Everything’s Coming Up . . . Circles?

by Christine Barnes

Happy summer! It’s not yet summer by the calendar, but the longer days and warmer temps make me feel ambitious, which leads, hopefully, to new ideas and projects. Yes!

Before I get down to business though, I wanted to mention that a spot has opened up in my Transparency workshop at Zephyr. Interested? Check out the retreat details here and scroll down to see the samples and supply list.

Shadowed-circle quilts are fun, too. They’re a “home run” in my book because they have the cohesion of a repeat-block design, with the variation of different colors and prints. The constant—the shadow—unifies it all. For “Sassy Circles II,” below, I “went radical” and made black-and-white striped shadows. (Check out my Gallery for three other circles quilts.)

Sassy Circles II @ 10 in.

Since then I’ve played with lots of different shadows. The first two blocks below have shadows cut from opposite colorways of the same fabric design. To my eye, the mostly white shadow looks larger than the mostly black one, but they are the same size. I love the square dots in the third block. White fabrics don’t look like shadows exactly, but they’re fresh, and they add an element of surprise.Three shadowed circles AA FINAL

What follows are pics I took in workshops in Elk Grove and San Luis Obispo, CA. Given the time that has passed, I’ve forgotten names, but I thank all my students for sharing their work.

The circles below were cut from different areas of the same print, and the background triangles were cut from Serenity ombrés. 1 serenity + harvest printKaffe Fassett prints and colorful ombrés are a winner.3 nice! coll of KafffeOther kinds of fabrics make great background squares. These soft stripes really lighten the mood and say “candy” to me.4 stripe bkgrd, KaffeThe shadows in these blocks were cut from one multi-colored Japanese stripe. And what fun, a baby quilt of circles! 5 SLO zoo animalsWhat’s interesting about the blocks below, besides their yummy pattern and color, is that the upper right and lower left background squares were created from two squares of the same ombré, right sides together. The shifts in value and color in the ombré yield two very different squares.

7b Irene?Instead of cutting the triangles for each background square from one fabric, Patti mixed up the ombrés. I like the quirkiness, the unexpected combinations.9b Patti blocks agaiI tell my students they get “extra credit” for using stripes, like the black-and-white pin stripe below. The pieced circle at the top is a “bonus circle” that’s created when you trim the layers from the wrong side. I see potential for transparency here . . . .12 striped shadowsWhite shadows may not give you the dimension of black shadows, but they do provide visual relief. I love, love these floral prints.13 2 blocks with dotted shadowThe island print below is a stylized take on more naturalistic floral prints. From a distance, this block is dynamite. 14 YUMMY on Y-B-G ombre

And finally, wow, look at these bold shadows. Linda also cut triangles from various ombrés for some unique color combinations. And she did a fabulous job of centering the motifs in the circles. Well done!15 YUMMY B&W striped shadows

That’s it for now. I hope you’re seeing new possibilities with circles and shadows. A huge THANK YOU to all of my students for the enthusiasm and willingness to learn that you bring to each class. You make this job so much fun!





5 thoughts on “Everything’s Coming Up . . . Circles?

  1. Christine – these are stunning! What a fresh and modern use of florals. I’m looking forward to your workshops in Indianapolis in June, maybe we’ll get to see these in person?

  2. Thank you, Shari! Looking forward to meeting you in a few weeks. I’ll have several of my circles quilts with me to show. Wish I could have some of the quilts that will be coming out of these recent workshops. Students amaze me with what they do with fabrics! See you soon . . .

  3. Wow, all these different circles quilts are stunning. Great photos. They all look so 3-D. Very fun. Some even look like delicious muffins! Thanks to all your students for sharing.

  4. Zounds! The dimensional effect of these blocks are stunning. The fabric choices are so yummy too! Are the circles pieced into the backgrounds or are they appliquéd? Love to hear from you! Kerry S. on Bainbridge Island.

    • Hi Kerry! What fun to hear from you! The circles are appliquéd to the background squares using the freezer-paper method (I use two layers). So easy, so addictive, and so much fun to isolate parts of the fabrics, as my student did in the last photo, with fabulous results. Hey, I’m going to be up your way in May 2016, in Sammamish. Maybe get together??

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