Circles Block #10–EPP Sew-A-Long

 

Circles EPP Button

Circles Block Ten_OPQuiltDresden Plate, Rainbow Style — Circles Block #10

Here we are again, with block ten of the dozen or so blocks I have planned for this series, and I have to say it’s one of my favorites.

On Kitchen Cupboard

In fact I liked it so well, I taped it to my kitchen cupboard, where I can enjoy it.  My husband says it looks like a winking smiley face.  I just see a rainbow.

Circles Block Ten _Dresden

As I mentioned before, unlike earlier patterns, there are now no hand-drawn designs since I am able to work in a new version of quilt software.  But Please: do attribute the source of this to Elizabeth at OccasionalPiece-Quilt  (or OPQuilt.com) and do not print off copies for your mother or your friends.  Please direct them here to get their free copies.  Many thanks.  Here’s the pattern in a PDF file for you to download: EPP #10_OPQuilt_Dresden Plate

Print Settings Ten

Print off four copies and cut out the blades, but cut out only one circle.  Make sure your printer settings are set to 100% scale.

Cut Pieces Laid out

Here’s the blade papers pinned to fabrics and cut out.  I used pins initially as I was checking for a smooth gradation of colors for my rainbow.  Yes, I realized later I’d done the rainbow the reverse of what is normally shown.

Glued pieces laid out

After I liked the arrangement, I used a glue stick and glued them to the papers.  I talk about gluing vs. basting in an earlier circle post, so read back through those to learn about that technique.

Perfect Circles1

The one new thing for this circle is confessing my undying love for Karen Kay Buckley’s Perfect Circle templates.

Perfect Circles2

I have them in two sizes: smaller, and bigger.  It’s what I use for my circles, instead of cutting out the paper pattern.  I choose a circle a little bit bigger than the paper pattern, then lay it down on the wrong side of the fabric, and trace around it.  I then cut about 1/2″ away from the line.  I did talk about the construction of them *here;*  just scroll down to where you see me taking a gathering stitch and pulling it up around the circle, then read on.

Starting at Point

To construct this block, line up the “shoulders” of the upper edges, as shown.  Take a stitch, then loop through it to make it more secure, as shown in the next photo, pulling it snug.

Make an extra loop

EPP Stitching

Then keep going, taking tiny “bites” of fabric of each blade, whip-stitching them together.  It goes really quickly.

Pieces of Dresden

I did mine in sections, depending on which thread matched, then sewed the sections together.

Stitched to backing

Cut a 14 1/2″ square for the background, and crease in the centers on all four sides; if you are not near an iron, just finger-press it.  Now it’s Decision Time: Point up, or valley up?  I went with the valley between the two points, but my friend Lisa, who was sitting beside me at quilt guild, preferred the point up.  I tell you this story to say that there is no right or wrong–just what you like. Applique this to the background using a neutral thread.  There’s a trick to good appliqué, and that’s to not have the thread come all the way to the top of what you are appliquéing, but instead kind of split the fold.  Then don’t pull the thread too tightly.  You want it to float on your background, not be nailed to it.  I have a photo below, when I appliqué the center, showing what I mean about “splitting the fold.” (At least I hope it does.)

Cut away backing

After you appliqué the rainbow Dresden Plate onto the back, trim away the underneath, about 1/4″ away from your stitches.

Loosen papers

Using either a pair of small, sharp scissors or the business end of a stiletto, loosen the glued edges, and pop out the papers.

Backing Cut Away

Like this.

Applique split the fold

Arrange your circle on your Dresden, pin.  Now appliqué on.  I need to start making my circles a wee bit bigger, because it was a close call on some parts, so I sewed with teensy little stitches in a neutral thread (here: a grey-green).  See how the needle is kind of splitting the fold on that left-hand part of the photo?  You want to try to get a good bite of fabric, but not so the needle comes out on the top.  You want it at the “side” of the piece, if you can think about it that way, like if you were looking at a really flat layer cake–you’d want the needle to come out about where the filling is, not on top where the decorations are.  Don’t pull the thread too tightly. . . just snugly.

Circle on back view

Whew.  Some of those seam allowances are barely a quarter-inch, but my stitches are tiny and the center will hold. (Quick! which poem is that from?***)

Circles Block Ten_OPQuilt

Here’s your completed block?  Why a Dresden block?  Doesn’t every circle quilt need one?  I’d been making them for my bee groups.  We used *this tutorial* and sewed them on the sewing machine (although I used my version of the centers, and machine appliquéd them on), but truthfully, sewing them by hand didn’t take that much longer.

dresden plate_Opquilt

First, Rene’ had us make one in blues and greens.

