March 25, 2012

Piecing together paddles

So, continuing on the EPP adventure, this is the next step after you've basted some paper pieces.  Each Sprocket:

is made from six paddles:

The paddle structure came from watching Jessica's EPP video in which she uses a similar structure to start her star units. A paddle has three background and three colored diamonds.

I start by laying out my pieces. I use a single piece of thread to work around the diamond and close up one side. Then a second piece of thread closes up the second side and attaches that extra diamond hanging off the right. 

I join my pieces with a ladder stitch. I think it's fast, I like that the thread isn't visible, and it's just what I'm good at. If you'd rather whipstitch pieces together, (and I think most English paper piecers do it that way) no problem! You'll still join your pieces in the same order.

I start my ladder stitching by putting two pieces wrong sides together. I use a paper clip to hold the pieces together while I get started, and I make sure any seam allowance flags are tucked down behind the pieces.They will just nestle against each other back there and not cause any trouble once the piece is opened flat.

I put a knot in a piece of thread, and bring it up through a seam allowance to emerge from the point (the orange diamond in the picture above). Then I alternate taking a stitch into one shape and then the other. Where the thread emerges from one fabric, it dives immediately into the other. The stitches are taken just to the inside of the edge of the shape.

You can do this stitch by stitch if you want, but what makes it fast is being able to take several stitches in a single pull of the needle. In the picture below I have four stitches on the needle. Note: I have a full description of ladder stitching paper pieces, but at the time I posted it I hadn't yet had the epiphany about putting the pieces wrong sides together to allow for stacking stitches on the needle this way. It's worth a read if you need a better description of what the thread is doing though.

Whenever I get to the end of the side I'm stitching, I flip the shapes out flat and make sure the thread is snug. Sometimes I will take an extra stitch to make sure the pieces are joined well at the point. Then I tie a knot into the back side of one of the pieces and without cutting the thread, I bring it back out through a point to start the next side.

When all four sides are sewn around the center diamond I don't cut the thread, because I can use it to sew one more side. I remove the paper shape from the center diamond. Now I can fold the paddle in half horizontally to sew the first flappy side seam with the thread I am still working.

Finally, I start a new piece of thread and I sew the other flappy side seam, and then add the final diamond.

And that's a paddle! Get six of these and you're ready to make a Sprocket: the full list of Sprocket Quilt Along posts is here. Next I'll cover how to make a Sprocket and then I swear this won't be the EPP channel anymore!


Mama Pea said...

Looking good! I hope to get some fabric cut for this this week. I have always heard that people whip stitch, but I've always wondered why not use a ladder stitch. I like it better than whip stitching for my bindings, too, so I can see where it would work well here, too! I hope I can figure out how to turn corners on this. :-) I might have questions. Hope that's okay. :-)

manos de chicureo said...

I liked very much this block.

Rosa said...

I absolutely wonderful!

Elsa said...

So absolutely impressed! it's turning out beautiful!

Jessica said...

but I love the EPP channel!!
Great paddle idea too, making repeated units totally helps epp go faster than it seems. I had a jelly roll of pezzy print on the floor of my sewing room, earmarked for my own sprocket quilt, but then it didnt make it into the suitcase :(
what to do now?
btw, do you skype?

Sand and Sunshine said...

My goodness look at this project. What a joy it will be.

Linda Beth said...

Christina, first of all your sprockets are looking awesome... this will be such a great quilt!! And what a wonderful explanation of your process, thanks for sharing!

Post a Comment

I love reading your comments, thank you for coming by!