Wednesday, January 20, 2016

a new journey of circles

Last year I participated in a lot of smaller swaps and made loads of pillow covers but only finished one large quilt - my easypatchwork Advanced Sampler (which I have not shown simply due to its large size). This is hard for me to believe, because I started out making only bed and lap size quilts. I love to "use" my quilts. I generally do not display my quilts nor my finished patchwork pieces; you might not even get that I am a quilter if you entered my home. My large quilts, on the other hand, are completely in use. We have our favorites around here which stay neatly folded in the living room.

Leaves a'Flutter, American Primer and the Man's Quilt are our favorites!

I decided I want to make another large quilt this year and have been looking around to see what really interests me. After more than 10 years of quilting, I want to sew what really interests me. Last year, it was on a journey of 60° triangles. And this year, circles seem to be catching my attention.

NOTE: I love men's quilts! I have always loved men's rugged, outdoor clothing-style. I still love it and realize I need this warm feeling in my living room. In total contrast to my sewing room which is white on white on white wood, my living room is dark on dark wood with a dark red sofa and dark quilts. I am not typically drawn to white/bright and colorful quilts for actual use. They just don't "comfort me." What is your opinion about this?

Around October last year, I started picking out circular designs that interested me and started writing them down to explore them in further detail. I first made the Little Bits Mug Rug by Alexia Marcelle Abegg. Honestly, that was one of the hardest circle designs I have sewn other than an adapted Western Compasses due to the tiny bock size of three inches. Segments less than one inch are hard to sew with a curved seam.

LBMR - Sewn with Timeless Treasure Tong Treat Batiks
One pattern that really caught my eye is this one from Denyse Schmidt. It doesn't look like a typical, traditional Drunkard's Path block. I like the white background and white segments included to make the "path" look more like a cogwheel. I was totally mesmerised by this block/quilt.

Pattern from Denyse Schmidt written in 2009
I ordered the pattern. Then I realized, Denyse Schmidt designs fabric too; fabric that I love!! (I actually have bought her fabric in the past, but didn't think too much about fabric designers or their styles nor my style.) I tried to order fabric around Christmas to maximize my € through sales in the United States. I was not successful as I wanted to be. My challenge was this: I didn't want to use just one collection; I wanted to use them all!! My basic color scheme was black, brown and some bright colors. I mapped out the quilt in my head and started ordering a few fabrics primarily from her Katie Jump Rope collection.

Denyse Schmidt Fabrics from the new Katie Jump Rope and (older) Franklin
After reading the pattern a few times, I decided I wanted to make the quilt with Robert Kaufman's Essex Linen in Linen and not Robert Kaufman's Bone as written. I thought natural linen might be too strong in color. It is also rather hard to interpret from a PC monitor what a color really looks like; I do not have any fabric store close by that sells RK linens. I looked around some online shops in Germany and in the US. Not one store sold all of these fabrics!! (The Essex Linen in Linen is almost bright white.)

Now it was going to get serious! It is not cheap to import great quilting fabrics. For every order I make, I have to include 25€ for shipping and add 20% (of the total order + shipping) for German Sales Tax (Mehrwertsteuer). Import tax is not included on orders less than 150€ (if I remember correctly.) When I make an order, I try to spend about 100€/$ to maximize my spending. I had to see exactly how much of each fabric I needed! How?

My New Collection of DS Fabric Charms
 Easy! I recreated the quilt with EQ7 so I could see how the fabrics played together and to find out the quantities of each fabric used. (Although my quilts usually look different than the planned idea, it is a great starting point.) I need a few more oranges and yellow and maybe another blue or green. I changed the colors and fabrics to my taste. I printed out my fabric requirements and checked off what I already had (ordered just two weeks ago.)

Planning it all Out

I looked for one shop that had all of my fabrics but that was not possible. No one had them all. In the end, I ordered from four different shops; Fabricworm for the original pattern, the Fat Quarter Shop, Pink Castle Fabrics and and am still waiting on a couple of fabrics. Once again, I had to maximize my spending and ordered a few more things too. Because if I am going to spend some money, I should buy more more beautiful fabric as well, don't you think?

And this is the last shipment. It literally arrived just 10 minutes ago. You know what that means don't you? Time to get started.

Last Shipment of Fabrics - now I must stop writing and start working!!
First up, washing fabric. I don't normally pre-wash except for backing fabric, but if the fabric/pattern designer writes that, then I must do it.

Thanks for dropping by!


  1. Oh da bin ich ja gespannt. Vom Bild her sieht der quilt sehr schön und Modern aus.
    Lg Sylvia

  2. I love the pattern and the fabrics you have chosen.

  3. I am also not the bright guy - I need it a little darker in my cosy home. Having some serious discussions with my husband lately about painting parts of the living room and sleeping room something darker than white. I'd like to make it a grey which would suit perfectly to our oak wooden floor. Wish me luck. :-)
    Have you seen Parson Grey's fabric - it is really manly and darkish - I love it. Bought myself some FQs which were on sale in German quilt shops. I only do buy abroad if one fabric I "need" isn't available in Germany - so far ;-)
    Love your circle idea and am looking forward to your next projects. Maybe you can show something in April. :-)
    cya, Eva

  4. Das wird sicher ganz schön ...
    LG, astrid

  5. Oh, finally it arrived - I knew you were waiting impatiently :-) The pattern looks great and I'm sure this will be an amazing quilt!

  6. Viel Spaß mit dem neuen Quilt! Du hast Dir ja richtig viele Gedanken gemacht bis Du das Richtige gefunden hast!

  7. I find I often gravitate toward dark greens and browns. I think it is the pull of nature. Germany has a 20% import tax?!? Sheesh! I can see why you had to plan so carefully. What a shame you had to go to four different places and pay the high shipping four times. Sometimes being an expat stinks, doesn't it, but generally, I must say I love living in safe and comfy Japan.

  8. Circles are great and I definitely love your selected pattern. Now I am curious how your fabrics look like in the pattern.
    I am rather the light color type but in winter time I still take out my dark red-beige quilts to keep me really warm. When trying to organize my stash after Christmas, I found that I have tons of reds and neutral to black farbics but almost no blue and greens. I will stick to that color scheme in 2016.

  9. Quick finishes are great, but I can totally relate to the desire to get your teeth in something big again.


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