EPP · Shine: The Circles Quilt

Circles Block #6–another view, EPP Sew-A-Long

Circles EPP Button

I told you in the last post that I’d made up another version of Circles #6, and today I’ll show you what I came up with.

Circles Block #6 duo

When I was sewing this up, I kept thinking what a great Christmas pillow it would make.

Christmas Star Pillow_front

So I made one!

EPP #6_auditioning fabrics

As usual, I audition fabrics to see what I like.  You can see which won.

EPP #6_1sewing together arcs

I lined up the Star Point with the lower inner arc and put a pin through the centers.

EPP #6_2sewing together arcs

It’s easier to stitch when you do it three-dimensionally.

EPP #6_3sewing together arcs

Cute little thing, isn’t it?

EPP #6_4sewing together arcs

EPP #6_ring to center

I made this  circle differently.  I think the method I showed you on the first post is much better, but here’s this one:  Stitch the inner ring pieces together, then stitch to the center circle.  There’s no need to ease; it should fit together neatly by taking a stitch or two at a time, then moving along.  Sew the final inner ring seam together.

EPP #6_stitching center to outer ring

Now stitch together the inner arc (red) and the small star point (blue) and add the left star points (more red, on either side of the blue).  After you’ve made six of those little units, start making the larger outer ring by attaching the large star points (white).  Like the first ring onto the center circle, it should “match” easily onto the sign.  You can see how I began here, by dropping the ring down and starting the stitching.  I did take time to figure out how I wanted the white star points to be aligned on the final block.

Circles Block #6 duo

See the two circles side-by-side, above, to see the different alignments.  The Christmas Star has a star point centered, pointing North, but the other circle has it differently.

Like I said, I think the other method is much easier.

EPP #6_center circle


EPP #6_back with papers

Ah, you know I love this view!

Circles Block Christmas Backgrounds

I had several backgrounds to choose from, but my granddaughter Emilee helped me choose the white one with the stars.

Christmas Star Pillow_front1

Papers out, and here we go a-quilting!

Christmas Star Pillow Back_quilting

One thing I learned from Sandra Eichner’s blog is how to let the batting poof up under a design element by stitching towards it.  First I did the red pieces in between the star points in a meander, trying to quilt toward the star points large and small.  Then I went for the outer margins, having fun and letting the machine roll.  Black thread and a tiny stipple for the inner ring, dodging the berries, and then outline the angel in the center in order to control the fullness of the batting.  Lastly, I outlined everything, using my even-feed straight-stitch foot.

Christmas Star Pillow_detail front

Christmas Star Pillow_front

Yay!  A new piece of Christmas fun.  Hope you’ve enjoyed seeing both of these Circle Blocks.  I’m taking a break during December and will be back in January for the last six circles in this project.  Yes, I’ve decided I’m stopping after twelve EPP circles.  That ought to give you enough to play with!  If you are making these blocks, please shoot me a photo, and I’ll post it up on the blog.

EPP · Shine: The Circles Quilt

Circles Block #6, EPP Sew-A-Long

Circles EPP Button

Circles Block _6final

Circle #6: Star of Wonder
(but stay tuned. . . another variation of Circle #6 is coming in a couple of days)

Welcome to my series of English-Paper Pieced Circles!  I decided some time ago that I needed a new hand-work project for those night when you just want to sit around and stitch and watch TV or a movie.  I liked circles, and hadn’t found any EPP versions, so decided to create my own.  All my patterns are hand drawn, but they are free.  I do test-make them to get rid of any quirks before I present them to you.  I’ve already done five circles and this post gives you the sixth.  Here they all are together:

First Six BlocksSM

This sixth circle, based on a six-pointed star, is all English Paper-Pieced, except that I do appliqué the larger circle onto the background square, as the results are better that way.  And since this center circle does not need go over a series of joining seams, it can be paper-pieced right into the circle.  I can’t remember where my inspiration for this one came from, but I do like that secondary star pattern that forms in-between the golden star points.  The center of this star is suited to a medallion-type piece of fabric, so drag out those large prints and see which one works.

EPP #6_pattern drawn

As usual, these blocks start with a hand-drawn circle, and then I trace off the patterns.  And then I realize that it would be better if I had one more of THAT star point and one less of THIS arc.

RWB Shine_Block Six

The free patterns are now returning (Red, White & Blue version is above).  I request that you not distribute them, but send people here to this website to get them.  Click to download a PDF file: 

SHINE Block 6 pattern_opquilt

Please remember to set your printer settings to 100% and check the little scale square included on the pattern.  It should measure 1″ in size. Illustrations below are with the OLD version of the pattern, so it may vary from what’s included now.

This time I didn’t staple the wad of three sheets together, as I used to in the past, but instead cut more carefully around each piece.  Tedious, but they go together better at the end, I think.

EPP #6A_9trying out the pieces

I’ve pinned the pieces on, cut around them, then I lay them out to check for color/pattern.  I liked it so I moved forward.

EPP #6A_1

I did this circle in three different states at five different houses and a hospital room.  EPP travels very well.  Here I have stitched the ring pieces together, sometimes attaching them to the circle as I go.  Now I’m starting to attach the star points.  I think it looks like a clown hat at this juncture.

EPP #6A_3

I try all the points on, lining up with the seams in the blue-and-green polka-dotted ring.  I stitched them on, one by one and set it aside.

