Monday, May 10, 2021

Circular Designs in Quilts

I've always admired circular designs in quilts. 

I admire them even when they aren't very circular!! I believe this quilt I saw at the High Desert Museum years ago. 

This is a block from a quilt my friend Claire purchased in Sisters. 

This is a close up of a quilt owned by Mary Koval displayed at the Houston show.  That black flower center looks very similar to my hand applique. 

This is a block from a quilt owned by Linda, Quilts in The Barn, from Australia. I got a sneak peak in a Houston hotel room before her book was published. 

So what I'm getting at is we are our worst critics. 
Back to my circular compass block. 
After removing the pinned frame that didn't fit I measured it and it still looked to me like it would fit the 23" square size that I needed for my center medallion. 
(I'm sure I didn't explain myself well on my last post. It needed to be a very specific size for me to use in my current project) 
I've done 2 circular blocks and although I know appliqueing it to a back was an option, I think all the seams are hard to turn and feel like appliqueing the frame on top is a much better option for accuracy.  LOLOL (yea, the blog owner of Humble Quilts!!) 

So I cut a big chunk of muslin and after consulting 3 quilter friends who are superior quilters made my pattern and  pin, pin, pinned to my compass. 

It is a wee bit wobbly but overall looks pretty good. 
And looking closely you can see where i had to add bits and pieces where after sewing it didn't cover the entire space it was supposed to. 


I had about 6-7" to sew and found THIS!  AARGH! 
So, unappliqued, unsewed and added a piece! then resewed and continued appliqueing the frame.

And had that last several inches I had to ease. UGH! 

Not pretty. I text one of my machine quilters and asked the question no professional quilter wants to hear, "Will this quilt out?"!
When she responded with a suggestion to help it lay flat I knew the deep down answer was, "No! Fix it!" She was polite enough not to say it that way. (thanks Sharon!) 

I ended up un appliqueing, cutting the frame and resewing it bringing it in about 1/2" that I had eased. 
Much better!

Tada! It's far from perfect but I'm going to embrace the imperfections! Hopefully I can trim it carefully to the correct size of 23.5".

I hope you all had a terrific weekend.


  1. What a challenge block! In my humble opinion a nice wool batting will give the quilting enough loft that any perceived imperfections won't ever be noticed - my eyes only see the beautifully pieced points of your compass!

  2. I was hoping this solution would work out! The block is just soo lovely—and matches the nature of your bird blocks beautifully. Even with the unsewing and resewing maybe it was less work than the feathered star?

  3. I knew you could do it! It's beautiful!

  4. OH how lovely...perfect!!! These are not easy blocks, and I have loved watching you make this one!

  5. Yay!! I’m glad you’re moving forward with your wonderful compass block. It looks fantastic! Friends who can be supportive and honest are priceless.

  6. This came out beautifully--kudos to you for not giving up on this beautiful block!! In no way, shape or form are my circles perfect--or even close!! I even find cutting circle templates from printed ones difficult!!;000 My edges always get wobbly...
    good work on this, Lori;))) hugs, Julierose

  7. Yaaay Lori! Your block looks great! You did an especially beautiful job those pointy points! When your block is part of your quilt and all quilted and finished, you should be proud that you persevered to get the compass center that you wanted your quilt to have. Well done, You!!

  8. Lori, it looks great. You did a good job and working with so much bias on the edges is not a fun thing to do, but you did it! Yeah!

  9. Your block is great, Lori. I'd suggest starching and pressing before trimming such a large block. I've done a few myself and it's a big help.

  10. It looks beautiful!! You saw it through. Great job!

  11. this post came at the perfect time for me. Tomorrow I start teaching a class in Mariner's Compass. I have made four sample blocks but have yet to set them into a square. Thanks for sharing your trials and errors putting this block together. Hopefully we will ALL learn from it.

  12. Looks good from here...... It's going to make a beautiful centre.....

  13. WooHoo! *I* think it looks pretty darned good. And I agree you did the right thing to re-do that last bit. Far better to do it now than finish and wish you had.

    I wonder, and this is NOT a "you should have done"... I'm babbling to myself mostly... would it work to treat each quarter separately? What I mean is, pin or baste the medallion and back at each quarter, maybe even more frequently. Perhaps it would be easier to judge if a little bit needs eased more often than finding out a lot needs easing at the very end? Sort of like marking and pinning the quarters of elastic and waist when sewing an elastic waistband on pants or skirt.

    1. Yes! I marked the 1/4's and 1/8 's on the frame and the block! I think the problem was when I had to unstitch and fix that paper pieced area. It just was a fluke that it was right at the last few inches I was appliqueing and caused problems.

  14. though you had trials it turned out beautiful, in my book!

  15. It came out great! I won't be doing any of these blocks, but I love seeing how yours come out. Jan in MA

  16. I always like circles in quilts. You did a fantastic job with the block. I think LAQ doesn't ease funky quilts, but hand quilting usually does. Not always but more so.

  17. What a trial—but thumbs up for taming the beast.


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