Back to My Average Life After 10 Days on the Road

Road2CA acceptance2016

Road?  Did someone say Road?  I found this in my mailbox this morning, and after jumping around my room and being a goofball for a while, the happiness over this news of my acceptance into Road to California 2016 has settled into a happy smile on my face.  Not to mention the realization that lightning has struck me, twice, with this acceptance–both last year and this year.

Vegas Night

My husband and I left for Las Vegas last week for a scientific conference of his, but we decided to stay a couple of night on the famed Vegas Strip.  I liked the Bellagio Fountains, and certainly you can enjoy the wild and crazy neon/light/building attractions, but generally, overall, I’ll probably never go back.  But it was good to do it once, I guess.

Vegas Art

This is what I did like (from left to right): 1) a James Turrell installation in the back of the Aria, near the elevators (see below), Claes Oldenberg’s famous sculpture Typewriter Eraser, and the Dale Chihuly installation in the ceiling of the Bellagio of blown glass flowers.
Turrell installment

Here’s a long view of the Turrell.  The white tube casts different colors (which you can see above), filling the room with light.  I love Turrell’s installations, given that I am completely enamored of color in quilting, too.
Barbara and Children 2105

Our daughter and her three children joined us on our last day, and yes, we ate lunch at Shake Shack (we stayed in the New York, New York hotel, and I thought posing them in front of the fake Brooklyn Bridge was appropriate).SLC Temple

Then I flew up to Salt Lake City, where I saw one of my favorite buildings, and we celebrated my father’s 90th birthday, shown below with my brother Scott.  Dad's Birthday

But I couldn’t leave Utah without hitting at least two shops: Elaine’s Quilt Block (a favorite) and a new one to me: Pine Needles, which I fell in love with.  I’ll be back!Quilt Shops

Wrong Rosette #5And now I need to buckle down with the quilting, the figuring out where to put the stuff I bought from the quilt shops, to remake the center of my latest hexie Rosette #5, because even though I probably got the memo that the pieces were too big and I should figure out the right ones. . . I didn’t.  So now it’s un-sew and re-cut and re-sew. But why do anything average?1Bently Enemy of Average

Chuck Nohara Quilt Blocks


I have a new girlfriend and her name is Chuck Nohara.  Like all of my girlfriends, she is charming, sweet with a bite of spice, witty and oh! so clever.  This is her book, purchased from QuiltMania.  She’s also worth her weight in euros — er, dollars — so get ready for that part, too.  If you live near a quilt show that’s coming up, sometimes QuiltMania comes to quilt shows and you can escape the horrific international shipping costs.  I admit only to the fact that I was in recovery from surgery when I was shopping and perhaps the drug-induced haze had something to do with it, but now I’m having fun.

I was suckered drawn into this by the adorably cute photos of her work on the #chucknoharaqal on Instagram, and as soon as I saw some of these blocks, I was hooked.ChuckNohara3

The hashtag sashing is also very cute.  I may or may not do this.  Depends on my current state of mind.ChuckNohara2

You can make over thousands of these blocks, hence the title “2001,” which does not refer to the year, but instead to the number of block drawings inside.  There have been other Chuck Nohara books, and they are scarcer than hen’s teeth.  QuiltMania republished her work (text is both in French and English) and so now we can get her designs.  Because of course you want a new girlfriend, too.ChuckNohara6 ChuckNohara5 CN606 prep

This is the one that drew me in.  I’m prepping up some of the blocks just to try them out.  Susan of PatchworknPlay and I are going to join the quilt-a-long and do some of the blocks, too. If you jump in with us, head to Instagram and post up your blocks there.CN969 prep1

I started by scanning the page I wanted, full-size.  I then cut out my block, placed it on the copier bed and enlarged it until it measured 6″ on a side.  For the birdhouse, I needed to enlarge it by 283%.  But the cherries needed 301%.  I have no idea why.  Those mysteries are way beyond my pay grade.CN969_prep3 CN969 prep2

A perfect little project to tote along to doctor appointments, on car trips, and on a journey to my father’s 90th birthday celebration.

