When you’re not quite sure where to start when explaining something or retelling a tale, there’s an old saying that suggests “it’s best to start at the beginning.” Our new book, Flossie Teacakes’ Guide to English Paper Piecing, is incredibly special in so many ways! I hardly know where to start. So keeping that sage advice in mind, I think it best to start at the beginning.
What follows here is a peek inside the pages of Flossie Teacakes’ Guide to English Paper Piecing—the introduction, in fact. Author Florence Knapp, the blogger behind Flossie Teacakes, has such a lovely way with words. Who better to tell you about the book? Read on to learn why from Florence why she loves EPP, the benefits it offers those who practice it, and what she hopes you’ll take away from reading her book.
When I explain English paper piecing to someone who doesn’t make things with their hands, I’m often struck, despite their enthusiasm, by an awareness of how curious it is to spend hours cutting up pieces of fabric, only to sew them together again in a different form. And to then not even retain all those carefully placed papers!
In that moment of objective clarity, I realize that EPP may seem an inexplicable and illogical activity that borders on lunacy! However, that self-consciousness is fleeting. The planning, cutting, wrapping, and stitching involved in EPP are so absorbing that I quickly find myself re-ensconced in a cocoon of creativity, order, and quiet industry.
The geometric shapes synonymous with EPP are like the pieces of a jigsaw onto which you can impose your own picture. It’s a puzzle many of us feel drawn to return to over and over, enthralled by its endless potential for alternative configuration.
The addition of fussy-cutting offers yet another means to manipulate the appearance of the piecing. It’s a technique that requires a fiddly perfectionism, but rewards us with the emergence of mesmerizing kaleidoscopes when the carefully cut pieces are placed in repeat.
English paper piecing is inherently portable, which makes it an activity that may spill over into the fabric of our day. EPP becomes a backdrop to watching films, talking over tea, day trips to the beach, long train journeys, or waiting for a child at lessons. It is a silent companion, equally capable of being the kite in the breeze or the anchor in a storm.
When I was invited to write a book about English paper piecing, my hope was to extend a hand—albeit a paper one—to those keen on learning the techniques required. However, in the years since this form of traditional quiltmaking first captivated me, I have come to appreciate English paper piecing as far more than just a utilitarian patchwork technique. So much so that it would have felt like telling only half a story to confine myself to sharing only techniques and patterns. In Flossie Teacakes’ Guide to English Paper Piecing, with newcomers and old hands alike, I hope to explore some of the life, history, meaning, and inspiration with which these simple fabric-wrapped papers are so often infused. These are the elements that, to me, dance around the edges of English paper piecing, giving it both its vibrancy and its draw.
Whether you read the book from cover to cover or dip in and out, I hope that the pages offer something to leave you feeling energized and reaching for a small stack of fabric and a confetti of paper shapes.
As Florence describes, she set out to write a book that is more than a simple collection of patterns. It’s full of historical information, artist profiles, and interesting stories. The how-to information, beautiful rosettes, and show-stopping quilt pattern are really icing on the teacake.
Editorial Director, Books
Pour a cup of tea and grab your copy of Flossie Teacakes Guide to English Paper Piecing!