I’ve been rather slow to try online workshops. Going to workshops in real life has always been one of my favourite things to do, and I wasn’t sure meeting up virtually would come close to that experience.
But when I saw that Kerry Green was teaching applique atCrafty Monkies, I had to sign up. Kerry’s applique skills are wonderful, and applique is something I’ve wanted to get better at for a while.
I’m really glad to say that I loved it! The demonstrations are very clear and easy to see, and we had plenty of time to ask questions. I enjoyed being part of the group too, and it was so interesting to hear how people were getting on around the country – and abroad. One lady had got up at 4am to join us from the USA.
More on my Moon Phase applique next time. It’s almost finished, and I’m making it into a quilt block holder.
This week I ‘went’ to Brazil, to learn transparency techniques with Carolina Oneto. We learned about how to achieve a transparent, overlapping effect with colour theory, using English Paper Piecing to join the pieces. It was so much fun, and has completely converted me to learning online.
I’ve just signed up for some lectures and a class at QuiltCon (which is being run virtually next year) – only 98 days to go!
Four months into the Ice Cream Soda quilt along (progress pictured above) and I’ve picked up quite a few English Paper Piecing tips. Here are five of my favourites –
1. Clover Black Gold Needles
Until a few months ago, I thought hand sewing needles were much the same. Oh no! These needles glide through the fabric. But they do have a tiny eye, so my next tip is …
2. Clover needle threader
I’ve been using this one for months and it is so fine and the design helps to keep it in one piece.
3. Aurifil thread
Beautiful colours, fine and strong. I use 40 or 50 weight for piecing, and the heavier weights are wonderful for applique and embroidery. The higher the number, the finer the thread. I got a little bit obsessed with the Aurifil and bought rather a lot. Have stopped now!
My dear friend Kathryn gave me a set of perspex templates for the Ice Cream Soda quilt and I am a complete convert. They make it easy to cut several pieces at once, and fussy cutting is much easier.
5. Sewline glue
Some quilters baste, some prefer to glue their fabric to the paper pieces. I’m a huge fan of glue – it means I can get to the fun bit (sewing the pieces together) more quickly. Refills can be expensive and the cost of postage means the price varies widely on the interwebs. If I can’t buy them locally, I check the price when I’m buying fabric online, and include them in my order if it’s a good deal.
If you’d like to keep up with my quilty progress, I’m dottie_doodle on Instagram.
I love English Paper Piecing, but I’ve only used hexagon templates. So when I heard about Tales of Cloth’s Ice Cream Soda block of the month club I thought this was a chance to try putting some more shapes together.
Ice Cream Soda photo from talesofcloth.com
Kerry of Very Kerry Berry spoke at the South West Modern Quilt Guild last week about choosing fabrics for a quilt, so I’m using her excellent advice to help with my fabric selection.
I started with my ‘hero’ fabric, which is Kaffe Fasset’s Millefiore in orange (top photo). It has lots of colours in it which can inspire other fabrics choices. The next step could be to buy other fabrics in the same collection, but I like my quilts to have a scrappy look. So I went to my stash of scraps and smaller pieces.
These are the golds and oranges, with some mustards coming in too.
Kerry suggested using some of these added fabrics as inspiration to lead to other colours. The flower print (bottom left) has the gold, but also grey and black, so I added some of those.
Then I put a black and white filter on this photo of my whole selection to check the contrast.
I’d like some more dark fabric. There is a burgundy in the Kaffe Fasset that I don’t have. Also some more pale blue and paler neutrals.
One of the things I really like about the Ice Cream Soda quilt is that you can make a few flowers and see how they work together. I plan to use the fabrics I already have for the first couple of months. Although I do have a shopping trip planned with my very talented friend Nicola, and it would be rude not to buy any fabric then, wouldn’t it?!