2015 MCM March w0 label

And then Cindy had us make one in bright colors, so how I could I resist?

Ten Circles

And then there were ten!

˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚

***  The poem is from Yeats, and he actually said the “centre cannot hold,” but your lovely hand-stitched center will.  Here’s the first part of his poem, and although I analyzed it to death when teaching it to my students, I still barely get the whole meaning, but it does have to do with the horrors of our twentieth century.  It’s pretty scary out there.  Too bad Yeats didn’t do English Paper Piecing.  He might have felt better about things.

THE SECOND COMING, by William Butler Yeats
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold. . . . .

Neonatal/Preemie Quilts with a Free Pattern

Neonatal Preemie Quilt

The Riverside Raincross Quilt Guild, to which I belong, has many community service projects, one of which is their making and donating neonatal, or preemie, quilts to the County hospital’s NICU.  I sat across from Mary last guild meeting, as she patted the stack of little quilts, and told us the story about how her friend, who is a nurse, lays them all around the layettes when she gets a new stack from us, and how she loves looking at them.  All those little quilts made with love.

Neonatal Preemie Quilt_1

They are 30″ square, lightly quilted (at least all the ones in the stack were, for that makes them more huggable and drapable).  I had some fabric I’d ordered last year that I wasn’t that fond of (the hazards of online-ordering, although the fabric itself was very popular and cute and I thought it would be good for a boy), plus I had a block I wanted to try out, which first surfaced in the 1940s.  Here is a PDF pattern for that block, a 15″ square Twin Darts: Twin Dart 15%22 block.  (Click on the link to download.) Make sure your printer settings are set to 100% and it should come out okay.  You’ll be making four large blocks.

It’s an easy pattern, but there are a lot of bias edges, so my advice (in hindsight) would be to give them a good shot of spray starch before piecing.  All the quilts are pre-washed before they go to the babies, so it will be washed out.

Then I wanted to try a Pillowcase Binding.  I liked Susan B. Katz’s excellent tutorial, found *here.*

But I ended up going the tutorial from Rita, of Red Pepper Quilts (found *here*), as it was not for an art quilt (which Susan’s is) and yes, I did baste the quilt top to the batting in a couple of places before sandwiching them all together, then turning.

I then top-stitched around all the outside edges to close up the opening, then quilted around all the arrows (or darts) and other main seams.  Done!  I have another one in the works, which I’ll post about, too, as well as give you the free pattern.  I put this up on Instagram, and many people had the same response I did–a good way to winnow down the stash as well as doing good.

While looking through the web for guidelines about batting (apparently polyester or cotton, no wool), I found this document and modified it to post here: neonatal_quilt_guide  Please check with your local guild as to size and other requirements, as they are obtained from your local hospitals.

New Hexagon Millefiore– Rosette #2 Started

Rosette #2 Starts

Well, I’ve started Rosette #2 of The New Hexagon Millefiore Quilt-A-Long, originated by Katja Marek.  We even have our own Facebook Group (link is also on Katja’s page), and now I’ve found something I can post there, having stopped putting anything personal on Facebook once one of my very scary students found me (getting past all the privacy controls, because we all know how Facebook loves to play with our privacy controls!).  Now there are nearly 3,000 people on this group, and I think a lot of them are actually doing this, not just Looky-Loos.

Plitvice2b_view up the valley

Plitvice3_two toned again

I’m basing the colors in this quilt on our trip to Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia, where we traveled last year.  The colors range from the greens and yellow-greens to the blues and indigos.

Plitvice2_green lake

There was also aqua, and turquoise.  It was a beautiful place, and we loved hiking throughout all the lakes and waterfalls one afternoon.

Plitvice ESE

Oh, and white and sound and green and water and trees and browns and rocks and everything.  What a place!  I had a hard time with that second round, trying out multiple bits of cloth where the yellow with dots ended up.  It just needed a lift, a happy spot that wasn’t too ornate or over-done with pattern.  Sometimes the eye needs a rest.  Even if I am making a quilt based on Plitvice.

Plitvice13c_lakeview

Rosette 1 on fence

So this was Rosette #1, where I went for the blues.

Rosette #2 Starts

Okay, one more time for the beginning of this green/yellow-green rosette.  I’m thinking violets/blue-violet/indigo for the next.  It took me a while to get going on this again, as I actually had to do some housework, and some cooking, and some grading.

