Wednesday, 6 January 2021

Sip Tea and EPP: Introduction

Welcome to our first week of Sip Tea and EPP party!

I am very excited to start a new season of slow hand sewing and to share this journey with lovely Irina from @nordiccrafter and all of you.

What is English paper piecing? It's a traditional patchwork and quilting technique that is done entirely by hand. It's a method of stabilising small pieces of fabric by wrapping them around various paper shapes and sewing them together by hand into intricate designs. Once all of the fabric pieces are joined together, the papers are removed and the block can be used in any way. A wide range of items can be created using this technique starting with just a small embellishment on a bag or a piece of clothing and finishing with the most amazing and complicated quilts.

What I like the best about EPP is that it requires the most basic tools - a thin needle, thread, fabric and paper, and that it is very portable so you can work on your projects on the go. It does not matter if you are an experienced sewist or someone who is just starting, anyone can enjoy this craft and benefits from its almost therapeutic effect.  

Three years ago, Megan of Dolly Henry and I were having a chat about our long forgotten EPP projects. Jokingly, we decided to celebrate them and start a party to give them a little bit of love. Quickly this informal event gained some popularity on Instagram and people stated joining us from around the world each week for some slow hand sewing and a friendly chat. It felt great to be able to connect with people who shared the same passion and to encourage each other to keep working on our projects. Unfortunately, soon after the start, Megan had to take a different path on her creative journey and she left Dolly Henry. I was joined by Lauren from @mollyandmama. Our party went on for almost two years. We enjoyed our weekly sessions of slow hand sewing, getting to know people and sharing our knowledge and skills with others. We quickly realised that many people were not familiar with English Paper Piecing, but they wanted to enjoy this wonderful craft and needed some guidance. So we introduced weekly themes that helped us focus more in depth on all aspects of EPP.

This is our third year in a row and this year Irina from @nordiccrafter is taking over from Lauren. We hope that this year we can help even more people fall in love with English Paper Piecing. It would be great to connect people from around the world so we can talk to each other, learn from each other, share the projects we work on and encourage each other by posting photos of our work on Instagram to continue working on our long-term EPP projects.

This is our first week and the theme tonight is "Introduction". Well, I will go first. My name's Larisa and I live in Sydney (Australia) with my husband and two boys. I have been sewing for many years, but I never enjoyed sewing until I came across a lovely pattern by Katia from @plushkadesignstudio back in 2011 I think. It was the most adorable felt own that was published in a magazine. I made that owl using the lowest quality synthetic felt, but it is still very much loved in our house. I started sewing small things using linen and cotton, and always adding tiny stitches to my makes.

When I was a little girl, I loved to draw and knit, and ice skate outside in the freezing cold. Knitting was alway natural to me, but sewing was a different story. I never had enough patience and precision for it. I joined my friend who went to a knitting class when we were nine years old just to keep her company, but by the time I was ten, I knitted myself a scarf and a hat with a pom-pom. I stopped knitting for a few years after that, but I picked it up again when I was a teenager. I kept on knitting gloves, hats, scarfs, jumpers and even dresses for many years.

When it came to sewing, to put it gently, I disliked it very much. I never had enough patience for it. If I made even one small mistake, the whole thing would go inside a rubbish bin. In primary school we had a compulsory sewing class. Once we were making dressing gowns with long sleeves (I would try making it even now!). I messed up one of the sleeves and instead of ripping the seam, I simply cut the entire seam allowance with the seam off to my mum's horror. Well, you can imagine how my dressing gown ended up... with one sleeve shorter than the other. :-)

My mum and grandma tried to teach me, but it was absolutely pointless with my patience close to zero, but I still loved being around them when they were sewing something and help in some way or just fiddle with all the sewing notions by their side.

When my first son was in primary school, I had to sew him costumes for different occasions. It still puzzles me why I chose to sew costumes instead of buying them knowing how much I disliked sewing. Even worse I made them all by hand as I did not own a sewing machine. Then in 2011, when my fingers were pricked enough times to make them bleed and I was stressing while trying to finish one of the costumes the night before the event, I finally decided to buy myself a sewing machine. I bought the most basic model of Brother and it's been my trusted companion all these years.

It was back in 2011 or 2012. I have not stopped sewing ever since. I sew mostly small things like pouches, totes, coasters, placemats, something that does not take long to finish and can be beautify with plenty of tiny details. When I sew, I still feel amazed how many small technical things I remember that were shown to me by my mum and grandma even I did not pay much attention at that time. It all is coming back to me every time I am working on something. I still sometimes find it quite hard to believe that now I have more than enough patience for sewing and that I enjoy it even more than my mum and grandma did.

OK, now it's time for our Sip Tea and EPP party. Join us every Thursday or any other day that suits you by posting a photo of your work on your public Instagram account under the #sipteaandepp hashtag. Tag  the hosts Irina @nordiccrafter and I @stitchingnotes so we can see your photo and comment on it. Like the posts under the hashtag, comment, answer questions, share your tips and ideas. More information here. Most importantly enjoy some slow hand sewing, give some love to your long forgotten EPP projects and be kind to each other. Sending a warm hug to of you! Happy sewing! Larisa xox

1 comment:

  1. Hi Larisa, I hope to stop by and join your party. It’s been a while.....