Circles Block #15–EPP Sew-A-Long

Circles EPP Button

Circles Block 15_OPQuilt

Compass Rose
Number 15 of the circles blocks in Shine: The Circles Quilt

About this time, I was running out of ideas for another two circle blocks, so of course I turned to the internet, but didn’t type in “quilt circle blocks.”

Collections Bibliotheque Municipale de Rouen. Photo : Th. Ascencio-Parvy

Collections Bibliotheque Municipale de Rouen. Photo : Th. Ascencio-Parvy

 Instead I typed in “compass rose” as every map from the ancient days had an elaborate compass design in the corner, orientation the sea-faring ships to North, keeping them on track.  I found several I liked from those old maps, and modified them to be suitable for my quilt, and drew them up in Electric Quilt 7:

EQ7 Circle 15 w:o split rays EQ7 Circle 15 with split rays

The difference between the two is the subdivision of the spikes around the inner circle into two rays.  I liked that, but I also knew a short cut so I wouldn’t lose my mind piecing them.  If you like the solid rays in the inner circle, just don’t cut them apart (but don’t cut them apart anyway. . . keep reading).

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].  I will post the tutorials each month until the set is complete.  The finishing instructions pattern for Shine: The Circles Quilt is also listed on Craftsy and Payhip.

Printing Circle 15

Print four of these out at 100% scale.  Cut them out, but count as you do this, because on one of these last patterns, I may have missed a beat or two and added an extra ray.  BUT FIRST!  To cut down on your EPP efforts, you can leave the rays and the diamond pieces together, cutting them out as a unit. I’ll show you what I mean, so please read down further before you snip snip snip.

Circle15_1

Circle15_2

Pull your fabrics, using a good range of colors and value (light to dark).

Circle15_3

Okay, here’s what I mean about some time-saving.  I didn’t cut the diamond apart.  You can seam two strips together, then lay out your diamonds to cut.  Here I am measuring for the diamond strip width (above, which will be 2″), and below for the rays (which will be 1 1/4″ inches wide).  I use a lighter version and a medium version of the fabric color I chose so the difference will stand out.  Above you can see the two colors, layered.

Circle15_4

Circle15_5

Seam the long strips together, then lay out your pieces, making sure that the center line of the ray is exactly on your seam, as shown.  Trim away the excess like I did in the upper ray example.

Circle15_6

Ditto for the diamonds.  However, the layout of the pattern has you cutting some apart.  No worries.  Just tuck them up under the seam allowances (as shown in lower right diamond above) and proceed cutting around them and gluing them as normal.  The seam allowances are a wee bit smaller on these two pieces, as I didn’t need a full 1/4″ inch.  The seam allowances are at about 3/16″ of an inch, just a bit narrower than usual.

After gluing them, I put them in a baggie and I print out the drawing (way above) of the block, and slip that into the bag, so I can keep things straight.

Circle15_7

Since the outer diamonds are all sewn together (or if you constructed them more traditionally, stitch them together first, then come to this step), you can start sewing them to the outer points, making sure that the curved edge is pointed towards the eventual circle.

Circle15_8

Sew all your groups; I did a grouping of three.

While I don’t have a photo for it (where was my mind?), stitch the rays to the inner circle points (the green points in my block interspersed with the blue double-rays).  Do those in groups as well.  Now to get them sewn together.

Circle15_9

Find the lower center of the outer point, and pinch it, leaving a mark.

Circle15_10

Match it up with the outer edge of a green inner circle point, and take a stitch, as shown.

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Find the center of the next outer point, and put in a crease, as shown.  Line up the ray with this crease. I sometimes like to put a single pin to keep me on track.

Circle15_12

Stitch carefully, neither adding — nor subtracting — any ease, moving one stitch at a time around the arc.

Circle15_13

Keep pinching in the centers, and matching up the rays until you’ve got this set together.  Yours may look different than mine, in terms of how many rays you sewed together, or outer diamonds and points you sewed together.  But the principle is the same for matching.

Circle15_14

Stitch the next set of inner rays and points to the existing set.

Circle15_15

Join the next outer set of diamonds and outer points to the existing, as shown.

Circle15_16

Using the “pinch the center method,” join those two arcs together.

Circle15_17

Here we go again.  This time I sewed on the outer diamonds/points unit to the existing.

Circle15_18

Then I stitched the inner points/rays together on one side only.  The circle is not completed!!  Leave it as a giant arc on both sets.

Circle15_19

Continue the process of pinching to find the center, and matching it up with the rays.  It will serpentine in your hands as you work.  Perfectly normal and easier to do than if you had joined them both into circles.  (Don’t do that!)

