It seemed like the time to document my process for making the Passacaglia quilt featured in Willyne Hammerstein's Millefiori Quilts book which I bought a few years ago. I really don't know what possessed me!!! It can really only be constructed with hand piecing or English Paper Piecing which is the approach I chose. It is really a complicated quilt to say the least and I hadn't touched it in quite some time until I picked it up about a month ago. Unfortunately at that time, after searching the house, I couldn't find the book and decided I had left it back north! Luckily, I had been a iittle compulsive when I started and photocopied one page of the book and had all the templates stored in their respective envelopes with notes on how big a strip or piece I needed as well as how many I had to made for each row (I call a row one round on the quilt). I glued a copy of the piece contained in the envelope on the front. There are only five different shapes in the quilt but the smallest and most frequently used is only 7/8 in finished!! They are the star points.
Until this week I was cutting out the pieces individually. A lot of the pieces (the fussy cut ones) still demand that but this week I decided to try those little clips that people use for attaching quilt binding to hold my plastic templates on the fabric. Wow, did that improved the speed of cutting!!! I pile up 8 - 10 pieces of fabric, put the clips on, make a cut and then re-arrange these little clips. You really need to use at least 2 of the clip to stabilize and it does a great job! This was after the first cut.
After the first cut I move the clips around. I do this with both the fabric and the papers and it really moves things along.
After I have cut all the fabric and their corresponding papers (1/4 to 3/8 in smaller all the way around), I was at first basting the fabric onto the papers (I use freezer paper and iron it on) using water soluble thread which you can see in this close-up if you look at the center of this rosette.
I tried using glue some time ago (Elmer's which is water soluble) but it was too hard so searching on line I found a couple of water soluble glues to try and finally settled on Roxanne's. So while watching tv, I patiently glue the 1/4 inch seams down. Again, at first I was putting the glue on the flap of fabric but now I put it on the paper and press down the flap of fabric. This works much better. I believe I saw this hint on a Tula Pink video but not sure.
A couple of days ago I got some sewing magnets in the mail (which I think was another Tula Pink hint) and I use those on either side of the two fabric pieces I am sewing together. This works really well to hold those little pieces in place so I can do the whip stitches. It also traps those little flaps that the thread often gets caught on.
Another thing I am doing differently (and I know this was a Tula Pink idea) is to make a simple knot at the beginning of stitching. Impossible to explain it but it is the knot I use when finishing off a row so I was familiar with it.
This is the sum of the rosettes that I have done so far. The big rosette is one of three. The two with the stars around the outside are the beginnings of two more like the big one and then there will be one more like them. There is one more big block which has much more of a partial series of rows than this big one. The two small rosettes will have different numbers of stars around them and you make about 25 of these. The big rosette is about 20 inches across to give you an idea of size.
Yesterday I actually put an Excel spreadsheet together to keep track of what I have to do. This was easy as in the process of cleaning up my dining room table, I found the book!! So now I have a better idea of what I have to do as it gives clear pictures of the remaining rosettes and how many you have to make of each.
One thing that makes no sense whatsoever to me is that the last step in making the quilt in the book is to trim away large chunks of rosettes that you have carefully pieced. No way I am doing this and my last step will be appiqueing however much I finish onto a piece of fabric. I decided if you cut off the last point of the stars on the outside rows, you have a nice easy to applique edge. So will have to do some more calculating.