I've really been enjoying the sweet emails I've been getting about All Points Patchwork. It's always so nice to meet fellow EPP-lovers. I heard from Anne the other day, and she wanted to know where to get the templates for the rosette design on the book's cover. And I did a facepalm and said to myself, "D'oh! Why has it never occurred to me to share that pattern?!"
...So, thanks to Anne's great idea, you can now download your very own PDF copy of the templates to make this block (which I'm calling the Cover Girl Rosette) right here at this link. If you make something with it, I would love to see pictures, so be sure and email me or give me a shout on Twitter or Instagram.
It's time for another EPP blog hop to celebrate All Points Patchwork, and this month, we're playing with apple core templates.
I adore apple cores - not only are they so freaking cute, it's great fun to play with curved seams in English paper piecing. Not as relaxing as making hexies, perhaps, but an entertaining challenge that yields impressive results. (And incidentally, you can get lovely precise apple core templates in several sizes from Paper Pieces.)
So, I made these simple potholders with my 2" tall apple cores, and I'll use them to illustrate some of my favorite tips for working with this shape. (My book goes into vastly more detail. These are just some highlights.)
The apple core is an especially good shape for learning to work with curves because it contains both kinds – convex, or outward-bulging, and concave, or inward-caving. Each kind of curve bastes a little differently.
For the outward-bulging curves, you use a tiny gathering stitch and some little anchoring stitches. The video above walks you through that.
For the inward-facing curves, it's all about careful clipping – but not too much clipping. See above, how my clips end a generous 1/8" away from the edge of the paper template? That's important. That allows you to wrap the fabric smoothly around the edge of the template, but without any danger of those clips creating holes at the edges of your patches.
As you're basting apple cores, there's a lot to pay attention to because you're switching back and forth between these two kinds of basting. But it's also important to keep checking the front of the patch. Make sure you're getting that fabric wrapped smoothly over the template. It's okay to pull the fabric a little more here and there to help it get smoother as you baste.
Apple cores simply take a little practice. Your first basted patch may look wonky. Mine sure did! But I guarantee that your third one will look much better, and your tenth one will look amazing. Don't stress about it - you can always re-baste your early ones.
...And always press your patches before you sew them together. You'll be amazed how many little wrinkles and lumps magically disappear through pressing.
(These photos are also a good place to mention this: as you baste, worry about getting smooth coverage, not about how your basting stitches look. See how crazy-uneven mine are here? Basting comes out, so it doesn't matter what it looks like!)
Stitching apple cores together isn't hard if you know a couple simple tricks. First, place your patches side by side for sewing – not right-sides-together like you're used to with hexies. I like to use a couple Wonder Clips to hold them together while I sew.
...And I use the same whip stitch I use for other EPP shapes, but it's a stitch that skims along the backs of the patches, as you see above.
When I was playing with my apple cores, I got all excited about these groups of four. But here's something I learned the hard way: you need to assemble each group exactly the same way so that the units fit together. Can you see above how these groups of four are assembled so they fit and don't-fit?
In terms of making the potholders themselves, I stitched up some EPP units and then appliqued them to some background fabric before assembling. There are lots of great potholder tutorials linked here, so feel free to choose the style you like best, and go to town.
Curvy applique like this with EPP can be a little tricky, so here are some good tippy-tips:
Tip #1: When you've finished the EPP and all the paper templates are still in place, press it, press it, and press it again. Press especially well around all the outer edges. Feel free to use a little spray starch if you like. You want the creases along the outside edge to be super sharp, so they hold their shape once you take out those templates. When you press, always let the fabric cool completely before you handle it - that allows the creases to stay as sharp as possible.
Tip #2: Press in or trim away any little sticky-out bits. With apple cores, these mostly happen at the corners. Fold them to the back and press them down so they're invisible from the front. Or, carefully snip away the little sections that stick out - that's legal too.
Tip #3: When you're removing the basting and templates, handle with care. Try not to fold or wad up or otherwise distort your work. Keep it as flat as possible.
Tip #4: Once the basting and templates are out, press again just to flatten out all the seam allowances and settle those outer edges. And "press" in the literal sense here: press the iron straight down onto your work; don't slide it back and forth. Sliding the iron just messes up the seam allowances.
