Roundabout: patience has its rewards

design, quilting, sewing

Bill and I sometimes joke that we can’t leave a room of quilters without being asked to demonstrate our method for insetting circles. We love simple graphic forms but insetting circles takes some care and patience. Never fear, Bill (aka Illustration King) has put together step-by-step diagrams to demystify our method for insetting circle upon circle.

We wanted to have quilts of all levels of difficulty in Quilts Made Modern and this is the one for more advanced sewers. In this world of short-cuts and “faster is better” this quilt demonstrates the rewards of mastering a skill and taking time to cut carefully and pin carefully.

Sure you could applique the circles but you wouldn’t get the clean edges you get on a circle that has been inset. You’ll also notice that this quilt was made with plaid, old, inexpensive solids that look anything but plain when used with a bold, graphic pattern. We shot Roundabout in our 1914 Arts and Crafts Bungalow on a Stickley settle to show how to mix modern quilts with historic interiors. You don’t have to have a modern interior to accommodate these quilts. We’ve designed the quilts so they will be flexible enough to be made with everything from modern graphic solids to Civil War reproduction prints. It’s going to be fun to see the direction that our readers take these designs.

10 thoughts on “Roundabout: patience has its rewards

  1. Aw, you’re killing me. I struggle with both patience and carefulness, but this quilt is *so great*! Maybe it will turn out to be a good exercise for me? Or the most frustrating thing ever…. ;)

  2. Meg – Here are a few pointers for precision quilting because the last thing we want is for this to be frustrating. Don’t try it when you have a deadline, baby shower, birthday gift etc. Don’t try it at the end of a bad day. The cutting is really important. Don’t rush through it. Put on relaxing music and just take your time with the first one in particular. Our hope is that you will see the rewards of being careful on some quilts. But never fear–the next one I’ll post is improvisational and should be right up your alley!

  3. Weeks, I’m so glad your circle technique is in your book – mine came out beautifully (one at the workshop and then one at home), but then I set them aside so I’m in need of a refresher. I love the finished look. I’m so happy you wrote another book, and really glad that this technique is in there.

  4. I watched you make a insetted circle years ago. Recently I have a “big idea” that involves plenty of circles and the book is an awesome tool. Sadly, on my practices while I can get fairly crisp edged circles, there are small puckers here and there. I have the circle side down when sewing … any other hints? Going nuts!

    1. Karen – I would check your seam allowances and perhaps adjust them. Are you sure that your templates are accurate? Typically smaller circles get more puckers than larger ones. Also, try pressing with a good burst of seam or even a spritz of Mary Ellen’s Best Press to see if the fabric relaxes once it is pressed.

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