EPP #6A_4

Next is stitching the inner sections together.  First join the upper small star point (red) to the lower wedge (white).  Then attach one (blue) arc to the side, then the other.  The first time I tried this I got all confused, but remember to lay the longer flat side of the arc along the small star point and you should be fine.

EPP #6A_5

Trying this out.

EPP #6A_6

I took this photo to show how I attach those inner wedges: first one side, a stitch at the point, then the other side.  I also take a stitch at the top of the blue arcs, holding one to the next.

EPP #6A_7circle complete


EPP #6A_8

I lay the circle on my 14 1/2″ square of background fabric.  I’m visiting a brother-in-law in the hospital at this point and am doing this on his bedside table while he is sleeping, so instead of being able to iron four neat creases into the background fabric to help guide me for placement (as before), I finger-pressed in what I could and eyeballed the rest.  As you’ve noticed, there is a bit of extra fabric all around the circle, so I’ll be able to correct any missteps later.  It was at this point I realized that my center medallion was not centered on its axis.  It was kind of keeling on its side, pointing a bit to the Northwest.  AAAGH.  I still appliquéd the circle down and checked my suspicion with my husband when I got home from traveling.  Yep.  It’s a re-do.

EPP #6A_10center missing

The circle without its center.  I just snipped loose the stitching (it’s amazing how easy it was) and centered it again.  This time I loosely (about a stitch per seam) basted in the center and checked it often as I did the regular EPP stitch.  I did this step as we drove to see our grandson at his eighth birthday.  Circles on the move, I say.

Circles Block _6final

So here it is. . . all done, and ready to go into the quilt.  I made this circle up in a different coloration and will show it to you at the next post.

First Six BlocksSM

But here are the first six, arranged digitally.  I hope you have been able to keep up with our progress, but these patterns will be here for a while if you haven’t.

Now come back for the next post, where I show a completely different look to this circle.

Circles EPP Button


Also linking up to Live A Colorful Life’s Choose Your Own Block-Along.




Jazz, Light, Montreal, a Four-in-Art Quilt, November 2014


JazzLightMontreal_frontJazz, Light, Montreal
#5 in the Urban Series

When the challenge theme was announced, of Light, I started looking and noticing urban light–both that which sheds or projects the light, and that which receives the light.  Multi-hued lights intrigued me, as well as light fixtures (as you saw before).  I was also interested in reflections of city lights on windows and in rain puddles.  But in the end, I went with a memory–the graceful arching lights of Montreal, swirling over the Jazz Festival that was in its final days.

montreal-street-lightsMontreal City Lights

Yet the artistry in that photograph comes partly because of the different widths of the light poles, changing from thicker to more slender as they were sited in the field of view.


I fiddled and widgeted my stuff, moving and trying to get that look but with my bias tape, I could not really manipulate the widths easily, although I tried.  So mine resembles a spider the day AFTER Halloween, squished beyond recognition.  How appropriate that today’s reveal date is November 1st. Since this little foray into representation is not one of my favorite art quilts I’m not going to do a deconstruction post.  I tried out multiple brown fabrics and thought about trying to mimic the interesting placement of windows as shown in the photo above, but in the end, went with one that conveyed the pane-pierced facade.  Okay, maybe not so much, but I gave it a try.  I fused it on, satin-stitched around it.  Sewed down the light posts, then used a zig-zag stitch to quilt clouds into the sky.

In fact, the more I write about this, the more I realize that not every art quilt will challenge me to learn a new technique, which is what I want to do.  Sometimes you come to the project tired and worn out and your brain cells look more and more like the spotted building in my art quilt, or perhaps that splayed spider thingie and pulling out the stops means Getting It Done and Moving On.


I do like the back quite well.  No complaint about that Anna Maria Horner fabric from eons ago.  And ever since Betty started putting labels on hers, I’ve copied her example and now have a lovely collection of art quilts, properly provenanced.  The quilt is 12″ square, and I used a fancy little bit for the binding (hoping it would redeem the front?).


But the best thing is the memory of that horribly hot night, sitting on the steps listening to jazz, getting photo-bombed by a tourist behind me who turned out to be a quilter, and we spent a long time showing each other quilt photos from our phones.  I look somewhat different now, but it was a great night watching people bee-bop to the doo-wap (try and find them!), sitting under that graceful swirling street light.

JazzLightMontreal_bylightNormally we only have four challenges a year (hence, the name: Four-in-Art), but this year we decided to jive up to the calendar year, and so added in this last challenge, making it a #5.  In the next cycle we’ll be back to four, and we’re trying something different.  Our overall theme will be Literature, but each quilter will think up her own quarterly challenge, instead of having a group challenge.  We’ll still reveal on the first days of February, May, August and November.  We have also had some subtractions and additions in the last few weeks, so won’t have a full compliment of eight quilters until next February.


Come see what other quilters in our Four-in-Art Group have done!
Amanda at www.whatthebobbin.com
Betty at  Flickr//www.flickr.com/photos/toot2/with/12251011196
Nancy at patchworkbreeze.blogspot.com
Rachel at rachel-thelifeofriley.blogspot.com
Simone at  quiltalicious.blogspot.com
Anne at SpringLeaf Studio

and please head *here* to vote for Anne’s Cascade quilt, a finalist in the Craftsy Pattern Design Awards!!


Circles EPP Button

Coming in a couple of days. . .

Circles Block #6!