English Paper Piecing tutorial, a lovely block to inspire you & what's new
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It's been a very busy time here in the Shiralee Stitches household as our beautiful daughter completed her journey through school during a special 'Formal' dinner and presentation last weekend. Needless to say, this has distracted me from sewing, but  I do have a few things to share.......

Let's get excited about English Paper Piecing!

As you've probably gathered, I just love the method of patchwork known as English Paper Piecing. Quilts from years ago have been created using this form of patchwork, lovingly worked by hand.

Born in England in 1892, Lucy Boston was one such quiltmaker. When she died at the ripe old age of 98 years, she had left a legacy of at least 20 English Paper Pieced handworked quilts. One of these is the much loved 'Patchwork of the Crosses' quilt which has inspired me for some time.

In the store this week Community fabric range arrived, a lovely Collections for a Cause range by Howard Marcus, just perfect for some Lucy Boston blocks!

Lucy Boston Block : Number One

I have created a little kit to make this block. Choose from one of 2 options.. 
Kit 1.... fabric and papers to make this block for only $12, and if you buy this item individually at the checkout you'll get FREE SHIPPING.
Kit 2.....fabric, papers, and cutting template to make this block for only $17 and if you buy this item individually at the checkout you'll get FREE SHIPPING.

Over the coming months, I will be presenting a collection of these blocks using the lovely Community fabrics. When there are sufficient (say 9 or so), I will give you some finishing ideas and the option to purchase a kit, to build your lovely blocks into a small quilt.
If you get hooked and want to make sure you don't miss out on any of the blocks, just give me a call or email me and I'll make sure one is reserved for you each time.

Buy Block One
Below is a simple tutorial highlighting the tools I use, and steps, to begin your English Paper Piecing journey or refresh a current addiction!

You'll get to see some of the tools I love working with, and see how I use them. 

I have put together a special tool bundle to help you get started, as we all know how much better our experience is, and how much more professional the results of our efforts are, if we use the right tools.
Included in this bundle -
1 x Pink Rotating Cutting Mat
1 x Olfa 28mm rotary cutter
1 x Sewling Glue Pen
1 x pack Size 11 Milliners Needles (10 per pack)
1 x spool Bottomline Thread Colour 617 (Sandy's colour of choice)

All for the great price of just $94 plus the flat-rate shipping of $6.50.  This is excellent value as most shops charge in excess of $10 to post this cutting mat alone.
Buy the Tool Bundle
English Paper Piecing Tutorial

Here's a little visual reference and simple instructions to guide beginners through my glue-stick method of English Paper Piecing.
English Paper Piecing is the method of patchwork where the shape you are using is created over a paper shape. It produces exact results and I find it very relaxing. Without any tricky work, you can create some "Oh Wow" pieces or's how...........
Most of the paper shapes I sell have a perspex template available to make cutting the fabric shapes a breeze.The template allows a quarter inch seam allowance. Using the perspex template, and a small 28mm rotary cutter, simply cut out your shapes. You can layer the fabric and cut multiple units at one time. A round rotating cutting mat makes this task much easier, enabling you to cut in all directions, spinning the board around as needed, therefore avoiding the painful repostioning process, yet more importantly, avoiding the temptation to cut towards yourself, risking injury!
Using a fabric-safe glue stick (Sewline is great), glide a small amount of glue onto one side of the paper piece within a quarter inch of the outer edge, yet avoiding gumming up the very outer edge as this is where you'll be sewing. I find that holding the glue stick like a pen works best for me. Gently use your finger to fold the fabric snuggly over the paper edge onto the glue. Work your way around the paper piece one side at a time.
You will see that the 'tails' on my kite shapes are flicking out to one side. These will sit under your work when they are sewn together. If you turn them in, you will find your points don't retain their nice crispness. So just ignore them at this time. Place 2 of your shapes right sides together, and begin stitching by sinking your knot into the starting point as shown. I like to use Bottomline Thread and a Milliners Needle for stitches hardly visible! You can read about these on my website. I like the colour Taupe 617, pictured,  as it goes with my colour choices and is very forgiving as it looks like a shadow in the seam so you don't really need too many thread colours to match with your fabrics.(I actually use this colour for everything except bright whites, and it works fine!) Why not spoil yourself with one of the wonderful wooden spool holders in the photo, with the magnet to park your needle.
Now you're ready to stitch away! Notice here how I like to use a Clover Wonder Clip to hold the end I'm heading towards, saving me from the hand stress of holding it tight. It is important that these ends line up so the clips are very helpful. Using a whip-stitch, take a small bite of each fabric being careful to avoid sewing through the papers. This is where the Milliners Needles do their job, as I find that the finer the needle the less likely it is that I'll sew into the papers, and I do want to remove the papers and re-use them later.
Sew to the end of this edge, open out your work, add the next piece, lining it up to match your pattern, and continue's that simple..................but beware I find it very addictive!!
If you want to add some extra interest to your paper piecing, you could have a go at 'fussy cutting'. Simply use your template to cut out the shapes at exactly the same place in a pattern repeat on the fabric.
Larger prints and stripey fabric can create very interesting outcomes......

What's New
There have been a few new arrivals in the last few weeks.

Wool bundles
Just check out these yummy wool bundles.......Beautiful woven wool, that I then felted, have turned out so lovely and soft and thick.
A bundle of 20 x 5inch squares is a mere $32.
Buy a wool bundle
Homespun Street Bag and Purse

I have used these lovely wools to make the Homespun Street Bag
This is one of Anni Downs latest patterns, priced at $16.50.
Buy the pattern
I have also created a few kits for this quirky bag, using the wools as shown, and same or similar outer fabric (Same range, different designs, equally beautiful).

Kits are priced at $75 and include pattern, fabric, wools, and purse frame
Buy the kit
Community - Collections for a Cause fabric

This Community - Collections for a Cause is just a lovely reproduction fabric range by Howard Marcus. All my favourite colours. I can't wait to sew with this fabric.
Buy some here
I will have some of my pre-cuts avilable in this range as soon as I get cutting!
I hope life is being kind to you all and giving you some sewing time. 

Keep an eye out on the Shiralee Stitches site as I am sorting out some quilt kits which I now have limited stocks of. These will be uploaded in the next week or so and there is limited stocks of each, and they'll be priced to sell!!

Why not think about buying one of these as a special Christmas treat for yourself.

Happy Sewing
Copyright © 2014 Shiralee Stitches, All rights reserved.

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