EPPing again with French General

Sometime ago, I glimpsed this quilt in an Instagram feed:

The description says it’s from the North Country of England, so I’ve taken to calling it the North Country Patchwork Quilt.  The more I looked at it, the more I liked how those red squares just kind of blended into the background on the outer rings, but floated over the foreground in the middle.

I tried to convince my husband to buy it.  That was funny, as he made some comment about didn’t we have enough quilts?  Seriously, he’s nearly perfect, but in the end, I decided to go ahead and make it.

too much to do.jpeg

Because I sure need another project.

But the project I need is a hand project, really–one that can be toted around in the car.  I finished my hexies project, and I finished (thankfully) my millefiore quilt, so now what am I going to do on long car rides?  Just sit there?

Car from the past.jpg

So I drew up the block, working between two different pieces of software: QuiltPro and Affinity Designer, and have created this pattern (click on the following link for free PDF file): North Country Patchwork Quilt

This quilt has 624 pieces in it, and if you divide that by four, you’d have to print out gazillions of the pattern page. So here are my tips for making that go more quickly:

Print off several of the free North Country Patchwork Quilt page.  Like 10.

Stack each printed page with about 4-5 plain pieces of paper.  Staple them together inside the pieces, as shown on the left.

Cut them apart in chunks, like the image on the right, using an old rotary cutter that you’ve dedicated to paper; or, a guillotine paper cutter; or, your paper scissors.

Then further cut them into the individual shapes: a honeycomb and a square.  Remove the staples.

That ought to get you started. No, I didn’t use cardstock, but I had some 24 lb printing paper that I used.  And yes, I’m gluing the fabric to these pieces of paper.   I used this paper when I did my Shine EPP quilt (most blocks are free on this blog) and it worked out just fine.  Repeat this process as you need to.

vivelafrance-hyb-fan_1.jpg

I’m going to vary from the fabrics in the original quilt, as I fell in love with this Vive La France line of fabrics from French General.  I’m over the moon for those dusky blues and strong reds.

I worked out some variations of this quilt in QuiltPro software, and they vary by how much of a border is around the central rectangle.  Here they are:

I also had some fun with putting the blocks in more contemporary colors (lower left), but decided I didn’t like that version.  The top three are sort of in the colors of the original quilt and it looks like to me, it was someone who was making do with cast-offs from her household clothing, as well as men’s shirtings.  But I’m anxious to get going and trying this out in the Vive La France fabrics.

I have no idea how I’m going to sew this together, but I will be concentrating on those arms that come into an X, and somehow I’ll do the red square.

Lastly, a reminder to pre-wash your fabrics: working with reds can be tricky.

three-year calendar.png

See you in a couple years!

Plitvice • Quilt Finish

Plitvice Quilt_6 with poppies

Plitvice
Quilt #218 • 76 1/2″ square

Plitvice Quilt_1 full

After four years, I finally finished up the quilt of multiple pieced hexagons.  Yes, every seam on that top is hand-stitched. I’ve had many posts about this, but here’s its final and complete post: it is done!

Plitvice Quilt_2 back

Back of the quilt, using an Andover Fabrics wideback fabric. No piecing, no fussing around.  This was so slick–just buy the three yards and send it off to the quilter, Darby of Quilted Squid, who did a great job.

Plitvice Quilt_3 labelPlitvice Quilt_4 OPquilt

About that edge binding: it was supposed to be a faced binding, tucked behind the quilt, but once I saw it on the edge, that was the missing piece that fell into place for me.  I wasn’t quite sure I liked this pile of English paper-piecing, until I saw that.  But I stab-stitched the facing in perle cotton all the way around, to get that nice tight, bound edge look.  That’s why it’s so large on the back–I didn’t want to cut down the width of my facing, so I went with it.

Plitvice Quilt_5 detailPlitvice Quilt_5aPlitvice Quilt_7 on poppies

And if you’ve been reading my Instagram account, you know we are poppy-crazy out here with our California Superbloom, so we took the quilt on one of our poppy-hunting treks to get the two photos you see in this post.

Plitvice Words on Label

 

Plitvice_1

Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

You can use the tags on this post (click on them) to search for other entries of this quilt, if more information is needed.  Many thanks to Katja Marek for starting us on the Millefiore road.

 

A Bit Frosty this January

1shinecirclesquilt

Remember this?

Shine_Quilt Top Final800

And this?

This is Shine: The Circles Quilt, and I started it as a English Paper Piecing project, putting the free patterns up on this blog, beginning in 2014.  I also have a page dedicated to these blocks, giving out the patterns and tutorials for each, until the last four (which used to live on Craftsy, but that’s another blog post.  Coming soon.)

And then this new year, I opened up mail from one of my heros, Becky Goldsmith to see this:

Goldsmith Circles1.jpg

and this:

Goldsmith Circles2.jpg

all advertising her newest endeavor.

As near as I can tell, she has no idea I exist.  She is not copying me.  She has fancy borders, and has done the quilt twice.  I think this is a classic example of what the German’s call “der Zeitgeist” or “the trend of thought and feeling in a period.

But I am a bit frosty about this, for one reason only: she has a megaphone, and I have only this blog.  I used to have a blog and a Craftsy site (!), but I guess I also have Instagram, which might have a zillion followers if I unblocked all those creepy men or Quilt-Content-Thieves.  But is it really “frosty” or is it more that I’m jealous?  I think the latter. 

I still have my Shine patterns here, but really, I have to yield the selling floor to the firepower of Piece O’Cake Designs, in making a quilt with a grid of paper-pieced circles based on the traditional style of a compass rose.  I don’t have her readership, her TV show appearances, her mailing list.  She’s a tsunami.  I’m a wobbly sprinkler on the back lawn.  To be truthful, Goldsmith earned her tsunami status through hard work over many years; again, she did NOT copy me at all. I have all of her books, and have made a couple of her designs, so you do have to put me in the category of Total Admirer.  But that’s not the issue here.