Flying Through a Rainbow Mini Quilt

Flying Through a Rainbow_frontlabeled

Flying Through a Rainbow
Quilt #152

You’ve seen this one before, but I wanted to give you the directions on how I put it together.    Flying Through a RainbowI made this for the Schnitzel and Boo Mini Quilt Swap, the final small quilt of my four mini swaps.  I know that people traditionally go over the top for this swap, but when I glimpsed into my partner’s life, I realized that she did a variety of activities and wanted to honor that by using the Flying Geese block going in multiple directions, but with a twist: I used two half-square triangles to make the block so I could work in a bunch of neutral light fabrics behind, including a fun fabric that was a bowling score sheet (one of her hobbies–she doesn’t read my blog, so I’m safe to tell).

Flying Through a Rainbow_blue Flying Through a Rainbow_green Flying Through a Rainbow_orange Flying Through a Rainbow_purple

I cut a 4″ block from sixteen different solids (then sliced it in half diagonally), choosing four gradated hues from four different color families: violets, blues, greens and yellows.  I then cut a 4″ block from ten different low-volume background fabrics and sliced those on the diagonal so I could mix and match the backgrounds.  Yes I had some triangles left over on the backgrounds, but I wanted a variety.

I cut four 3 1/2″ center squares, then laid out all the cut pieces so I could see the play of backgrounds to the colors.  After I was able to get an arrangement I liked, I stitched the two half-triangles together, pressing the seam allowance to the darker side.  I trued them up to measure 3 1/2″ blocks, using the nifty BlocLoc ruler I bought at QuiltCon.  It’s worth every penny, believe me.

Then I sewed each color family together as if it were a nine-patch, then trued up those four blocks.  Last step is to sew the four blocks together.

Flying Through a Rainbow_quiltingA

I am always stumped by “how to quilt this thing.”  I decided to keep playing around with the triangle theme: I traced smaller triangles in each larger one, and echo-quilted those.  In each color group the triangles are placed in different places, providing a different, yet harmonious quilting design.  The background was quilted in the wavy line stitch from my sewing machine.  I had to dodge around the triangles a lot, switching back and forth between the wavy stitch and a straight stitch.  That’s one more reason I’m glad it’s a mini: they are easy to maneuver on the machine.

So that’s the season for my mini quilt experience.  It was a good experience and I had fun coming up with ideas.

Rolling Rainbow Star_labeled

Rolling Rainbow Star
Quilt #150

I did finally finish the pattern to Rolling Rainbow Star (above) and it’s now in my Craftsy Shop (or PayHip, if you are from a VAT country), if you want to make a great little 16″ quilt.

I do have one more mini that I didn’t swap.  More on that in the next post.

And That Has Made All the Difference: a Four-in-Art Quilt

Made All the Difference_full

And That Has Made All the Difference
Quilt No. 151, November 2015
#4 in the Literature Series

I close out the Literature Series with another poem, a famous poem, by Robert Frost.  You can even guess what it is by looking at the colors, and those leaves — yes, I chose “The Road Not Taken.”


I chose a family group picture from the last time we were all together, almost 2 years ago this December, and cut-and-pasted it into a photo I grabbed from the web of a golden allee (which I think must be in New York’s Central Park).  I tweaked it, then printed it on some fabric I’d prepared with Bubble Jet (more info about that on *this* post).


I let it dry from the printing, then set it with Bubble Jet Set, laid it out to catch the excess moisture (below), then hung it to dry.


It needed more leaves.  So I cut out scads and scads of leaves from fabric that I’d backed with fusible webbing, and ironed them on.  I framed the photo with a partial log cabin arrangement, then quilted it.

Made All the Difference_1

In conjunction with the making of this quilt, I read the book by David Orr, The Road Not Taken, which is an analysis of this poem, which apparently most of us get wrong (sorry to be the one to break this to you).  We think it’s about rugged individualism, of the choices that we make and how we come out on top.  That idea, apparently, is routed firmly in our American way of looking at things, which is to say, that as a country, America comes out on the top in scales ranking us as the most individualistic  (only the Czech Republic was tied with us.)  And it’s certainly part of the part and parcel of this poem, when we talk about it and think about ourselves as that individual (notice how there are no other people in this poem) striding through a dappled forest, making astute and informed choices.  But really, it’s about so many things.

