shipped by mid-July, and the deadline for entries is November 30, 2015 (the same as other QuiltCon quilt show entries).

Have ideas for this sweet fabric yet? We’d love to hear ’em. Post a comment below! And for more info, visit the Michael Miller Fabric Challenge page at quiltcon.com.

Best of QuiltCon, Instagram Edition

We’re still riding our QuiltCon high (seriously, is it 2016 yet?), and half the fun is reliving the show from the eyes of our fabulous attendees. Collectively, we tagged over 12,000 new photos with the hashtag #quiltcon! Here are some of our favorites. Miss you already, QuiltCon.

By the end of the week, people were weighted down with pins from new friends and old. The pin swap was a huge success!

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Teachers and students strutted their stuff, and quilted apparel was all the rage in Austin. Hey Victoria!

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Classes and workshops were some of the highlights of the show!

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Sometimes a quilt just sticks with you!

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Our feeds were flooded with happy people taking #quiltconselfies. Like these two!

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So much quilting to do, so little time.

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You may have noticed the #quiltconartist getting into mischief at the show. Hilarity ensued.

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The biggest debate of all? Which tattoo to choose. So many good ones!

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Fabric was not in short supply — we all found treasures to take home.

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Sometimes a good quilt fort is all you need in life.

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The Quilters of Gee’s Bend shared their stories, wisdom, songs and of course, quilts.

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Quilt heaven, indeed.

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Each class was an opportunity for attendees to hone their skills and show off their personalities!

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Even our youngest quilters found their favorites!

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And there’s just no substitute for meeting your idols.

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Thanks QuiltCon! See you next year!

Thank you QuiltCon Sponsors!

QuiltCon would not be possible without the support of our amazing sponsors. From all the feedback we’re getting, the show was a resounding success, and part of the fun was seeing our sponsor booths on the show floor. Thank you all! Can’t wait until next year in Pasadena.

Baby Lock 

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Baby Lock had their machines out to sample and purchase.

 Bernina

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At Bernina’s booth, people fueled their passion by trying out the latest and most popular Bernina machines.

 Handi Quilter

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Handi Quilter also had machines to test and buy — a great experience for our attendees!

 Michael Miller Fabrics

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Michael Miller Fabrics drew crowds with their bright quilts and temporary tattoos!

Moda Fabrics 

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At Moda’s booth, show-goers could play bean bag toss to win a cute Moda prize.

Robert Kaufman

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Robert Kaufman brought their Kona booth, complete with the fun “Test Your Kona IQ” challenge. What was your score?

 Stash Books

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Stash Books kept show-goers supplied with inspiration — their endless stacks of books and patterns were a hit!

Windham Fabrics 

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Windham Fabrics brought designers like Lotta Jansdotter to talk with show attendees at their colorful booth.

Thank you also to Platinum sponsors Coats & ClarkPanasonic and Purl Soho for their support!

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Giveaway: Panasonic 360° Freestyle Iron

Ever feel like you spend more time pressing than sewing when you’re making a quilt? We definitely have those days. But a good iron is a quilter’s best friend, and our friends at Panasonic are giving away one you’ll love.

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The Panasonic 360° Freestyle is a sleek, cordless iron that lets you press in any direction with speed and ease — and the ergonomic, high-tech design is easy on your hands and wrists. It also has an anti-calcium system to prevent clogged steam vents, and vertical steam settings to eliminate wrinkles from hanging quilts or garments.

Enter the giveaway on Instagram by hashtagging #PanasonicIrons. The winner will be selected one week from today!

Submit a Quilt: Modern Quilt Guild at the Texas Quilt Museum

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The Texas Quit Museum is still looking for entries for an upcoming juried exhibition. If you missed the opportunity to show at QuiltCon, this is an amazing opportunity to show your work at a renowned quilt museum. The deadline for submissions is April 30, 2015, so choose your best quilt and apply today! Here are the details for submissions:

  • The show will run January to March, 2016.
  • Quilts must have been made in the last 10 years (after 2005).
  • Submissions are open to MQG members only. (Not a member? Join today!)
  • The jury committee consists of Karey Bresenhan and Nancy O’Bryant Puentes, co-directors of the Museum, and Dr. Sandra Sider, Curator, Texas Quilt Museum.
  • The jurors will select 18 quilts for the exhibition.
  • Each applicant may only submit one quilt, identified by maker(s), title, date, and measurements (height by width in inches).
  • There are no size limitations for the quilts and no entry fee, but the quilt cannot have been exhibited within 200 miles of La Grange, Texas, in 2015 (including at QuiltCon in Austin).
  • The deadline for submissions is April 30, 2015, and the makers of accepted quilts will be notified by August 31, 2015.

Ready to submit? More details are available at mqgcallforquilts.com, where you can also start the application process.

Thanks to the exhibition sponsor:

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QuiltCon People’s Choice: “Quilt for Our Bed” by Laura Hartrich

On the last day of QuiltCon, we tallied the votes for People’s Choice, and one quilt stood above the rest. Congratulations to Laura Hartrich of the Chicago MQG! She won for her “Quilt for Our Bed,” pieced by Laura and quilted by Nikki Maroon.

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“I have been a quilter for 5 years and had never made a quilt for our bed. I decided it was time. I was inspired by Jen Carlton Bailly’s phenomenal 5HTP Squared quilt, which used quarter circles in a way that almost looked like letters but weren’t. I decided to run with that inspiration and actually make letters from quarter circles, squares, and triangles. The words are something my husband and I say to each other every night before drifting off. I figure, if I stay up too late sewing, now the quilt can say it for me.”

Congratulations again, Laura!

And thanks to our People’s Choice Sponsor:

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P.S. And If you were wondering who won the raffle quilt, it went to Matt Wheeler. Congratulations, Matt!