Circles Block #11–EPP Sew-A-Long

Circles EPP Button

Circle Block #11_OPQuilt

Circle #11: Vintage Test Pattern

This is the eleventh block in a series of twelve circle blocks, conceived and created when I needed another hand-sewing project, and wanted something beyond hexagons.  I had several sources of inspiration for this one:

Vintage TV Test Pattern

TP-WABCcolor

2012-Ma-June-044

1960s-Color-TP-v1As a child, I remember these “television test patterns” on the tube when I’d get up too early, before the station had signed on.  And I liked the Greek Cross reference, too, since many of these circles were designs taken from a Greek Orthodox Church in Ljubljana, Slovenia (from our vacation last year).  So I give credit to both sources of inspiration.

I have been giving away these patterns for free, as I want to share my designs for anyone else who wants an interesting pattern to sew up on those days you are too tired to do anything but watch a good movie, and do some stitching.  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 #11_OPQuilt_Circles.  Print off four copies and cut out, but you only need one circle.

Printer Settings block 11

Please make sure your printer settings are set to a 100% scaling, as shown above.

Circles Block Eleven

Here’s the circle drawn up in my quilt software.  I’ve taken to printing out this little color drawing and putting it in a small bag with all the glued-up pieces.  I like referring to the drawing as I work.

Circles 11_1Choosing Fabric

Picking fabrics–I always lay them out.  I jumped the gun and cut the cross-bars early, as I have another circle with that fabric and while I wanted these circles to be different from one another, I still wanted them to be able to have a conversation, so I repeat fabrics here and there.  When you cut out your circle, I’d make it about 1/4″ bigger than it is. See Circles #10 for some tips on the circles.

Circles 11_2points layout

Once I got all the little points around the top of the circle printed out, I noticed that it would be hard to figure out where the “curve” of the triangle was, so I drew little arrows on every one of them.  As it turned out, I was okay about figuring out how they went, but if you think you might need the extra assist, do it now.

Circles 11_3glued points and raysKind of looks like a tomato with leaves.

Circles 11_4 pieces laid out

As is my habit, I lay out all the glued pieces for one final check before I start sewing them together.

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Then I loaded them all up in my little bag with the drawing and went outside to the patio to stitch, while listening to my audio book.

the-last-chinese-chef-cover

This time it was The Last Chinese Chef, and I was craving Chinese food by the time I finished listening to this.  But not Americanized Chinese food; I wanted the food in the book.

Circles 11_5 first units stitched

Stitch the upper row sections together, then the lower, then join them, keeping those seams aligned if at all possible.  Notice that I have not glued down the lower edges of the lower section to their papers (the innermost part of the circle), as I want to appliqué the center circle onto the piece, and it’s a lot harder if I’ve folded the edges and glued them down.

Circles 11_6 more bits laid out

Then, line up four green triangles with their curved edges at the bottom, and the points that go in-between them (three pieces). Lastly, lay the half-triangle on each side.  NOW sew them together.  You don’t want to be sewing on a full-triangle on those outer edges, like someone else I might just know.

Circles 11_7 crown stitched

When sewn together, it should look like this.  It’s now after dinner and I’m inside, still listening, but sewing by lamplight, instead of by sunlight.  I couldn’t stop listening, nor stop sewing.  These get addicting.

Circles 11_8 crown onto first unit

Join a checkerboard unit to the triangles unit.

Circles 11_9 rays to first units

Then stitch one of those ray-sections to the checkboard units, making sure you are attaching it to the same side on all four units. In this photo you can clearly see the raw fabric edges of the lower checkerboard pieces.  Sew together two of these units, then sew those two units together to create a full circle.  At this point, you can remove all the papers, except any that are at that outer edge.  If the papers are hard to slip out because they are glued, use the tip of your small scissors or a stiletto to loosen the fabric (so you won’t have to tug and pull).

Cut a 14 1/2″ square of backing fabric.  Yes, it is bigger than the circle, but I want to make sure I have enough to work with when I figure out how I’m setting all these together.  (I have no clue at this point!)  Now it’s decision time.  This version, with the red rays arranged North-South-East-West, or. . .

Circles 11_10 OPQuilt

Circles 11_ 10aAlternate Circle. . . this version, with the rays arranged like a flower?  I marked the centers of my large backing square, and set down the circle, pinning it for appliqué.  I went with the traditional version (North-South-East-West).