While there are many threads in this book, I was quite intrigued with the idea of being at the crossroads.  And in introducing that idea, Orr wonders if it’s not about the final victorious moment, but rather it is about”[t]he moment at the crossroads”. . . “in which all decisions are equally likely. We haven’t moved, we haven’t chosen, we haven’t sinned” (51).  Orr quotes the introductory note on Frost in the second edition of The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry:” ‘The Road Not Taken’ seems to be about the difficulty of decision making but is itself strangely reluctant to resolve. It keeps us in the woods, at the crossroads, unsure whether the speaker is actually even making a choice, and then ends not with the decision itself but with a claim about the future that seems unreliable’ ” (70).

MadeDifference_backEven Frost himself, in a note to Leonidas Payne in November of 1927, writes: “My poems—I should suppose everybody’s poems—are all set to trip the reader head foremost into the boundless. Ever since infancy I have had the habit of leaving my blocks carts chairs and such like ordinaries where people would be pretty sure to fall forward over them in the dark. Forward, you understand, and in the dark” (53).

Forward and in the dark is about how I feel about many decisions I make, but the quality of individualism whispers in my ear at all times: I am the one who can see clearly to choose, as if the “I” was unchanging, solid, rooted in bedrock.  Yet doesn’t the choosing change us?  And then doesn’t every choice become monumental?  Orr agrees, saying that “If we can’t persist unchanged through any one choice, then every choice becomes a matter of existential significance—after all, we aren’t merely deciding to go left or right; we’re transforming our very selves” (60-61), which is one aspect of what the poem is about: choice is slippery and transformative, yet a constant in our lives.

Made All the Difference_2

However you think about it, I did make a significant choices some twenty-six years ago to marry my husband, to join with him in raising the four children I brought with me out of a period of loss and devastation, and in doing so I not only changed my life, but the lives of the children.

And that has made all the difference.MadeDifference_back


“The Road Not Taken,” by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.



Here they are together.  Somehow I need to stitch them together and meld them together into one quilt.

Tiny Nine-Patch

About Us: We live all over the world, from Scotland and Australia to the continental United States.  Our blog is *here.*  Please visit the other members of our Four-in-Art Group and see their Literature Art Quilts:

Betty at a Flickr site:
Catherine  at Knotted Cotton (delayed by house flood; will post later)
Nancy at  Patchwork Breeze
Susan at PatchworknPlay
Tiny Nine-Patch
Next reveal date is February 1st, 2016.  We have had a series of emails amongst ourselves, clarifying where we want to go in the next year, and found again our desire to keep working together.  Rachel is now the head of our group, and we will have a new theme and quarterly challenges.  Stay tuned.

Another Mini and a few more things. . .

Simply Mini Swap_Jana

This very cute quilt arrived yesterday from Jana, my (secret) Simply Mini Quilt Swap partner.  Boy, was I bowled over–I love it!  I had to take it outside to my back fence photo studio today to get a good shot of it and I love the pinwheels and the colors and that perfect binding. Thank you so much, Jana!

Traveling Threads Marci w my blocks

This too-light, too-washed-out, picture doesn’t do the blocks from the Traveling Threads Bee justice.  They are a collection for Marci, who is making a sampler quilt.  As always, I tried to look at the quilt to see what it needs, not like I’m some quilt-whisperer or something, but just every once in a while, it can just pop into your mind.


And since she specified she wanted a sampler quilt, I decided it needed some curves, as in a basket block and a Dresden plate block.  I cleared the Dresden with her, and just threw in the basket with that curvy handle.  I set it on some of Marci’s favorite fabric: the clothespins.  I think I only have one more to go until I’ve finished making for my bee-mates.  The regular delivery of these treasures seems to have bunched up somewhere; hopefully it will arrive before Christmas!Merit Badge SewingSome more sewing. . .I had fun sewing on the various badges and rank achievements for four Scouts: my eldest son and his three boys.  It was like deja vu to an earlier time.
Pattern_NYT_2015I clipped this out of the New York Times style magazine this past Sunday, as I loved all the texture shown, both in architecture/design and in fashion.  We who are doing the Millefiore quilts are right on trend!  Which reminds me that I need to get back to that. . .


