Hurray! We have a new club coming soon for 2019, and this one is super special! If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen my stitching progress, and snagged yourself a free block. Keep reading for a quick tutorial for putting it together!
“Alexandria” is a copy of an Australian Quilt made in the late 1800s from British soldiers’ uniforms. I first discovered it in an historic quilts book years ago and it inspired me to take up EPP again after a few slow and meandering hexie quilt attempts.
Before this quilt, I wasn’t so sure of English Paper Piecing. I was making my own templates, thread basting, and adding hexies to a slowly growing blob at random. I didn’t really have a clear sense of progress, or how to stitch hexagons together to make it quicker and easier (like rows!).
But then I began what I named, Nana MacIntyre’s quilt, after the lady who inherited the quilt in Albury, NSW. I started with 1” hexies, which I was cutting with a special hole punch, and I bought the jewels and diamonds. That sizing, I later discovered, was a pretty big mistake (I didn’t know this, but the original was made from 3/4” and 1 1/2” shapes, or similar). But at the time, I just enjoyed the process of making one block after another. I took basted shapes in little ziplock bags to meetings, I stitched them in the evening by the fire rather than retreating to my freezing cold sewing room, I experimented with ways to baste and construct, and found favourites. I realised that EPP suits me pretty well.
If I ever finish that quilt, It’ll be around 110” square! Ha! And so it sits, neatly folded, still loved, and unfinished, waiting for a decision to be made about its destiny. It feels a little like infidelity to start another before the last one is finished, but I have known ever since I started to think about selling paper pieces, that I wanted to make this quilt available for everyone, and I have also known that making a kit for such a massive quilt was crazy. So hopefully this is more like honouring the inspiration, rather than cheating. (I’m talking like a quilt has feelings! Goodness me!)
Isn’t Lucy’s progress above amazing! I just love green! If you look closely, you’ll notice that Lucy’s quilt is scrappy, but in colour blocks, or sections. She’s followed a similar splitting of panels to the original but every piece is a different fabric to the one next to it. I’m following a different path this time. My blocks will be 3-4 colours each, with the same colour for each jewel, diamond, etc in each block, but I won’t be following a colour pattern over the quilt, except for the centre medallion. I’ll be using scraps and stash for mine. I felt daunted at the idea of coming up with a specific colour palette (something Lucy is really good at), and so I’m excited about the idea of dropping the need for too much planning, and using up my scraps!
Want to know more? Here are the quilt details and how to join in!
Size: 76” x 78”
This is our biggest quilt club quilt yet, but we hope you don’t feel daunted! There’s never any pressure, competition, etc. in my clubs. Stitch for enjoyment and go at your own pace. Throughout the year I’ll share handy tips for planning, making progress, and understanding what works well with your quilty personality. We’ll also be stitching the blocks into panels and adding them to the centre as we go, so once you get to the end, instead of ending the year with 100 blocks needing to be stitched together, you’ll be adding the last edge pieces to your quilt top!
Skill Level: Intermediate. I recommend this project for people who’ve done EPP before and are comfortable with basting and stitching. The quilt isn’t difficult, but it does allow for lots of variations in colour, and therefore construction. Mostly you’ll be sewing pieces together in simple blocks, but if you have a medallion round coloured in a certain way, you can alter the way you put it together. Having a little experience in EPP quilt making will help you make those decisions as you go.
Start planning your quilt by printing off the colouring-in sheet here!
Sign ups will open in my shop between Friday 1st February 2019 and Thursday 14th February 2019.
Bimonthly mail out:
The pieces for this club will be mailed out every second month in 6 ‘chapters’ and you’ll receive enough pieces to make a section of the quilt over that 2 month period.
Below is the plan for the year!
There are 3 payment options for this years club:
Papers: AUD$29 charged every second month. Free postage in Australia, $3.50 international shipping. Opt out anytime. Your account will be charged February, April, June, August, October, December on the 10th of these months. 6 payments total.
Stitching Buddies bundle: Sign up for 2 packs each month so that you can stitch with a friend! $49 every second month. Free postage everywhere! Only 1 account will be charged the whole amount each time and the 2 bundles will be sent to the one address. Your account will be charged February, April, June, August, October, December on the 10th of these months. 6 payments total. This would make a great birthday present or thank you gift! You can opt out anytime, or switch to a single papers pack if one of you changes their mind.