Circles 11_11 OPQuilt

Cut away the backing fabric, leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance. I love these little Karen Kay Buckley scissors, as the tips have little teeth that grip the fabric, holding it while trimming even the smallest bit of fabric.

Circles 11_12 OPQuilt

Pin on, then appliqué the center circle.  See Block #10 for some appliqué tips.  I should have placed that “weave” pattern aligned straight up and down, but instead I just slapped it on.  As a result, I always want to tip my head to the side when looking at the center circle.  I’m sure no one else will notice (well, now you will) so I’m not redoing it.  Keeps it real, keeps it interesting.

Circles 11_13 OPQuilt

Remove all the papers, and admire your work.

Circles 11_14 OPQuilt

Circles  All Eleven by Ironing BoardHere are they all are, lined up on an ironing board that is obviously used for other things than ironing.  (Anyone else have to clear off their ironing board in order to iron something?) I think they do play well together!  I’ll post the last circle at the beginning of June, and then hopefully, the quilt setting on July 1st.  I’m posting this circle block a wee bit early as we have our Quarterly Four-in-Art Reveal in two days, on May 1st.

4-in-art_3

I hope you’ll join me then for our little gallery of art quilts!

Sing A Song of Sampler Blocks

Two Quilts_again

Sing A Song of Sampler Blocks_front

Sing A Song of Sampler Blocks
Pieced, Appliquéd and Quilted
57″ high by 53 1/2″ wide
No. 146 on my 200 Quilts List

Sing A Song of Sampler Blocks_1I went up to my university’s botanic garden to photograph these two quilts, loving the contrast of the rustic against the brightly colored blocks from my beemates in the Mid-Century Modern Bee.

Sing A Song of Sampler Blocks_detail2

I put out a call for a variety of blocks in 6″ or 9″ or 12″ sizes, and then as they came in, placed them all up on my design wall to see how they played together.  I used some of the ideas from these friends to create a few more blocks, following Carla’s lead when she created hers.  Like Carla, I also worked in the small signature blocks as part of the design.

Sing A Song of Sampler Blocks_front heroic

One day I opened a card from Rhonda, another friend back east, and she’d made me a bird block to be added to my project, as she had read my blog and wanting to contribute to my modern sampler.  So that spurred me on to making a few more birds as well.

Sing A Song of Sampler Blocks_detailThen I had to try some flowery blocks, two different kinds to go with all the other flowers, and a Dresden block, and once I got started, I also added a Road to California block (made four times so it would be big enough to add variety).  It’s kind of fun to try making all different kinds of blocks.  Finally I had enough, and the right size of blocks and I was able to sew it together.  Happily so, thinking about my good friends.

Sing A Song of Sampler Blocks_back

I saved some of the smaller blocks for the back.

Sing A Song of Sampler Blocks_label

Two quilts_2015

Two quilts with flowers

Happy Spring!  Spring into some quilting!

Pineapples and Crowns

Gazebo with two quilts

Pineapples and Crowns_front iphone

Pineapples and Crowns
Pieced, Appliquéd and Quilted
61″ square
No. 145 on my 200 Quilts List

Looking up into the cupola

Pineapples and Crowns_labelThe pineapple blocks were pieced by two different bees and I over six months: the Mid-Century Modern Bee and the Always Bee Learning Bee.

Pineapples and Crowns_lounging around

Pineapples and Crowns_back

Pineapples and Crowns_signature blocksI had forgotten to piece all the signature blocks into the backing from Mid-Century Modern Bee, so I just kind of swooped them onto the back.  While they may look a bit unusual, I figure the back of my quilt is like looking in my clothes closet–no one will see it but me–and this way I won’t lose these precious tiny blocks.  I wish I had a signature block from the other piecers of the blocks, but that bee didn’t do them, and that bee is now scattered.

Pineapples and Crowns_detail1The background is a series of petite prints on a white or creamy colored ground–no beiges or grays to muddy the clarity of the colors–and is a contrast to the solids of the pineapple steps and the crown petals.

