A Travel Project – English Paper Piecing

What travel projects do you take with you for quilting?  Comment and let me know!  I’m curious!

I’ve got a cruise coming up in March and I know I’d go nuts if I didn’t have some sort of travel project to take with me when I have downtime.  I posted in the Big Tent Quilting forum to see what other things people took as quilting handwork and English Paper Piecing came up a few times along with Hand Applique projects.  My mom gave me a Hand Applique book for Christmas so I need to take another look at that too.

I’ve put in an order for 600 die cut 1″ hexagon paper pieces from PaperPieces.com.  My first attempt at Paper Piecing I cut out my own pieces using a plastic template I made myself and I really wasn’t too thrilled with the results.  Humans are not accurate cutting machines even with a pair of scissors and Gods good grace, let me tell you.  
That sample has grown a bit since I took that photo and I have some more hexagons I need to sew onto it to finish up what I made.  I’m going to quilt it and either use it as a mug rug or a little vase mat.  

So – I’m hoping that with die cut pieces my squares will be uniform and I’ll be able to baste them correctly.  Before, I’d iron the fabric to the freezer paper, paint starch all around the corners, iron those down and then stitch the pieces together to start forming the flower.  I think thread basting will be easier and less time consuming.  

Paperpieces.com made it easy for you to figure out how to cut your fabric squares too – they have a handy chart to tell you what sizes to cut your strips and then what size to cut those into squares so you don’t have to worry with it.  I’ll be using 2.5″ strips cut into 2.5″ squares to make my pieces.  

Prep work before the cruise – 

  • Collect any remaining scraps or fat quarters that I’m not in love with into 2.5″ strips, then 2.5″ squares.  Starch and cut (I can’t take an iron so they need to really be starched well).  Pack away.  
    • Make sure to cut some white or neutral colors for centers of flowers and rows
  • Find some size 8-9 size needles
  • Choose a decent neutral thread to baste with and another thread to begin piecing with
  • Organize into a small caddy with a good thimble (I need to get a new one, my cheepie leather one has worn out a bit and I will invest in a better one next time around) 

Cutting the fabric is obviously going to be the most time consuming part.  Thankfully, I have lots of solid color fat quarters I want to use for this project.  The next time I go to the Big Box Sewing Shop I plan on purchasing several yards of white and cream colored background fabric since my stash of this is really too low and I’m finding it hard to plan projects without having some on hand to choose from.  

I think this is the perfect project as it will be difficult to screw up, easy to pack and store and very easy to transport.  My husband will think I’m insane but I need something to do with my hands.  

I used to take along a knitting bag everywhere I went, especially when flying, because of how portable it is.  We found it funny that once he had a pair of network cable crimpers confiscated at a checkpoint but I was allowed to take through my sharp pointy metal knitting needles no problem.  

The problem with knitting is I live in Florida and we have about two weeks a year to break out the gloves, scarves, knitted hats and such.  It just isn’t a useful hobby down here in my opinion.  I mostly made scarves and blankets and then realized quilting was a more enjoyable way to make blankets. 


  1. Paper piecing is the perfect travelling project.