Circle15_20

That outer arc seam is almost done.  I left the last orangey-red bit unsewn.  Now I’ll stitch the blue ray to the green inner point.  Then stitch the orangey outer point to that inner circle.  And last, I’ll close the outer yellow-diamond-orangey-point circle.

Circle15_21

Don’t you feel like you’ve crossed the oceans, charting by a compass and the stars only?  But look how beautifully it came together–no puckers anywhere.  Just move slow and steady.

Circle15_22

You knew I’d work that constellation fabric in here somewhere, didn’t you.  Yes, it’s my outer arcs, and I now stitch them into place.  Take a stitch at that outer edge, just over the yellow points, to hook the two blue arcs together.  Just a single stitch, to keep them together around the circle.

Circle15_23

I love seeing all the papers lined up in a row.

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Circle15_25

Remove all but the outermost blue arc papers, flip it over and give your circle a press.

Circle15_26

In thinking about what size center circle you’ll want, lay your templates out on the block.  You’ll want a circle that covers the open area, but doesn’t hide the points, like the one above.  The one below obscures the rays’ inner points and makes it look like something is missing.

Circle15_26a Circle15_26b

This was the dimension of circle I used.  I’m using Kaye Buckley’s Perfect Circle templates.  Trace your circle on your chosen fabric, then cut 3/8″ around it for the seam allowance.  Stitch a running stitch around the outer edge, then slip the plastic template inside and draw up the thread to enclose the circle.  Give it a shot of spray starch, press it, then let it cool and slip out the circle.  I show how do do this on *this post.*

Cut a square 14 1/2″ and find the centers, as you’ve done for the other blocks.  At this point, at block number 15, you are used to doing some of the steps, so if you are joining me just for this block, I’d suggest browsing back through other Circles blocks (see tab Shine: The Circles Quilt EPP above) to learn the tips and pointers.  Appliqué the circle to the block.

Circle15_27

I always pin around, then when I get to a join area, I first fold in one side, then the other, before continuing on (see below).

Circle15_28

Circles Block 15_OPQuilt

That’s it for this block!  The tutorial for the last circle block, Block #16, will post October 1st, then our series is complete.  While you work on your blocks, I hope to work on the quilting of this quilt and have it ready to show at the beginning of October.  Have fun stitching!

Circles Block #14–EPP Sew-A-Long

Circles EPP Button

Circle Block 14_OPQuilt

Peppermint Candy
Circles Block #14 in the Circles Sew-A-Long

Yes, I know Peppermint Candy isn’t orange and pink, but the swirl — a bit fat swirl, this time — reminded me of unwrapping crinkly cellophane and seeing those fun swirls on the candy before I popped it in my mouth.

I had to steel myself to get going on these last four, as I was a bit fatigued, but when you want something (like a peppermint, which I’m hunting for in the desk drawer as I write this), you want something, and I wanted a sixteen-block arrangement for my Circles Quilt.

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].  I will post the tutorials each month until the set is complete.  The finishing instructions pattern for Shine: The Circles Quilt is also listed on Craftsy and Payhip.

Printing for block 14

The usual caution applies about making sure that your printer settings are set to 100%; please print off four copies of this pattern.  Surprise! There is no center circle this time, as we’re going for glory and piecing it as accurately as we can.

The tricky thing is the swirls.  I had no idea that FAT swirls are harder than the thin ones, but they are.  There is more bias, more clipping needed, and more care as you lay them out.  But the block’s upside is that there are fewer pieces, so that’s got to count for something.

Circles 14_2fabrics

Fabric selection is getting easier because I am more practiced?  Or maybe that the fabrics I like are on the top of my stack?

Circles 14_3printing down

If you want your swirl to go the direction of the pattern’s swirl, lay the pieces FACE DOWN on the wrong side of the fabric.  Pin, then slice around them with a rotary blade.

Circles 14_5printing whatever

Since the outer wedges have no direction, you can place them face up or face down.  If you are just coming right at this pattern from the Internets, and have not made any of the other circles, there are lots of tips and tricks in the other circle block posts.  You can find them in the tab above.

Circles 14_4clip curves

I took time to do a bit of clipping as I glued down my seam allowances over my paper.  If you don’t, your edge won’t fit neatly with the other swirl’s edge, and will leave puckery bits.  Clip.  You’ll thank me later.

Circles 14_6layout

I like this!  This is always the jumping-off place.  If I like it here, I’ll proceed.

Circles 14_7in bag

I bag the pieces up with a printout of the block (below) to help me with color and placement.

EQ7 Block 14Circles 14_8beginning sewing

I just did not know how to go about putting this together, as the swirls are so swirly.  I finally figured out that old adage: just begin at the beginning (above), so I did. Remember there is almost no easing–just add a stitch and curve it around as you go.

