Nero's Post II (2013-2015)

by Teje Karjalainen



Hello Dear Friends! There has been so many things happening lately that I feel after a long time I write just ‘normal’ post! I have been amazed about your wonderful comments on the Blog Hop give away post! Thank you so much for sharing where you come from – it has been great to receive wishes around the world! So today it’s about English paper piecing …

Paper piecing octagons

I haven’t made much paper piecing but lately it has been a lot in my mind. Every one is paper piecing – right – and they have inspired me! I thought it’s a great idea to make a hobby box to keep with me and when ever I need to wait somewhere or I have a moment without doing anything (?), I can get the box to my restless hands. And there were just perfect fabrics waiting on my table … a while ago we made a swap with Kerry and that scrap bundle was shouting ‘we want to be paper pieced’!

paper piecing octagons

I was searching from my stash more vintage and retro style fabrics … not so great catch but something I found. I feel like I’m returning to the roots of patchwork when cutting the papers and sewing by hand these little pieces. First I had hexagons in my mind, but when I saw the octagons with tiny squares, I knew ‘this is it’! I printed the shapes from this great site They have lots of shapes and useful, printable designs!


At the first busy searching I found only this coocie tin. Cute but not practical. Then I saw my grandfather’s paint box! This would be so perfect –  even the inside size is exactly for the οκτάγωνο (οκτω=eight , γωνια=corner)  = octagon … I just love these Greek words!!! But unfortunately this very special wooden box has strong smell of the oil paints and can’t be used for my sewing. Still it is a great inspiration and made me feel more strongly that this project is going to take me back to old days!


My plan for this project was not have any plan! Just to enjoy making those little octagons, using any kind of beautiful scraps. Okey, still I don’t have a plan and don’t make one, but I have a name! “Grandpa’s Paints”. My grandfather Yrjo Kivisalo, was a painter and I have wrote more about him HERE.

Yrjo Kivisalo

This is one of my favourites from his paintings! and funny thing is that I saw this for the first time only few months ago! Unfortunately it’s not in our family or even with relatives. My grandfather painted very much (he started to draw as a little boy) and he painted many kind of paintings. Mostly he enjoyed portrets – travelling and meeting new people,  and also he loved to paint nature. His colours are soft, natural but sometimes also very happy …

Yrjo Kivisalo

This is one other favourite and this I have at home! Colours are really bright (photo doesn’t show them enough). Both these paintings are bothering me … I would love to make them quilts!


You understand that I had to take one shoot with bright, blue, spring sky! I think you can also understand that now I have a serious problem … how I can stop to make these … this was supposed to be the side project – just when I don’t have anything else to do!


You may wonder about those really small white squares. When I had made first 4 octagons, I sew them together adding the white square. I didn’t use paper for that, just folded the edges and tried if it’s possible to sew it without paper. Fortunately it works! I don’t think I could have started to put paper for every tiny square.


I started to have ideas how to make them blocks. I thought there could be nine octagons, a little bit like granny square and that lead me also for the ‘Grandpa’s Paints’ theme. Those blocks could be also bigger with 15 octagons and surrounded with white octagons. There are many possibilities and I don’t know yet how to continue. But soon I shall start to sew them together so I can re-use the papers and don’t need to make all the time more and more papers.


Next time I shall show you how I make these octagons. No tutorial because I’m really beginner with this. Also I have made separate page (find it up on the header) with paper piecing. There I are lots of useful and inspiring links. I shall add there always new info when I find something. There will be also links for foundation paper piecing. I have a new button on my sidelist ‘Forest QAL’. Have a look, that is so cool! It’s about foundation paper pieced blocks with forest theme. The first block is Woodpecker! It’s amazing and I want to make it … if I ever can.

I have fixed a new very well organized ‘tool box’ for my project – you see that also next time … I just have to find now where to put  my knackebrod?! This orange is really big so you get an idea how little these octagons are …


If you are busy to start paper piecing, here are some great links to begin:

Flossie Tea Cakes

‘Life Under Quilts’ Jessica has made a great video to show you how to paper piece hexagons!

Incompetech’ Printable shapes

‘Paper Pieces’ From here you can by ready paper templates

I’m linking with my friends at ‘Fabric Tuesday’, ‘Linky Tuesday’, ‘Sew Cute Tuesday’ and ‘w.i.p Wednesday’!

Spring in Greece

Couldn’t leave you without spring and sunshine! I wish you wonderful week! I hope you have already spring or signs of it! Thank you for your visit and lovely comments! Sorry but now I just need to make new οκταγωνο!



Author: Teje

I am a Finnish woman living in Crete in Greece. Quilting, sewing, knitting, crochet and if there is still time, reading and painting, with happy company of our two sweet dogs and one cat!


