The Vintage Pink Basket Quilt

Is there anything better than a day (or two or three or fifty four) spent working with vintage quilt blocks? 🙂


I bought this quilt on eBay for $33.99, when it arrived I had a pretty good understanding of not being 100% truthful in advertising…but I liked the idea of a grand challenge and this quilt certainly presented one! See the picture captions for information later today I’ll do. Blog post at: RhondaDort.com

Here’s the original quilt, stains and stink galore!

The ivory is a light weight muslin. The quilt is tied with something heavier than Pearl Cotton.

This shows one example of the problems across the quilt. The baskets are all hand pieced and so many of the treads are broken.

Also, the ties seem to be very random, no order or plan could be seen.

So this is what the batting looked like. I’m wondering if many of the quilt stains were a result of the raw cotton? I think this is raw or uncleaned cotton? Anyone have some thoughts and/or experience with this? I realize and seriously do appreciate that the original quilter used what she had available, please don’t think I am faulting her!

Once deconstructed and soaked, many of the stains and 100% of the odor are gone. This is the wet quilt top laid out on my tile floor and left to dry.

Here’s a “before”, below is the “after.

You can see that most but not all of the stains came out. Are you also noticing the piecing? It is interesting…

Lots more to come in the next few days/weeks, all of this quilt has undergone quite a transformation.

Blessings and happy quilting, Rhonda

Fixing the Red Dresden Plate Quilt Top, Part 3

Reminding you what the quilt top looked like before I began to make changes:

I removed each of the Dresden Plates including their big red center circles.

While the outer edges of the Dresden were raw edge embroidery stitched in place, the center circle raw edges were turned under, maybe about 1/8th”.

After pressing the circle flat, using an acrylic circle template, I marked and then scissor cut the circle. I’m not keen on needle turn applique and have decided to machine applique stitch both the center red circle and the Dresden outer scalloped edges.

After I have cut/trimmed the center circles I rely on Elmer’s Washable School Glue to hold them in place making my machine applique stitching easier.

I use Elmer’s on so many of my projects, but…they must be projects that I KNOW will take a trip through my washer/dryer once finished. As a reminder, Elmer’s, once dry is quite difficult to hand stitch through. Keep this in mind if you plan handwork on a project you might think about gluing.

BUT…what happens when the inner circle is so misshapen that the newly trimmed old red circle just barely covers the inner Dresden petal edge(s)?

I love a product by Bosal, it is a very lightweight, think almost handkerchief, light one sided fusible. By pressing a small rectangle over the edge of the short petal I can solve the problem.

I am sewing this project on a Bernina 550QE and am utilizing stitch number 1329. I chose a nice matte finish red sewing thread in both the needle and bobbin.

Remember from blog post 2 about this project I mentioned the irregular center circles of the Dresdens? This picture shows you just how misshapen things are.

It is easy to trim away the excess petal fabrics making for a better visual from the quilt top front. By trimming away this excess I did not have to worry about the solid yet thin red fabric will show the bumps and humps and raggedy edges of the underneath. By doing this unnecessary but appropriate step I’m confident that from the front side things will look ship-shape.

I stitched the centers on each of the 12 Dresdens and now I’m ready to reattach them to the quilt top.

The next step will be to place the Dresdens back on the quilt top and stitch them securely in place.

After I am confident the Dresden is centered, I use two vertically positioned pins at the top and bottom. This pinning technique allows me to fold the right side nearly in half. I next run a thin bead of Elmer’s along the outer scalloped edges and carefully flip the Dresden back in place. Finally I dry press to set the glue. Dry press because there’s no reason to add moisture (steam) to a liquid (glue) that I am trying to dry.

Repeat on the left side of the Dresden.

Using the machine applique stitch once again, I reattach the Dresden Plates along the outer scalloped edge.

When I had all the Dresdens once again attached to the quilt top I was so excited that I forgot to take a picture! ☹️ For several days I had been mulling over how to add some interest to the plain red 3 1/2” finished sashing strips.

