One of life’s most enjoyable simple pleasures is a lovely cup of hot tea. The act of brewing a pot of tea, getting one of my fine china cup and saucers, and sitting down with a yummy biscuit brings me pure joy. Tea has been enjoyed across the globe for centuries. White tea is the second most consumed beverage on Earth after water according to Wikipedia!
Tea can be enjoyed both socially, think Japanese Tea ceremonies and the quintessential English High Tea, or as a solitary experience such as the morning cuppa. Tea has many health benefits as well with an array of medicinal herbal teas to help treat or ease many ailments.
For me, it is as much the act of making a nice cup of tea and what I’m doing while drinking my tea that brings me such peace and joy. On a cold winters day, I can be known to consume a cup of tea every couple of hours to help keep the chilly winter blues away. On a rainy day what could be better than curling up with a good book, crochet blanket and a steaming cup of tea.
Perhaps though the thing I love to do most when enjoying a cup of tea is to sew. Nothing is better than sitting down with a sweet treat, cup of tea and my English Paper Piecing.
The design process for my Time For Tea pattern collection happened very organically over an extended period of time…and numerous cups of tea were consumed during the process. The eight rosettes that make up the collection evolved out of experimenting with 4 shapes – hexagons, jewels, 60-degree diamonds and equilateral triangles. I played around with how these shapes fit together and what kinds of tessellating patterns I could come up with.
I wanted the finished pieces to be small enough to frame in timber embroidery hoops. I enjoy working on a smaller scale with my English Paper Piecing, so I chose half-inch shapes to create my rosettes. Knowing I wanted to frame these pieces in hoops meant that they naturally took on a circular shape, hence why I refer to them as rosettes.
Believe it or not, I started these rosettes back in 2014! Like many sewers, I like to have a variety of projects to work on ant any one time. Sometimes projects get relegated to the bottom of the pile, either because we begin something new and exciting, we fall out of love with it or get a little bored. Such is what happed with these experiments. But last year I dragged it back out and fell back in love with the shapes and playing with them.
I had one rosette completed and quickly got hooked on seeing what other designs I could come up. In the end, I created 8 designs in total, all from half-inch shapes and all suitable to frame in a 200mm timber embroidery hoop.
For a long time, I had wanted to write and release my own English Paper Piecing patterns. I had so many design ideas floating in my end that I wanted to release to the world. However, I was terrified. What if nobody liked my designs? What if sewers found my instructions hard to understand or too complicated. How did I even go about writing a pattern? I had no idea. I also wanted to be putting something different out there, something that was uniquely my style when it came to English Paper Piecing.
As I continued to work on my rosettes I realised that they could be the first EPP patterns I released. They were small projects so they wouldn’t require lengthy making instructions. They used small but manageable sized shapes, and they were framed in a hoop…all the components of what I consider to be my signature EPP style.
I had a look at some other EPP patterns and worked out how I would format my patterns and what information I would include. Then I taught myself how to use Inkscape an open-source computer program similar to illustrator to draft the patterns and piecing instructions. I found the process of writing and creating the patterns and instructions rather quite enjoyable. It was nice learning a new skill and flexing my brain muscles in new ways.
Eight rosettes stitched and patterns completed, it was time to come up with a name for them. This was by far the hardest part of the whole process! I initially thought of naming each rosette after a piece of candy, given the colour fabrics I used reminded me of sherbets and sweet shops, however, I struggled to find names that I was happy with. So it was back to the drawing board, and one day while enjoying my customary afternoon cup of tea and some EPP the idea came to me to name them after teas. I hit the internet to find some tea names that I thought would suit my designs. It was a given that one would be English breakfast and another my favourite tea Earl Grey. In the end, I settled on Peppermint, Lemon and Ginger, Peach, Rosehip, Chamomile and Berry.
Earl Grey – Earl Grey tea is one of my personal favourites. Some find the heady bergamot taste too much, but for me, it is like a big warm hug. This Rosette has a jewel flower at its centre surrounded by a mosaic of hexagons, 60-degree diamonds and more jewels.English Breakfast– English Breakfast Tea, a key ingredient in Devonshire Tea, a treat that can be enjoyed at any time of the day! This Rosette has a jewel flower at its centre surrounded by hexagons, 60-degree diamonds and more jewels. Peach – Delicious warm or as a refreshing iced tea on a hot summers day, Peach Tea is delightfully sweet and fruity! This Rosette has a hexagon flower at its centre with equilateral triangles. It is surrounded by heart-shaped jewel blocks, half star blocks created with 60-degree diamonds and diamond blocks created with hexagons and equilateral triangles. Rosehip – Rosehip tea is not only delightfully pretty, but this herbal tea also contains a lot of Vitamin C, so it’s perfect on a winter’s day to help ward off cold and flu. This Rosette has a jewel flower at its centre created by heart-shaped jewel blocks. It is surrounded by more heart-shaped jewel blocks, hexagons and 60-degree diamonds. Lemon and Ginger – You can’t go wrong with the detox combination of Lemon and Ginger Tea. The health benefits of this tea are an added bonus to its zesty and warming flavour. This Rosette has a jewel flower at its centre surrounded by diamonds and hexagons. The outer border includes jewel shape heart blocks and more hexagons. Chamomile– Chamomile tea is loaded with health beneficial antioxidants, but most will know it for its calming and soothing properties which makes it the perfect bedtime cuppa. This Rosette has a hexagon flower at its centre surrounded by diamonds and jewels. Peppermint– Peppermint tea is the perfect herbal remedy for an upset tummy, but I also just love it for its aroma and refreshing taste. This Rosette has a jewel flower at its centre created by heart-shaped jewel blocks. It is surrounded by hexagons and more heart-shaped jewel blocks. Berry – Berry Tea is perfect as a warming tea on a cool autumn day or as a refreshing iced tea in spring. It’s not only sweet and delicious but is packed full of wonderful vitamins and minerals. This Rosette has a different looking jewel flower at its centre created by heart-shaped jewel blocks and a single hexagon in the middle. It is surrounded by more hexagons and jewels.
Each pattern comes complete with general English Paper Piecing instructions, coloured and numbered pattern graph, step by step piecing instructions, four alternate colour placement designs, and a colouring-in graph so that you can play around with your own colour/fabric placement. Paper kits for each pattern are also available. The Maker’s Stash YouTube channel also has some handy video tutorials.
I thoroughly enjoyed the process of pattern designing and writing. I conquered my fear and self-doubt about releasing my designs into the world and I’m so glad I did. Now I am excited to share with the patchwork and EPP community more of my designs and I can’t wait to see other stitchers making my patterns.
Patterns and Paper Kits can be purchased here.