Saturday, October 3, 2020

Nearly Completed EPP Monogram Block + Backing, Binding Fabrics Selected for Welcome Home, Baby Quilt

You guys, as soon as this pandemic is over and the quilt shows start up again, I need to sign up for an in-person English Paper Piecing (EPP) class.  I am happy with how my EPP monogram block came out, but I'm pretty sure it should not have taken me this long to sew just the one block:

EPP Monogram Stitched and Trimmed

That's what I miss most about live-taught classes -- the individual feedback you get from the instructor looking at your work up close and saying things like "When your stitches get that small, you're not sewing anymore.  You're WEAVING!"  But, not having anyone to show me how small EPP stitches need to be in order for the seams to be tight and secure, and knowing this is going into a baby quilt that will hopefully be used heavily and laundered repeatedly, I erred on the side of too many tiny stitches rather than risk too few stitches spaced too far apart.

6.25 x 6.25 Monogram Block Center, EPP Completed

Those hand stitched seams are about eight times stronger than my machine pieced seams.  Overkill, but glad it's done!  So, after I finished all of the EPP, I pressed the block from the front and back and let it cool before pulling out the card stock templates from each patch.  They came out very easily despite the swipe of glue stick I used to adhere them to my fabric patches prior to basting the edges.  I tried two different ways of thread basting, by the way.  I started out not basting through my card stock templates at all, just tacking the seam allowances at the corners of each patch without stitching through to the front of the work at all.  If I was making a Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt with thousands of 1 1/2" hexies, that method would be a great time saver as there's no need to go back and remove basting threads at all if they don't show on the front of the work.  But I felt like my longer trapezoid edges weren't well enough secured with this method, so I switched to the more traditional method of basting all the way through to the right side midway through.  It wasn't a big deal to remove the basting threads with just one EPP block in the project.  

Basting and Templates Removed, Seam Allowances Opened, Excess Trimmed

After removing the pink basting stitches and the card stock templates, I pressed the block again from the right side and then flipped it over to carefully open up and flatten the outer seam allowances.  I deliberately avoided removing that outer crease line with my iron so I could use it as a reference as I trimmed the excess seam allowances to 1/4" from the points on my "C."  This center portion of the block measures 6 1/4".  

Right Side View

Pardon the fuzzies on my dark Indigo fabric; I've still got batting fuzzies all over my cutting mat from when I was joining batting scraps last week.  The last step to complete this monogram block will be to frame it in Indigo strips with Wasabi corner stones to float the "C" and get the block to the 8" finished size required by my quilt, but there's no reason that bit can't be done by machine.

This is the 42 x 42 Baby Quilt I'm Making

This block would probably be done, and the whole quilt top would probably be together, if I hadn't scampered off with my mom to visit my Not-Quite-Local favorite quilt shop yesterday afternoon.  I had not been to a quilt shop since pre-pandemic, so it was quite the treat.  However, we got stuck in accident traffic on the way there and by the time we arrived at the shop, there was only an hour left before their 5 PM closing time.  And I had a HORRIBLE time finding a backing fabric that would work with this quilt!  It would have been so much easier if I'd started by selecting a print backing fabric that I liked and then pulled my solid fabrics from the print for the quilt top palette.  But NO, I didn't do that -- I wanted to come up with my very own palette from the Charley Harper illustration on Pinterest...  

I saw so many fabulous prints that would have been perfect if only my Bone fabric had been whiter, or if my Grasshopper green had been more turquoise, or my Indigo had been black...  My Wasabi yellow has an awful lot of green in it.  Which I personally loved until I tried pairing it with print fabrics that had a true yellow.  Blech -- those fabrics made my lovely Wasabi fabric look like BOOGERS!!!  This is why I had to pick the backing fabric in person.  (When I'm matching fabrics in a quilt shop and I'm not bringing a whole quilt top or block with me, I just use a safety pin to hold scraps of each of my quilt top fabrics together while I'm shopping).

Backing and Binding Fabrics Purchased

Anyway, as you can see above, a couple of Kaffe Fassett prints from Free Spirit Fabrics saved the day.  The circles/squares print will be my backing and the variable width stripe will be my binding.  I know I could have saved myself a lot of aggravation (as well as frantic rummaging through a quilt shop that was about to close) by choosing a solid backing fabric, and I know that solid backing fabrics show off the quilting better than busy prints...  But I could not help myself, because it's for a baby, and I like brightly-colored, happy quilts for babies.  This will be lovely.

Well, that's all for now, as my Saturday is slipping away from me and there is still a lot left on my very aspirational To-Do list for today!  I'll be linking up and sewcializing with the following linky parties:


·       UFO Busting at Tish in Wonderland


·       Frédérique at Quilting Patchwork Appliqué

·       Oh Scrap! at Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework

·       Slow Stitching Sunday at Kathy's Quilts


·       Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts  

·       Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt


Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

I think your back looks pretty normal really a lot of us take a lot of stitches - tiny whip stitches get the job done. Everyone always has their way of doing the stitching but most do tiny whip stitches like that. Sorry your time at the quilt shop was limited

Frédérique - Quilting Patchwork Appliqué said...

Your stitches look very normal to me, and for a baby quilt. Lovely done! Wouldn't have been easier with paper piecing (FPP)?
Thanks for sharing!

SJSM said...

And you NAILED IT on the backing fabric match. At least that is purchased regardless of the hurry you were in. That part will fade in time as baby dearest enjoys their quilt.

Quilter Kathy said...

Well done on the EPP block! And what a great design for your quilt!

Karrin Hurd said...

Great projects, and great work on the EPP block!

chrisknits said...

I think the prints are awesome and just the thing!

Kathleen said...

That's a perfect backing! Sorry you didn't have more time in the store but focused time may have been better. You did a fabulous job with that center block!

The Joyful Quilter said...

Awesome choices at the quilt shop, Rebecca!! No boring backings for baby quilts (or any quilt, in my opinion.) I'm a big fan of circles, spots, and dots. And striped bindings? The BEST!!