Friday, April 3, 2015

English Paper Pieced Ball

This just might be my favorite thing I have ever made.  Love.  Love.  Love it.  I love the fabrics, the rainbow of color and each and every little hexagon and pentagon.  I first saw a ball like this at Lily Quilts about 5 years ago, but had never made one until now.

The modern quilt group in Des Moines is having a pincushion swap at our April meeting and I was starting to stress out about what I was going to bring.  I had pinned tons of ideas but was really nervous about working with all of the curved little pieces most of them use.  So I stayed in my comfort zone and made an English paper pieced ball that can be used as a pincushion.  No inspiring overcoming-your-fears post today.  But why overcome fears when you can make something this cute?  :)

I used this tutorial by Kristy Daum that includes the hexagon and pentagon templates.  (For more step-by-step instructions on how to English paper piece visit my Hexagon Flower tutorial.)  Construction was fairly straight forward and is put together like a soccer ball.

The hardest thing about making the ball was picking the right fabrics so that the ball blended from color to color.  (I know, life is full of hard things.)  I started a little heavy on the reds and oranges and so I ended up light on the cool colors.  But that is a minor thing.  When I make this again I will also pay more attention to matching thread color with fabric color.  I switched out thread regularly, but used gray a lot and it didn't blend as well as I was hoping.

Here is a shot of me holding the ball for perspective.  It fits nicely into the hand.  I've been trying to cut down on the number of toys we have, so I am not sure if I will make any for my kids, but I have already told them that I will make a set for each of their kids.  You know, when they are the ones that have to police picking up toys.  Cause that's what grandma's do, right?

Linking to Finish It Up Friday.


  1. I love it! I've been wanting to make one of these for my kids for a while, but have never tried English paper peicing. And like you I try to limit the toys we have. I think a pin cushion is a neat idea. What did you fill it with?

    1. I just stuffed it with regular polyester stuffing - well, actually I pulled apart some old polyester batting into tiny tuffs and used that. :) I think I could have actually stuffed it tighter, but I was worried about being able to close those last few seams if it was bursting at the seams.

  2. I love doing EPP. I usually only use one colour of thread when doing lots of different colours with EPP, partly because i can just carry on sewing more easily. I often use a taupe colour. This is a really cute idea for a pincushion. x

  3. I love this little ball--so terrific. I think we are harder on ourselves about thread showing, etc. than are others who see our work. . . or at least that's my experience. I'd probably go with a neutral, too, given all those little seams. It turned out really darling--I hope people vie for it!

  4. Love it! Perfect for a pin cushion

  5. Love it! Perfect for a pin cushion