. . . right after I finish up my Four-in-Art quilt, which is posting this coming Sunday, November 1st.  This is the last post of our literature theme, and I look forward to seeing all the creations of those in my group.

from here

I did finish up my Quilt Abecedary project: a way to teach myself how to make quilt letters, in preparation for the 2016 Spelling Bee, a group who will make quilty words for each other.  I hope I’ll improve in my lowercase k skills in the future.  That one was tricky.

fall 2015 garden

We think we are finally turning the corner on summer and finding our way to fall, which means get our fall garden planted: spinach, cabbage, lettuce (2 kinds), a Glacier tomato plant (trying it for the first time), oregano, chard, cauliflower and broccoli.  Some of these are new to me; we’ll see what survives.

Bunnyhenge circle bunnyhenge

Another sign of fall is the scheduling of my Fall Frolic trip to Orange County with my former colleague/now friend, Judy.  We hit the usual: Roger’s Gardens, ‘lette Macaron Shop, Wafu’s Sushi, South Coast Plaza, Din Tai Fung Dumpling House, Crystal Court, and IKEA.  This year we found something new and whimsical: a pocket park of sculpture next to the Newport Beach Civic Center and Fashion Island Mall, from where these bunnies — almost waist-high — were photographed.  They’ve been nicknamed Bunnyhenge by the locals.  I loved them.

Lastly, I have actually filled in some plans on my calendaring book.  This is revolutionary.  I often would rather write down what I did, then cross it off, than make plans that will never be achieved.  You can call me a goal-setting wimp.

halloween 2015

Happy Halloween!

Oktoberfest’s Blocks and Quilts and Plans

IMG_5162.JPGWhile I really love the festive cookies sold during Germany’s Oktoberfest, it’s the giant pretzels I really miss.

IMG_6234.JPGIMG_5545.JPG And who can forget the cute dirndls, wore by the most traditional Bavarian women? (I have three, all made by hand with fabric lugged home from Munich.)  But in honor of those weeks of partying they do in the Bavarian Alps, I’ve been partying here in my sewing room, finally gaining enough stamina to put in nearly a full day’s/several days’ worth of work.  In other words, it’s catch-up time.


A package of blocks from our Traveling Threads Bee finally caught up to me (we’ve had some delays) and I placed Amber’s blocks (she blogs at One Shabby Chick) all over my design wall to admire the handiwork of my beemates.  So often when I get a batch of blocks, I recognize that there is a different goal for those of us at the end of the bee.  Those at the beginning work on creating blocks and filling up the holes.  But if you are towards the end of the trading circle, a good look at the quilt is necessary, asking: what does this quilt need?  In this case, it needs some negative space, the hint given by that lone six-pointed appliqué star there on the turquoise background.

Starshine rays

The theme of this quilt is “I love you more than all the stars,” with the request to make pink stars on a range of blue backgrounds.  Amber also included this really cool lame cotton, which of course I couldn’t wait to use.  I kept singing the lyrics to Good Morning, Starshine in my head, and realized that’s where I needed to go.  So above, are three starshine blocks.Starshine on AmbersQuilt

I tucked them in around the edges of the quilt, pronounced it done, packed it up and mailed it off to the next partner in our bee.Detail Halloween Quilt 2015-2 Detail Halloween Quilt 2015

After two years of saving a few Halloween-themed Polaroid blocks, I pulled them out and put them into a random bordered square arrangement.  While I should be working on Halloween in March, or even April, I never feel like working on Halloween then.  Halloween Quilt 2015 Quilts for the Quilter

This, along with my basket quilt and another quilt Lisa and I finished for a friend, are now at the quilter’s.  Yes, I’ll enjoy my Halloween quilt NEXT Halloween.

Fabric for Halloween quilt

Except that there may be another quilt joining that one: this is our stack of fabrics from Primitive Gatherings quilt shop (and there are a few more from Temecula Quilt Company) that Leisa and I put together, so we can make this:

Halloween Quilt 1904

from the ever-talented Thelma, at Cupcakes ‘n Daisies

However I promised her we wouldn’t start on it until after the holidays, so the fabrics are stashed away until January.Alphabet to S

And I’ve made it up to T/t on my Quilt Abecedary project (T/t were too shy to pose for a photo).  Only a few more, then I’ll need to start really honing in on the theme of my quilt and what I want my Spelling Bee-mates to make for my quilt.  I’m first up in January, so I’d better get cooking.

