This week on Sewing In Slippers with Sue, I welcomed Beth Helfter of Eva Paige Quilt Designs Beth is a quilt designer, author, teacher, and overall delightful person.
She’s the inventor of the “Accordion Sewn Half Square Triangle” (HST) method and has been an influential person in my own quilting life. Her style is decidedly scrappy and her quirky and lighthearted quilt patterns are creative and unique. Every time I’m around Beth she cracks me up, and we have a great time.
Although our quilting styles are somewhat different, we are kindred spirits. Beth and I both live in Massachusetts and we started our quilting businesses around the same time. I really appreciate the way her mind works!
When Beth designs a quilt, she starts with the scraps from her modest stash and then fills in with fabrics from her local quilt shop. She doesn’t have a huge stash as she tries to use up all her scraps in her designs. She buys only a half yard of fabric at a time which keeps the volume of fabrics in her stash to a minimum. Beth loves all fabrics and all designers play happily together in her quilts! She loves magenta and vibrant prints but works all colors into her quilty creations.
Beth started quilting in the 90s when she was a flight attendant. She found herself with a lot of downtime between flights and with few hobbies, she searched for something that could fill her time. She was reading a home decorating magazine that included a quilt pattern and she thought she’d give it a try.
Beth’s first quilt was a Christmas Tree wall hanging and of course even back then her scrappy style was already present. Her grandmother was a quilter and her mom loved to sew clothing. As a girl, Beth did embroidery and cross stitch, and enjoyed sewing Barbie clothes! (My sister and I loved doing that too)
On the Live Facebook interview, Beth showed me a quilt square that she made when she was 12 years old that was covered with candle-wicking embroidery. She rediscovered the embroidered square of fabric recently and embellished it with scrappy leaves cut with the Leaves Galore Tools! It was a sweet use of an older piece in her collection, and she made it look quite modern with the fused applique leaves in her signature bright colors. I just love that she gave new life to a meaningful piece from her childhood.
A few years ago, a friend and inventor of the Clearly Perfect Slotted Trimmers, Kari Carr, asked Beth to test the product. Beth discovered that she loved Half Square Triangles!! For those of you not familiar with the Clearly Perfect Slotted Trimmers, it’s an acrylic ruler designed to help you cut HSTs to the correct size and trim the dog ears all at one time. Over time Beth developed her Accordion Sewn Method for sewing scrappy HSTs.
This love of HSTs and the accordion method led her to write her two self-published books: “Oompah” and “Another Round of Oompah!”. Beth also has a Cheat Sheet for Accordion sewn HST method, which I also have available on my website. Her books have a wide variety of patterns to spark your scrappy creativity and the Cheat Sheet is a handy reference guide!
Beth also has many individual patterns and a great newsletter that keeps her followers and customers up to date on all things Eva Paige Quilts, including new releases and the chance to be an EvaPaige Pattern tester!
Although she’s a busy business owner, Beth always makes time to quilt. She’s currently working on a temperature quilt using a circle in a square block and has joined my Temperature Quilt: Block-A-Day Facebook group. She’s using fusible applique and is using the Hearts and More template to cut her circles. You’ll get to see this lovely, bright, scrappy quilt when you watch
Beth belongs to the Squanicook Colonial Quilt Guild in Pepperell, Massachusetts. Being part of a guild is important to her! It allows her to
connect with other like-minded people who can understand the challenges that quilters face. And, it gives her the opportunity to share her gorgeous quilts in her guild’s shows from time to time.
Next up for Beth is her “Flying Frankies” method for making a Flying geese-type block. It is a twist on the traditional HST and uses 3D contrast piping to make a framed look for the triangles. I can’t wait to see where Beth’s creativity takes this idea.
A few years ago, Beth started a program in February- the coldest and darkest part of the New England winter called “Stop and Give Me 20”. This was a way for Beth and her followers to set aside at least 20 minutes a day just for quilting. It’s also a way to encourage her community to get through that dark and cold time of the winter by surrounding themselves with a bright and cheerful project.
I found this very inspirational! I get a bit of seasonal depression, and I loved the idea of “Drop and Give me 20!” in the deep, dark, dreary days of Winter. I’ve extended the invitation to my quilting community too! I encouraged fellow quilters in the SPD community to quilt for 22 minutes a day in 2022! It’s a great way to make a bit of progress each and every day. You will be amazed at how much you will accomplish!
In my November workshop on November 16th, we made the Modified Trees pattern by Beth Helfter. Beth used the Leaves Galore Petite templates to cut the pieces for this pattern. It was such a fun pattern to teach as I channeled Beth and her no-stress, all-fun quilting style!
As Beth said in our discussion on Tuesday, “Quilting is not supposed to be a not-fun experience.” I can’t agree more. Focus on the fun and when it stops being fun, take a break! Then come back to it with a fresh perspective and continue to follow your quilting passion. One thing is for certain, Beth always seems to be having a blast!
Check out Beth’s website. www.evapaigequilts.com, sign up for her newsletter, and you’ll be taken in by Beth’s delightful attitude, and her quirky, quilty style!
You can watch her HST method on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eB-ITjPy2J4
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