Wednesday 14 February 2018

Finished at Last

This week it's all about Circles, apart from a smidge of news, and maybe a sneak peak, of my secret sewing.

But first in all it's glory I give you...........

Circles.  Goodness knows I have tried to give it  another name, but I can only think of it as Circles, so Circles it is.

To quilt it first I secured the blocks going around the circles and diamonds, then I did a meander on the background with Aurifil 2600,  pale grey to allow the quilting to blend in.  The circles was a more difficult decision, I wanted a variegated thread so I decided to use what I had, King Tut 936, quite a strong yellow red and green, if I had realised it would take so much (I ran out and had to buy more) I would have probably bought a paler one, but I didn't.  I quilted pebbles in the circles varying it only with the odd double one.  I'm not proficient at quilting and this was my the first time I had used a meander or pebbles, in fact only the second time I had free motion quilted but I think it's high time I made use of all the Craftsy classes I have bought and take a step away from my walking foot.

I left the diamonds unquilted.

The borders were more difficult, I ended up staying with a small meander in the background borders and doing a single line with big pebbles, I say pebbles, circles they are not!

Want to see the back?

I really must apologise for the shocking colours, it is so difficult taking pics at this time of year when it is so dull and rainy.  However, there is nowhere to hide using a contrasting colour on a plain background is there?

You have seen the back before.  All I did was stitch together leftovers of various sizes and shapes adding in pieces of the background, adding large pieces of the background top and bottom to make it long enough to make a panel for the back.  I cut a piece of standard width fabric about two thirds across and inserted the panel.  It uses up leftovers and allows me to use standard width fabric therefor saving money.

You can see the quilting better here, the meander varies a little in size but all in all I'm fairly pleased with it.

You can see the pebbles and wonky border circles here, I'm not sure if I should go back and add some more quilting to the coloured border, what do you think?

For those of you who have only started reading recently here is how I made it.

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.  The block layout I decided to be 6 x 6,  and I decided on an 8 inch block.   That gave me  a size of 48 inches square before borders.   Fine, I can get 5 blocks out of an 8.5 inch strip, so I needed 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 was 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.

 I didn't want to do bonded applique because I intended 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, in fact if I ever consider making it again I will probably do just that as some of my appliqué stitching started to come away a little I noticed when I was quilting it, so I zapped it with the machine.  See, I always tell you the things I could have done better.

When I put them together they were fine but just a bit ordinary and needed some more interest.  

 So, I added a stitch and flip triangle to the plain corners using 1.5 inch squares.

 I added a one inch finished background border, a two inch finished coloured border, and another 1 inch finished background border.  The grey of the diamonds was added as cornerstones to the coloured border. 

I used the grey diamond fabric for the binding, which had posed a bit of a problem as I had used fabric I had, only the shop didn't have any more, panic!  However a bit of hunting and two fat quarters were found so it has a 'few' more joins than normal but it's hardly noticeable.  Good job I went for the extra fabric straight away, I'd never get it now.  So there it is, it ended up 56 inches square.

My last post about circles, sad :-(  There again I will be talking about Gypsy for at least a couple more years until that's finished so there is my consolation.  No I haven't made the back yet, too busy with..........secret sewing!

Yes I promised a sneak peak, didn't I?

Here it is, all layered and basted, ready to start quilting in a couple of days!  What?  You didn't think I was about to show you the front did you?

Ok, as you can probably tell it is a quilt, rather than a wall hanging or something.  What's it for?  For Cheryl and Paige's Modern Plus Sign Book Hop starting on May 12th.

There are over 40 bloggers taking part, I will be posting on March 21st and you will see my version of one of the quilts.  The book is out now and available in hardcopy and a digital version.  I made a block for a group quilt in the book too, ages ago, I feel as if I've been keeping this secret for eons.

I have been doing lots of other stuff this week but I ran out of time to tell you, I've been chasing squirrels too, but more about that next time.

Until then,
With smiles from,
Kate x

Linking up with:
Midweek Makers
Let's Bee Social
Wednesday Wait Loss
Needle and Thread Thursday 
Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?
TGIFF Hosted by Lisa In Port Hope
Finished Or Not Friday
Crazy Mom Quilts


  1. pretty! - a lot more quilting then I would attempt though. love your colors

  2. Love your quilting on this! And those tiny grey diamonds were the perfect choice. Thanks for linking up to Wednesday Wait Loss. Happy Valentine's Day!

  3. Circles looks fantastic, congratulations on the big finish! And lovely backing for both circles and your secret sewing. I'm doing some secret sewing myself for the same blog hop and am very excited to see what everyone makes. :)

  4. Circles is wonderful! Thank you for sharing your finish - fantastic, Susan

  5. What a beautiful quilt. I like the added squares at the intersections. And the back is just as beautiful as the front.