Circles 14_8aIt will curve up in your hand, and this is normal and to be expected.  It will lay flat once you get all the side sewn.Circles 14_9sewing together

Once you get the sets of two done (making sure you are consistent as to which side the dark color is on), sew the twofers into a set of four, as above. Lather, rinse and repeat.Circles 14_10whoops

Then you’ll have two half-circles, which should look like they fit.  Keep going.Circles 14_11alltogether

Now . . . finish sewing it together.

Circles 14_12inner points

Now the points.  Curves against curves–these babies just seem to be opposites today.  Again, start at one tip and move along to the other, letting the piece cup into your hand in an arch as you go.  Circles 14_13hook together

I always like to hook my pieces together, so up above, I’m taking a stitch or two to nail those green points together before I start sewing the next one on.  I think it gives the block some inner support once all the paper is gone.

Circles 14_14before pressing

Points on.  Now, for those of you who believe that fabric is the same as paper, you are going to be freaked out by the little puckers and pfhlttts you see in the photo above.  But here’s the truth: fabric is NOT paper, and it will move and shift and make you worry until you take out the paper at the end and give it a little bit of steam and the fabric settles into itself and you breathe again.

Circles 14_15 back

Beauty Shot, showing how pretty all those little seams look.Circles 14_15afterpressing

Okay, I pressed it with the paper in.  Still a few puckers and pfhlttts, right?  That’s why we make quilts–once you get this thing over batting and get stitching on it, you won’t even see them.

Circles 14_16hollow up

Stitch on the outer wedges, then remove the papers from the green points and the swirls and it’s Decision Time. Hollows up? (above) or Points up? (below)Circles 14_17point up Circles 14_18background fabric

Cut a 14 1/2″ square of background fabric, fold it in fourths, and press in a registration mark so you can get your circle placed in the center.
Circles 14_19pinned for appliquePin the circle down, and appliqué it onto the background, tucking in the points as you go.  Flip it over, and cut out the back 1/4′ away from your hand-stitching line.  Remove all the remaining papers, then give it a good press on a padded ironing board, face down, then face up.  Let it cool, and admire!

Circle Block 14_OPQuilt

2c_Fifteen Circles

Okay, this should give you encouragement.  While you’ve seen all of the blocks in the Shine: A Circles Quilt post, I still think they are look fun  to look at like this, all together.  Now I think you can see about how the fabric choices up to this point dictate what I can and can’t throw in–and that’s okay with me.  Only two more patterns to go!!  The tutorial for Number Fifteen will be released September 1st, or, if you can’t wait. . . you know where to find them.

Shine: The Circles Quilt

Shine-waving

Shine: The Circles Quilt
66″ square
First block started June 2014 • Top finished June 2015

I’ve finished my quilt top and am happy to release it into the wilds world today.  I started sewing these English Paper Piecing patterns after I’d finished Kaleidoscope and needed a new hand project.  I was also sick of straight lines, and though I’d do some circles.  Those of you who have followed along know that I took a lot of inspiration for the circles from a church my husband and I had visited while traveling in Slovenia, the art finding its way into fabric.

Shine_Quilt Top Final800

I named it Shine because of all those circles, those suns, those compass points, radiating out from the quilt.  I could see this all done up in solids, too.  I’ve seen a few of your starting your project.  Please tag me on IG (occasionalpiecequilt) or drop me an email with a photo so I can see what you’ve begun.

I’ve now completed the instructions for this quilt, and have it available for purchase in my Craftsy Store, listed as Shine: Circles Quilt Finishing Instructions, so you can finish off your quilt.  For those in EU countries with VAT tax, you have an option to use the pattern in the PayHip shop.

The last four circles — numbers 13 to 16 — are also available as a PDF download pattern in my Craftsy store: Final Four Blocks from Shine, but because the tutorials are image-heavy, I’ve kept the instructions on the blog.

I’ve loved creating these and sharing them for free, so I hope you’ve enjoyed grabbing them and making them.  At some point in the future, I’ll start moving the downloads to Craftsy, as I’m trying to gather all my patterns there for ease in locating them.  Sometimes it gets hard to navigate blogs, even with the excellent search engine that my blog software provides.

Shine Sashing inspiration

Where did I get the inspiration for the finishing?  One day when I was walking around San Diego, I looked up and saw the facade of the building and thought, aha! — those crosses with circles would be perfect in between my circles.  I ended up leaving off the circles as my quilt had a lot going on , but your quilt may be different, so you decide (the option is in the pattern).

Zagreb doorway design churchAnd the border?  I started here, in this archway from the church in Slovenia, with those triangles.  But again, I wanted my circles — and all that handwork — to stand out, so I simplified it with trapezoidal pieces in between the triangles.

Refer to the main SHINE page, for links to each block.

Thanks for all your support and EPP love while I’ve been working on this project. Happy Piecing!