Circles Block #14–EPP Sew-A-Long

Circles EPP Button

Circle Block 14_OPQuilt

Peppermint Candy
Circles Block #14 in the Circles Sew-A-Long

Yes, I know Peppermint Candy isn’t orange and pink, but the swirl — a bit fat swirl, this time — reminded me of unwrapping crinkly cellophane and seeing those fun swirls on the candy before I popped it in my mouth.

I had to steel myself to get going on these last four, as I was a bit fatigued, but when you want something (like a peppermint, which I’m hunting for in the desk drawer as I write this), you want something, and I wanted a sixteen-block arrangement for my Circles Quilt.

I have the final four patterns as a group up for sale on Craftsy [and Payhip, if you are purchasing from an EU country that collects VAT].  I will post the tutorials each month until the set is complete.  The finishing instructions pattern for Shine: The Circles Quilt is also listed on Craftsy and Payhip.

Printing for block 14

The usual caution applies about making sure that your printer settings are set to 100%; please print off four copies of this pattern.  Surprise! There is no center circle this time, as we’re going for glory and piecing it as accurately as we can.

The tricky thing is the swirls.  I had no idea that FAT swirls are harder than the thin ones, but they are.  There is more bias, more clipping needed, and more care as you lay them out.  But the block’s upside is that there are fewer pieces, so that’s got to count for something.

Circles 14_2fabrics

Fabric selection is getting easier because I am more practiced?  Or maybe that the fabrics I like are on the top of my stack?

Circles 14_3printing down

If you want your swirl to go the direction of the pattern’s swirl, lay the pieces FACE DOWN on the wrong side of the fabric.  Pin, then slice around them with a rotary blade.

Circles 14_5printing whatever

Since the outer wedges have no direction, you can place them face up or face down.  If you are just coming right at this pattern from the Internets, and have not made any of the other circles, there are lots of tips and tricks in the other circle block posts.  You can find them in the tab above.

Circles 14_4clip curves

I took time to do a bit of clipping as I glued down my seam allowances over my paper.  If you don’t, your edge won’t fit neatly with the other swirl’s edge, and will leave puckery bits.  Clip.  You’ll thank me later.

Circles 14_6layout

I like this!  This is always the jumping-off place.  If I like it here, I’ll proceed.

Circles 14_7in bag

I bag the pieces up with a printout of the block (below) to help me with color and placement.

EQ7 Block 14Circles 14_8beginning sewing

I just did not know how to go about putting this together, as the swirls are so swirly.  I finally figured out that old adage: just begin at the beginning (above), so I did. Remember there is almost no easing–just add a stitch and curve it around as you go.

Circles 14_8aIt will curve up in your hand, and this is normal and to be expected.  It will lay flat once you get all the side sewn.Circles 14_9sewing together

Once you get the sets of two done (making sure you are consistent as to which side the dark color is on), sew the twofers into a set of four, as above. Lather, rinse and repeat.Circles 14_10whoops

Then you’ll have two half-circles, which should look like they fit.  Keep going.Circles 14_11alltogether

Now . . . finish sewing it together.

Circles 14_12inner points

Now the points.  Curves against curves–these babies just seem to be opposites today.  Again, start at one tip and move along to the other, letting the piece cup into your hand in an arch as you go.  Circles 14_13hook together

I always like to hook my pieces together, so up above, I’m taking a stitch or two to nail those green points together before I start sewing the next one on.  I think it gives the block some inner support once all the paper is gone.

Circles 14_14before pressing

Points on.  Now, for those of you who believe that fabric is the same as paper, you are going to be freaked out by the little puckers and pfhlttts you see in the photo above.  But here’s the truth: fabric is NOT paper, and it will move and shift and make you worry until you take out the paper at the end and give it a little bit of steam and the fabric settles into itself and you breathe again.

Circles 14_15 back

Beauty Shot, showing how pretty all those little seams look.Circles 14_15afterpressing

Okay, I pressed it with the paper in.  Still a few puckers and pfhlttts, right?  That’s why we make quilts–once you get this thing over batting and get stitching on it, you won’t even see them.

