Saturday, October 15, 2016

English Paper Piecing (EPP) question

I am currently in love with EPP.  It's working with small, little units that I can pick up and finish on a moment's notice.  It's a fantastic portable project that I can take anywhere.  I made myself "grab-n-go" little bag that contains all the supplies necessary to work on an EPP project so I can be usefully occupied on road trips ... or waiting during appointments, etc.

I've finished at least one big bed quilt top with the EPP method (hooray!) and am currently working on my next one.  (hooray!)  I have even mapped out a continuous thread (OH HOORAY!) quilting design for the big bed quilt top, although I haven't started quilting it yet.

I whip stitch my seams, about 12-14 stitches per inch (yep, I counted them!), so it's a pretty substantial bit of stitching to hold the pieces together.   I don't use the ladder stitch *at all* because I can see, even when I gently pull the EPP pieces opposite each other, the ladder stitch does not hold well, as it "opens up" and creates gaps.  My whip stitches absolutely show no gaps when the EPP pieces are similarly pulled.

I recently took a class from a national instructor on longarm quilting designs.  He got to chatting about his other interests and one of them being EPP.  One aspect of quilting EPP never occurred to me and I'd really appreciate any and all of you, dear Readers, to comment on your thoughts on this aspect.

The instructor mentioned, quite rightly, that when you sew all your EPP pieces together, the edges are butted right up to each other.  Obviously, these seamlines are *not* nested.  As such, there is *no* ditch to do a stitch-in-the-ditch quilting.  Sure, you can do an echo stitch to the side of the seamline, but you can't do a SITD because there IS NO ditch!  If you tried to do a SITD, you'd just be stitching between the EPP pieces and not through them at all.  The best quilting design would be some sort of overall design because that doesn't require any SITD stabilization stitching.

BUT ... even if you do a nice overall design, those butted seamlines are going to be stressed when the quilt is used.  So, what can you do to augment this circumstance?

Well, the instructor said what he does is to put a large, seamless piece of muslin *under* the EPP top and on top of the batting, rather like a false top.  There would be *four* layers of fabric.  The muslin would act to help stabilize all the EPP pieces by helping absorb the stress of the quilt being pulled about when used.

While this may be true, it occurs to me that quilt tops are heavy enough as they are.  Add in the weight of batting and backing and sometimes you end up with a quilt that you could literally smother someone with love!  If you add *another* layer of fabric, the weight is only going to increase.  Is this something that is considerable enough to be concerned about?  Or would the extra weight of the "false top" negligible?

Has anyone ever done this?  Ever considered it?

For those of you who have actually quilted your EPP tops, have you experienced any stress problems with the seams?  .. i.e. have they pulled apart?

1 comment:

  1. I had Kathi add a layer under her top and had her baste the top to that backing so it would not stretch while I quilted it and for better or for worse I actually stitched in the ditch with monopoly thread.........not perfect but it turned out pretty nice. She made the quilt to hang on the wall instead of a bed so the extra weight was not an issue.........especially since I used two layers of batting to make all that quilting pop! You know me I am a rebel and will do exactly what everyone else says not to do. Kathi is going to make another top for me and we are deciding on a pattern..........once finished it will be a quilt we will try to enter in some shows.