CHQuilts: Is it time to make a traditional Grandmother's Flower Garden?

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Is it time to make a traditional Grandmother's Flower Garden?

Grandmother's Flower Garden Quilt I have been thinking I'd like to make a Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt, but I wasn't sure I was ready for all the work involved. I've never done English Paper Piecing (EPP) before. Was I ready for all the work this would be? It is really an ambitious project. Heck, I didn't even know if I would like this technique.
I've done paper piecing before, but this was very different. The only real similarity between the two techniques, is that both require removing the paper in the final project.  
With EPP, the paper is a simple template that determines the shape of the fabric piece. Once pieces are constructed, they are sewn together, often by hand. With paper piecing, the paper is a portion of a shape, which determines where fabric is cut and sewn together on the sewing machine to form intricate designs.
Even after quilting for more than 20 years, I still consider myself a newbie, likely because there seems to be an endless supply of skills and techniques I have yet to learn. So, when in doubt, make a table topper. I love table toppers because they are just the ticket for practicing new skills.
CHQuilts:Hexi sample
I find I am attracted to hand-sewing. I love that zen feeling that comes over me when I'm stitching. So, I bought a set of templates that included a couple different sizes of hexagons, watched a few YouTube videos, and decided to tackle this new task. 
I Googled 1" hexagon shapes and found a downloadable sheet of 8.5" x 11" hexi shapes. I printed a couple pages onto freezer paper sheets. I simply, but carefully, cut them out. Because the shapes can be reused a couple times, I am now well-stocked with papers.

I liked the glue stick method, rather than basting the fabric around the template.  I also like to press them to make them really crisp and easy to sew together. I admit that makes it a little more difficult to get the papers out, but I can always print and cut out more if I need to.

I decided to make a couple of "flowers" using 1" hexis out of one of my favorite fabrics, a paisley print that for some odd reason I've never been able to use in any other project. I have often picked it out to use in a pinkish quilt, but it just never quite fit. The fabric always read "peach."
No worries though; I decided that it didn't really matter with the sampler project I was planning to use for my EPP practice piece.
Hah, no matter how I try to tell myself colors don't matter, I just can't fool myself. Colors will always matter. But, I decided to play a little trick on my own eyes and everybody else's, by adding bubble gum pink fabric as a background color. It worked too. No one would ever mistake this as too peach-colored.
This is a trick I learned when I was putting tile down in our old house. I bought some pink tile that ended up looking very peachy. I was really disappointed when I got it home. But, I put it on the floor and painted a burgundy accent wall and wallpaper with tiny pink flowers. The peach vanished. These tiles were pink!
I have finished this project and am pretty happy with how it turned out. I hand-quilted it just for fun and I really like it.
All-in-all, I decided that I like English Paper Piecing. I'd like to do And, I like hexagons. I like hand-sewing. I'm just still not sure I want to make a whole quilt with them. Maybe if I used bigger hexis, or a less than traditional pattern than the typical Grandmother's Flower Garden. The jury is still out. 

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