Pineapples and Crowns_detail2I quilted this quilt over a week, using seven and a half bobbins, in a free-swirling pattern, outlining the leaves and stems in the border.  I got the idea for my border from the masters of borders, the Piece O’ Cake ladies, but varied it somewhat to fit what I needed.  I was interviewed for an article on quilting last week, and I noted that if we think we are making something original, we are slightly delusional.  Actually I wanted to say we are straight-up delusional, for everything comes from somewhere else, but I qualified it so quilters wouldn’t have their feelings hurt.  The idea, I think, is to make that snippet of influence new for you.

Mark Ronson, the well-known DJ-record producer, noted  in his TED talk  that we are all sampling from everyone else, sampling being his word for when recording artists slip in a line or two from someone else’s recorded song to bring a texture or a reference to the work that has gone before (cue at 6:15 for his discussion).  So you might say I sampled some early pioneer in the use of her pineapple block and the Piece O’Cake ladies for the border, and both of these were probably sampled from somewhere else, somewhere.  I feel richer for being a part of this quilting universe, with good ideas slipping in from places beyond.

Pineapples and Crowns_front

Yes, you did a notice another quilt in that first photo.  Stay tuned.

These photos were taken in our local university’s botanic garden, in the gazebo near the iris section, overlooking the creek gully.  It’s a very old gazebo and I fully expect that one day I’ll arrive with my quilts and it will be gone. Until then, it will be sampled into my photos, my coda on the making of a quilt.

Moroccan Quilt Tile

Moroccan Tile from JillinItaly

So it all started with this photo, from the Instagrammer JillinItaly, a small sweet shot of tiles on a Moroccan floor.  It actually started with my #the100daysof4square project (an offshoot of #the100DayProject) and since I have to come up with four squares of something every day for 100 days, this was what I chose.  Maybe it was the color, the interesting half-clamshell that formed a whole clamshell and an apple-core block, I don’t know.  It was just one of those serendipitous moments that made me want to struggle my way through learning how to draw it in EQ7 (I still depend on my trusty QuiltPro, but wanted to become fluent in two quilt languages).

Moroccan Tile Quilt

I’m also suffering badly from Spring Fever, even worse than my students (which now you know must be nearly a four-alarm alert of Teacher Fatique and Mindlessness), so much suffering that I let them out early today.  Again.  That’s two days in a row and the kid who went his freshman year at Cornell (but is now back here) looks at me as if something was whack-o, and the kids in the back row just grin from ear-to-ear, even though I had to tell one of them she was on track for a stupendous grade of D, if she didn’t get her Stuff Together and pull it up to a sunny C.  Are you surprised when I tell you that she was completely surprised?  Didn’t think so.

So I just had to do something different tonight rather than think about all of that, and here it is: a free pattern for a six-inch block of the above.  Moroccan Tile Block six-inch  Have fun.  I have not yet made it, but Leanne of SheCanQuilt has a wonderful tutorial, complete with video, on sewing curves, so I’d check over there if I were you.  That first picture from JillinItaly’s feed just lit up my wee IG universe (click on the icon on the right to see more), so maybe it’s not the only the fabulousness of the pattern, but also those colors that say Spring Is On Its Way, or if you are in the Southern Hemisphere, it may be saying, You’ve Had a Good Summer, Now It’s Time For Fall, but I’m not really seeing more than those saturated — while also being faded — yummy peaches and golds and magentas.

Quilting in Progress on Pineapple

As far as the other project goes, I have not yet keeled over, but am still working steadily on getting it quilted.  I’ve already ripped out several parts, but I think I know now what I’m doing, so that’s a relief, as any FMQ quilter can tell you.  I might just yet make that deadline of Tuesday.  Stay tuned.

 

Pineapples and Crowns Quilt Top is Finished

Pineapples and Crowns

That’s about all.

I finished appliquéing all the leaves for the pineapple crowns, as I like to think about it (thanks to Brenda, a reader of this blog), and sewed on the borders.  Happy to be at this place.  If I really push myself, potentially creating more stress than I’ll know what to do with, I could try and get this quilted and bound by our next guild meeting in two weeks, where we are showing off our 50/50 quilts challenge: finishing off UFO quilts that were more than 50% finished.  If all of sudden this blog goes dark, you’ll know what happened: I killed myself off.

More blog posts about this quilt are here and here and here, or use my handy-dandy search box to the right (it really works).

The tutorial to make the pineapple block, using paper-pieced method, is here.

I may change the name, but I’m trying this one out for a while.

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Occasionally my blog software puts ads below my posts, so I can blog for free.  I do not control the content, nor the frequency.

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