After auditioning several solid color fabrics I finally decided on this warm green cotton. Remember, the red and light ivory fabrics are a poly cotton blend?

All I had to do was very carefully, with my ruler and rotary cutter, slice the sashings in half and insert a 1 1/2” green strip that finished to 1”. I began with the top sashing and worked my way down the quilt one row at a time so that I never had more than one slashed sashing at a time.

Once I had all the horizontal sashings finished I started on the vertical ones.

A close-up of the quilt top lower right corner.

I really love how the green strips change up the solid light ivory cornerstones into 4 separate small squares.

Oh I seriously love this result!

Can you see that the addition of the green strips added 4” to the width and 5” to the length? My quilt top now measures 73×98 and is ready for the longarm for some custom hand-guided quilting when I can get to it…🙂 Hopefully soon! I am very happy with the outcome, sure hope the original quilter would be too as I had a wonderful quilt top to start this project!

Blessings to all and happy quilting, Rhonda

Fixing the Red Dresden Plate Quilt Top, Part 2

As a reminder, this is the quilt top before any changes were made.

I knew I wanted to remove the Dresdens as well as their center red circles.

I’ve successfully detached each of the 12 Dresden Plates and this is what I was left with.

I then removed each of the center red circles.

What I’m facing now is how to handle the Dresdens, the wonky center opening as well as the various lengths of the actual petal pieces themselves.

This is an acrylic template laid atop of the center and you can see all is not well with the mis-shaped opening.

The petals ranged from 5 1/4” to 5/3/4” in length.

But before I addressed the centers and the petal lengths I tackle the various drab fabrics by dressing them up with vintage laces, trims and sheer fabrics.

Once I added laces, etc., using the built in stitches on my Bernina I address the seams. First I press all seam allowances in the same direction and then using a matte finished 50 weight light ivory thread, I stitch directly over each seam allowance.

Compare the two pictures above to see the difference the laces and decorative stitches have made.

I used 2 different decorative stitches on each Dresden, alternating seams.

And here’s the same Dresden with the red center circle laying atop.

I like how the trims and the ivory stitches give the Dresden Plate a bit of interest. I did the same thing to the remaining 11 blocks.

In this picture above, the fabric to the right on the newsprint strip is very light weight, maybe rayon fabric. I knew it would not hold up well to the decorative stitching. By placing this paper strip directly beneath the seam I could easily stitch and then peel it away.

I used another acrylic circle template to tidy up the outer edge curves of the individual petals.

It took a long time to both mark and then scissor trim the curves but it was time well spent.

This is something I’ve never encountered before…this is how the quilter started and stopped her machine straight stitching. As you can imagine, this made for some interesting seams from the front of the quilt. I spent time correctly making the straight connection between these two stitch lines.

Stay tuned, there’s more to come in the next few days! The first blog post about this project is dated Jan. 22, scroll back a few days to find out how this all started. Blessings and happy quilting, Rhonda

Class 4, The Double Wedding Ring Quilt, Blog Post #7

Isn’t it wonderful to see your DWR project coming together! By this point in your construction you have:

1. Chosen your fabrics, 2. Secured your templates, 3. Selected your vintage linens, 4. Cut your block centers, 5. Attached your vintage block feature pieces, 6. Cut your Arc fabrics, 7. Sewn together your Arcs, 8. Cut your Small Melons, 9. Sewn your Footballs and WHEW! Can you believe it’s only Jan. 27th!

You have everything laid out in some fashion so you can achieve both a color and visual nice balance and are ready to begin sewing blocks together. I’ve sewn together a lot of crazy shaped quilt blocks together before but never anything close to a Double Wedding Ring quilt top!

You will need a method of keeping your Football shapes in the correct position when moving them from your layout to the sewing machine. I used 4 Flower Head straight pins. I marked them with T B L R: top, bottom, left and right.

