Wednesday Tute 20 – English Paper Piecing 06

English Paper Piecing – Part 6

These notes apply to EPP or hand piecing with a running stitch.


Tools for English Paper Piecing

The right one makes a big difference.

  • Try different types and sizes and decide which you like best—sharp? between? straw?
  • Use a needle that is easy for you to thread.

My personal preference is a very fine “sharp”, but some quilters prefer a longer needle, called a “straw” or “milliner’s” needle.


The Patchworks of Lucy Boston

According to The Patchworks of Lucy Boston by Diana Boston, Lucy Boston said, “Traditionally, one needle should do the whole quilt, and it shapes itself into a curve most convenient for over-sewing.”

I ignore that old custom and replace my needle often. A fresh one adds to the pleasure. A needle is not a family heirloom!


  • Fine cotton thread, single strand
  • Less than 18 inches long
  • Neutral or matching color

Try different brands and weights of thread.

Ask about favorite thread on the Inklingo Yahoo Group. It is amazing how much difference there is from one brand of thread to another.

Some teachers recommend polyester thread because it is less likely to shred than cotton thread when it drags against the edge of stiff paper templates. This is not a concern with a running stitch, so you can use fine cotton thread.

For English Paper Piecing, it is important to match the color of the thread to the fabric. Some quilters even change the thread color part way along a seam to help hide the stitches. If you sew with a running stitch instead of EPP (video), you can use a neutral color cotton thread because the stitches are hidden in the seam.


Jane Austen Quilt - detail

This photo from Jane Austen Patchwork Mystery shows how standards have changed over the years. When Jane Austen and her sister Cassandra were sewing their patchwork with their mother in the early 1800s, it was perfectly acceptable to have the stitches show on the front as long as they were even and regular.


Inklingo - Thread several needles onto the spool.


Best Tip  Thread several needles onto the spool when your eyes are fresh and you have good lighting. Take them off the spool one at a time with a length of thread as you need them. It is nice to have the next needle ready no matter where you are sewing.


Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses (POTC)

Lucy Boston made the Patchwork of the Crosses (POTC) in the late 1950s, when she was in her mid-sixties, but she was still sewing in her nineties. In her book, Diana Boston describes how children from the village would visit Lucy Boston at the Manor to thread several needles with white cotton for her.

We have some good tips for threading the needle, but it is even more appealing to employ the eager fingers of a willing child, don’t you think?

  • If you cut the thread at angle, it makes threading the needle easier.
  • Holding the needle against a white background helps you see the eye more clearly.
  • Wet thread swells and is harder to inset through the eye. Flatten the thread between your fingers and lick the eye of the needle instead, if you must. Some say the moisture attracts the thread.
  • Try turning the needle around. The eye is stamped, so it maybe easier to thread from the other side.
  • You might find a needle threader useful.
  • Try switching hands and move the needle toward the thread instead of the thread toward the needle. That helps some quilters.
  • The eye on a #10 or #11 needle is bigger than the eye on a #12 and that could make it easier for you.
  • Consider wearing reading glasses when you sew.
  • Thread several needles when your eyes are fresh and when you have good lighting, so you always have the next needle ready in your sewing kit.


Whether you use English Paper Piecing or a running stitch or sew by machine with Inklingo, Monkey and I think a finger pincushion is indispensable.

The video is only 80 seconds and we think it will make you laugh.


Print on fabric now so you are ready for a cold.

Monkey is fine but Russ and I are both fighting the head cold that is going around.

Lucky me! I have lots of Inklingo hexagons printed on fabric and ready to sew to my Kaleidoscope Stars. I can rest and recover and feel good about getting something done with very little effort.


Inklingo - Print hexagons on fabric

Should you be printing an emergency kit now?

Rx: Lots of fluids, lots of Vitamin C, and lots of shapes printed and ready for a relaxing, easy running stitch.

Oh. And a roll of toilet paper for my nose, so I can flush those germs away.


You can enter the draw by leaving a comment, not here, but here. Please do not enter more than once.

Are you subscribed?

If you don’t want to miss anything, you can enter your email address (top of right sidebar).


Several Inklingo quilters are posting photos on the Facebook page for Inklingo Quilts and Projects and I have been adding Kaleidoscope Stars too. There is lots to see on the Inklingo Projects Blog and in the Inklingo Yahoo Group too.

Thanks for visiting. Stay well.

Linda & Monkey

New to Inklingo? Order and download free shapes and start sewing in the next few minutes. Quick Start (Always FREE.) There are triangles, diamonds, and squares in the free collection—great for dozens of different blocks.

$10 Coupon!  7 Year Anniversary Special on the handbook

Inklingo for Beginners

25 Signs YOU are an Inklingo Quilter

Have you like the Inklingo FB page yet? If you haven’t, please do. Thank you!

2 thoughts on “Wednesday Tute 20 – English Paper Piecing 06”

  1. Per your blog comment “Should you be printing an emergency kit now?” I am responding to say that I am planning ahead for an upcoming back surgery. The surgeon tells me to expect low energy for 3 months, so I am getting projects ready to work on. Most of the projects I am preparing are INKLINGO! Although INKLINGO works well for both hand and machine sewing, I will be doing hand work during recovery. I would go crazy without it. Thanks Linda!

    PS: The two INKLINGO designs I am preparing are Double Wedding Ring and Winding Ways.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.