Tuesday, April 17, 2012

English Paper Piecing Refinements

I had a busy and very productive day today!  I started with a trip to Sew Sisters Quilt Shop in north Toronto to buy the 100 wt silk thread I mentioned yesterday.  They carry the Kimono line from Superior Threads.  I bought two neutrals to see which would work better:

In fact, it does not matter which one I use, because as you can see from the first photo, you really can't see the thread at all.  It is fantastic, and very strong!  Although it is a little tricky to get used to.  In order to make the knot in the end big enough I make a quilter's knot with six wraps, and keep the wraps together carefully as I pull the thread through.  I also had to get out my best embroidery scissors to cut it cleanly.  And it helps to pull each stitch quite tight as you go.  And keep the tail long.  But it is totally worth the extra trouble!

I wanted to use just stash fabrics for this project, but I did buy fat quarters of the two blue fabrics you see here while I was at Sew Sisters.  You know how it goes.  This time I rotary cut 2" squares in all the fabrics, which went quickly and which sew up neatly.

Yesterday I had the idea of pre-folding the paper pieces before I use them.  I tried it today and it is REALLY helpful.  I fold the piece in half, bringing the straight sides together, in all three directions.  In origami you would say I'm making three valley folds.  Then I turn it over, place it on the wrong side of the fabric so it makes a little "mountain," and start to baste:

The folds are exaggerated here so they show in the photo.  I flatten it out before I start to stitch.  Then later on, when I need to fold the work to sew the Y seam, it folds easily and perfectly straight.

So, I am very happy with how it is going.  I think my biggest problem is going to be giving this little quilt away.  Maybe I will find a place for it around here.  ;)


  1. I love English paper piecing and I especially like it when the pieces are put together randomly, rather than in a Grandmother's Flower Garden design. I use silk thread exclusively for hand applique, but never thought to use it for English paper piecing. Thanks for the idea. My favorite silk thread is Kimono by Superior. I like it even better than YLI's, although theirs is good, too. Don't bother with Clover brand. It frays a lot and is inferior to the other two.

    By the way, Superior sells color cards with real thread on them at cost. When I bought mine in 2010 the price was $3.00 and there were two cards. I find the cards very useful when deciding what color to buy for hand applique.

  2. Thanks Mary Ellen. I am loving the Kimono thread too! Right now I have a bunch of cotton thread I bought for applique. I am trying to decide whether to use it up or to go back for more of the silk.

  3. BTW, Red Rock Threads is my source for Kimono silk thread (www.redrockthreads.com).


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