Circles 14_16hollow up

Stitch on the outer wedges, then remove the papers from the green points and the swirls and it’s Decision Time. Hollows up? (above) or Points up? (below)Circles 14_17point up Circles 14_18background fabric

Cut a 14 1/2″ square of background fabric, fold it in fourths, and press in a registration mark so you can get your circle placed in the center.
Circles 14_19pinned for appliquePin the circle down, and appliqué it onto the background, tucking in the points as you go.  Flip it over, and cut out the back 1/4′ away from your hand-stitching line.  Remove all the remaining papers, then give it a good press on a padded ironing board, face down, then face up.  Let it cool, and admire!

Circle Block 14_OPQuilt

2c_Fifteen Circles

Okay, this should give you encouragement.  While you’ve seen all of the blocks in the Shine: A Circles Quilt post, I still think they are look fun  to look at like this, all together.  Now I think you can see about how the fabric choices up to this point dictate what I can and can’t throw in–and that’s okay with me.  Only two more patterns to go!!  The tutorial for Number Fifteen will be released September 1st, or, if you can’t wait. . . you know where to find them.

Summertime Quilt Fun

Hoffman Tour_1

Our quilt guild organized a tour of Hoffman Fabrics this past Monday. I jumped at the chance to go, as I’d passed up several other opportunities.  I decided that it was summer and it was time for some fun.  So I left the sewing chores behind and drove down to Orange County to meet up with the rest of the ladies.

Hoffman Tour_1a Hoffman Tour_2

We were ushered into a seating area, where a Hoffman employee gave a sneak peak at some of the lines coming out soon.  The one above is a digitally printed fabric, which allows for greater color variation than screen printing, and is done in Pakistan.

Hoffman Tour_3

I love their screen printing, which is done in Japan.

Hoffman Tour_4

They printed all their batik basic colors onto fabric, which someone cut up, interspersing with gray to create this quilt (below):

Hoffman Tour_4a Hoffman Tour_5

I liked a lot of their Christmasy Momento line.

Hoffman Tour_5a

This hedgehog is from the Forest Friends line.  Very cute.

Hoffman Tour_6 chop

We watched a video on how they make their batiks, which all starts with a design being translated into a chop (above).  This is then dipped in wax, applied to the fabric, then overdyed.

Hoffman Tour_8

Sometimes the fabric is dyed first, then stamped, then they remove the dye, as in the case above.

Hoffman Tour_7

I went gaga for their new Me + You line of batiks–so modern looking.  Here’s another view:

Hoffman Tour_7a Hoffman Tour_9 stack

Our group saw a lot of samples; here they are stacked up at the end of the presentation.

Hoffman Tour_10 receiving

Then over to the receiving section, where all these bolts come wrapped in plastic.

Hoffman Tour_10 bagsOne woman said she’d like to sneak out one of these scrap bags, maybe by stuffing it into her bra.

Hoffman Tour_10 more bolts Hoffman Tour_10 new bolts

Wherever you look there is beautiful fabric.

Hoffman Tour_11

I laughed when I saw this: fabric draped over shelves, hiding the mess from the world, like just I’ve done more than once.

Hoffman Tour_12

Lisa and I were on the tour together.  Here we are walking from the loading dock area down to the front of the warehouse.

Hoffman Tour_13

Such beautiful prints!

Hoffman Tour_14

The company’s batik lines got their start by a couple of the sons who were surfers, and who wanted to proudly wear their surf fashion.  The surfboards decorate their offices now.

Hoffman Tour_15

We all could have watched this all day long, but it was time to go.

MCM Bee Block July2105

In other summer fun, I finished my block for my Mid-Century Modern bee-mate Susan, of Patchwork’n’Play.  She chose the Stepping Stone block.  All of the links to the tutorial, plus tips are on our group’s blog, The Mid-Century Modern Bee.

Nightgown Pattern

It was waaaaay past time for a new nightgown, as you can see by the vintage pattern above (the last time I made this was 18 years ago!).