Upfront: $149, one payment, paid in February for the whole club. No refunds or opting out for this one, but you do get 1 month free, and free international shipping all year!
Each mail out, you’ll receive enough papers for the section of the quilt we’ll be making, and I’ll send out an email with the pattern. At the end of the year, you’ll receive a PDF copy of the whole pattern to keep.
This year we’re not offering fabric bundles, so it’s good to have an idea of the fabric you might need. It’s tricky to nail down exact fabric requirements for this quilt because it depends largely on if you work in colour sections, fussy cut, or use scraps.
But hopefully here are some useful figures for you:
1 1/2” Hexagons:
I cut fabric for 1 1/2” hexies into 3 1/2” squares. You can fit (12) 3 1/2” squares on a 42” width of fabric or 30 squares in a fat quarter (6 rows of 5). That can help you plan some of the medallion section if you’re using a single print for a ring of large hexies. A fat 16th will give you enough for 6 large hexies with a strip leftover for 3/4” jewels! (see image above)
1 1/2” Diamonds:
I cut a 2” strip for the 1 1/2” diamonds. You can fit 18 diamonds on a WOF strip. I think I’m going to use the same print for the diamonds between blocks outside of the medallion (they’re in red in the original, in the black background section.) I’ve counted 284 of these diamonds. 284/18 = a little under 18. So I need (18) 2” strips. That’s 36”, or a yard. So I might buy, or make sure I have in stash, 1 1/4 yds of joining fabric.
Later in the quilt, the blocks have a round of 6 diamonds around the jewel star, followed by another round of 12 diamonds. If you’re making your quilt scrappy, you can use a whole WOF strip to cut 6 diamonds for one block, and 12 diamonds for another.
You can cut the 3/4” jewels (measured along the short side) from 2” strips or 2 1/2” strips. (See image above for the different ways you can lay them out.) 2 1/2” strips are great for directional fabric. If you have stripey fabric, for example, and you cut it like the light green fabric above, all of your stripes will radiate out from the hexie, or border the hexie, depending on which way your stripe sits on the fabric.
The little hexies fit inside a 2” square. If you end up with scraps at the end of a 2” strip that you’ve cut for diamonds of jewels, keep them for 3/4” hexies!
If you’re fussy cutting, the blocks need 6 repeats on a piece of fabric for the jewels, hexies, or the ring of diamonds. How much fabric you need depends on how spread out the design is. I recommend trying half yard cuts and medium sized prints.
Small scattered florals, like the little Heather Ross roses above, are great for fussy cutting without needing lots of repeats. Just centre the acrylic template over the motif and draw around it with a ball point pen to make your cutting line. (You can use a rotary cutter, but for small shapes like this, it’s safer to draw the outline and cut with scissors.) If you use a mix of feature prints and basics, like Lucy has above, you’ll get great use of your stash.
Quick Block tutorial:
Lots of people ordered their free block from my shop the other week! Thank you! Make your block by Feb 13, share it on Instagram with the hashtag #alexandriaquilt and @talesofcloth. Then email the link to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll send you a discount code to get $15 off your first chapter, or your upfront total!
Prepare all of your shapes by basting the fabric to the papers. (basting tutorial here!)
Stitch the short, centre edges of the jewels around the hexie. Stitch the seams between the jewels.
Stitch the round of 6 diamonds between the jewels to make a large hexagon block.
Stitch the next round of diamonds into pairs to make little arrows. Stitch them around the hexagon block.
Stitch the last bunch of diamonds into the gaps at the point of each jewel.
Alternative options/tips: (these options are great for keeping the units in your hand smaller for longer.)
Lucy made her diamonds into hexagons (the rose print and the outside diamonds made into an arrow) before stitching them around the jewels.
Kata showed me how she followed Lucy’s method above, and then added the extra, pointing-out diamond to the right side of the hexagon. The she stitched these around the jewels.
See you there?
I can’t wait to stitch with you this year! I think this will be our best one yet!