Paper Pieced Meet 'n Greet: Esther @ iPatchandQuilt and GIVEAWAY!

I'm talking with our last Meet 'n Greet Paper Piecer today, Esther from I Patch and Quilt. Stay tuned for a giveaway at the end of the interview!

13 Spools

Give a quick, couple sentence bio of yourself.

Hello there! My name is Esther F. and I am 36 year old full time Art teacher from the Netherlands. I fell in love with quilting three years ago, but have only been seriously quilting for less than a year. January this year I started a blog to share my love for quilting and designing patterns. I am amazed at how soon I became a part of the online quilting community! I have never met such wonderful people!
How often do you paper piece?
My quilting time varies quite a bit. There are some weeks that I have loads of time behind the sewing machine and other weeks, I hardly seem able to squeeze in a half an hour at my studio … and this fabulous studio is next to my bedroom ! ;-) On average I paper piece once every week.
esther 1
As a paper piecing designer, do you use patterns from anyone else, or do you tend to just design what you want to make?

When I just started designing I looked at a lot of designs online as an education of some sorts. I wanted to improve my skills and discover the difficulties in designing paper piecing patterns. Once I got the hang of it, I drew up my first shapes on the computer. I really do use designs by other designers. Everyone has a certain area they are good at, so why not use their fabulous designs?

 esther 2

How did you get into designing paper piecing patterns?

There are two important “quilting encounters of the fourth kind” responsible for me being a pattern designer now!
My first encounter was with a lovely elderly lady who used to live next door to my aunt A. and uncle W. One vacation, when I was in the U.S., they took me on trip to another state and a subsequent meeting with this dear old friend. Lady P’s house was filled with all these wonderful handmade quilts. I was in awe! I remember being puzzled at how she had made those complicated patterns.
The second encounter was with a family friend back home. Lady H.  showed me her quilting rooms (Yes, roomS!) and the paper piecing quilt she was working on. She demonstrated the foundation technique she was using and I just went: “AH-HA! That’s how you do it!” And it clicked! That’s what I want to do, that’s what I want to design, that’s what I want to work on!
esther 3
What does your design process look like? Do you use a computer program at all?
I always start sketching on paper, just any paper lying around! When I am happy with a particular idea I start drawing it out in Adobe Illustrator. Those drawings are than copied to Adobe Photoshop where I prepare them for going into a Word file. In Photoshop, I can rotate the parts until they fit onto a page nicely so everything is printer friendly. After all of the extra pictures for the pdf are also done up in Photoshop, I write up my text in Word and turn the whole thing into a pdf! 
I like having complete control over every step in the design process, but it also takes up a huge amount of time.  I have heard about other computer programs out there specifically for designing paper piecing patterns. As I did not know if my designs would please anybody, I did not invest in such software immediately. I may be persuaded to buy some software this summer, though!
esther 4
I really love the Jewel pattern from your star collection, especially this one (pictured below). What was your inspiration for this pattern? How did you go about designing it?
My first designs, all stars, are quite dense in structure and I was looking for ideas to create more negative space on the inside of a shape. I was also cleaning up my cupboards at the time and I came across my jewelry box, of course I had to go through it. Isn’t it always the case that when you are clearing things out, you are hold back by little boxes crammed with stuff? Well, inside the box I found a set of earrings my Aunt A. had bought me. (My aunt A. and I love love love buying bling bling in outlet stores! :-) ). I left them out of the box so I could admire them later. They soon became the inspiration for the Jewel design. I started drawing it out on paper but found that I had to change the composition a bit when I started working on the computer.
esther 5
This block was sewn by Esther's tester, Rineke.
The Jewel pattern looks quite complicated, but is actually really doable! I would not recommend it for a first project, but a practiced beginner will be able to finish it. The complexity is not in the paper piecing itself but in the lining up of the separate parts. In the pattern itself, there are some little “helpers” to make this process a little less stressful.
When and what was your first paper piecing project? How was that experience?
My very first pattern is one I am still working on, actually! I will be writing about this pattern soon, so you will have to be a little bit patient!
After this major (for me) undertaking my next project was a star pattern by another designer/blogger.You can see my first try here and my fourth try here.I made the pattern four times and it gave me so much joy that I started to design my own stars. The star called “Freedom” is my “first” real pattern.
Do you have any paper piecing tips to share?
-          Please, give this technique a try! There is nothing to be scared off. Just go slow and think about every step! Measure twice, cut once!
-          Look at as many tutorials online as you can. Pay attention to all off the pictures or videos of the steps, especially if you are a visual learner!
-          Use the best quality fabrics you can afford. The thicker the fabrics, the more difficult it is to go through all of the layers, especially when you are working with a complex design.
-          I use thin printer paper as a foundation and not the expensive sheets you can find in the stores. I buy A4 size, 70 or 60 grams if I can find it!
esther 6
ave you paper pieced any other projects?
At this moment I have designed a several star patterns and a bunch of bow patterns. There are some geometric flower patterns in the works, as is the mystery pattern I spoke of earlier. I also have some great drawings ready to be turned into new stars patterns. These new stars are all inpired by a gorgeous trip to Italy with a dear friend this last December. I have more ideas than time, it seems!
 esther 7

Are there any links you would like to share with us? (to QALs, patterns, Flickr group, etc., can be your own or others’)

I would love it if people would upload pictures of their blocks made with my patterns in the Flickr Group. I am so curious to see what gorgeous fabrics you have all used to create your works of art! 
You can find my patterns on Craftsy. There are two free patterns available (Freedom, Wish) you might want to take a look at! You can also upload your blocks with these patterns there!
Of course you can find me onFacebook too. I promise I won’t bombard you with silly messages, but you will be able to see links to a new blogpost! If you really want to keep in touch, you could sign up for an email message every time I post a new blog. The sign up is on the right hand column of my blog.
Thanks so much for chatting Esther!! I love your patterns!! Readers, if you love Esther's patterns, too, now's your chance to win one for free - just leave a comment for your entry. One lucky winner will receive a copy of Esther's Jewel pattern. I'll leave the giveaway open until Wednesday night, midnight EST. Thanks for following along with our final installment of the Paper Pieced Meet 'n Greet!
Prism QALAmy Garro