Sunday, June 22, 2014

My Summer of Sunflowers Project

Tools of the TradeAs 21st Century quilters we are blessed to have a plethora of patterns,  tools and technology available to help us design and make quilts. So what I am doing with this stuff?

In January, when I had to come up with a replacement for a missing 12th block for a hand-pieced block of the month, I discovered the elegance of designing a block by hand, using a compass and a technique as easy as folding paper to divide an arc into even segments. I enjoyed the process so much, I knew I wanted to design more blocks this way ... and that's how I decided a summer project: 12 original blocks, pieced by hand, one each week throughout summer.

I started by making the quarter-circle template at the top, using the compass to draw arcs in 1-inch increments, then folding it half and in half again (and again) to create 16 equal segments. I used a rule to draw lines on the creases and then made copies of the template on which I started doodling and coloring block ideas.

Today, I'll be cutting the pieces for the block in the photo.  The sketch peeking through underneath is the proof of concept block I shared earlier this week.

Here is the pieced circle, front and back, before it was pressed and set into the background

Hand-pieced Sunflower Circle   Back of Hand-pieced Sunflower Circle

The circle is 14 inches in diameter, so that even though there are a lot of pieces–67 in this block–they are large enough to be able to sew easily.  It just takes time ... but since I enjoy the process, it's enjoyable time.

Detail of piecingHere's a close look at what that slow-stitching looks like.

The pieced donut shapes are sewn in a continuous line, zig-zagging up and down the triangles.  As a new triangle is added, each short seam is lined up and held in place with the threaded needle at one end and a pin at the other. I actually use small, short, designed-for appliqué pins, but the flower pin in the photo is easier to see.

I set the sunflower circle into the machine-pieced background using the 6-minute circle technique–exactly as in Marie's tutorial here:

Marie's Creative Space: Circle Tutorial

I'm joining the links for Slow Sunday Stitching and for the Handmade discussion of the month on the Block Lotto.

And here's my first completed Summer Sunflower block, one more time. I am not happy with the circle in the center ... since it's hand-stitched, it will be able to take apart and try again before the end of Summer.

Proof of Concept-My First Sunflower

14 comments:

carla said...

HI!!!! Beautiful block!!!!!

CathieJ said...

Okay, I am a mathematician and I think that designing this on my own would even be challenging for me and I love geometry. Your block is beautiful. You are quite talented. I even love the background. It sets off the circle beautifully.

Kathy ... aka Nana said...

I love the block! And I am in awe of your ability to design it yourself.

QuiltSwissy said...

Wow!

The Cozy Quilter said...

I learned how to draft my own patterns a long time ago. Your block is lovely!--full of summer sunshine!

Needled Mom said...

That looks beautiful.

scraphappy said...

Absolutely beautiful! Such precision -- it looks great on the pieced background.

Gina said...

I did a course long time ago on how to design any block by hand. It was fascinating. Unfortunately since I installed EQ I've got lazy and it's all done on computer now. THanks for the link to the 6 minute circle technique xx

Moira said...

Beautiful block! I love the pieced background to the block. =)

Quilter Kathy said...

I think it is fantastic... love your summer project idea!
Thanks for linking up and sharing your progress...great block!

Terri said...

I love your circle in the center! If you don't want to use it in a quilt, it'd make a nice pillow top. Really cheery!
Hugs

Gretchen said...

This is a gorgeous block! Absolutely love it!

Deb A said...

What a great summer project and I love that you are designing it yourself. Such a sunny and happy block. I'll have to go check out that link for the circle. Thanks.

Marie Joerger said...

Wow Sophie! This is just So Much Sunshine!! Love the blocks :)

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