Circles EPP Button

Then there was finishing up the circle block for the April 1st post–it’s our tenth! and I loved making it.  I moaned mentioned to my sister that I hadn’t been very productive lately in the quilt department as I wanted to be, and yet I realize that these hand-pieced quilt blocks do take some time in the designing, and making.  So I guess I haven’t been a total slacker, but there are days that I would like to clone myself, and knew which part of my life I’d be doing, while the poor clone would be stuck with a mop or a grading pen.  Oh, and I’d also be reading blogs, to see what you are all up to!

Flower Spring 2015

It’s been a lovely week of Spring Break here, and the weather is a bit too warm for March but the wonderful side effect is loads of flowers on all our bushes and trees, so that made me want to work in rosettes again, too.  School starts again Monday, then a stack of papers comes in a week later.  Where’s that clone, now I need it?

Prints Charming and QuiltCon

Michael Levine's stripes I admit it–I was in two fabric stores today: Michael Levine’s in Los Angeles (where they had 10% off all quilt fabric) and Sew Modern (always a treat to visit).  I went to Los Angeles as part of my week-long This-Will-Matter-Spring-Break experience, which also means I’m trying to avoid cleaning out the garage, or other household chores, but I did love Lily van der Stoker’s take on housework, seen at the Hammer Museum at UCLA: Lily van der Stoker Charles Gaines I’d gone to see Charles Gaines’ work, as he’s all about the grid, but the pieces I really wanted to see were in an area of the gallery that was roped off because of maintenance (which made me a bit crazy).  Above is a schematic of fallen leaves off a tree (you can see the branches in the background), but it’s something you just have to see–I can’t explain it.  And then I topped that all off with four hours of LA traffic (Motto: You Aren’t in a Hurry, Are You?) and a fun night at my local quilt guild. And all around was pattern.  The stack of fabrics I bought were prints.  The art I saw in the gallery was based on the grid and time and three-dimensions and it was all this idea of marks on paper, on photographs. . . no blank space unless it was part of the idea of his work.  But the filled–in little squares defined those blank spaces. QuiltCon Solids Now look at this.  This is predominantly what I saw at Quiltcon: solids.  Yes, chopped up, sliced, diced and pickled, but all solids (kidding about the pickled part).  Over and over.  And straight lines.  Over and over.  Don’t get me wrong–I really enjoyed the show, only tiring of the square-in-a-square or rectangle-in-a-rectangle when I saw it too often (time to move on now, peoples). Where were the prints?  There’s been a healthy discussion going on on Instagram (just click on the button on the right to be taken to my feed, where you’ll also find the names of the makers of the following quilts) about what happened to the prints? AlisonGlass_QuiltCon I was a total fan-girl for Alison Glass and her prints. AlisonGlass_QuiltCon2 Heather Ross Selfie And here is Heather Ross, she of print fabrics fame, agreeing to a selfie with me (yes, I’m a fangirl there, too).  But I did find some prints, and I thought I’d show you them.  Notice also how many straight lines there are.  Yes, there seems to be a bias against curved seams, with a few notable exceptions (Leanne Chahley’s fine work comes to mind), but here’s a few quilts that had print fabrics: QuiltCon_1 QuiltCon_2 This was a small quilt–maybe 24″? QuiltCon_3 QuiltCon_4 Lee Heinrich also does excellent work with prints, making them modern by her treatment of them through repetition and color-shifting. QuiltCon_5 When there were prints, they were more like this one, where the print “read” as a solid, disappearing. QuiltCon_6 Caught in the QuiltCon wild: a quilt with prints AND curves. QuiltCon_7 And another, with detail shown below. The prints aren’t try to disappear, they are there in all their patterned glory. QuiltCon_7a QuiltCon_8 Here’s another great use of prints, by the talented duo of Lora Douglas (piecing) and my friend Linda Hungerford (quilting).  Again, click on Instagram and scroll through the photos, then click to see the captions, where I identify all these quilts and their makers (offending several in my family with my quilt-heavy feed–cue eyeroll). QuiltCon_9 Final print-prominent quilt of QuiltCon for this grouping.  Like I said, the majority of quilts were solids, pieced and quilted in straight lines.  Glorious, but there is obviously a bias.  Now take a look at what WE, the QuiltCon attendees were wearing: Brightly Colored Tote A mix of solids and prints. CharlieHarper backpack Charlie Harper on a backpack. Show Attendees Her scarf? Print.  His body?  Print. Storybook GirlI wish I’d had the guts to ask Storybook Lass for a photo showing the front of this dress.   And here was a quilt by Windham Fabrics, a manufacturer: WindhamFabrics Chairs Stitching Jessica And the lovely young woman who sat manning the Sit and Sew Booth, with a lot of fun PRINT fabrics (her creation after sitting there for four days). Malka Dubrawsky Malka Dubrawsky, who has wonderful bold prints (yes, I was shameless in asking for selfless), as well as Vanessa Christensen (below) of V and Co. with lots of fabulous prints in her line of fabrics (although she is showing a solids quilt example for our class). Vanessa Christensen In talking with the saleslady at Sew Modern today, she saw some of the same thing (as she cut my yardage of. . . what else. . . prints), but here’s hoping that the Modern Quilt movement will start to branch out as the skill level grows of these quilters, finding ways to incorporate print into their modern version.  Next show is in a year, in Pasadena.  Stay tuned. Giveaway BannerI was totally impressed with all the things you readers have been doing, from cleaning out cupboards, to fixing computers to making blankets and quilts. Since today is March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day, I chose the 17th commenter for one prize, then did a double-algorhymic interpolation to pick the second winner.  Just kidding, I picked the first person who wrote, because Vanessa Christensen was the giving away tons of cool stuff in her class, but I was number 1 and NEVER got picked.  Ever.  So I thought that our Number One should win something.  Congratulations–I’ll send you an email to get your mailing addresses.

