Going in Circles (It’s a Good Thing)

by Christine Barnes

Have you ever searched for something (typically without success) and in the process found things you’ve been looking for for ages??? That’s what happened to me earlier this week, when I unearthed a number of experiments and leftovers from different projects. Many were circles blocks, which makes sense because I’ve made seven—yes, seven—circles quilts. Sigh, I just can’t seem to resist!

I teach three circles workshops, the most popular one being shadowed circles on background triangles. In the examples below I used a Kaffe print on a background of Gelato ombré triangles. The triangles in each block were cut from different areas of the same ombré. That’s the magic of the Gelato ombrés, with their shifting colors and values.Different backgrounds really bring out the different colors in the circle.I first started pairing Kaffe prints and Gelato ombrés for “Sassy Circles II.” (It’s now a pattern; email me for info.)A few years ago I was appliqueing Kaffe circles onto Kaffe shot cottons (in the lower left) and Caryl Bryer Fallert ombrés (upper right). I loved, loved the ethereal quality of her ombrés. And after a trip to New York City, I just had to make a modern circle on a background of gray Painter’s Palette and white Grunge.By then it was clear to me that I had a bad case of “circle fever.” If you recall my “Pop Beads” quilt from our 2015 retreat, you’ll recognize this block made of Peppered Cotton solids and neutral prints. I made more colorful blocks for the quilt, but I sure had fun piecing the background for this block. Circles quilts have a lovely bonus—leftovers. The four triangles below were cut from scraps of the ombré border fabric I used in my Elegant Circles quilt. (Scroll through the Gallery to see the quilt.) Now I want to make yet another circles quilt using four triangles for each block background, and perhaps aboriginal prints for the circles.I’ve kept the bonus circles (the fabric cut away from the back of the quilt) for future projects. I think it’s time to put them to good use. I’d like to play with more pieced circles; these have been pressed over freezer-paper circles.I made my “Transparent Circles” quilt out of shot cottons and Marcia Derse prints. (I’ll be teaching this quilt in Santa Cruz next month.) Because the shot cottons are rather loosely woven, it’s easy to align the seams in the circles with the seams in the background.And finally, my students continue to amaze me with the circles they create. Here are two examples from my visit to the Friendship Quilters of San Diego. Many thanks, ladies!Big blooms really lend themselves to circles:Circles spill over into the rest of my life, too. Heidi gave me this gorgeous shawl several years ago, and every time I wear it I get compliments. (Merci, Heidi!) Let’s see . . . how can I make this into a quilt?I treated myself to this shawl from “The Great Put On” in Mendocino, CA, where you’ll find wonderful wearables.Hey, I challenge you to consider circles for a future quilt. They are highly addictive, and they work with so many different kinds of prints. Did I ever find what I was originally looking for? Nope, but I’ll search again and probably discover new old treasures. See you next month, when I’ll unveil my “Gypsy Wife” quilt.

p.s. My Zephyr workshop is full, but get in touch with me (cebarnes@sbcglobal.net)  if you’d like to be on the waiting list.

 

 

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Christine’s Excellent Adventure with “The Quilt Show”

0a array of folded blocksWhile teaching at Sisters in 2012, “The Quilt Show” sent a small crew to interview me on color. As my “closest friends,” you can see the interview FREE starting today, April 6, and running through April 13. There will also be a slideshow of my work in the April 8 newsletter. Just click here to become a Basic (free) member and see the show. If you want to become a Star member, you can get a $5 discount using this coupon code: 266448288510. (Click the icon below to be taken to The Quilt Show home page.)

QSLogo15My segment is near the end of the show, following Kim Diehl’s in-studio presentation with Alex and Ricky. Her segment is great—I learned a new technique and loved seeing her work.

Recording the interview was a lot of fun, with more than a few surprises. (Safe to say, Hollywood is NOT knocking at my door.) Shelly, the producer, declared me a “one-take wonder” because I got through the main part of the segment without a mistake. Except, at the end I said, “back to Alex and Ricky in the studio.” Uh-oh, she said, they might not be in the studio; they might be on location. So we did the segment again, only this time I flubbed my lines. Sigh. Apparently, you can be a one-take wonder only once. But I had a great time, and Shelly and Lilo, the editor-in-chief, were wonderful to work with. Thank you, TQS!

What follows is a short visual series on luster and color. First, I’m happy to tell you that the gray ombré I love so much is being reprinted by E.E. Schenck. Yay! It’s one of the most graphic and versatile fabrics I’ve ever used, and I’m delighted that it will be available to my students (and everyone else) at the retreat.

But luster is also doable using bright, saturated colors. It’s the movement of light that suggests a lustrous surface, or sheen. I made the block below using three ombrés and a Kaffe stripe, but immediately decided it was too much of a good thing. There’s too much movement, and a quilt with blocks like this one could be overwhelming. How to tone it down but still make the most of the ombrés’ shfts in color and light?2 ombre luster only

I went back to the drawing board—that is, my fabric, and auditioned a Kaffe print. The geranium print below had the same range of green values as the green ombré. Yum!3 geranium vignette

More Kaffe prints and more auditioning led to a group of fabric vignettes.4 fabric vignettes

Here’s my new version. Notice that this block features the same two ombrés  as the original block. But the prints add some needed color, pattern, and viusal texture.5 retake of luster + prints

I’m not sure if I’ll ever make the quilt—you can see an array folded blocks at the start of this post—but I certainly enjoyed the process, and that’s what it’s all about.

I can’t think of a better place for you to enjoy your process and nourish your creative spirit than our Zephyr retreat. The setting is breathtaking, and every day you’ll be treated to color as only nature can do it. What could be better?!