Nightgown yoke

Instead of tucks, I like to add braid.  This is also a vintage braid from my stash, with embroidered edelweiss flowers — a reminder of Austria, where my husband and I went on our honeymoon many years ago.  We’re coming up on twenty-six years of wedded bliss next month.

28090027We had our reception after the honeymoon, at a friend’s home.  If we look tired, we are, as we arrived home the day before from Austria and are majorly jet-lagged.  I still think he is the most handsome man around.  And yes, I did make my wedding dress, although it is not at all like the fashion today–it was made of French laces with entredeaux and ribbons and insertions.  I still have it and love to look at it and think of the girl who made it, so many years ago.

Rosette 3 someone elseAnd then I had another quilty issue that had stumped me for a while: why didn’t I like rosette #3 of the New Hexagon Millefiore Quiltalong? The above photo is someone else’s beautiful rendition, but somehow it just didn’t “work” for me.  I couldn’t figure it out.

Rosette #3I went online and looked at lots and lots of other Rosettes on our Facebook group, and still just didn’t like it.  Then I found this photo:

ImageThese were made by the woman who makes samples for Katja’s shop in Canada, and look what she did with hers (on the right, above).  She simplified those outer blocks.  Bingo.

Rosette 3_1

So in the papers for Rosette #2, I found the shapes, and used them and loved what I saw.  Here’s the first version, above.

Rosette 3_2

Second version, with darker “middles.”  And below, in all its cluttered glory, is the design wall with the full shape.  I’m still not too sure about those far right-hand hexagons, but I’m withholding my judgement on those until I see how they fit with the rosette next to it. . . which is still a long way off.

Rosette 3_3I’ll work on getting these stitched together over the next few weeks.  Katja will be releasing Rosette # 8 in about a week.  That means that, wow, I’m only five behind!

4-in-art_3

Our Four-in-Art Challenge Reveal is coming up also in a week, and I’m not at all behind on this one.  I also have another tutorial for Circles Block #14 coming up as well.  So even though summer is a relaxing time, the quilting calls my name and brings an order to my life and to my days.  I feel fortunate to have some “summer” time with cloth and thread and design and stitching–hope you feel the same!

Mini House Quilt Finished!

Mini House_frontlabeledMy mini houses quilt is finished!  I know you’ve heard that line before, but let me go back in time to a galaxy far far away, to this:

Fail Mini House

Mini House Fail.  Yep.  That center certainly is puckery, demonstrating clear signs of the Training Bra Effect.

Something, somehow was just not right.  So back to the QuiltPro software I went, redesigning seams and adjusting tweaking.  Yes, I was a veritable Gepetto in my digital workshop, firm in my resolve to keep to the original Rolling Star Block with its Lemoyne Star (or 8-pointed star) center, as I liked the way it interacted with the “bushes” in my little village.

Sewing Skeleton

It feels like I’ve been sewing on this for ages. . .
(photo courtesy of The Quilt Loft, a local fabric shop)

Mini House Redo

But, armed with new templates, I persevered.

As you know, I cut six different combos for the center before I was finally happy.  If the center fabric was too busy. . . fail.  If the center was too washed out. . . fail.  The yellow and the pink below are really strong colors, but the visual texture is “flat.”

Mini House Redo_2

Everything seamed and pressed.  It’s really sort of a giant 9-patch quilt.

Mini House Redo_3

To quilt a small  quilt, I use straight pins to baste, sinking the point into the batting.  First stabilize the quilt by sewing the strong verticals and horizontals (think: nine-patch), then sew around the rest of the straight line pieces, using a walking foot and fine thread.  (I use Bottom Line by Superior Threads for this work as the thread is nice and fine and disappears.)

Mini House_front detail

I stitched in clapboard on the houses, horizontal on the flatter houses and vertical on the squares, but broke out into curvilinear on the dotty houses.  I swirled in a bush, did a curvilinear on the front porches and the yellow points of the Lemoyne Star, then outlined and stitched in the sky in a random fluffy cloud effect.  A strong binding finished it off.

