So, is it worth buying books on EPP? The short answer is yes, for various reasons, but some are likely to be more useful to you than others, depending on what you are looking for. But let me give you the l o o o n g answer too:
As EPP has become more and more popular over the last few years, a rash of new books have become available. These fall into various categories:
- There are those all about the hexagon (and in many people’s eyes EPP = hexagons ) One book all about hexagons and the shapes that join together to make hexagons, is:
Hexa- Go-Go: English Paper Piecing by Tacha Breuchern(Stash Books)
I don’t own this book as I am not much of a hexagon fan but I have seen it recommended over and over. It contains 16 quilt projects and I’m told it has a great resource page and author website worth a look.
However, the book is very expensive at the moment due to the huge popularity of hexagons but if you love hexagons, there is plenty of free information and tutorials online and free patterns too. Check out Youtube and Pinterest.
- Then there are the books that give you the tools and techniques you need to make a number of shapes beyond the hexagon. These also include a variety of projects that you can make with the techniques you have learned:
My favourite for this category is:
‘Quilting on the Go – Paper Piecing. Patchwork you can take anywhere: techniques, patterns and projects’ by Jessica Alexandrakis. (Search Press)
What I love about this book is that it covers everything you need to know at each stage from choosing your tools and joining your shapes, to adding edges and borders and then binding and quilting. There is plenty of information online about assembling a quilt by machine but it’s good to see someone showing you how to do most of it by hand. We don’t all own sewing machines.
There is also useful information about working with fabric colours and patterns, something many beginners struggle with, and information about being a quilter in a digital age.
The book includes ten different sized projects to master, ranging from a photo frame to a throw, and, in addition, pages with suggested patterns for some of the most popular English Paper Piecing shapes with templates in case you prefer not to make any of the projects.
EPP is a celebrated here as portable hobby, so guidance is given about making a travel kit and working with scraps. The Resource page includes links to online UK supply companies
You know what though? I really wish all these books were ring bound. It makes it so much easier to work with a book alongside you that opens out flat. Quite a few embroidery books are appearing ring bound now, so maybe we can look forward to this in the future.
- Fussy Cutting is all the rage at the moment and one of the first books to include this, in addition to EPP basics and a range of projects, is:
Quilting on the Go: English Paper Piecing by Sharon Burgess.
It is unfortunate that this book has a similar title to the one above as it makes it easy to confuse the two. This book includes a large and varied number of practical projects including a runner, a mini quilt, bunting and placemats.
Burgess has published two other English Paper Piecing books:
‘English Paper Piecing: A Stitch in Time‘ which is essentially another project book.
and a more comprehensive book:
Quilting Bible for Beginners: English Paper piecing.
In this book, in addition to a new series of projects, she gives guidance on a broader range of subjects such as hand and machine sewing and using digital photography when planning a quilt.
Although it suggests that it is essentially for beginners, most EPP shapes are not difficult and I would say that Jessica Alexandrakis’s book above and Dianne Gilleland’s book below are equally useful for beginners and will take you beyond beginner stage when you are ready.
- Then there are the books that I love best, the ones choc full of tips and techniques, so you can make make and fit together a variety of shapes to create designs of your own, and which don’t include any projects to make. I don’t seem to be inspired by projects in books, preferring to come up with my own (much less practical) creations. For this reason my favourite EPP book of all is:
‘All Points Patchwork – English Paper Piecing Beyond the Hexagon’ by Diane Gilleland
Much of the same important advice is covered in this book but the emphasis here is on encouraging you to build your own designs, either by computer or hand drawn, rather than copy someone else’s. However, ‘Project Inspiration’ photos are included to show you the sort of thing that can be done with a shape once you have made it.
Nowhere else have I found step by step advice on how to tackle basting at very narrow angles. Triangles drove me crazy until I found this book. You are also shown how to appliqué your shapes if your prefer not to piece them. I feel that the absence of projects has allowed the author to include many more pages of tips and techniques for us to apply in our own way. There is an interesting resource page including books on basic quilting, EPP bloggers (not me, sadly), online tutorials and online supply companies.
- Published recently and something different from all of the above is:
‘Flossie Teacakes Guide to English Paper Piecing (exploring the Fussy Cut World of Precision Patchwork’ by Florence Knapp
This is the newest addition to my EPP library (How delightful is the name Flossie Teacakes? I loved this name so much I named one of my ducks Flossie after I got this book. I’m not sure Ms Knapp would be flattered).
What this book offers us, over and above the other books, is a sizeable amount of the history and background to English Paper Piecing, the work of some well-known modern EPP’ers such as Sandra Cassidy (below). NB: Not all the featured modern quilters are fussy cutters.
Here we get an in depth look at what’s needed to create beautiful fussy cut quilts. Included are tips about design, the best fabric to choose, how to make rosettes featuring a range of patterns from symmetrical to conversational, and in the last pages you are invited to bring these techniques together to make the ‘Ripple Effect quilt top that the author has designed.
- From Australia comes a book that teaches basic EPP skills alongside needle turned appliqué.
‘New English Paper Piecing. A Faster Approach to a Traditional Favourite by Sue Daley’.
This is a book offering 10 different designs using hexagons squares, circles, pentagons, that fit together to create these and further designs. We are shown how to piece shapes using EPP and then apply them to a whole cloth background. There are some great videos of hers on Youtube if you want to explore her way of working.
- Two English Paper Piecing books that would suit people who like traditional designs with added embellishments are produced by ‘That Patchwork Place. These are :
‘English Paper Piecing: Fresh New Quilts from Bloom Creek’ and
‘English Paper Piecing II’ , both by Vicki Bellino.
There are so many patterns and ideas online, especially on Pinterest these days and, given that you don’t need pattern instructions for EPP as you do for machine made quilts (unless you want to make the specific quilts or projects included in some books), you only really need one or two books that tell you as much as possible about technique.
A couple of the books in this post were reviewed earlier on my Book Reviews Page on this site. Why not check it out if you have a moment. It includes other low cost titles that were not intended for EPP but are perfect for beginners, as well as other related subject area like appliqué embroidery and hand quilting. I will be adding to it from time to time.
And, wonder of wonders, I have a new, tiny mini quilt in progress, which I hope to show you in my next post.
Until next time…..