BEFORE I remove a Football shape from my design wall, using one of these 4 pins I position them on the Melon piece. The top of the pin indicates the direction of the Football while the letter on the pin indicates the placement with regards to the block center piece. So in the picture above, the top most football needs to be sewn to the left of the center, the Football on the right…sewn to the right side of the block center.

Now…if your Center Blocks are directional, you may wish to create your own system of marking so that when you are stitching you will not have to worry about a center ending up in the wrong orientation.

Carefully fold the center in half and finger press. Do this in both directions, horizontal and vertical.

The Marti Michell templates make a 8 piece Arc making it easy to align the center seam of the arc with the finger pressed center mark of the block center piece. Pin to secure the position of the Football piece.

I used my Accuquilt Go and the DWR Dies to cut my solid arc quilt pieces and was fortunate to have the centers marked already by the tiny little wedges.

You can use just three pins or a multitude of pins to secure your Football piece to the block center. Do what works for you!

You can stitch football side up or melon side up, again find what you’re comfortable with. I chose football up because it allowed me to be sure that the arc seam allowances stayed in the direction they were pressed.

If you are sewing Football side down this is what it will look like as you begin to sew. Remember, begin your stitching at the pre-marked dot from your templates.

Oh I was giddy when I stitched and then flipped my block over and open!

And so it begins! The blocks getting sewn together! This is the first block and the one and only time you will sew together a complete four Football separate block.

From the diagram (thanks Marti Michell) you can see that after that first and only complete block you will now be sewing blocks that have only three Footballs attached to the center. Does this make sense?

The heavy black curvy line above shows how I will be sewing my block pieces together to form a horizontal row.

I have my diagram marked showing horizontal blocks 1-4 and vertical blocks 1-6.

To finish horizontal row one I will sew three more partial complete blocks with a Football shape on the top, the bottom and only the right side.

Ready for horizontal row 2? This time I will sew three Footballs, left, bottom and right. See how I have placed my Flowerhead straight pins accordingly? I absolutely need these markers to keep my pieces positioned correctly as I begin to sew. If you’re like me, don’t rely on memory once those Footballs are lifted from the design wall, after awhile they all begin to look the same! 🤣

Row 2 construction technique is how you will finish each additional row of your quilt top. And you thought this was going to be hard!! Easy-Peasy once you understand and are comfortable with the method!

Happy quilting and blessings, Rhonda

Fixing the Red Dresden Plate Quilt Top, Part 1

A new old project underway. I’m thinking the quilt top maker had good intentions and at a glance everything seems great. But a closer look reveals problems that the quilting of this top will not remedy.

Overall measurements are 69×93 with individual blocks measuring anywhere between 18 and 19 1/2” square-ish and sashings are 3 1/2” wide.

The Dresden Plate measures 14 1/2” across and the red center is 5 1/2” in diameter.

The Dresden petals are all raw edge and were secured to the background fabric by these 3 strand embroidery floss buttonhole stitches. Sometimes the floss was knotted on the back, sometimes the front.

It took an amazing amount of time to remove the red floss stitches.

The red centers were also stitched in place with the red embroidery floss but unlike the Dresden Petals, the edge is turned under.

Throughout the quilt top, seam allowances were arbitrary as was sewing machine thread color.

Removing the Dresdens proved easiest when the floss was cut from the back of the block.

This picture shows the idiosyncrasies in the block construction as well as showing that the Dresden center circle was not trimmed to be a bit smaller than the diameter of the red center piece.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that the Dresden fabrics are mostly garment and possibly drapery with a handful of 1960’s or 70’s quilting (?) cottons. The sashing and block background is a poly/cotton blend. I figure I’ve got nothing to lose by redoing/fixing/embellishing this kind of vintage quilt top. This will be an interesting journey.

