Recently, I was asked to demo it for my mini-group and then we decided to practice by making circle blocks for a small group quilt. This morning I needed some playtime, so I made these three blocks.
We are using two southwest-inspired fabrics for all the circles and adding fabrics from our stash to frame them–purple for the one with the gold background and green for the red background.
For those unfamiliar with the technique, there are a few good videos online of Dale Fleming demonstrating her technique:
The Quilt Show (you must be a member to view this one)
Her book is also a great resource and goes far beyond the "6 minute circle" in showing you how you can use this technique–here's a link to the kindle version:
I mostly followed the steps as outlined, until seeing the circle tutorial Marie put together where she leaves the freezer paper on until after the seam is sewn. I found it SO much easier to see where I was going ...
Marie has great step-by-step photos of the entire process in her tutorial, but here's a quick look at what sewing the seam looks like.
I had not before switched to a zipper foot (as recommended by the author) so I thought I'd try it today. I liked how easily I could follow the edge of the freezer paper circle, but it bugged me that I couldn't see the needle going into the fabric like I could when I used my open toed foot.
Now that I've been making these circles for a while, I have a little checklist of methods and reminders that work for me:
- Take the time to create a double-layer of freezer paper. It creates a sturdier edge in the center and will last through 5 or 6 blocks.
- If you are putting a circle in the center of a block, make it easy to get it centered perfectly by cutting the freezer paper the same size as the background/frame.
- The circle (or whatever shape) is always cut to be the FINISHED size
- If you are gluing fabric-to-freezer paper, go lightly. When you are gluing fabric-to-fabric, be generous, especially along the circle edge.
- Press well after every step.
- Leave the circle fabric large if you want to be able to move the frame around and decide what goes in the circle. Otherwise, I start with a square that is 1 inch larger than the finished circle size.
It's a fun block, which is 90% preparation and 1 seam. Ours are 9 inches (finished size) with a 7 inch circle. I have a couple layer cakes that could become simple circle quilts for community service next year.