Winner #1Winner #2

Sampler Quilt Top & Rosette #1 Finished

Rosette 1_OPQuiltcom I’m slowly making my way through the New Hexagon Millefiore Quilt-Along, and have finally finished Rosette #1. Rosette 1_OPQuiltcom_detail Rosette 1 on fence Because of the deep colors, it’s a bit harder to photograph than I’d thought, but here it’s tacked up on my fence, in the daylight.  I’ve got the template ready for the next partial rosette, but will get to it a bit later, as there are some projects in the line-up ahead of it. Wall of Blocks This was the beginning of my Mid-Century Modern Bee Sampler, with all the blocks from my bee mates, plus a a couple I’d sewn together. Not Working was what I called it over the last few days.  Definitely Not Working at all.  I kept in all the bits and pieces of extras they’d given me, then I’d take them out.  I’d move them around some more; this quilt was more challenging than I’d thought! The last post talked about the basket block, but I pulled out a vintage quilt block book I’d purchased at a garage sale, to find another. Vintage Book Road to California Block Four blocks of Road to California it is, as all my mates had to send blocks to California. Sampler Quilt 2015 Finally it came together and I declared the top done.  I sewed all the pieces together while I listened to the next book in my Inspector Gamache series: Brutal Telling Gamache Sampler Quilt Backing Today I used the bits and pieces my bee mates had sent on the back and got it ready to go to the quilter’s.  It’s the first one headed over there since October of 2014.  How had it been so long?  Teaching had taken a lot out of me, and I left room for church service, teaching Sunday School, going to QuiltCon, and my family: PeterMeganMove2015 My son, Peter and his wife, Megan moved back to California from Betheseda, MD.  They did the cross country trip in 3 1/2 days.  You can tell they are young. Clearing Garden SPR 15 And I left some time to clear the garden, with a few cabbages, Swiss Chard and Brussels sprouts left. Cleared GardenWe planted seven different kinds of tomatoes, but are waiting for the weather to stop being so hot and dry before continuing.  My lettuce isn’t going to be happy this weekend that California has skipped winter, skipped spring and gone right to summer. quilted toteBut this cute tote and fabulous card arrived today as if to celebrate with me that I’d finally finished up.  Rachel, of The Life of Riley, sent them over as a little gift.  Her timing is impeccable! Giveaway Banner And so, to continue the celebration, I have a little giveaway.   I actually have two: Quilting Book The first is this little book of Quilting Techniques.  I’ve actually enjoyed looking through it, as I picked it up at a recent quilt show. Quilting Book pages Flip Flop GiveawayAnd since California thinks it’s summer, it must be time to spruce up those toes with a weensy cute pedicure set in a flip-flop case, a Passive-Agressive notepad (in honor of our freeways) and a wee pair of Itty Bitty Scissors, for those summer trips you are planning.  I’ll pick two winners.  Just leave me a note telling me your latest success and somehow I’ll randomly draw a name and send off these gifts.   International is okay, but I’ll just send one overseas (the other one is domestic).  I’ll let you know the winner in the next post.  Giveaway will close Tuesday evening, SoCal time.