I hope you are all doing well and enjoying your slow stitching. Today I’m bringing you a Slow Stitcher profile. I can’t honestly remember when Ali of @arabesquescissors first popped up on my radar, but it was definitely through Instagram and I was instantly drawn to her bright and cheery work. For those of you who are yet to discover Ali, she designs beautiful patchwork projects from quilts to pincushions, bags and pouches. Her style is pretty and sweet and she uses a lot of florals, bright pastels, and whimsical fabrics in her creations. Ali is a great sharer of quilty knowledge and you can be sure to learn a thing or two from her sewing tips and tricks.
So without further to do, let me introduce to you the Lovel Ali…
Name: Ali Phillips
Where are you from: I’m an Adelaide girl through and through. We currently live in the Adelaide Hills, right on the edge of a small town. We get to overlook a little vineyard, and farmland where cows and horses roam around.
When did you discover your love for EPP? I first saw EPP in a Golden Circle magazine book of small patchwork projects. There was a simple hexie flower pillow in there that really caught my fancy, and I made it for my bed out of old bed linen. It took me so long that I wasn’t that hooked right then, but I was still fascinated by the process, and many years later I took it up again when I loved taking more time to get a project finished.
How did you learn EPP? I learned a lot from YouTube, and specifically watched a lot of Sue Daley’s tips.
What is your favourite EPP shape? I do love anything that can be fussy cut for a beautiful tessellating centre. So diamonds, jewels and elongated hexies are my absolute favourite.
Thread or glue baste: I’m a glue baster, as I find it faster. I really don’t enjoy the whole cutting out and basting part, so I like to streamline this as much as possible. I find it leaves the pieces nice and crisp, and makes matching fussy cutting easier and more accurate. There’s some things I like to do slowly, and preparing the shapes ain’t one of them!
What thread and needle do you use? I’ve tried a few now: Tulip, John James, and I’m currently snapping my way through all my needles! I think I push too hard into the cardboard shape, which tends to put more pressure on the needle. My thread is always Bottomline thread in a neutral colour. I love that it blends in so well, and is strong and pretty snag free.
Favourite fabrics to use in EPP: I do love a Liberty lawn! The fineness of the weave just means there’s less bulk and means that your points are more accurate. But I do love mixing them with other fabric so the effect is less busy, so Art Gallery Fabrics is a favourite for this as they are also pretty fine.
Do you like to embellish you EPP, for example with embroidery stitching? I’ve not tried much of this yet, but it’s joined the queue of ‘someday’.
Do you have a favourite EPP tip to share: When I join a long seam which has lots of points that need to meet, I like to join the points first, to anchor them accurately. It means you’re not pushing one piece along faster as you sew so those points are mismatched. It’s a bit more fiddly, but means that you can just stitch that long seam really fast after that, and all those points will meet!
Favourite place to EPP: Currently on the couch. It’s comfortable and so relaxing.
Favourite thing to watch or listen to while you EPP: I watch a lot of lifestyle house renovation shows. But of course, not much actual watching gets done.
Favourite thing to drink/eat while you EPP: I always have a few squares of Old Gold Roast Almond. Somehow I manage to eat a block quite fast though. In my defence it is DARK chocolate, so just a bit better for you 😉
What is your current EPP work-in-progress: My Pemberley quilt is my first ever completely hand pieced quilt, and is ever so nearly finished! I started it almost two years ago now.
What is your longest running EPP work-in-progress (or EPP project that took you the longest to finish): I really am not a multi project person – too many projects just clutter up my brain. So the Pemberley is my longest running, and only EPP project on the go right now. I am beginning to eye off different ones now though!
What is your favourite finished EPP project: My clamshell Christmas stocking would have to be my favourite right now! I included so many favourite fussy cuts, and then hand quilted them with bold black thread which gives it a more modern look. I love the mix of vintage and modern!
What is on your EPP bucket list? Could be a particular pattern, shape or size: I’m currently really crushing on the Seedlings quilt. The variety means you’re not making the same block over and over, which keeps me interested.
Are there any other EPPer’s whose work you find inspiring? I do greatly admire Jodi Godfrey @talesofcloth and her wonderful use of colour and pattern.
If you could travel anywhere in the world to EPP where would you go? I would love to sit on the flower filled balcony of an ancient Tuscan villa, overlooking a cobblestoned street. I’d stitch and eat all the fresh focaccia I could (I’m gluten intolerant) and maybe a bit of Old Gold chocolate too!
Be sure to check out Ali’s beautiful website where you will find Ali’s lovely blog, tutorials and workshops, and more about Ali’s story.
Above is Ali’s Citrus Squeeze Quilt that she designed for Homespun Magazine (you can find it in the June/July issue). I love the fabric collection Ali used for this quilt, Primavera by Rifle Paper Company. This quilt is so summery and I can imagine lazy picnics by the beach with cocktails and a big fruit and cheese platter. I adore the tassels that Ali added and the striped binding make this quilt really special. You can read more about Alis quilt on her blog post.
You can find Ali’s patterns in her Etsy Shop
Next month Ali is teaming up with Lauren of @mollyandmama to host a fun challenge. The #SewOrderly challenge will be a fun series of weekly prompts to help you intentionally think about your sewing space, and the way you use it.
I hope you enjoyed getting to know Ali as much as I did.
Miss Leela x