And then after that finishes next year, I’m game to do another traveling bee.  And then after that. . .

It’s nice to be looking far forward once again, rather than just hoping I can make it through a day at a time.  I used to do quarterly goals for several online finishing collaborations, but have fallen out of the habit of looking ahead, bogged down as I was in this summer’s detritus of the here and now.  I still don’t fill up my schedule book too far ahead, not knowing if my stamina will hold out.

And does it really help to focus on your goals?  We’ll never quell that controversy, but according the article, How Goals and Good Intentions Can Hold Us Back on the 99u blog, focusing exclusively on your goals may “spoil your experience of the activities you’ll need to pursue.”  Even the first article linked above notes that “relentless fantasizing may actually reduce one’s odds of achieving goals.”  But, rather, “adopting the mind-set that your strengths and abilities are not fixed, but can improve over time and with effort, can have self-fulfilling results” (99u — always a good site for reading about this sort of thing).

For this reason, I’ve found often that reviewing my achievements often provides motivation to go forward, a sort of “I finished that one, now I can finish this” one sort of process.  Or I can say to myself, “I like the feeling of having completed this,” and enjoy the feeling like when I walked out of the post office yesterday, having mailed off a bee-mate’s package of blocks.

To close, here’s one two more thoughts:

make a plan

from here

but don’t forget to. . .Happy Things

I plan to quilt.

What Was Old is New Again

Venice Floor Gone Bad_large

After a trip to Venice one year, I got the bright idea to re-create the magnificent floor in the cathedral, but with subterfuge.  Some of the sections would bleed into the others, and others into others, and all of a sudden it got very complicated very fast.  Either this is a really good example of Deconstructionist quilt style, or it’s a Venice Cathedral Floor Gone Bad.



I’d also taken a class from Hollis Chatelain at Road to California, and had come under the spell of her close, narrow quilting.  Now it’s called matchstick quilting, but then, we didn’t give catchy names to rows and rows of thread, narrowly spaced. The back:


I used to hate it, but I must admit, given the hundreds of quilts that are now using Hollis’ matchstick quilting, the quilt is growing on me.  The reason why I’m revisiting this quilt’s new-again-technique, is to also look at this one, too:


Every Common Bush Afire, No. 31

A sampler quilt, made when I trekked up several weeks in a row to take classes from Carolyn (of Road to California fame) it hangs every fall in our upstairs hallway, reminding me of fall colors in cooler climates.  I love looking at it, and love the colors.

IMG_7325.JPG IMG_7327.JPG

But this is why it’s being revisited: the large maple leaf on the back.  I made this in the year 2000, but now you see fancy pieced quilt backs everywhere.  I still am of two minds about pieced backs, as getting it on straight seems to be a challenge, as well as dealing with the many seams.  Obviously pieced backs have evolved and it’s more like pieced strips-on-a-back with bits of extra blocks rolled in.  But it’s fun to realize that at the time, I’d given something new a try.



The label is underneath three overlapping leaves; the quilt shows this has been in are below on little labels from those shows, which lately I haven’t seen given out.  I should still make my own labels, if only to properly identify the quilt’s provenance. Last blast to the past:


Nihondaira, No. 53 (2003)


I’m revisiting this one for the hand-quilting coupled with the machine quilting.  This one is specific, using sashiko thread, a thicker embroidery thread from Japan.  I began this in a class taught by Roberta Horton, a true master of quilting.


She talked about not fretting if you didn’t have enough of the specialized yakuta fabric, but instead to be creative, finishing the shape with the hand-stitching.  So I did.


Another pieced back, using a gradated fabric (aren’t you seeing those again?)


Yeah, I realize I sound like a quilt geezer.  But this might explain why I don’t get all in a froth when I see these techniques *burst* out into our quilt world as the newest! greatest! most amazing! thing.  I had a conversation with Debbie of A Quilter’s Table not too long ago, and we discussed how some of these people–like Hollis, or Roberta Horton, or even Nancy Crow–seem to have faded into the background of our quilty life.  I love the new and the novel as much as anyone, but I also recognize my debt to these amazing women, who were innovating, even before social media’s sticky grasp.  Do we exist if we are not on Instagram?  Or Facebook?  Or run a blog?  Do techniques from a decade or so ago remain hidden, except when those of us who have done them, bring them out into the light of the internet?

