Shine: The Circles Quilt

SHINE: The Circles Quilt with QuiltMania • Final Group

My original Shine quilt had sixteen blocks, done in multi-color fabrics, a bright and sunny quilt. I built them one-by-one, drawing them on paper at first, and had them free here on my website. When QuiltMania and I agreed to collaborate (complete details in this post), I pulled them from the website, with the caveat that I wouldn’t release them until March 2021. But today, I have for you again, a new free EPP pattern, as well as news of an updated pattern.

First, the final three blocks from the collaboration, first in the original, and then in the red, white and blue. (I like the changes all except one: it’s a real oddball in RWB. I’ll bet you’ll spot it right away.)

Shine Block #10, original
Shine Block #10 in Red, White and Blue
Shine Block #11, original
Shine Block #12, original
Shine Block #10, in Red, White and Blue

I’m sure you spotted it: that Dresden, Number 10. I’ve got to re-do all the white blades, but at the time I didn’t have any extra fabric from the original Minick and Simpson line I’d chosen to work with. Since then, I’ve added a few more pieces from various lines, and I can now re-do that block.

Shine Block #17

And this time around, I just wasn’t feeling the love for Circle #10, so that’s why I made Circle #17, which is a bonus block for the newly reworked Finishing Pattern. An overview of the complete set of new blocks can be found on the Shine page, here.

Here’s the front of the newly re-done other Shine pattern, the one that had the last four blocks from the original Shine quilt (13-16). The four on the top are those original Shine Blocks. I did sell the original version in my pattern shop on PayHip, but then I got to re-doing everything, and adding more, so now instead of just four in that pattern, there are nine blocks. It’s my understanding that if you have already purchased just the four blocks pattern, that you can go in a re-download the nine blocks version. But if you haven’t purchased it, you can now get nine instead of four EPP blocks to make.

I originally had this as a free download for the first part of December 2020, and many of you took that opportunity to get a free block. You can now find this in the Shine EPP blocks pattern, listed above. I hope you enjoy making this.

All the pieces laid out. If you are just starting on this EPP journey, there are a lot of tips and hints given in all the original block pages, and just quickly reading through them you’ll see I always keep a line drawing of the block along with a color representation with all my prepared pieces.

I use the quick trick found in the General Instructions in the Nine More Blocks Pattern, and seam some of the two-part pieces on the sewing machine. Then I lay out the pattern piece and randomly cut around it, trying to maintain a fat quarter-inch seam allowance. The blue dots on the pattern remind you which way to place this (dots are nearer the center), as it is slightly asymmetrical.

Because those narrow tips will be sewn into a tight space, I really trim down the seam allowances at the tip.

I swab on a line of glue with a 1/4-inch glue stick, as I like working with the pen shape (you can see it resting on the first photo in this series), but a regular school glue stick works just fine, too. Just don’t glob on too much glue. After laying down the glue, I carefully fold it over, as my pieces are printed out on 24-lb. paper (a little heavier than regular printer paper), not cardstock (although I suppose you could use cardstock, if you want to).

First iteration. I don’t like the look of the bigger blades — too wimpy.

I like the darker fabrics used in the big blades, but now the slices of circle in the center get lost.

Okay, now we’re rolling. I occasionally do have to swap out some pieces, but not often (it’s a little harder to gauge color and value when only working in red, white and blue).

I sewed the circle slices onto the bottom of the shorter blades, then sewed each of those to a companion blue-bladed pair.

I then started sewing the inner wedges together. This is my typical night-time EPP photo, as I like to hand-stitch while watching TV at night. I used the shortcut trick also on those smaller two-toned blue triangle pieces. Then, keeping track of which side goes where, I am now sewing on the side pieces in light red/white.

With the two side pieces on, I check to see if there is a gap. This one’s perfect with the edges lining up, but the next example will show you where I’ve been getting a gap:

But I just sewed that little seam together anyway. A sixteenth of an inch gap will flex just fine once you get those papers out. But leave them in at this point!

I fold the wedge unit with right sides together, and whipstitch that 1/2-inch seam closed.

I like to keep laying it out to check how I’m doing. I’m doing fine, so I keep going.

Time to sew the wedge units in-between a red point of the star and a blue point. Start at the top of the point, lining up the units, RST, and sew down into the valley. Take an extra stitch, re-fold and re-line up the pieces, and sew back out of the V-shaped valley.

Two done.

