For me English paper piecing (EPP) was (and still is) the go to technique for creating complex designs without the need for precision cutting of fabric or marking of sewing lines on the patches. It is how I made the Wagon Wheels quilt I showed you the other day, I'm working away on requilting it and am enjoying the hand work. Polyester batting needles so nicely!
I also use this technique to make my Pound of Stars quilt.
More recently I used it to make Gardens of a King quilt top which is a pattern I tested for Missie of Traditional Primitives. You see, English paper piecing is not just for hexagons!
Honestly, if you want to do precision piecing of virtually any block, English paper piecing is the way to go. The quilt I am going to show you today was made around the same time as Pound of Stars and Wagon Wheels. What makes this one different is that it involved much more complex curved piecing and what I learned in making it was "use what you know". In this case I didn't use what I knew. I was accustomed to sewing clothes and I new about clipping curves (like when you are setting in the sleeves on a shirt) but it never occurred to me to clip the curves when I made this quilt. What quilt pattern is it? Well it was the pickle dish pattern and here is my version of the pattern.
Cranberry Glass Pickle Dish by Karen H
It isn't a large quilt but it has been used extensively over the years and it shows absolutely no signs of wear. For the most part it was stitched with the cheapest polyester thread I could find and I think that the two beige fabrics used where the rings connect might be polycotton! Here you can see both the polyester stitching and the beige fabrics.
One of the things I ask myself is what was I thinking when I used black - it was a nightmare to hand quilt on black. Because I didn't clip ANY of the curves there were areas that just would not lay flat. So what did I do? Quilt the heck out of them of course! I wasn't entirely successful (actually I wasn't successful at all) but nonetheless I forged ahead and in the end the quilt did what it was supposed to do and that was get used! The second red triangle in from the right on the top curve is a leftover from the red border sashing in my Wagon Wheels quilt. The second red triangle in from the left on the top curve is a piece of the fabric I used on the backing of this quilt. I remember where and when I bought it. It was an older cotton fabric and only 36" wide. It was 100% cotton and I bought it because it was inexpensive!
I still hadn't figured out how to bind a quilt so I just trimmed the backing and batting (polyester of course) down and then turned under the edge of the quilt top (1/4" please) and the quilt backing and I whip stitched the two together.
If I were to remake this quilt today would I make it the same way? The answer is yes and no. I would probably use EPP to make parts of the top and I would probably still use polyester thread (the quality today is excellent and it is inexpensive) but I would clip curves and make better choices in fabric colours (no more black thank you very much).
Still, I like this quilt, warts and all. I learned a lot making it and it is yet another quilt that has been loved and used. Really, isn't that why we make quilts?
I don't plan on entering any of my quilts in a juried show because it just isn't my thing. I critique my own work and give myself a pat on the back when it is deserved. For me the most important elements of quilt making are taking pleasure in the process of making the quilt and knowing that the finished quilt gave someone warmth and comfort. My Cranberry Glass Pickle Dish ticks both boxes!
Thank you for all the lovely comments on the last post. There were a few from No-Reply Bloggers so while I was unable to send you a person note (there is no email attached to your profile) I did read every comment.
Until I post again, happy sewing!