  6. You did such a great job on Circles! The texture is wonderful, all pebbly and stipply. The stitching is really, really good for your first big FMQ project. You should be proud! Lovely backing on your Plus sign book piece; bright green is almost a neutral, isn't it? Goes with all the other bright colors :)

  7. I can't believe that's only your second time free motion quilting. It looks great. I think the border quilting is fine if it's a wall quilt. If you're going to wash it, the unquietly parts might "poof up" a little. I might be wrong, but it's something to think about. It's really beautiful.

  8. It looks gorgeous, Kate. The flip and stitch triangles werenthe perfect addition. And that! You did an amazing job and you should be very please with your phenomenal progress.

  9. Yeah. It's finished. It's amazing. Circles works for the name. I made an orange quilt years ago, and people always tell me to name my quilts, which I don't, but the orange quilt is called the Orange Quilt. ha ha ha ha

  10. Yay, it's finished! I'm whooping it up here, doing a happy dance for you! I love both the front and the back of the quilt. Those colors just pop! I'm in the very beginning stages of GW, still puzzling over some of it. I just bought Cheryl and Paige's book and I'm itching to make something soon!

  11. What a beautiful finish, Kate! So proud of you for going outside of your comfort zone on the quilting. You did an EXCELLENT job! I'm looking forward to seeing how you decide to quilt your secret sewing!! :D

  12. Circles is beautiful!! Your quilting is wonderful. Truly a bright, happy, wonderful quilt.

  13. Wow! Outstanding job with the quilting. If that's only your second go at FMQ there's hope for me yet! I got pretty excited when you said you were giving us a sneak peek at the secret quilt... Looks like you're going to make us wait!

  14. Feels like I have been waiting outside the labor room for ages to finally hear the cries of the newborn :-) Circles has been in the making so long - it was like being pregnant. Now that she is here, I love everything about her. She was definitely worth the wait.
    Love the finished quilt, love the quilting but the best part is the back. Ooh so beautiful. Hope you are keeping her. I mean how could you part with her?

  15. I think your FMQ is outstanding! We all start somewhere, but you have a leg up already, and are well on your way. The purple border? No, I think the traveling circles are enough. I definitely think we can over quilt things as well as under, but it's ultimately your decision. Does it visually feel like it needs more there? Can it just be on the outer edge without a filler? try a touch at a time. And leaving the triangles alone worked well, IMO. Not everything needs a stitch in it to behave, and that's ultimately why we add quilting.

    Clapping for your finish, and cheering for your secret sewing!

  16. So happy for you for finishing circles! And so proud of you to break into FMQ-you did awesome! It turned out wonderful.

  17. This is stunning, and adding the little triangles made a huge difference to the quilt. Your quilting is amazing, I have to admit to still doing straight lines most of the time. x

  18. It's wonderful! Your choices of Quilting are just the right touch and highlight the circles so well. Thanks for showing us your process. Congratulations on this special finish.

  19. Wow, Circles was absolutely worth the wait! Your quilting is amazing! I will miss seeing it, though, I think it was in one of the first blog posts of yours I ever read, right after the blog hop in 2016.

  20. Your quilting on circles is wonderful. I'm looking forward to the quilt you made with Cheryl and Paige's book. I received my book yesterday and I love it. I'm wishing I could join you in the blog hop but my life was so crazy in the fall I couldn't commit to anything. Oh well next time.

  21. Your Circle Quilt is just beautiful and I am amazed at the wonderful quilting you did. I was wondering why you had to buy a kit for the Postcard QAL thinking that you had fabric but I can see that you may have used up your solid stash with this quilt. The colors just make me happy.

  22. I was admiring the quilting right away. I had no idea it was your first quilt done with free motion. Congrats on a lovely finish.

  23. The Circles quilt turned out FANTASTIC! You did a wonderful job with the quilting on it. I love it!

  24. Circles is fitting, as is the quilting - well done!

  25. Those long term projects are incredibly satisfying I know. I love the colours you used and how the quilting shows up on the back. Thanks for linking to TGIFF!

  26. Hooray for being brave and expanding your fmq skills. I am still struggling with letting go of the practice sandwiches and attempting the "real quilts". I have a plan to start a rather large quilt that will have a lot of pebbling right after QuiltCon. It may be a crazy thing to do...

  27. Congrats on a beautiful finish. The front is so colorful and fun. The quilting looks really cool from the back.

  28. Kate, I'm spinning in circles for your finish! You did an amazing job, designing and bringing your vision to life. And give yourself a huge pat on the back, because you are rocking your free motion foot!

  29. Beautiful finish! I love the detail the quilting adds to the design. I am looking forward to seeing the plus book quilt!

  30. Congratulations on a finish. That is a really cute quilt and I am just amazed at your FMQ skill. I have tried meandering stitch several times and usually work myself into a corner, or my stitches are loose, or on top of each other, or something. Yours looks perfect! I love the border you put on it.

  31. Oh you did keep that secret well. I look forward to your turn on the blog hop. And I simply love your circles quilt. I love the bright colours, it is so vibrant. It is on my list to make a circles quilt of my own, interesting that you made your own template. I will have a lot of pieces of fabric all ready for this.


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With smiles from,