Just over a year ago, while relaxing in a cabana on the Sea of Cortez, my mom taught me the art of English Paper Piecing (EPP). I was instantly in love. It was simple to learn, produced beautiful results, and doesn’t require a ton of concentration; I could chat away while stitching! I already knew I loved hand-stitching fabric- I find it to be very calming, and making things with my hands is very fulfilling for me. But EPP brings another whole level of enjoyment for me. The only form of EPP I’ve learned (because, as far as I’m concerned it’s the only form of EPP that I need to learn) is the hexagon, lovingly coined “hexies” by the quilting community.
|Our Hand Stitched Hexagon Pillow|
My favourite hexies, and the ones you will see on items in our etsy shop are the smallest size I make at 1.5” in diameter. Hexies are so versatile, I frequently start making them without having a plan whatsoever, not even a pattern in mind. Some of the projects I’ve made with them so far include a hexie throw pillow (one in our shop, and I’ve started one with larger hexies for my own couch), hexie crop top, and my personal favourite, a hexie tank. At this point in my life, I don’t have a place in my regular routine for making hexies. So I always bring hexie-making supplies on airplanes while traveling, and I usually work on them when on vacation or visiting my family.
|Our Unisex Hand Stitched Hexie Tank, which is sweatshop free|
Aside from the enjoyment of creating unique handmade items, making hexies (or hand stitching in general) can have the added bonus of therapeutic effects. For me, hand stitching is a source of relaxation, stress relief, and creativity. Studies have shown that sewing activities can help participants relax. For me, hand stitching requires just enough focus to shut out the hustle and bustle and enjoy the act of creating something, without feeling like a chore. It also helps develop fine motor skills, and a sense of accomplishment when finishing a project!
|Our Hexie Crop Tee, also sweatshop free|
Someday I would like to create an entire quilt made of hexies. After hand stitching each individual hexagon, the hexies need to be hand stitched together to create the quilt top. Then: layer the batting and backing, quilt the quilt (finishing stitches through all three layers of the quilt), and bind it (which also involves hand stitching) to finish it all off. Clearly, creating a hexie quilt would be a true labour of love- a whole lot of love, and a whole lot of labour!
Have you ever tried English Paper Piecing? Have you ever made a quilt? Leave a comment to share your experience!