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.
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.
Fabric selection is getting easier because I am more practiced? Or maybe that the fabrics I like are on the top of my stack?
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.
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.
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.
I like this! This is always the jumping-off place. If I like it here, I’ll proceed.
I bag the pieces up with a printout of the block (below) to help me with color and placement.
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.
It 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.
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.
Then you’ll have two half-circles, which should look like they fit. Keep going.
Now . . . finish sewing it together.
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.
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.
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.
Beauty Shot, showing how pretty all those little seams look.
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.
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)
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.
Pin 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!
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.