Meet the Author
Hey there, can you introduce yourself?
I'm a big crafty geek based in Portland, Oregon, USA. I dabble in all kinds of crafts, but these days I'm all about English paper piecing (or EPP for short). It's a very old patchwork technique that starts with paper cut into various shapes. You baste some fabric around each paper template, and then sew them together by hand. The result is perfect matching points with very little effort!
Tell us a bit about the book?
This is my third book, and this time around, I wanted to write a book that was all technique and no projects. I have nothing against project-based craft books, but I find that, as a crafter myself, I never actually make any of the projects in my craft books. Instead, I use them for visual inspiration and learning the ins and outs of technique. I was so lucky that my publisher, Storey, was willing to take a chance on a book that went into great nerdy detail about all the tips and tricks of EPP.
I do include 30 "project inspirations," or photos of things you can make with EPP. And there are 84 EPP pattern diagrams you can use in any kind of project. The book goes into detail about how to create your own patterns, and how to incorporate EPP into large and small projects of all kinds. I really wanted this to be the kind of book a crafter can keep on the bookshelf and use for years to come as a resource for creating their own projects.
What was the inspiration behind it?
Like many sewists, I found EPP on the internet, through my various friends' blogs. Sooner or later, everyone seems to play around with EPP hexagons - that's the shape that EPP began with all the way back in the 1700s, and it's still the most common shape used today. Well, I had to give it a try and from the first hexie I basted, I was absolutely hooked. It's such a simple process, and gives such perfect results. You don't need a sewing machine, and you don't need deep sewing skills. All you need are a needle and thread, some fabric scraps, and perhaps a nice movie and cup of tea,
Which is your favourite project?
I made 30 items for the book - and again, they're presented as inspirations, not projects with instructions. You can make a piece of EPP fabric in any size, and then use that in your favorite sewing pattern, or in a tutorial you found online. So I incorporated EPP into small projects like coasters and pincushions, medium-size things like tote bags and pillow, and large items like quilts and table runners. If I had to pick a favorite among these, it would have to be my Giant Hexie Quilt. I've always wanted to make an EPP hexagon quilt, but I'll never have the attention span to sew thousands of hexagons together. So instead, I worked with great big hexies - 8" across. Then I only needed 37 of them to make a quilt!
What is your craft space like?
This may sound odd, but it's worked wonderfully.... My partner and I live in a small apartment. We've both worked from home over the past ten years, and used to share a cramped spare bedroom as office space. Eventually, we noticed that we were spending much more time in this little home office than we ever did in our large living room. So we swapped the rooms - now our old living room is a nice, spacious office and studio, and that spare bedroom is a cozy living room. It probably confuses the postman when he delivers packages, but that's a small price to pay!
Have you always been creative?
Absolutely! I've been making things since I was a tiny child. My Mom always supported this, and organized lots of creative activities for us to do together.
When did you first start crafting?
I made something called a "Milk Truck Paper Box" when I was about 4 and starting Kindergarten. I drew tires, a windshield, and bottles of milk on some paper, and then cut them out and glued them to a large cardboard box. I used to deposit my school papers in there every day when I came home. (No, I have absolutely no idea where I picked up a fascination with milk trucks - we didn't even have home delivery in my town!)
Who are your crafty heroes?
I love the craft community as a whole - we are so blessed to live in a time when we all have access to each other, and can learn from and be inspired by each other. I'm such an omnivore, I look at everything and get excited about everyone's work.
Where do you find inspiration?
The best inspirations happen when I'm not looking - just walking around Portland, taking everything in. An interesting cluster of shapes or colors will pop up, and BAM! I'm off and running on a new project idea.
What's next for you?
I just went back to work at an office job full-time, so these days I'm focused mostly on that. I'll be back to developing EPP patterns again in future, and lately I've been turning more and more attention to my other great love: plastic canvas.
The key to perfect patchwork is getting all of the points to match up -- which is no easy feat! Thanks to the rediscovery of a traditional technique known as English paper piecing, success is now possible for quilters of all levels. By cutting the desired shapes from paper, basting the paper to the back of your fabric, and then hand-sewing the pieces together, you’ll ensure perfectly matched points every time. This complete course in English paper piecing takes you far beyond traditional hexagons with step-by-step photos showing you how to connect triangles, octagons, diamonds, jewels, triangles, tumblers, pentagons, and curved shapes. It even provides dozens of ideas for incorporating the pattern designs into clothing, pillows, quilts, and home decor items!