My takeaway: when quilters come up with designs similar to one another, it’s not always a copyright issue, which is the usual scream that emmanates from the collective online voice.  Sometimes it just is the Zeitgeist.

Sometimes the Sew Together Bag is merely a copy of her grandfather’s toiletries kit (this fact mentioned to me while we were standing in line together at Market in Salt Lake City), and my Mini-Sew Together Bag was a version I was working on when I didn’t like the bulk of the original, and my Smile Bag came before byAnnie’s Clam Up bag and perhaps we were both inspired by the bag for the First Class United Airlines customers, and perhaps they were inspired by some ancient Japanese zakka.  That’s how these things go.

Scream

Edvard Munch’s The Scream

 

 

 

Okay, I feel better now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Updates to original post are in black text.

Millefiore Quilt Update

Millefiore mood board

It all began here, with my Millefiore mood board, drawing on colors from the National Park in Croatia, Plitvice Lakes.  I had decided to jump in and go with all of Quilting America that year and join the The New Hexagon Millefiore Quiltalong.  I was pretty much nuts to do this.  This was photographed on January 19, 2015.

Millefiore first sewing

First glued-up paper pieces: January 19, 2015.

First Rosette.png

First public appearance for Rosette #1: March 14, 2015.

All Rosettes_OPQuilt

Last public appearance for quilt, mocked up in Photoshop: July 15, 2018. That’s over three years, if you are doing the math.

As you know, I hated the crenellated edges on this particular quilt.  So the quilt sat in the corner until this week.  Then suddenly it was do or die time, and I picked up making little sections to fit into the cut-outs.

Millefiore Center_2

And here it is today, all edges filled in.

Millefiore Working Mess

I pretty much used all the papers I’d taken out of the rosettes — once they were sewn together — and categorized these pieces into bags, using paper clips and rubber bands to keep them organized.

Millefiore numbering cutouts

To keep track, I took a photo, and numbered the half–hexies I was making.  I ended up not needing to do this for every corner, as I used long triangles that fit into the zig-zaggy sides (#5-12)  in a variety of darker fabrics (taking cues from the adjacent blocks).

Millefiore place tryout

I kept one half-hexie out on my cutting mat and tried different “puzzles” of what could go in that shape.  I had pretty much determined that I was not going to use a full half-hexie; I’d seen others and to me they looked bland, like they didn’t add anything to the quilt.  I did end up using one, but the fabric had a print that just worked.

Millefiore pinning

I used triangles and a variety of other shapes to fill in, always letting the adjacent fabrics dictate what I’d use for the fill-in fabrics.

Because I like to keep records, and because I’m hoping this will help others when they try this technique, here are all the filled-in shapes and the marked spaces (scroll past fast, if it doesn’t interest you):

Millefiore Fillins_1Millefiore Fillins_1A

I did my own thing on this rosette.

Millefiore Fillins_3Millefiore Fillins_3A

I liked how I was able to complete the “bird points.”

Millefiore Fillins_5Millefiore Fillins_5AMillefiore Fillins_6Millefiore Fillins_6A

The half-hexie on the lower left is the only one cut from one piece of fabric, but I think it reads as more complex.

Millefiore Fillins_7Millefiore Fillins_7AMillefiore Fillins_8Millefiore Fillins_8A

I used a floral Kaffe fabric from deep in the interior (just barely out of sight on the middle left).

Millefiore Fillins_9Millefiore Fillins_9A

Millefiore Center_3

Stained Glass View

Millefiore Center_4

This is the rosette that started it all, and I still like it.

Quilt Stand

More info on my new quilt stand, coming in a couple of weeks.  But now I have my final Frivols to attend to!

Rosette #6 for the New Hexagon Millifiore Quilt-A-Long

rosette-6_whitebckgrnd

Here’s my rosette #6 for The New Hexagon Millifiore Quilt-Along.

marek-rosette-6

And here is the original.

Why did I change it?  I started looking at all the composite views of the rosette and just thought the star was too prominent, that it started a new conversation in the middle of the living room when the party around it was already having a nice chat, thank you very much.  While I thought the original design was very clever, I needed it to change.

rosette-6_opquilt-com

Here are the changes I made:

In the black Circle #1, I created a new piece — that of two tall 30-60-90 triangles merged into one equilateral triangle.  I studied my friend Laurel’s rosette (she is all finished with her quilt top) and noticed that in hers, as well as in many others, the right triangles of 30-60-90, when placed back to back with another, create a third pattern.  It does the same thing in the original block, above.  But I wanted to use this bargello/flame fabric and I only had a little bit, so that made my decision for me.

In the dark pink Circle #2, I looked at other blocks that I’d sewn in my previous rosettes, because I wanted to nab their papers and re-use them.  I found this shape in an earlier rosette, figured out that it would work, and am happy with the “ribbon” the multi-colored light-green fabric made.

I had to sew on my equilateral triangles on the center section first, then the next inner row of partial hexies, in order to make it fit (the ones with the bold radiating circle design).  Then it was add the last round, alternating the birds and the citrus fruit hexies.

all-rosettes_opquilt

Here it is, laid out in Photoshop, which isn’t really the greatest approximation of how it looks in real life, but I’m not yet to the sewing-it-together phase. I’m still not 100% sure about the colors of Number Six, but I will try to bring in one more yellow spot somewhere — maybe in 10a — so I can balance those brights.

Stay tuned.

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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  Payhip,  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  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 mini version tutorial of this on my blog (with pattern on Craftsy), 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 on the next point.  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 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.  Yet.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 PayHip so you can finish yours too.

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!