All the red embroidery floss took about 2 days to remove and for scale, this is a 6 1/2 cup bowl. 💃🏼💃🏼💃🏼

Happy quilting and blessings, Rhonda

Class 4, The Double Wedding Ring Quilt, Blog Post #6

Class 4 Information, FB Post #6

So how are you progressing through your Double Wedding Ring quilt project? Are you ready for some instruction/pictures of how I recommend the Arcs and the Small Melon be joined to form what I refer to as the Footballs.

📌 But first, let’s talk about the 4 Patches. Your decision about the color(s) comes before making the Footballs. For my Christmas themed quilt I chose both Red and Green, two fabrics that I had not used in piecing my Arcs and I was consistent in the placement of the colors: Red was always horizontal and green was always vertical. Your 4 Patches might be all the same color, two colors such as mine or random scrappy. The shape of the 4 Patch piece is symmetrical so you do not need to cut the template from both the “right side up” and the “wrong side up” like we had to do for the Arc End Pieces.

📌 Once your Football shape is finished, be very careful to place it back in the proper place, in the proper orientation.

By this lesson I am assuming you’ve cut your Arc pieces and have sewn them together.

You should have auditioned your Arcs with your center blocks with the goal of achieving a nice visual balance and have taken a picture of your layout.

By changing your picture to black and white you can see the “light” and “heavy” areas. Make the necessary Arc changes until you are pleased with your project.

Take the time to verify that your Arcs and your template match. With a mechanical pencil, mark the two dots at the top edge.

🧨 Super important! Keeping track of the layout, specifically the Arc orientation (which Arc is right, left, and the top, bottom). Fold a Small Melon piece in half and lightly finger press the fold line.

Do you see how this fold line matches perfectly with my center seam of each Arc?

Using the Small Melon template and a mechanical pencil, mark a dot at the top and bottom of the Melon. Lay the melon on the Arc, right sides together.

Send a straight pin through the two layers of fabric at the dot.

Verify on the back side that the pin pierces the dot. Do you see that I had to slightly reposition my fabric? Once you get your dots lined up perfectly, pin to stitch. Do this on both ends and finally place a pin at the fold line of the Melon that you have matched perfectly with the center seam of the Arc.

I used just 3 pins. If you are more comfortable using more then please do so! Next step…take a deep breath and sew an exact 1/4th” seam.

I like to sew with the pieced Arc on top so I can keep track of all the seam alllwances. If you prefer to sew with the Melon on top, then do so.

Whew! My first Arc is sewn to a Melon! So let’s talk about pressing…so many of the DWR tutorials I found online say to not press anything until the entire quilt top is complete. I just couldn’t do it…I pressed my way through the entire process. You do what you are comfortable with.

Because I am constructing a horizontal football shape I choose two of my red 4 Patch pieces.

Again, with my template I mark the dots.

This picture of the wrong side shows our goal once the 4 patch piece is sewn in place.

And the right side of the 4 Patch sewn in place.

But this is a funny piece, it has a slight concave curve and the end piece of our Arc has a slight convex curve. Concave is an inward curve, convex is an outward curve.

On my red fabric it is very difficult to see in this pic where I have marked my dots but they are there. It is these dots that will keep you on track to sew a perfectly lined up block. As you begin to sew you will easily be able to ease or gently nudge the top fabric to the right so that the fabric edges will meet up. Remember…1/4th” seams!

At this point I was giddy!

Remember the melon fold line? Place this fold line at the Arc center and pin to sew.

Continue to line up your dots and as you do, pin to sew. Take note of my second from the top and second from the bottom pins. It is very important to line these up with the seam line on the underneath side. This may take a bit of practice, it did for me.

Use as many pins as makes you comfortable and again, I’m stressing the 1/4th” seam.

I’m showing you this picture so you can see my Arcs didn’t quite meet up as planned. ☹️ Using my seam ripper I picked out about an inch of stitches, re-pinned and was happy with the results.

Again, just a closeup of my seams that needed work.

