I never set out to design a quilt, it just sort of happened. It certainly has been a journey, one that included a few months hiatus because I just didn’t feel like working on it. But that’s quilt making and English Paper Piecing. Nothing ever happens quickly, attention span waivers, the call of new projects and ideas momentarily distract you.
The Polly Quilt started with the ‘Polly Block’. Back in 2021 I started to plan work shops and Tutorials, hoping to finally take my knowledge and passion for this quilt making method on the road. A survey of what sewers wanted to learn came back with a common interest of wanting to know what shapes went with what.
Taking on board this request for knowledge, I started to experiment with the shapes of the Polygon family. These shapes include hexagon, half hexagon, jewel, 60-degree diamond and equilateral triangle. They are all members of the Polygon family because they are all made up of 60-degree angles. This means that they will all fit together in varying ways.
Rather than starting with my customary hexie flower at the center, I used a jewel flower instead. Around this I used hexagons and half hexagons to form the middle of the block. I then bordered this now hexagon shaped block with jewels, triangles and finished it off with diamonds, thus making it into a large hexagon block.
My initial sample was made in half inch size shapes. I did this as I was thought I would turn it into an appliqued rosette that could be quickly taught and stitched in a 2–3-hour workshop. Once made though I instantly saw it scaled up and made into a lap quilt. So, I pulled out some of my 1930’s reproduction fabrics and made the block again, this time with one inch sized shapes.
And so, the journey begun, and I became addicted to making these blocks, raiding my stash of 1930’s fabrics. It felt good to actually use these fabrics that I had been collecting for years.
I knew I didn’t want to make a large quilt, lap sized seemed more appropriate. Once I had a few full-sized blocks made I started to lay them out and work out how many more I needed to get it to the size I felt was right. Then I worked out the half blocks, side blocks and corner blocks needed to square it off. Piecing the blocks together wasn’t as in cumbersome as I thought it might be, and the whole quilt stitched together rather quickly.
With the quilt top completely pieced it was time to work out what quilting method to use. I had chosen a black cotton gingham fabric for the back as it had that Retro feel that I thought would complement all the colourful 1930’s prints on the front. That led me to the idea of doing big stitch hand quilting in a black perle size 12 cotton thread. It was the first time I quilted in hand using this style of quilting and thread, and I have to say I absolutely love it! I think it suits the design and complements the fabrics really well. I was also surprised at how quickly I managed to get it quilted.
With the quilting complete it was time for binding. Continuing with the black theme I chose a black fabric with small white spot. Again, I thought it complemented the quilt top and would recede to the background and let the blocks pop.
Now that my quilt was finally finished it was time to nut out the pattern. Being my first EPP Quilt pattern, I was very daunted by the prospect of writing out the instructions and necessary requirements. Thankfully the Quilting community are very supportive, and I reached out to one of my Stitchy friends who read my pattern and gave me some pointers.
The Polly Quilt pattern is written for intermediate to experienced quilt makers and EPPers. Knowledge of how to do English Paper Piecing and putting a quilt together is required to be able to make this quilt. The pattern includes graphs for piecing the Polly Block and the Quilt together. There are also photo instructions where required, a quilting chart and a colouring graph if you want to plan out your fabric placement.
I filmed various stages of making this quilt and you can find a video of the process over on my YouTube channel or click HERE to watch.
I am immensely proud of this quilt, my first English Paper Pieced quilt I have designed. It was fun to stitch, and I know I am going to enjoy snuggling under it. For me, each stitch of this quilt now represents a large part of my stitching journey. It holds a lot of different emotions, as so many quilts do.
I hope that this quilt pattern brings others joy as they slowly and with purpose stitch the blocks together. It is a wonderful quilt to make for oneself to snuggle up under on the couch or for a child to sleep blissfully below, wrapped up in a sewers love.
Find the pattern and paper template kit Here