My mother had been dropping not so subtle hints that she wanted a quilt. “So what are you going to do with all of these quilts?” and “Are you ever going to give these quilts away?” That sort of thing.
So I decided to make her a quilt this past Christmas. Up until now, I’ve been hesitant to let them leave the house because of the little imperfections they have. They don’t really bother me because I understand that they are part of the process of learning the techniques. Most non-quilters probably wouldn’t even notice them, and I do have them on display in my house. But I think if you are going to give someone a gift, it should be good quality. I finally feel that my work is in a place where there aren’t going to be big holes or loose stitches or cut off blocks.
I used the Eclipse pattern by Joyce Robinson. I decided sometime around September or October to make the quilt, so I needed to start right away and didn’t have time to come up with an original pattern. I also needed something that was going to use fabric I already had in my stash and that I could assemble fairly quickly. This pattern fit the bill and had the added bonus of feeding my growing obsession with circles.
I have to say that this is probably the best quilt I’ve ever made. Not in terms of how it looks, but technically. The seams all lined up, it was perfectly flat, it is as square as I’ve ever gotten anything. It made me ridiculously happy when all of the blocks fit together the way they were supposed to. I ended up liking the quilt so much, I was actually a little sad to see it go.
It is a throw sized quilt. The circles are needle turn appliqué. It is machine and hand quilted and beaded. In the original pattern, the circles are attached by quilting them down. But raw edge appliqué makes me edgy and I didn’t want to do the amount of machine quilting that would have required to attach them securely. Also, I just really like doing needle turn appliqué. My mother once had a consulting business called the Circle Group and that’s where the name comes from.
So here are the three things I learned. First, when you machine assemble blocks, you can press the seams open. The blocks will line up better and the quilt will lie flatter. I think you only have to press the seams to one side when you hand piece. Second, circles are awesome, especially when you have an EZ Cut Circle ruler. And third, trust your vision and just keep going. It will turn out better than you hoped.