After 2 tries, I decided I could live with this foolball. I will try for perfection on my next one! 🙂

Once you get familiar with sewing these curve pieces, you will fly through the rest of your Football shapes!
Happy stitching! Rhonda

Class 4, the Double Wedding Ring Quilt, Blog Post #5

Class 4 Information FB Post #5

This lengthy post is all about DRAFTING template pieces when all you have is an Arc to work with. There are lots of pictures, information can be found in most if not all of the picture captions.

📌 Don’t for ANY REASON think this is hard!! It is remarkably straightforward! You can do it! Sharpen your pencils and let’s begin!

One of our Facebook Group Class members (Bonne Riffle) has these wonderful vintage DWR arcs and it looks like a single Small Melon. Initially this looks quite daunting but…very doable! We are going to take a 30+ pic tutorial journey about creating the missing templates for these arcs.

This is my lonely single pieced arc. It needs additional pieces to eventually become part of a DWR quilt. This is the only piece I have and from this single arc we are going to create the remaining pieces. Are you ready? Press and spray starch the arc taking care to not distort the fabrics and arc pieces. Once starched and pressed, lay the arc on a sheet of white card stock.

Using either transparent tape or blue painters tape, secure the arc to the card stock. Just make sure the arc will not move as you prepare for the next step.

With a mechanical pencil or pen of some sort, very carefully trace around the outside of the arc. You will have to carefully remove the securing tape when the shape has been traced.

Carefully fill in the missing areas blocked by the tape. Once you have filled in the 4 small missing line areas stop and think about what you have: a template for an arc to include 1/4th inch seam allowances. We need to carefully get rid of the seam allowances.

Using a quilting ruler, very carefully begin marking the 1/4th inch seam allowance. But first…think about the line you drew around the pieced fabric arc. You drew a line on just beyond the fabric edge so the newly created template shape is ever so slightly larger than it needs to be. Why worry you might ask? If you are making a quilt that has 64 horizontal/vertical seams for example and your template is just 1/64th inch too big…you will be off by an inch in the end ☹️

Place your ruler 1/4th inch mark just on the inside edge of your new paper template piece.

Follow along the entire paper template edge, marking as shown above.

When you have finished marking, take your newly created paper template over to your printer and make a copy. Mark one as: Master Copy, set this Master aside and do not cut it!

Cut out the photocopied paper template along the black line.

Your next step is to very carefully cut away the marked seam allowances.

When finished cutting, carefully fold your template in half. It should be symmetrical. If not, do just a smidge of trimming.

Use this card stock paper template and trace 3 more.

Cut our the remaining 3 card stock arc templates. Fold an additional arc in half.

On a gridded surface, begin to lay out the 4 arcs in this fashion.

The red arrows show that the two previously folded Arcs need to be on the top and bottom. The fold lines need to be lined up with the grid lines. Work with the two side arcs, carefully positioning them so they just touch the edges of the top and bottom arcs. But take a look at the negative space inside the four arcs…do you see what has been created? The DWR block center piece!

When your arcs are perfectly positioned, and without sneezing…carefully tape the edges as shown in the picture.

Tape each of the four places where the arc points touch each other. Once taped, you will ever so carefully lift the 4 arc piece from the grid and …

Place it onto a sheet of white paper. So here’s where I was so excited that I forgot to take a picture. ☹️ carefully lay the 4 arc piece on the paper and trace along the INSIDE EDGE of the taped 4 arc shape.

TAAAA-DAAAAAA You have just created the block center! Yes you will need to add seam allowances but look at what you’ve done!

Speaking of seam allowances, I ALWAYS mark my templates with exact instructions and in this case it’s all about alerting me to the needed seam allowances to be added later!

Sorry this pics a bit blurry. Talk 2 card stock arcs and position them as above, with their points just barely touching. Trace along the INSIDE edge.

Again, TAA-DAA! You’ve just created the Small Melon template!

So what’s happening here? We need to begin to create the 4 Patch template. This time you will trace only the two top peaks these arcs make when positioned like this.

Follow the pictures for arc template placements and markings to make the 4 Patch template.