I sewed them together. What color of thread do I use? On this seam, I sewed from the blue side, with the white/red side behind it, meaning, when I hold the two pieces together, the blue is nearest me. And then, because of the way I stitch, I used white thread. What kind of thread do I use? A fine one, either cotton or polyester, whatever will get the job done. Don’t use cheap thread, either, as it will twist and knot and drive you crazy. I always use my friend Rachel’s soft beeswax thread conditioner, as it helps the thread behave (and your hands will thank you as they become nice and soft!).

All four done. Now to sew those together, then sew their wedges in between.

All done! I love a good from-the-back EPP picture. I will now remove the innermost papers, but keep anything on the outer ring, as I need them for the next step. Sometimes I will press the block before removing the papers, if I remember.

I carefully pin it to the background, then sew with an invisible appliqué stitch. I have tips and trick for dealing with the seam allowances in the earlier pattern posts, but basically I fold them carefully to the inside, then keep stitching. There are more photos, earlier, if you need them.

Now I will for sure press the block, but only on a padded surface (my ironing board is really well padded), letting the seam allowances sink into the padding. I use Flatter as a pressing aide as it is starch-free, and I use a bit of steam to help settle down all the pieces into each other. If you have a wild and wooly seam allowances from one of your blocks, it’s okay to trim them now, but only a bit. If you trim too closely, you’ll compromise the strength of your block.

In the original illustration, the colors bring a dimension that I can’t get with the red, white and blue: the wedge points sink into the background and the bigger points come forward. Have fun choosing colors for yours and making one of my Shine blocks!

300 Quilts · Giveaway · Patterns by Elizabeth of OPQuilt · Quilt Finish · Quilt Patterns

Pomegranates • Giveaway

Where does inspiration begin?

Does it start here? How about both places? Today is a pattern announcement, a quilt top done announcement and the best part: a giveaway!

My friend, Kenna Ogg of Madison Cottage Design, is launching her line of batiks from Banyan Batiks (made by Northcott) and asked me to help her share the pictures and flavors of her line of fabrics. And at the end of the post, be sure to enter to win a fat quarter stack of these beautiful fabrics, rich in the tones of fall and winter.

So when she sent them to me to dream up a quilt, I kept thinking about my friend Karen’s pomegranate tree, and how she was always so generous with the fruit:

Pomegranates come on in the fall and into winter, so the two ideas merged into one.

(Posed under a citrus bush)

I arranged the fabrics, trying to get a feel for the richness of the color, then one night drew up the quilt idea in my Affinity software, and a quilt pattern was on its way!

I drew up a pomegranate shape, adding the bit at the top (the calyx), then traced it onto fusing material, cutting out the center of the circle so the quilt wouldn’t be too stiff. I then cut around the outside and fused it down to a four-patch.

All are on! Now the borders.

It’s a fun way to show off the luscious tones of this line of batiks. I had a hard time photographing them in the night when I was working, so here’s a photo from Kenna:

This is what she’ll send the winner of the giveaway: Twenty Fat Quarters. Yes, you can make the Pomegranates quilt from that. But now you can also score a discount on the pattern, as I’m launching it at the same time. Head over to my pattern shop on PayHip, navigate to the pattern and for a 30% discount on this pattern enter the following code at checkout:


There are three places you can enter the giveaway:

The giveaway is now closed.
Congratulations to Esther, who wrote:
“Love the fabric and the pattern! Pomegranates and the pomegranate tree are beautiful. The tree and fruit provide habitat for birds. Maybe this will be the year I plant a tree or two, there are a number of varieties, some with pink arils and lighter rind that I think would make a nice combo with the standards. I think there are many references in the bible and poetry as to their beauty and symbolism, though right now I can’t pull one out of my memory. As far as harvesting the arils, I just “go for it” since I’m only cleaning one at a time. If I was ambitious, I’d make pomegranate jelly. I like to use the arils in a salad of winter greens, with slices of bosc pear and fuyu persimmon and a vinagrette.”

Here, on this blog (I’ll pick a winner on Thursday evening, and email the winner). OR, on my Instagram account. OR on Kenna’s Instagram account. And of course, you’ve figured out by now that if you enter all three places, that’s three times the chances. I will mail your name and address to Kenna and she’ll send them out. Good luck.

Leave me a comment below, telling me what you think is the easiest method to get the arils (the seeds) out of the pomemgranate: get on an old shirt and head out to the picnic table and just go for it, or submerge the fruit in a water bath, letting the arils sink to the bottom while the pith floats to the top. And of course, since I love your stories, any pomegranate story or memory you want to leave me will make me smile.

A red-stained juicy pomegranate smile!