...So the moral of this whole story is: don't fear the apple core! This week, you'll see some amazing things you can make with this shape, and I hope that inspires you to order up some templates and give it a try.
As each of our blog hoppers posts this week, you'll see the linky update below. Click the thumbnails to learn more about the projects!
In fact, to help you get started, we have an awesome giveaway! Paper Pieces has generously donated a pack of 168 of their 3" apple cores, and Clover has donated a pair of their Patchwork Scissors. Those babies have a lightly serrated blade that cuts fabric with great precision - perfect for cutting curves!
To enter, leave a comment on any of the participating blogs this week, and register your entry by clicking the Rafflecopter box below.
I'm still all over the place, sharing news about All Points Patchwork. Here are some useful things you may have missed:
First, if you're here in PDX, please stop by Modern Domestic this Saturday from 12-2. I'll be there with my EPP kit, showing all comers how to baste any shape they're into, and answering burning EPP questions, helping folks plan their next projects, and signing books. Just come hang out and stitch with me!
Over at CRAFT, I shared a PDF excerpt from the book this week - it's the section where I compared various types of EPP templates, and which projects are best for what kind of template. Head over there to get your copy.
Over at the Clover blog, I wrote about my favorite tools for EPP, and why I like them. (I'll admit to being something of a Clover junkie.) You can read about that over here.
This week kicks off another great EPP blog hop, and this time, we're playing with diamond templates! Seems to me that many new EPP-ers come into the craft through making hexies and then sooner or later graduate to diamonds. They're wonderfully versatile and easy to work with.
A new link will appear below each day, so check back often. You can click the thumbnails to check out the posts.
…And, like last week, Clover is graciously sponsoring a giveaway of another awesome EPP tool - their soft, grabby Protect & Grip Thimbles. Leave a comment on any participating blog and register your entry in the Rafflecopter box below. International entries are welcome, and you have until midnight on Sunday, June 14th.
Here we are at the original launch date for All Points Patchwork, and this begins the concept I came up with to replace the "traditional" blog tour. Twice this month and once a month after that, I'll be hosting a different-themed EPP blog hop.
In each hop, five talented piecers will each share a project they've made for that theme. We'll get to see EPP through lots of lenses, learn some tips and tricks, get a few glimpses of the book, and enjoy a metric ton of delicious eye candy. Sounds like fun, right?
The first of these hops kicks off today: The Fussy-Cut Hexie Challenge. The challenge is simply this: come up with a cool EPP project where you use hexagon templates and print fabrics, and position those prints carefully on the hexies. Hoo, boy can you get some cool effects this way.
Last week was a big one around here – All Points Patchwork launched at last, and I transitioned to a full-time day job. Which is why I'm only getting around to blogging now! But for the past few weeks I've been busily writing and making some fun stuff for other blogs, so I wanted to share them here.
So first, the book now has its own website, AllPointsPatchwork.com. You can see more of the book there, and link out to many of my favorite patterns and tutorials you can use with EPP to make all kinds of projects.
Next, I created an original EPP pattern for the lovely Sew, Mama Sew. This coaster makes up surprisingly quickly, and it's a nice way to dip your toe into English paper piecing beyond the hexagon. That center section turns fussy-cuts into wonderful kaleidoscopic designs. Get the PDF and a photo tutorial over at Sew, Mama, Sew.
For my publisher's blog, Inside Storey, I wrote a little meditation on how slow hand-sewing projects can be a kind of map of your life. I know quick and easy crafts tend to dominate the landscape, and with good reason, but I strongly believe in making that takes time. Read the whole post at Inside Storey.
Images above are Copyright by Alexandra Gralbewski, used with permission.
I have an awesome series of EPP blog hops coming up, and more pattern and tutorial plans. But I'm still re-learning how to work 40 hours a week while maintaining a semi-full refrigerator and semi-empty laundry basket, so bear with me. :-)
Guess what this is? It's an advance copy of my next book, All Points Patchwork! I know I've written a lot here about the challenges of writing craft books, but there really is nothing like that moment of paging through that first real, live copy. All the assorted stresses fade away, and you're left with this incredible feeling of accomplishment.
...Even better: Storey has moved up the launch date on this baby! It's now coming out May 19th, and if you like, you can even preorder a copy now.
Many things will be coming soon, like blog hops and reviews and events. And a book website! And - ahem - more blog content. :-) See you soon!