Wonky Circles tutorial

February is my month again to set the block for my Do Good Stitches Circle.  After setting some more precision based blocks for my last two times out, I decided to go the wonky route this month…

finished wonky circle block

Yep I am asking my fellow Bee mates to make some wonky circles using a low volume palette.  To help out I am taking them (and you) step by step through the process to make two 12 inch blocks, starting with fabric selection.

For each block segment you will need two fabrics that have a small amount of contrast in them.   My colour scheme for this quilt is warm so I am using yellow, apricot, pink and a touch of grey.  For my fabric pull I went with predominantly cream and white background fabrics…

low volume background fabrics

and for the contrasting fabric I choose more solid low volume fabrics…

darker lv fabric pull

For each block you need 8 different fabric – four light and four darker (note: you actually get two different finished blocks from this process).  I selected my eight fabrics in pairs, making sure that there was a contrast between each pair.  If you are not sure how the fabrics are reading against each other you can always use the black and white setting on your camera or phone to see how things look…

bw block

Now for the fun part…making the blocks.

Step 1.  Cut out eight 7 1/2 inch squares from each selected fabric…  Take two of your contrasting fabric squares and align them on top of each other.

align two squares

Step 2.  Using your rotary cutter, cut a curve shape out of your squares… making sure that you leave at least an inch or so between your curve and the edge of your block.

wonky curve cut

Step 3.  Because you cut the two pieces of fabric together your background and center curve pieces should match exactly, no matter how wonky the curve you cut is.

Put together one of your fabrics as the background and the other as the center curve, making sure that they are as closely aligned on your cutting mat as you can get them.

Take a ruler and place it corner to corner across your block pieces.

find center of block

Step 4.  Using a chalk pencil or Frixon marker, mark the center of the block, making sure your mark across both pieces of fabric.

mark center of block

Step 5.  Place your pieces of fabric face together, using the center mark to align the pieces…

center mark

Step 6.  Pin your two pieces of fabric together at this center point… your fabrics should still be face together and the bottom corners of the block should be roughly aligned.

pin center of block

Step 7.  To sew the pieces together, begin at the center part of the block… where you have pinned.  I put my machine foot down on pin, remove the pin, lower my needle manually and I am ready to sew.

start of curved piecing

Step 8.  Slowly sew from the center point out to one edge of the circle block, nudging fabric into alignment as you go.  The fabric may not want to lay flat and that is okay… just try to avoid sewing creases into the block.

Note:  I always sew with my machine in the needle down position, as it allows me to stop and adjust the block pieces as needed, without the risk of anything slipping or moving.

 

sew curve

Step 9.  As you are sewing you will notice the block ends do not align, this is okay…do not panic.

finishing the curve

Step 10.  When you have come to the end of the block, lift your needle, cut your thread and re-position your block back in the center, this time sewing the half of the block you have not done.

center of curve

Step 11.  Your block segment is now ready for pressing… an important step because it will not be laying flat at all and you will have to iron it into submission…

sewn block piece

Step 12.    When pressing my block I press my seams first from the back side of the block…… and then press the front side of the block, making sure that my curve is sitting as flat as I can get it.

Note:  When pressing the block I always use starch as it helps persuade the fabric to do what I need it to do.

press block piece

Step 13.  The block piece is now ready to trim down 6 1/2 inches… you should have a bit of wiggle room with this block to trim a little off kilter, or with more background or more circle, depending on what you want to do.

trim block

Step 14.  Repeat the process until you have all segments of your blocks done.  For each colour pairing you make you will end up with two blocks….

block pieces

For my Bee blocks I am asking for two (2) 12 1/2 inch unfinished blocks…. laid out with alternating light and dark circle pieces.

blocks layout

What I love about this colour palette is that it compliments the wonky so well… the mismatch, strange curves are subtle, there are no stark contrasts drawing your attention to the off kilter shapes.   I think this is going to be a charming quilt when done.

A little creative play…

After weeks and weeks of working on just old WIP’s I found I was going slightly crazy. It initially seemed like a good idea to spend January and February finishing up old projects and not starting anything new but this week I discovered the down side…I was bored and creatively stunted.

My solution was to pull out my large pile of low volume scraps…

scrap pileand to start making some improv blocks…

low volume improv blockI love how freeing this process is. I usually start by sewing similarly sized pieces together into strips of various sizes…

improv processI then just go with the flow…I will grab a piece of fabric I like or a colour I want to use….

improv process 2The joy of these blocks is that anything goes.  My finished blocks are 12 inch (12 1/2 with seam allowance) but they can be any size you want.  There is no right or wrong way to do things with these blocks….  there is no measuring, no patterns just play….pretty pretty play.

low volume improv wipI am now heading back to finish up quilting another WIP…but when I need a break I will be making some more of these fun blocks.    So how do you get your creative groove going when you are in a rut?