The final 4 Patch template marking.

You guessed it….taaa-daaa! You now have the makings of a 4 Patch template! If you wanted a solid fabric piece in your DWR you would be finished.

If you want the more traditional 4 Patch piece, begin placing your ruler and marking as shown in the next few pictures.

Make about a 1” like near the center.

Mark a line from opposite points and you will have identified the exact center of this shape.

Set your ruler at the very tip of the arc and at the point where your two lines cross. Draw a line as shown below.

Cut out the photocopied paper template along the black line.

Your next step is to very carefully cut away the marked seam allowances.

Congratulations, you’ve just created the 4 piece 4 Patch templates!

Are you impressed with your drafting skills!?!

It’s totally up to you about how many pieces make up your pieced arcs. Above you’ll see I’ve sectioned out a 6 piece arc.

See the center arc…did you know you can sew a section of strips of fabrics and cut your arcs from this striped fabric?

Do you now see how easy drafting these pattern pieces can be! You now have created all of your templates, all that is left to do is to add the 1/4th inch seam allowances to each created templates. Obviously if you are working with a few vintage arc pieces they will dictate the number of pieces in your additional arcs.

Happy quilting and blessings,

Rhonda

Class 4, the Double Wedding Ring Quilt, Blog Post #4

Class 4 Information FB Post 4

As you are thinking about the decorative stitching around your vintage linen pieces, no matter what their shape, here are 20 close up pictures of my solid arc DWR as well as a picture of the Bernina built in stitch I used.

Do all your decorative stitches need to be the same like mine are? Absolutely no! Do you need to change the color of your thread to match and/or compliment your linen and surrounding fabrics? Again, no! Remember, this is your project, do what makes your heart sing!

And speaking of stitches…do you “test” your stitch before you sew on your treasured masterpiece you are creating? Hopefully your answer is a resounding “Yes!” Using scrap white or light ivory fabrics, fold or layer two or three pieces together. If your machine allows, try different widths and/or lengths of any stitch. When you find a combo you like, jot down the stitch parameters (width and length). Why…well if you’re anything like me you think you will remember but within a few minutes…well you know what I mean! 🤣😂❤️

For my Christmas themed DWR utilizing the vintage tablecloth I used the same Bernina stitch, #301 but because so much was going on visually I chose to use the same decorative stitch thread color throughout.

Happy stitching and blessings,

Rhonda

Class 4, the Double Wedding Ring, Post 3b

This blog post addresses the Double Wedding Ring quilt that has pieced arcs. I’m showing you below the template set I prefer, the set from Marti Michell. In this blog we will be specifically talking about three pieces: the Pieced Arc End, the Pieced Arc Middle Segment and the Small Melon. Just ignore the center template labeled Four Patch Corner, this template will be addressed another day.

Oh, and what are those little white rectangles? Skateboard Grip Tape! They work wonders for keeping my template securely in place while I am rotary cutting. Because I need to flip the Pieced Arc End template I placed the grip tape on both the front and the back. I bought a large roll of this grip tape online. Just google Skateboard Grip Tape. Oh…and whatever you do, DO NOT CUT THE GRIP TAPE WITH GOOD SCISSORS!

For this quilt I used a vintage Christmas tablecloth and found that I had just 27 of the darling motifs I could cut out so I ended up with a 24 block quilt. Your quilt may be smaller or larger.

I spend several hours choosing my fabrics that would work well with the old tablecloth, paying close attention to using both white and ivories, lots of reds and an equal amount of greens. Many of the fabrics are Christmas themed but definitely not all. It was also important to me that I not use the four patch fabrics in the pieced arcs.

To piece a single multi fabric arc I needed 4 Pieced Arc Middle Segments and 2 Pieced Arc End segments for a total of 6 pieces.

But how many of each piece from any or all the fabrics would I need? I had no idea so I cut a minimum of 15 from a whole bunch of fabrics. As I began sewing I found I was cutting lots more pieces!

