Thursday, October 4, 2012

Flying in Circles

Don't you love these colors? This quilt hangs on a wall in my living room and makes me smile every time I see it.  This is the most recent circle quilt I've made but it's certainly not going to be the last one.  I've fallen in love with this block again.
When I posted the picture of the circles out of our challenge fabric, I had pulled out the templates I bought years ago at the Chicago version of the International Quilt Festival.  They are from Elisa's Back Porch and work like a charm.  There were several of us who bought the templates and packets of 20 FQ of batiks which makes a medium sized quilt.  One of us (logcabinquilting) stayed up until 2am to finish hers that night! One of the reason I love them is that you get a 8.5" block with just two pieces!  How cool and quick is that?
The purple quilt was my first circle quilt from those templates.  Unfortunately I didn't take any close ups when I made the quilt.  But there was sufficient fabric left over from the fat quarters to make a little wallhanging for a co-worker as a thanks for a kindness she provided. I have to say that making the larger circles is a lot more fun than the smaller ones!
This quilt was made for my niece when she graduated from college and got her first apartment.  I loved the colors and I called it "Tequila Sunrise".
I also decided to make one for my son's girlfriend after they had been dating a bit (now my daughter-in-law I'd like to say!).  This is when I decided my stash needed more black and white fabrics to go with the ant fabric I found in Virginia a year or so before.
This had been a "find" since she was working on her PhD and had been studying leaf cutter ants. I grabbed it when I saw it and hoped that there might be an occasion to put in a quilt.  So -- lots of collecting started and the end result was a large lap sized quilt.
And, because she is Canadian, I thought I'd make a special label.  That was not smart.  I made up a pattern of the maple leaf and cut it into pieces in order to paper piece it.  Never again.  This was hard.  I'm reasonably happy with result but some of the teeny-tiny pieces and points made me fidget way too much.  And -- for all our Canadian family and readers -- HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
I was lucky enough to have a few circles and fabric left over to make a Project Linus quilt that ended up being displayed in the Project Linus booth at the Chicago International Quilt Festival.  That was pretty cool!
Which brings us "full circle" to my last circle quilt -- Flying in Circles.  I got the plaid fabric in a swap at a small quilt group I attended in Chicago.  So, using it as a focus fabric I pulled golds, purples, blues, plums, etc.  The border is brick colored and a bit deeper than it shows up here and I used the last of the fabrics to make some flying geese for the border.
I'm looking forward to pulling randomly from the challenge fabrics and seeing how many blocks I can make.  I have no idea when I can get to it -- but they are cut and waiting for me and I can periodically pick up 2 fabrics, sew one seam, and have an 8" (finished) block.  Gotta love that.

I have one quality control trick that I use that ends up creating close to perfect circles and avoids the square not meeting the circle at the end.  I use one pin in these blocks.  I pin at the top to make sure I have the pieces square and lined up.  I then finger press each piece to get the center and cut the tiniest of notches in each (pins fall out somewhere in the process).  All I have to do is slowly sew the pieces (square wedge on top and slowly straightening it as I sew -- but not stretching it).  When I get to the notches and they are "close" I know I'm on track and I keep sewing.  If they are off too much, then I've probably stretched, didn't maintain a 1/4" seam, lost my focus or didn't have them square at the start.  So, I stop and rip.  It's easy enough to go on and maybe compensate for it and end up pretty close at the end.  But, I'd rather rip a few inches and try again.  If the same thing happens again, I've cut badly or notched badly and I rip again and take a deep breath!  I hate for the block to win.  At the end, a pair of tweezers is wonderful to keep the pieces moving through the machine and squared up since squaring at the end is just as important.  

I hope you have been flying in circles in only the best of ways!  Jan

21 comments:

Elaine M said...

After looking at your post I must get my template out. Very inspiring.

Susan@Organized31 said...

Absolutely love the black and white quilt you made your daughter-in-law. I'm a new quilter and am so inspired by your blog.

Terri said...

Love your batiky circles! You choose some yummy color combos, too.
Hugs

Maria Zioga said...

Lovely colours!

Sarah Craig said...

Those are all so pretty - and make me want to drag out my GO! Cutter drunkard's path template and cut up fabric! Whoop whoop!!

Linda Kilsdonk said...

Your quilts are gorgeous! If I had one of them hanging on my wall, I would smile every time I look at it also! Linda www.paperseedlings.com

Sara said...

Circles have become your passion I see and for good reason! You have wonderful knack for making them fabulous:)

Love the patterns in the fabric you chose for "girlfriend" quilt.

Highland Monkey's said...

What can I say....your quilts are stunning. I see I have a long way to catch up!!

* said...

I, too, love your circle quilts. I have only done small DP blocks but want to do the larger circles. However, I really hate cutting that inside circle part so keep putting it off.

Dar said...

Your circle quilts are wonderful. I really like the black and white one with a little pink/red. I've never made a circle quilt YET, but it's on my list of To DO.

Connie said...

Beautiful quilts and thanks for the tip on the middle notch. I have both sets of Elisa's templates and love them! Thanks for sharing.
Freemotion at the River Linky Party Tuesday

Bonnie said...

Thanks for the inspirational posting. It is wonderful to see lots of quilts of the same pattern. And thanks for the hint. Now, do I own these templates and if so where are they hiding?

Patricia said...

Neat circle quilts. I need to get mine quilted.

Nancy at maddalee™ said...

These circle quilts are very beautiful! Beautifully made, beautiful colors.
Thank you for sharing, Nancy

jjthor said...

I love your quilts! I have never tried the circle ones yet I will have to give it a go one of these days!!

Mary @ Sea Quilts said...

I actually love to sew curves ... don't ask me why! These quilts are fabulous, thanks for the peek ~ Mary

scg said...

great quilts, great use of colours, love them. now, where are my never opened templates?

Jill said...

Gorgeous, gorgeous quilts! Those circles are just amazing!

Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
Hope you have a fabulous week!
Jill @ Creating my way to Success
http://www.jembellish.blogspot.com/

Karen at Fireball said...

I love your colorful quilt, yes! I think my favorite is the black-and-white (with touch of red) that you made for your daughter-in-law. And the Project Linus quilt--it's so pretty. The black and white prints in this patters are mesmerizing.

tinkingalong said...

You have so convinced me that I need to make a circle quilt! They are lovely and it was great to see the variation of fabrics that you used in the different quilts.

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