You know the answer.

Quilt Abecedary

QA Signature

Starting in January, I will be participating in a one-year term group where we will make words for each other, with the end goal to make a quilt of letters and phrases and words.  Since gathering the group together, though, I realized that although I loved quilty words, I hadn’t the faintest idea about making them.

I bought two books (one recently and one a few whiles back) and read them both cover to cover.  Then I decided I wanted to have the best of both worlds: the fun wonkiness of Tonya Ricucci’s Word Play Quilts and the shapes and precision of Sam Hunter’s Quilt Talk.  I bought the Kindle version of Quilt Talk, which included a digital printout of the letters, but I just couldn’t face doing foundation paper piecing for an entire alphabet, so instead I printed out the pages with her drawings of the letters’ shapes and used that as a guideline.Quilt Abecedary titleAll of this is to say that I started a new blog: Quilt Abecedary.

I, like many of you, are fascinated by font and words and graphic design.  I always say in another life, I would have gotten a graphic design degree, but alas, that life is in the past.  So maybe this is a way for me to have fun with type and typography in a quilty way.

What is an abecedary?  Or an abecedarian?  I wrote about it on my introductory post, but both are known as types of ABC primers, or a record of the alphabet in some fashion.  More info about an early stone abecedary can be found on the post for the Letter B.

I have included a tab above, Quilt Abecedary, where I will link over to individual letters as I get them made.  My goal is to do one a day in the month of October and with tomorrow’s posting, I’ll have finished from A to E.

It’s not really meant to have followers, as it will be a completed reference work, with a finite finish date and serves as a documented journey of my working my way through the alphabet.  If you are going to try your hand at making quilt words, you may want to check it out.  I also have a Pinterest Board dedicated to word quilts, just to inspire you.

My apologies to those of you who received my unfinished post, Rolling Rainbow.  Sometimes things just get the better of me.

tiny nine patchesSometimes my blog software places ads here so I can blog for free.  I do not control the content of these.

Circles Block #16-EPP Sew-A-Long

Circles EPP Button

Circles 16_OPQuilt_markedRadiating Compass Rose
Final Block of Shine: The Circles Quilt

This is the Sixteenth and Final Block for my Shine: The Circles Quilt.  It’s kind of a bittersweet moment, as I spent more than a year designing and sewing these blocks, and have sent them out into the world with a wish and a hope that others may enjoy them, too.  And I hope you have!

As I did for the fifteenth circle block, I based my design on the fancy compass/North designator of old maps, throwing my ideas into EQ7, and having fun.  There are elements of other blocks in this one, with the undulating narrow blades and the small points.

EQ7 Circle 16

For this final block, I liked that this design had echoes of Circles Block Four, and that you can see a dimensionality to it.  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] and the tutorials for each block can be found on this blog (an index in is the tab above).  The finishing instructions pattern for Shine: The Circles Quilt is also listed on Craftsy and Payhip.

Printing Circle 16

Set your printer to scale at 100% and print out four copies.  Count your pieces (I have too many outer points and outer arcs by accident–you only need sixteen, not thirty-two), and gather your fabrics (below) and jump in.

Circle 16_1A circle leftover from another center circle for another block.  It worked great here!

Circle 16_2

To get the blades going the same way as shown in the illustration, lay the printed side DOWN.  I include lots of tips and tricks for these circles in each pattern, so if you found this one first, head to the tab up above marked Shine: The Circles Quilt EPP to find the others.   Circle 16_3 Circle 16_4The outer points have no direction, so you can place them printing up. . . or down.

Circle 16_5 Circle 16_6All the pieces are glued down to the papers.

Circle 16_6aI print out a smaller version of the illustrated circle and carry it around with my pieces as I’m working on the project.

Circle 16_7 oopsPay attention to which way you sew on that first blade wedge.  This is an OOPS! on the right.  Un-sew and do it again.

Circle 16_7a

First round all sewn.

Circle 16_8

Second round all sewn.

