Wednesday, 12 June 2019

English Paper Piecing - The Soothing Quilt

When I finally wrote a blog post all about my Perpetual Spring EPP I mentioned that I'd embarked on a new English paper piecing project and here it is: introducing The Soothing Quilt. Named by my Mum, this idea of this quilt is to do just that. For me, EPP is the perfect evening pass time and perhaps the only hobby that I find entirely relaxing (dressmaking can definitely have it's moments of stress!) and so I wanted to start a new long term project that could guide me through exams and provide a cocoon of calm. I'm quite quick at EPP (all being relative, of course!) so one of the main features was that it had to be big. I've also always wanted to make a quilt but machine quilting has never appealed to me in the same way that dressmaking does so to this quilt seemed like the perfect way to combine these two things.

I spent a long time planning the design - and I mean a very, very long time! Too long. I scoured the internet for hours looking for quilt patterns for EPP but to no avail. There seems to be a quite a lack of modern English paper piecing patterns, presumambly because it's such a time consuming and perhaps forgotten hobby. Other than Florence's wonderful patterns I've struggled to find EPP patterns that I really love. For the most part I use geometric shapes that I piece together to design small blocks but this time I wanted something on a much larger scale. I didn't want to design my own block in case I didn't like the look of it as a whole quilt but I struggled to find pictures of blocks made into whole quilts.

There is definitely plently of EPP inspiration to be found, a couple of my favourite designers being Tales of Cloth and The DIY Addict but while I love their designs they weren't quite right for this project. I wanted the pattern to be simple, so a clean and neat geometric repeat was what I looked for. I also wanted to find something where the shapes were all connected together without a border in between purely because by this point finding the fabric was also starting to become an issue. In the end, I did stumble across the perfect pattern for me, called the Kwik Whirligig EPP. It's very simple but it was perfect for the modern feel I was going for. I wanted the fabric to be bright and to be the main part of the quilt so a clean design allows the fabric to stand out. I also love the quilt featured on the website, the colour gradient was exactly the kind of thing I had in mind and I've decided to pretty much copy her gradual colour change as it looks incredible.

As if the hunt for the perfect pattern wasn't enough I then had to embark on the hunt for the perfect fabric. I honestly believe that the planning and accumulation of resources for this quilt took almost as long as all the time I've put into cutting and stiching so far! The perfect fabric was surprisingly easy to find but of course finding a shop in this country that sold it proved increasingly difficult. I knew early on that I wanted to use, the Alison Glass Sun Print 2018. Unfortunately, because she released her new collection around this time, the 2018 collection was sold out in most of the online shops I looked at and the ones that did have it only had it in a couple of colours or designs. We (my Mum spent just as long planning this quilt as I did despite her lack of interest in the sewing side of things) spent so long trying to hunt the fabric down including actually phoning the manufacturers until I finally found a shop that sold the majority of the fabrics I wanted, Quilt Essential UK. I managed to purchase all but two of the prints from them although they're sold out of nearly all of them now. The other two I had to buy from two separate shops which meant paying postage twice for one fat quarter of fabric but by that point I was so delighted to have the fabrics I didn't care and I was determined to have the entire collection! I am so happy I spent so long searching for those fabrics as I look at them and love them every single day.

After that the only thing left to do was to actualy start sewing the quilt! I'm not entirely sure what size it will be once it's finished as it depends on how much fabric I have so I'm sewing it as a square so that the shape is even the whole way through. I love sitting down and picking out the fabrics for the next row and because of the diagonal colour gradient it's exciting to see which colours are starting to appear as for now I've used primarily blues and purples.

I wanted to be able to intoduce this quilt properly and explain the back story as it's a long term project that I'm hoping to update from time to time - it's already looking different from these photos with the addition of an extra row! The design is much more simple than my last project and I really like that it's all about the fabirc. It's nice to have a project which has been deliberately created with the intention for it to take a long time, it's definitely an 'about the journey not the destination' kind of make.


  1. It's beautiful! I love having a longterm project like that, that I can return to again and again.

  2. It is going to be great. Did I spot that you are using a glue pen to make your pieces. They are brilliant and mean you can actually get on with the sewing rather than tacking. I have one which I had from a company called sew simple solids and they sell the refills too. Good Luck! Jo xx

    1. Yes the glue pens are brilliant! It speeds up the process so much.

  3. It's looking great Anna, I love the colours and the way it's put together. You can't help but take a good long look at it. It will be greatly admired for sure, Cathy x

  4. Your quilt looks so lovely! I think the color gradients are going to be something really special.