I had never heard of this technique until I saw it popping up around the blogosphere. It seems to be making a bit of a resurgence! After going completely stir crazy during last week's 3.5 hour game, I knew I wanted to give EPP a shot. I spent all week trolling the web trying to decide what design/pattern I wanted to try. I really wanted to make Tonya's candied hexies, but they were frankly too intimidating. Christina is also doing a "sprocket" quilt-along, but those center hexagons look too big to be easily portable. However, Christina's blog linked over to a 60˚Diamond quilt-along led by Jessica, and I decided this was a perfect started project. Only one shape to cut, and infinite design possibilities.
My next step was to toy with design ideas. First I battled with photoshop for quite some time in order to get this nice blank template ready.
|First: your standard colored stars on a white background|
|White stars on a colored background! Or perhaps white/off-white in tandem?|
|My boyfriend came up with this one. I think it looks weird.|
|Colored stars on a white background but spaced out more|
|Went back to the first idea and tried out variegated stars...a little too busy.|
|An idea for yellow stars on a blue background, but it doesn't look that great.|
|This was my boyfriend's idea. He really wanted to incorporate white. However, I pointed out to him that using white would require me going out any buying white fabric instead of just working with scraps.|
|We filled in all of the whites for variegated stars. This was the winner!|
Next step was the prep-work. I picked out three fabrics I liked for the first hexagon and started cutting out diamonds. Or attempting to. I knew I needed to cut a 2.5" strip, but then I was trying to cut it up along to 60˚ line in 2.5" increments, which led to parallelograms instead of diamonds.
|This is not a diamond.|
Here is my planned design for the first hexagon:
My next step was to starch the heck out of all of these pieces. This way I could just fold them over the paper without having to iron the seam allowance down or anything.
|Everybody drying out from their starching.|
Okay, then it was time to try stitching pieces together. Here I am trying the ladder stitch that Christina uses, right sides together.
You can see below that the stitching is somewhat visible. I wasn't completely pleased.
So then I tried a whipstich, which is the standard.
You can still see the stitches but at least they are more consistently visible and they are more subtle.
I then re-read Christina's blog and realized that she recommends trying the ladder stitch with wrong sides together. I gave this a shot at football.
By putting wrong sides together, the ends stick out while I am trying to stitch. I show an example below where I am trying to put together the two halves of my star. I can tuck them down (second photo below), but then I get a big bulge, and my stitching in those areas where I go over the bulge has looked noticeably different from the top. I need to find out how Christina handles this issue. Anyways, any tips on how to get over the bulge are appreciated. I may just have to go back to right sides together if I can't figure it out.
Anyways, I brought all of my little pre-cut supplies to football in a small zipper pouch. I had it on my lap and would stitch during the 75% of time that nothing was going on, and would pause and watch when things were actually happening. It was very easy to stay organized and especially for the basting portion, precision was not required, which made it easy to do while only partially paying attention to my sewing.
This was a game where pretty much everybody left the stadium at the start of the fourth quarter because we were so far ahead, but we stayed until the bitter end and I am proud to say that it was through my sewing that I was able to last that long. :)
Side note: I have a couple of spools of this gutermann thread that isn't very good. It just snaps if you tug on it. It's 100% viscose (what the heck is viscose??) so I guess I need to avoid buying it again. I really wish I knew more about threads. I try to buy cotton but it turns out almost everything I own is polyester. In the end I usually just pick spools in whatever color I want and don't look at the thread type. But here it seems I clearly got the wrong thread type...
|darn thing just snapped!|