Circle 16_9

Join the blades of the rays together.  Because I have such strong color shifts in these pieces, I opted to use different colored threads in each section. Here I’m sewing the teal pieces together, then I’ll switch to other thread and join the next band. . . and the next.

Circle 16_10

Start joining the units into pairs.

Circle 16_11

I just thought this was a fun photo of the project tucked into my Sew Together Bag.  There’s a free mini version tutorial of this on my blog, but you do have to have the original pattern to figure it out.

Circle 16_12

Okay, back to the sewing.  To place the points on accurately, pinch to find the center of the curved edge.

Circle 16_12a

Align that as shown. I use one pin to keep it in place, but start sewing from the point’s outer corner, as shown in the next photo.

Circle 16_12b Circle 16_12c

Repeat the pinch-to-find-center action and sew that on.  I always take a stitch at the point corners to join them to each other.

Circle 16_13

Here’s how they look when finished.  Keep going until you’ve gotten the points on all your ray-pairs.

Circle 16_13a Circle 16_14

Join a ray pair together.

Circle 16_14a

Then stitch down the flopping-loose yellow point. Repeat with the other two pairs.

Circle 16_15

Now you are getting somewhere!  This looks great, doesn’t it?  Don’t sew the two half-circle parts together.  Keep going.

Circle 16_16

Time to add in the dark blue outer arcs in between the points. Again, I take one stitch at the outer points to join the arcs together too.

Circle 16_17

This is what you have so far.

Circle 16_18

Join the two units, sew down the yellow points, then fill in with the arcs.

Circle 16_19

Nice work!  Here it is from the back with all the papers still in.

Circle 16_19a

Remove all but the outer arc papers.  You’ll need those to appliqué the circle onto the background.

Circle 16_20

Don’t put it on the background just yet.  First appliqué the center circle, as in Circle Block #1.

Circle 16_21

Lay your center circle over the center hole, measuring to get it on evenly, then appliqué with tiny stitches (above).

Circle 16_21a

I trim out the excess.

Circle 16_21b

And then trim more excess–this time the appliqué center, leaving about 1/4″ seam allowance.

Circle 16_22

Cut a background square 14 1/2″, and as in the other circles, decide the placement of your circle and pin it down.  When you come to a place with the seam allowances. . .

Circle 16_22a

. . . first fold in one side. . .

Circle 16_22b

. . . then the other, and keep stitching it to the background.

Circle 16_trimming away background

When finished, cut away the background.

Circle 16_trimming sa

I also trim off some of the more wild ends of seam allowances, as you don’t need all that bulk.

Circles 16_OPQuilt_markedAnd you are done with all your circles!!  Congratulations!!

Shine_Quilt Top Final800

Now you can finish your quilt.  I wrote the finishing instructions in a pattern and put it up on Craftsy and PayHip (for EU readers) so you can finish yours too.  I am in the middle of quilting this, and will put it up on the blog when I’m finished.

I hope you have enjoyed this series.  It all started when I wanted something to sew by hand at night to relax, but was tired of all the straight edges of hexagons and such.  Just after I started, we visited an ornately painted church in Slovenia, which inspired many of the circle blocks.  If you are sewing them, please send me a note by way of comment, or share a photo with me by way of email.  I can’t wait to see your creations!

Rosette #4–New Hexagon Millefiori Hot Mess Patchwork Quiltalong

Rosette #4_1

This is where I got stalled on Rosette #4 for The New Hexagon Millefiore Quilt, or as I call it, The Hot Mess.  It may not turn out to be that, but we’ll see.  I had rotated six of the blocks and it left chunky dark hard edges.  Hmmmm, I told myself.  Hmmmm.

Rosette #4_2I tried out the outer rosettes one night on the kitchen table.  Shaking of head.

Rosette #4_3 Rosette #4_4

The solution was to subdivide the offending piece.  The clunky outer bits are transformed, making what had looked like a snarling traffic circle into a lovely ring of batik-y writing.

Rosette #4_5a

Here’s the magic piece.

Rosette #4_5Rosette #4The finished rosette.  This is number four, and the tenth month of the year starts in a couple of days, so that makes me only. . . eight months behind.  This one was hard, not only because I was doing a lot of it during my recovery, but also because I got stuck at the traffic circle dilemma, and it took me a while to find a solution.  But I feel pretty good about it now.