But…you need to pay close attention to the Pieced Arc End Segments…look closely at the picture below…do you see that while the center four pieces are identical, the two end pieces are mirror images of each other.

In the picture above you can see that I stacked my pieces on a small 14×14” batting covered piece of cardboard. If you need to make yourself a small board such as this I’d suggest making it at least 16×16”. This little board was invaluable for keeping everything organized and while not super obvious, I had all my Pieced Arc End Segments lined up vertically along the right side.

Oh my goodness, at this point I wanted to stay up all night sewing pieced arcs!

Plan to have a nice mix-up of fabrics/colors. I chain pieced most of the center four pieces, joining together two at a time taking care to not have two similar color fabrics next to each other. Once I’d chained maybe 20 or so groups of two I then chained those 20 together making the center portions of 10 pieced arcs. I’m not a huge fan of chain piecing but it worked great for this project.

📌📌📌📌📌 A HUGELY IMPORTANT THING: pay very close attention to sew AN EXACT 1/4” seam allowance!! 📌📌📌📌📌

You need to audition your arcs just like the class participants making the Solid Arc DWR.

Can you hear my heart go pitter-patter as I look at this picture! Having never made a pieced arc DWR before I knew I was hooked!

Once you have all your Pieced Arcs made and you’re happy with the layout, take a picture. Next change the picture to black and white and see if you are still happy with the layout or if some changes or arc swapping needs to happen.

Speaking of pictures, I say take lots and lots of pictures are you work on your quilt. They provide such a nice record of your progress start to finish of your projects!

Again…do not sew footballs! It’s not time yet!

How are you feeling about your Double Wedding Ring quilt project? It’s exciting isn’t it!

Happy quilting and blessings,

Rhonda

Class 4, the Double Wedding Ring Quilt, Blog Post #3a

This blog post, 3a will address only the Double Wedding Ring quilt with solid arcs as shown in the picture above. You can easily see that this is a 4 block x 5 block quilt. What you will also immediately notice is that the blocks share at minimum 2 Footballs or the shape produced when two Arc pieces, two 4 Patch Corner pieces and one Small Melon piece are sewn together.

The picture below shows the Marti Michell templates that would be used to cut these shapes. Your template pieces may not be identical to those shown below but they will be very similar.

For this quilt, it is very important to determine your decorative stitch thread color all the while auditioning fabrics that will surround each of your quilt block center pieces.

Can you see that I have yet to decoratively stitch around any of the vintage linen circles? I need to be absolutely confident of the fabric arcs before I choose a thread color for any one of the circles. And yes, I used many different thread colors!

Once you are satisfied with the layout of your center block pieces, you will find yourself at the point of experimenting with your fabrics. I began this process by choosing reproduction fabrics, many from the Moda Aunt Grace collection. I cut 8 solid arc pieces from each of about 10 fabrics and began randomly laying them out on the design wall taking care to keep an eye pleasing distance between same fabrics.

Did I absolutely love all the fabrics I chose…no. Instead, I chose fabrics that would work well with and/or compliment the vintage pieces they would surround.

It took me a day or two to cut and place my solid fabric arcs. I was constantly taking pictures looking for visual heavy spots that needed to be addressed.

From previous Classes do you remember about the importance of a black and white picture? Our eyes tend not to see unbalance when looking at color pictures but once we change them to black And white balance or unbalance becomes very obvious.

Look at the two identical pictures below, one in color and one in black and white mono tone:

There are a few areas that “read” heavier than others. You will find the correct placement of fabrics depends on the vintage linens circles composition, the appropriate fabric distribution and the results of your black/white picture. And who said quilting isn’t an art! 🙂

When you are completely satisfied with both your fabric and block center placements you will begin to choose the threads and decorative machine stitches. Once you have securely sewn your circles in place you will be very close to beginning to sew your block pieces together.

Are you ready? Happy stitching and blessings to everyone!

Rhonda