How To’s-Day – English Paper Piecing

Two years ago, I started a quilt. I didn’t get very far before other things took my time and attention. Lately, I’ve been wanting to pick this project back up and get started again. Since I am on the go so much, I really need a project that can travel well. Most people don’t think of quilting as something that you can stash in a bag and break out in a waiting room but with English Paper Piecing it’s really quite easy to do just that.

I keep my project in an old Altoids tin and it easily fits into any bag or even my pocket. I have a small stack of fabric & paper templates, bright colored thread on a small cardboard tube for basting, a safety pin and paper clip for securing the template to the fabric, tiny scissors, and, of course, a needle. The cardboard tube with thread came from a basic sewing kit I picked up for just a couple of bucks. It would be just as easy to wind an embroidery thread bobbin if you don’t have one of these tubes.

Quilt to-go

The entire project gets stashed in a larger bag which contains all the fabric for the project including the backing and binding and the various colors of thread I’ll be using for stitching the pieces together. The only thing missing is the batting.

Quilt bag

Once I have several several octagons and tiny squares basted, I stitch them together into groups like this:

English paper piecing

When I’m traveling with the basted pieces waiting to be stitched together into groups, I usually just stash them in a small zip lock bag. Still easy to stash in a bag but maybe not so much in a pocket.

When I begin putting the groups together, the project will become less travel friendly but I should have plenty of travel time with my quilt pieces before that happens.

If you’re interested in learning how to do English Paper Piecing, Craftsy has a fantastic article for getting started. There are plenty of places to download templates of various shapes. My templates came from a set of metal quilting templates I was gifted from my grandmother. I traced enough to fill a sheet of 8.5 x 11 paper, ran a couple dozen copies, and cut them out.


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