Wednesday 15 June 2016

Circle Quilt Update

Day 3 of the New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop

It's been a while since I told you of my circle quilt plans, but as you know Bluebell Woods took over. Now she is finished, apart from The Final Chapter, Secrets Revealed on Friday, I can concentrate on the circles quilt, which hasn't got a proper name yet.

So, a reminder, this was my first fabric pull

Not fine tuned yet.  And this is where I was up to

Now, how about showing you what I did first.

The first thing I did was to decide about the quilt style and size.  I had look at a number of circle quilts, but the circles were mostly too big or too small, so I drew it out.  When I was sort of happy with it I counted the blocks so I could determine the size.  My layout of the blocks I decided to be 6 x 6, a nice square and I decided on an 8 inch block.   That gives me  a size of 48 inches square before borders.   Fine, I can get 5 blocks out of an 8.5 inch strip, so I need 7 x 8.5 inches for my background, 59.5 inches plus a little wiggle room to allow for straightening and such.  I decided on 2 meters, then I would have a little left over for scrappy backgrounds, but 2 yards works too.  I can only buy in meters and centimetres in the UK.

Now the circles.  I knew I wanted quarter circles in two corners of the squares, so it wasn't too busy.  I drew part of the square to make my template and marked 4.5 inches to allow for the seam allowance. Actually I didn't have my thinking head on as it should have been 4.25 inches, but it makes little difference.  I got out my compasses which I bought when I started quilting and had never used in 10 years, REALLY, and I kept them all this time.  So, I drew my quarter circle for the template.  I could have just drawn around a dish of the approximate size either, the halved and quartered it, but my brain doesn't always think in the logical way, until I have finished the hard way that is.  Next I glued the paper to the back of a cereal box and cut it out.  If it was something I would use in the future I would have used a plastic template sheet but it's likely to be a one off.

Then it was just a matter of drawing around the template on freezer paper, and cutting them out.  I ironed the papers on to the back of the fabric. and left a quarter inch on the curve so I could turn it under and tack in place followed by a zap with the iron for a nice sharp edge.  The seam allowance is already included on the straight sides.

Then it was just a matter appliqueing the circles to the background.  I like to use silk thread, I have a collection I have built up over the years and some colours are very versatile, but any thread does, thinner thread is better than a thicker one though.  Yes, I could have made them using a drunkards path method, but I like the look of an appliqued circle.  I didn't want to do bonded applique because I intend to trim the background just before stitching the blocks together to reduce bulk.  I could of course have removed the paper leaving the edge turned under, and tacked the fabric to the background before stitching it with a buttonhole stitch.  

So this is where I'm up to.  12 of the blocks are ready for the next stage, 12 quarter circles ready to be appliqued.  When that is done I will be halfway through that bit. 

This will give you an idea of where I'm going.   Although I have used several different fabrics at this stage I obviously need more.  I ended up purchasing a pack of 20 10 inch squares of Amish Jewels to give me more variety without spending a lot more money.  Maybe I should have done that in the first place but I really like the textured read as solids.   I have a thought about shaking it up a bit to give it a bit of oomph.  I'll wait until all the blocks are finished first, but before I stitch them together.

So, what do you think so far?  Is it what you expected?  If you like the look of it but it's the wrong size for you there are two options.  Either increase or reduce the size of the blocks and circles, say use 10 inch blocks and make 5.5 inch circles, or 6 inch blocks and 3.25 circles.  Or, make more blocks until it is the right size for you.  I'm thinking about a 1 inch dark grey border and a four inch border with blocks of the inner colour, maybe.  Ha anyone got any ideas? I'm open to suggestions.

My giveaway is open until Saturday night, that would give you 18 x 10 inch squares towards the fabric if you wanted to make a circles quilt,  There again you may have something totally wonderful you would rather make instead.  Just leave a comment on Bluebells post and for a second entry let me know how you follow me.  Winner to be announces next Wednesday.

I'm revisiting an old post to complete another project tomorrow, and I am so pleased with it.  No I won't tell you, it's a surprise.

I am so enjoying my week on the New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop.  If you missed my introduction post it is here.  The other quilters in my group are;

Miranda @ I Have Purple Hair

I'm looking forward to seeing you tomorrow

Linking up with 


  1. Good morning! Another delightful post with lots of good information! I love the rich colors of the circles. I'm like you in that I prefer hand Applique when I can. I just like that whole process. I'm slow and methodical and I like the step by step action. For me, it's soothing, even if it does take me forever to finish! Well done, Kate! Your plan sounds perfect! XO

  2. I enjoyed reading of your method for doing this quilt. I like how it is coming together and love those colors!

  3. Keep going, once you get all your blocks together it's going to be gorgeous!

  4. Kate, this is going to look great! I probably would have made a template as well.

  5. You get very good results with your applique method. I'm not sure I would have the patience for this.

  6. Great post, Kate! It was very interesting and educational to read your process. Those fabrics you are using are scrumptiously vivid! Your circles are really fun and modern looking but I'm with Lisa, I don't think I would have the patience to do it myself. I'll enjoy watching you!

  7. You have a wonderful quilt going here! Lovely colors and so modern looking. I really thought you explained your process well. It felt like I was making this quilt with you!

    I think you have great ideas for finishing it, but if you like pieced borders, that might add a nice contrast to the roundness of the blocks.

  8. Your use of solids is a good choice and the directions you gave, along with alternatives, are very clear. I like to know a person's thinking process, which gives it a personal touch. Congrats on designing, planning and accomplishing this so far. Can't wait for the finish!

  9. I like where this is going. I've always avoided curved sewing, but having had a mini class on curved piecing, I'm ready to go.

  10. I love this! I'm wondering about when you take the paper out though. After you hand stitch? And did you baste the pressed curved edge because it wouldn't stay put? I want to make this, but will machine applique. Hand applique makes my hands sore. :( Thank you for the tutorial!

    1. Hi Sue, you came up as a no reply blogger so I can't reply to you direct. You can change this in settings.
      I take the paper out after I appliqué the circles, then I can reuse it. I usually just use it twice as I find it doesn't stick as well if i use it more than that. It could be because my freezer paper is quite old and I know some use it four or more times. you could try folding the edges over and ironing them to get a sharp crease, remove the paper, then tack to the background and machine in whatever stitch you like. I do like the look of the appliqué, but I think it works better with turned edges in this instance than bonding it.
      Thank you for leaving such an interesting question.

  11. Seeing this project reminded me of the quilt i made for Julia's bed a few years ago. It was ute a project and I hadn't a lot of experience at the time. But it is basically this pattern, plus sashing. Here is a link if you want to take a peek.

  12. Kate, thanks for sharing your method! I love how you get perfectly smooth edges and the stability is there when sewing them down. Keep going!

  13. Your circles look wonderful! I love the colors you chose -- they look great together.
    --Nancy. (ndmessier @,

  14. Hi Kate, it's nice to know exactly how you have done this, thank you for the detail. I think I would use this method too as I find the bonded fabric is so hard to stitch through. The circles with a grey border, surrounded by colour blocks sounds stunning! Looking forward to seeing it finished.
    Barbara xx


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