Paper Bag Roses

I have finally made some more progress on my Paper Bag Roses quilt. It was so frustrating to not be able to see well enough to sew by hand! My new glasses are wonderful. Now that I can see small details again, I can get back to English Paper Piecing, which is my preferred method for sewing hexagons. As you can see from the thread tails in the photo, I baste my fabrics to the thin cardboard templates, and then whipstitch the hexies together. This flower came together twice as fast as the last one I made wearing my old glasses. Thank goodness for progressive lenses, even if they cost more than a mortgage payment!


It’s been awhile since I made any flowers for my garden. When I stitched this one I realized that I now have to get progressive lenses for my glasses. I can’t whipstitch hexies together¬†right now, so I have switched to hand piecing with a running stitch instead. We’ll see what happens when I get new glasses. I really love these fabrics, and had great fun putting this week’s flower together.

I have finally gathered together enough bits and pieces of floral fabrics to make a good start on the new version of Paper Bag Roses. I’m using 1.5 inch hexagons. As you can see, I have gone back to English Paper Piecing! It is more time consuming than hand piecing with marked seam lines, but I tried that and didn’t like the way the seams pressed out.

Joining Karen’s One Flower Wednesday group is very motivating! I sewed like the wind on Monday so that I would have a flower to show. Notice the thread burps on the front of the block¬†from the basting thread? I decided to use some el cheapo thread from years ago, since I didn’t want to “waste” good thread on basting. Big mistake. The cheap stuff tangled if I just looked at it the wrong way. So I set my frugal impulses aside and started basting with the good thread (Masterpiece by Superior Thread, there is nothing better). Lesson learned.

And aren’t the brown-eyed Susans looking nice this year? Flowers everywhere. I hope there are flowers blooming where you are today.

I’ve been rethinking the Paper Bag Roses quilt, both the fabric and the sewing method. I was using English Paper Piecing, similar to what I’m doing with the clamshells. I think it is still the best plan for those small curved clams, but I’ve just done this hexagon flower with Inklingo, and I like it so much better. So I’ve restarted Paper Bag Roses, and changed to some brighter fabric, too.

I’m using Inklingo as it was designed to be used–printing directly on the back of the fabric, and using a running stitch to join the seams together. It’s fast and accurate. Here’s a shot of the back of the hexie flower, so you can see how I pressed the seams.

I haven’t officially joined Karen’s One Flower Wednesday challenge group, but if I can stay on track with this project, I may just do that. I’m working away at the clamshells, and will have a new photo of the finished rows very soon! It’s hard to stay indoors and sew, though, when the back yard garden looks like this:

I have completed a couple of rosettes for the Paper Bag Roses quilt. This will be slow going for awhile. Not because it’s hand sewing, but because I have managed to injure my shoulder! My sewing and knitting have to be substantially curtailed until I recover. These rosettes were finished before the injury became painful.

I won’t join the rosettes to each other until I have made enough for the whole quilt. The blue fabrics are for rosette #3, and haven’t been sewn together yet. I’m using lots of different fabrics, combining rose prints with geometric and tone-on-tone designs. All of the fabric in the photo is from Japan (Lecien). I may add other florals to the Japanese fabrics, but I’m hoping to have enough fabric to make the whole quilt from Lecien’s florals.

Why am I calling it “Paper Bag Roses”? The name comes from the method I use to choose the fabric combination for each rosette. I don’t want to choose too carefully, because I want the quilt to look very scrappy–I think I have more than 30 different prints to use, and I don’t want to blend them too deliberately. To make the choices more random, I put the fabrics in a paper bag. I reach into the bag, without looking inside, and pull out one piece. This is the piece I use for the center of the rosette. For the petals of the rosette, I make another “blind” choice from the bag. Because I am using 2 fabrics for the petals, I then look in the bag and pull out a coordinating fabric for half of the petals. These fabrics don’t go back into the bag until every fabric has been used once. Then they all go back in, and so on until the quilt is done.

I was doing a little tidying the other day, and found a little project that I crocheted a couple of years ago. Clearly, I have a bit of a thing for hexagons.