I really like English Paper Piecing. It's not an everyday activity for me. I definitely prefer my machine time, but this handwork stuff, is fun, and portable and pretty. And having finished (or close to finished) Trish's hexie quilt, I was totally ready for the next adventure in hand stitching. Not to mention that with #thequinnsirishadventure on the horizon, I knew I was going to need a new portable project to take with me.
In July 2016 , the incredible Jodie, of Tales of Cloth, shared a tutorial for an EPP pattern, that I have had in the back of my mind ever since, and it was just exactly what I was wanting. Her's was crisp with pops of limey goodness and just made me happy to look at it. And after the complete "random" I did with Trish's, the idea of a pattern, or formula was very appealing. So a Sprout quilt of my own was exactly what I wanted. I read, and reread the tutorial, and I bought a squillion papers from the Tales of Cloth shop (100% recycled card - feel great to the touch and reasonably priced) and then they sat. I had a deadline, which is normally very motivating, but this time, nothing.
I did 4 or 5 fabric pulls, but nothing was speaking to me. And I never want to start a new project when it's not speaking to me. I tried all the old faithfuls! Design seeds, and pinterest and weird stalky photos when I think someone's outfit has really good colour choices that I'd like to try and replicate... ok, that one's just me... pretend I never mentioned it...
And then I happened to pick up this super cute spotty multicoloured fabric, and suddenly I was off (like a frog in a sock). Once upon a time, back when I first got into quilting, I bought quite a bit of these lovely multi-colour prints, but they don't work in stash as well, and I always have trouble sorting them into a colour drawer, so I've gotten out of the habit of buying them, and so this had been tucked away for years, and when I stumbled on it, it felt right.
I was like a demon in my stash and shuffled fabrics over and over trying to match shades as closely as possibly. And I wanted to try to pull each of the colours in the original print, to really make it work. And I wanted a good mix of values. But I didn't want any competing prints, or too much repetition (it's about balance y'all ;-) ).
I finally got to the point where I felt I had it right,and I piled them all up together, and realised I had an even number... but the pattern called for an odd number (the pattern actually called for 9, and I had 14 but that's close enough, right), so I need to pull one or add one. And I couldn't pull any of them!! I'd worked so hard to get them just right, I needed them all!! But I just couldn't for the life of me find another one to go in...
I finally added the black butterfly on cream that I used for my Swoon. Even though there's no black anywhere else in the fabrics pulled, I had a feeling it'd be ok... Besides. I just needed something, so I could get it all cut before we left on our trip. I did all the cutting and a good part of the basting while still in Brissy, and then packed it all up in a little container, and jumped on a plane.
(P.S. How good are those Sistema boxes for epp?? It's just the perfect little organisation system for me) I finished the basting when we arrived in Amsterdam, and then I started stitching.
I'm not completely following Jodie's tutorial, in a couple of ways. Firstly, despite reading it at least 6 times, it turns out I didn't read it properly before I started, so while she does the centre row and then goes back and does the short joining seams (essentially making a paired row at a time), I did the short seams first and have long rows that I need to zig zag together afterwards. I'm not sure if one method is better than the other (this is only my second proper EPP quilt after all) . I do find that my points aren't perfect, as in I'm a couple of ml off at the ends, but I think that this will disappear into the quilt as the rows go together (or at least I hope so). Secondly, I have almost double the number of fabrics as she has used, so when I laid out my second vine, it still looked very pattern-y and not quite scrappy enough, so I've moved the way each vine is offset (you'll know what I mean if you ever do this pattern yourself).
Mine is all kinds of crazy colour, and I alternate between loving it and feeling like it's *way* too much but I think in the end, it's a happy bright welcoming quilt... It makes me think of a big bowl of sugar or candy. Add that to the little lozenge shapes and it only seems right to call it my Jellybean quilt. It seems such a contrast to the lovely soft subtle colours which Jodie used and which drew me to the pattern in the first place.
But anyway, I'm stitching away, and am hoping to get *close* to a finished top by the end of our trip. Then it'll really be a part of #thequinnseuropeadventure.