EmmaOttoRussellJames

Here’s the book I was listening to while working.  While I usually never recommend a book until I finish it, so far this has been a lovely and quirky, a perfect summer read.

Mini House_back

I had some great little house fabric for the back.  This is for the Home Sweet Home Mini Swap and it’s okay to post photos of the quilt.  The surprises come in not revealing what extras you tuck into the box for your partner.

Mini House_back detail

I cut giant 6″ squares, folded them in half diagonally, then attached them in to the corners for easy hanging with a dowel cut to size.

Mini House_frontlabeledThis is quilt # 147 on my 200 Quilts List and is 18″ square. I haven’t shown you the label or the name as I’m keeping that a surprise, too.  I’ll update the post later, after I mail it off in early September.

UPDATE:

Houses Label

The name for my quilt is above, titled in the anxious week before my surgery.  I still feel this way about my home!

Tiny Nine-Patch

Note: For an excellent video with tips for the traditional construction of the Lemoyne Star, head *here.*

Matrix and Offset Pattern Giveaway

Matrix

Sometime back I wrote about the Mid-Century Modern Bee and all the talented quilters there.  I also mentioned my friend Anne of SpringLeaf studios and how she is a pattern designer and maker.  This week she is having a giveaway of two of her patterns, and I thought you’d want to know.

Deister Mtrix2 blog

The first one is Matrix, a beautiful quilt using bold and bright colors as well as soft-toned grays.  It’s fun to make and easy too.  Head to Anne’s blog to leave a comment and enter her giveaway for this pattern and where you can see other versions of this quilt (she is very thorough).  Hurry! for the giveaway for a downloadable PDF version closes soon. You can also buy this in her Craftsy shop if you want (info is on her blog).

Deister tumbler bedroomThe other quilt pattern she is releasing is Offset.  Our group test-drove block patterns for her in the early stages of development, so it’s fun to see both of these patterns.  Head over to her Offset Giveaway to leave a comment and enter your name to win one of her patterns.

OffsetI’ve sewn Anne’s patterns before and she is a ‘cut above’ in the pattern designing market.  She writes clearly and makes her illustrations easy to follow with clear directions.  I also like the “extras” she puts in her patterns, and it was from her pattern Facets that I finally perfected the miter when I end my binding.  Again, you need to hurry! to get in on the giveaway–head over to SpringLeaf Studios and have a look around!

Good Heart Quilters Quilt Retreat 2015

QuiltRetreat_2015_2

The Good Heart Quilters had their 4th annual quilt retreat at Lisa’s home this summer.  She is the smiling blonde marathoner in the lower right (I am in the yellow T-shirt).  Some of our group isn’t here, and we also had a couple of newbies join us this year.  We meet at Lisa’s home Friday morning, eat lunch together (Lisa gets it all beforehand) and this year, we went out for dinner, then sew into the night. Saturday the group meets up again (we always lose a few on Saturday) and goes again until they can’t anymore.

QuiltRetreat_2015_1

From this industry. . .

Quilters working on Quilts

. . . came these results.

EPP Laurel

We had some handwork going.  Laurel shows her Rosette #1 of the New Hexie Millefiore Quilt along, and the start of her third rosette is the inset.

House Block CentesrLisa was more than patient with me as I auditioned centers for this house block for her to comment on.  At 16″ it is to be a mini quilt for a swap I’m in.  While the easy way would be to use the popular Swoon pattern, I went back to Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Quilt Patterns and went to the source: a block titled Rolling Star from 1932. This brilliant little house idea came from Blue Mountain Daisy.

LemoyneSawtooth Star

(from here)

After setting in umpteen Y-seams and a billion more V-seams, I finished the mini quilt top.  I think using the Swoon Block method of half-square triangles would have been easier, but the center of the original Rolling Stone block is also a Lemoyne Star, rather than the a Sawtooth Star block, so inset seams it is (although I suppose I could subdivide them like the lower block on the right).  I like to try this original Rolling Star block again, now that I’ve got one under my belt.  We’ll see which one ends up going to my partner!

See you all next year!