  1. This will be such a lovely project. Your Grandfather’s painting are so pretty and very appealing. I am sorry that the washer lady isn’t with you but hope it is in a loving home! The painting you have is so nice and I can seen all your colors there! Once again, your blue skies are a “breath of fresh air and Spring hope” for those yet in Winter’s snow grip! Blessings, Doreen

  2. Beautiful project. And I understand how much you love your grandfather’s paintings.

    I think you might find it easier to do the squares, and possibly even the octagons if you don’t sew through the paper. There is another method that involves only sewing through the fabric. I learned through YouTube. It goes much faster than the sew through the paper method. I used that one years ago. I didn’t much like paper piecing back then and I think the reason was how I made the shapes I was using.

    • Thank you so much Stella! Jessica from ‘Life Under Quilts’ shows that the ‘right’ way is not to sew through the paper, but I feel still glumsy and also I don’t have much seam allowance in some parts, so I feel this still more secure. I try to practise a lot! x Teje

  3. Your grandfather was a very talented painter; the paintings you show are really beautiful. You must have inherited hus talent for colours! The octagons look very beautiful and I can’t wait to see how you are going to sew them together. Personally I think paper piecing is very relaxing;it’s been a while since I did it,but your work makes me wonder about a new project.
    Thank you for the sunshine! After 15 degrees last week, it’s freezing again up here.

    • Thank you Dorien! When I tried first time paper piecing last year, I thought it’s too slow for me, but now I really enjoy it. We had great weather and I hope it continues because I bought today some flower and would like to put them in the pots. x Teje

  4. What a lovely post Teje. How lucky you are to have your grandfather’s old paint box, he would be thrilled that it is being used again. Paper piecing is something I did as a child..good to see it is in fashion again. Your fabrics are so bright and cheerful. Enjoy creating all those octagons and I look forward to seeing what you create. That looks like a fun project ;0)
    Jane x

    • Thank you Jane! Paper piecing is certainly not forgotten! It takes a lot time but is really fun! I bought some flowers today and hope to do some gardening in these days! x Teje

  5. Hexies never stay as side projects at my house either. I love your grandfther’s paint box as inspiration. I hope you’ll consider joining my monthly hexie linky party (for any EPP project) – the enxt is 3/17/13.

  6. Looking forward to seeing more of your octagons. How special to have your Grandfathers paint box too. I thought of you today, we were doing about shapes in maths with the children at school and the teacher had spent a couple of years in Greece so could explain the meanings of the names. He was counting in Greek for us too.

  7. Lovely! And thank you for sharing your Grandpa’s beautiful pictures. What treasures!
    I can’t wait to see what you do with your octagons!

  8. Such beautiful weather! Perfect for EPP! Jxo

  9. you are using some wonderful fabrics for your paper piecing! the octagons & squares are a fun & interesting pattern. Thank you for sharing so many great links! Your grandfather’s paintings are beautiful – what a lovely idea to try interpruting one in fabric! my grandfather was a photographer, and encouraged my interest in photography years ago. Lately I have been thinking about a couple ways to interpret that interest in fabric. I also think your grandfather’s paint box is beautiful 🙂

    • Thank you so much Allison for your lovely comment! How nice to hear that your grandfather was a photographer! Unfortunately my grandpa and my mother never learnt that I startet to paint a little bit. x Teje

  10. I’m looking forward to seeing your epp grow and I love your Grandfather’s paintings – especially the washer woman. This is a lovely colourful post!

  11. Beautiful paintings Teje. Your family are sooooo talented 🙂 I’m enjoying reading about your journey into paper piecing and I love your fabric selection. Have fun making many more sunny οκταγωνο 😀 Avis x

    • Thank you dear friend! Today I’m at home after many days and thinking to spend the evening with octagons and my puppies! x Teje

  12. How lucky you are to have such wonderful paintings, Teje. Your grandfather was very talented! Enjoy your hexagons!!

  13. Thank you for responding to my comment so fast and good luck if you entered any blogs.

  14. Your photos are so bright with the sun! I really like your gandfathers art.

  15. I love your Grandpa’s painting! Those hexies look fab too. Can’t wait to see them finished.

  16. I love your octagons and your grandfather’s art is beautiful! I can’t wait to see how you lay out your pieces.

  17. Those are turnign out gorgeous. I have 2 differetn hexagon projects under way here that are paper pieced.

  18. Be careful, paper piecing is very addictive! I love the snowballs, I havent seen octanogal piecing before, it is a great result! Have fun 🙂

  19. What a lovely post, Teje!

    I have always admired any sort of quilting done by hand, and these paper piecing designs are just wonderful! And those paintings and that old paint box…I want one!

    Happy sewing, dear friend, and sunny weekend soon too!


  20. Great blocks and your grandfather’s art is beautiful!
    Thanks for sharing.
    Freemotion by the River Linky Party Tuesday

  21. How neat! I have my Opa’s paint box too, almost identical to yours, but larger! And I had the same idea to use it for my hexies too! Only, there must have been a spill of oils in the box, since there is an oily, sticky area that I can’t get clean. But so fun to see someone else with the same idea 🙂

    • Thank you Carla! I’m happy to hear you have also a treasury! My box smells so much oil paints that I can’t keep my octagons there but it’s a wonderful decoration! x Teje

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