Friday, October 1, 2021

Playin' Around

Back in April, in an Instagram giveaway I won a large box of fat quarters - all 100 colors of Benartex Superior Solids. When they arrived, I began cutting (using the Classic Curves Ruler) and piecing set-in circles. For months I've continued to play, somewhat listlessly, without any clear direction. 

The last time I share a picture of my design wall, blocks looked like this. 

For two reasons, I needed to get moving on this project! It's my entry in the South Florida MQG "Curve Around Challenge," and I want to enter this into QuiltCon (entry deadline is October 31). For those who don't know, QuiltCon is the Modern Quilt Guild's annual show (February 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona), and to have a quilt in the show it must be accepted first - juried in.

One morning last week I opened my print stash doors and stared inside, wondering if I could find inspiration. Then, voilá! A lightbulb turned on! I unearthed a leftover piece of a large black and white check. How would it look cut into strips as spacers between circle blocks? I liked it!

That fabric was just the inspiration I needed to re-ignite the design. 

I kept making circles, trying a variety of different styles - with stripes, plain, half circles, quarter circles - and made smaller circles using Applipops purchased from The Craft Table in Orlando.

I used my Bernina appliqué foot #20C; a size 60 Microtex needle, and Wonderfil Invisifil thread to zig-zag stitch circles into place. Last Monday I had my nails redone, and unintentionally, they looked pretty good with the circles I machine-appliquéd!

I dug out some yellowing Carol Doak Foundation Paper to cut into pieces that I positioned behind each circle, to help stabilize zig-zag stitches. Tearing it away was it bit of a bother.

A couple days later, the design started to come together. I worked from the top to the bottom, doing the math to make sure blocks fit together - a few had to be re-made larger - adding Applipop circles as I went. It took quite a bit of switching back and forth - from machine-appliqué to piecing - that required many foot and thread change-outs.

Here it was about one-third pieced together. 

Determined to finish the top by the end of September, I stayed up late Thursday night to complete it. Whoo-ee! I couldn't be happier! This weekend I'll prep parts for the quilt sandwich. The top is 61" X 70". This time I'm planning to use Quilter's Dream Puff batting to make the quilting pop.

Playin' Around is what I plan to call it because that's exactly what I did as I made it; I enjoyed playing with circles.

This week of intense sewing has meant a lot of pedal-to-the-metal, so today I gave my Bernina a thorough vacuum-out, wiping down, and oiling. She deserves it.

This is week 5 of the Finger Paints QAL, and these are blocks 7 and 8. I'm keeping up with weekly goals and posting pics to Instagram so as to be in the running for weekly prizes. 

Only block 9 remains to be pieced; it's due next Friday. 

After making the circle quilt top, my sewing room was mess! Just believe me when I say that there were lots of scraps, piled up and tossed here and there that I rooted through often to find parts and bits of this or that particular color. But it was very satisfying to clean up today! I added scraps to my shoebox bins of color-sorted scraps. 

When I have some uncommitted time, won't I will have a good play, piecing from several of these shoeboxes?

These past five days found me so focused on sewing that I didn't listen to a book, as I usually do. Instead, with lots of goals running through my mind, I've been ticking things off a mental check list. October will be a busier-than-usual month.

On Saturday and Sunday afternoons I'll be tuning in to the Global Quilt Connection virtual program: All Star Virtual Sampler Platter

Tuesday I'm giving a Big Stitch Quilting and More program and demo to members of my local Big Cypress Quilters. 

Next Saturday is the Central Florida MQG meeting from which I'll have to hurry home to attend Intriguing Interleaves, a virtual workshop with Mel Beach.

I'm playing hard these days... and lovin' every minute of it! Linda


  1. This turned out so beautifully after all that dabbling and playing, Linda! Everything quilty keeps you plenty busy. And happily so.

  2. Congrats on the finish - so much fun to look at!

  3. Your circles look wonderful with the black and white! I appreciate your sharing the technical details on how you did the appliqué. It will be fun to see it all quilted.

  4. Congratulations on powering through Playing Around, Linda. It looks awesome! Who knew? We just spent 3 hours together (online!) I was watching the All-Star Sampler Platter, too. Best of luck with the deadlines you've got on your plate and enjoy that upcoming class with Mel Beach. (I'm more than a little jealous!)

  5. The black and white check sure was inspirational! I love where this is going!

  6. The black and white coping strips on “ Playin’ Around” are simply genius! They bring the eye on different paths, so to ultimately explore the whole quilt. You are so talented🌸🌺🌸

  7. I love the quilt, but then I've never seen one you've made that wasn't wonderful. The applipops look like fun. The black and white is truly great in this piece. I am now back in my sewing rooms as D and J left for home yesterday. Wonderful fun when your adult kids come. Congrats on another great piece of art.

  8. Your circles add a lot of playfulness and movement. I like the Applipop for very small circles too.
    The graphic black and white are such a good unifyer. It has been great to watch this project progress.
    Your schedule sounds busy and full of quilting fun

  9. Your improv circles look way fun to create in all those shades of solids! You'll have fun with all the scrappy bits in those boxes too. String quilt?

  10. As always, you continue to be an inspiration! I love sewing curves and will tag this post for review when I’m ready to tackle another circle quilt! As my scraps build up around me, I see them through new eyes. Happy sewing!

  11. Theres's a color explosion going on in your studio and I love it! The stripe choice is a great addition to your circle quilt too. You'll have so much fun quilting that one. Can't wait to see what you do.

  12. I'm not surprised your nails match your circles! Its only fitting! I love the addition of black/white. It will be a winner! Its been fun to follow you on the QAL, you get so much accomplished in what seems to be a short amount of time. Very encouraging! I move at a snails pace on projects.

  13. Just read a post by Ricky Timms...... he was at the Villages in Florida and showed a picture of the group he addressed..... I looked hard but could not find you......were you there?

  14. So good to see the rapid progress you've made with Playin' Around. Lovely to see a 'hanging around' project get an injection of inspiration and transform into the focus of attention.


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