I have a new love. It is a blazing, impassioned, delirious sort of love, one that swallows me whole and leaves me asthmatic with creative fulfillment. My new love is quilting, and I can’t for the life of me believe I’ve waited so long to add this undertaking to my roster of obsessions.
Quilting encompasses everything that is awesome about sewing (i.e., seaming pretty fabrics together and making neat designs) and none of the aggravation (i.e., darts, pleats, hems, zippers, and making things actually fit).
It’s sewing for people who don’t like sewing. Or if you do happen to like sewing, it’s sewing on steroids. Quilting is an incredibly satisfying and even tranquilizing activity that lets you experiment with textiles and use up scraps from projects past. I knew I had been collecting leftover fabric scraps all these years for a reason!
My lovely friend Christina (hi Christina!) invited me to take this Sampler Quilt class with her at the Workroom, a quaint little sewing studio in the west end. The class, of course, was the most fun ever, and has totally sent me on a trajectory of lifelong quilting.
I’m a little ashamed to admit I haven’t yet completed my sampler quilt despite the class having ended several weeks ago… but it’s totally going to happen. I have my quilt slated as a Christmas present, so it will (hopefully) be sewn to completion very soon.
So, you know how I just praised the demigods of quilting and convinced you that there is no finer avocation on this green earth? I totally lied. Quilting is bloody awesome, but there is one thing out there that’s even better: English paper piecing.
English paper piecing is a quilting method that uses paper templates and fabric scraps to create perfectly crisp seams and precise blocking. It’s a completely different approach to quilting, but yields mostly the same results. I learned how to English paper piece via YouTube and was immediately hooked. The method requires no measuring or pre-cut strips fabric, no rotary cutters or cutting mats. Just a paper template and some fabric scraps.
So, with my newly acquired quilting and English paper piecing acumen, I ventured upon this kaleidoscope pillow project pictured above, which will serve a Christmas present for my darling little sister. (I’m pretty sure she doesn’t read my blog or any form of written memorandum for that matter, so I don’t think I’m ruining any surprises by posting this.)
This project was seriously fun to make. It uses a 16″ x 16″ pillow form, and you can incorporate as many or as few fabrics as you like. I used five patterned fabrics and one solid, and I think the results are very handsome.
English paper piecing is necessary for this project because the pieces are joined in a way that forms a spiral-like point at the centre of each piece – maybe this can be accomplished with regular quilting, but I can’t wrap my brain around how this would happen. Plus that would involve an insane amount of measuring and cutting accuracy.
There are many kaleidoscope pillow tutorials in the vast and endless interweb, but the one I used and recommend is here. (Look at all those super helpful instructional photos!)
To conclude, I am hopelessly and incurably enamoured by the art of quilting, and even more so by its simpler and more forgiving little sister, English paper piecing. Be mine forever, glorious textile crafts <3.