English Paper Piecing - Two Template Fractal Kaleidoscope Christmas Ornament!

EPP Christmas Kaleidoscope Ornament

EPP (English Paper Piecing), as anyone who has tried it already knows, is highly addictive! Certainly I was hooked after folding and basting my first hexie. And now that I have had the opportunity to play with pentagons, diamonds, triangles, apple cores, and tumblers - well lets just say I am even more addicted than ever before.

All Points Patchwork by Diane Gilleland

Baskets and Bells using Apple Core EPP

Add to that, Diane Gilleland's newest book "All Points Patchwork : English Paper Piecing Beyond the Hexigon", and it is safe to say I am a life long addict!

I've even tried my hand at some 3-D EPP! (Tutorial for the bells and basket can be found here)

I will most likely not be stitching a huge quilt ever, but ideas for small projects often pop up! And this little Kaleidoscope Ornament is one of those small project ideas.

It is designed to look fractured without having to make or purchase many different templates.

EPP Christmas Kaleidoscope Ornament

For an ornament that measures only 4" point to point, there are lots of little pieces involved! But basically, there are only two template shapes needed. A Hexagon and a 60 degree diamond. The important thing - the measurement for the sides of the diamond and the sides of the hexagon must be the same. You can order templates, photo copy the templates from those provided in "All Points Patchwork", or create your very own using the techniques given in the book for making template shapes.

In this case, each side measures 1". But you could make the measurement 1/2" if you are incredibly brave or nimble, or you could make the measurement 2''!  3"!  But then of course you would have a mug rug or table topper!!!

You will need 1 hexagon and 9 diamonds. In addition you will need a smaller hexagon for the center - any size you like. Mine is 5/8".


Cut three diamonds in half as you may be able to see on the left.  (sorry).

Place the smaller hexagon in the center of the larger hexagon and trace. Draw a line from the point of the smaller hexagon to the center of each side of the larger hexagon. Number and cut.

Using instructions in "All Points Patchwork", fussy cut the center hexagon and the six pieces you have just cut (numbered 1 through 6 above). Baste and stitch together as shown in the photo above this one for the black hexagon section.

EPP Christmas Kaleidoscope Ornament

Fussy cut, stitch and baste six triangles cut from three paper diamonds. Stitch in place as shown.

To create the "thin color shards", divide each of the remaining six diamonds into three sections by drawing a line from one wide angle point to the center of each of the two opposite sides as shown. Cut.

EPP Christmas Kaleidoscope Ornament

It is very important to pay attention while making the "shard" triangles and while basting and sewing them back together into a diamond. So I am belaboring the point a bit here. It is easy to get confused.

Place the RIGHT side of each shard template section against the wrong side of the fabric. Determine the placement and then lightly glue in place using a glue stick.

As you can see, the shard sections on the right and left are positioned opposite to how they will appear when stitched together.

EPP Christmas Kaleidoscope Ornament

Cut the three shards leaving a seam allowance. It really helped me to always try to place them back into their position after cutting and basting.

EPP Christmas Kaleidoscope Ornament

Baste the shards. They are so small, there is no reason to stitch through the template paper or remove the basting stitches later.

Once basting is completed, stitch the three color shards back together into a diamond as shown.

EPP Christmas Kaleidoscope Ornament

The color shard diamond will fit right into the space between two triangles! Stitch into place.

EPP Christmas Kaleidoscope Ornament

Design stitching is completed. Press, remove papers and press again. I did not remove any of the basting threads. Pay special attention to the outside edges while pressing. And press from the outside edge to the center.

If you are satisfied with your design, you can back and quilt at this point.

EPP Christmas Kaleidoscope Ornament

I wanted a few extra tiny details. Embroidery floss to the rescue - one or two threads - perfect. This ia a prototype remember.  So playing around with the stitches a little.  For my tree, this is just fine!  As a gift, I would tighten up my embroidery technique!!

EPP Christmas Kaleidoscope Ornament

And finally, a layer of bamboo fiber, and backing. Backing can be as simple as a large, one piece hexagon the same size as the front. Or a completely different design. Or repeat the front! Even a piece of felt would work.

Place the wrong sides together with the filler sandwiched between and stitch all the way around the outside edge using a ladder stitch or very tiny whip stitch.

OR the front and back can be joined using the method used in the tutorial for the baskets and bells here. The filling layer can be lightly glued in place just before turning.

Really very little in the way of "quilting" is needed.  I placed tiny tack stitches at the base of each pink triangle and in the tiny space below the orange triangles at the edge of the center hexagon.

Add a hanging loop and hang!

Black work and Hexies to create a small wallhanging for the Holidays

I can not recommend "All Points Patchwork" highly enough. It is an essential reference for every EPP enthusiast and especially for those who have never ventured beyond a hexagon or a pentagon. Using the techniques provided in the pages of this beautiful book, will give you the tools needed to give your EPP projects a more finished and professional appearance.

And besides very clear and thorough instructions for working with many different EPP template shapes, Diane shares how easily anyone can actually design their own templates! That chapter inspired me to come up with this simple way to create a fractured kaleidoscope pattern based on only two simple   templates.

If you haven't yet ordered "All Points Patchwork", you can order right here! And seriously, what could possibly be a more welcome gift than a copy of Diane's book and a great selection of fat quarters (or a gift certificate to a favorite fabric store)?

39 days until Christmas, my friends!!!



Thank you for the beautiful

Thank you for the beautiful tutorial, Pam! It's so much fun to see what you're creating! I can't believe we're already in the countdown to my favorite time of year! It seems as if time is both speeding by incredibly quickly, and at the same time, that Christmas can't get here fast enough. Funny how that works! Hope you're well! Sending lots of big hugs your way!

You are such an awesome

You are such an awesome friend, Arielle.  Both Diane and I appreciate your sticking with us these past months and letting us know you are always there.  

I have lots more "on the list"  - we will see how much actually gets done for the season!!! 

Much love to my sweet Arielle.