A recent version of the circle quilt used my leftovers from a Quilt-Along with a wonderful group started at http://www.oldredbarnco.blogspot.com/. I had leftover strips that became the piano-key border, and I used some of my scrap fabrics for the circles. Once I posted the pics on Flickr, lots of you had questions about how it was made. I explained, but some just didn't believe me when I said it was an easy quilt to make. You asked for a tutorial, so here it is!
12 different prints, 1/4 yd each
1 1/4 yards white fabric.
(Additional fabric for the skinny border, binding, and backing)
With selvages together, bring fold up to sevages. Cut white fabric into 7 strips, 6 inches wide; Turn strips to cut again into 49 6-inch squares
(This next step is up to you- it just makes centering the circles easier: Fold each square in half;Press. Fold in half again; Press.)
From each 1/4 yard print, cut a strip 3 inches wide. Put this aside-you'll use this later for the border "piano keys".
Using an old CD as a template, cut out circles with the rotary cutter. Careful! Just keep even pressure on the CD, cutting slowly against the edge. (I fold the fabric so I cut all four at once, but you can cut through just two layers at a time if you'd prefer.)
Here is a very handy tool for this job- it's a rotating cutting mat. (Watch for sales- I got mine at JoAnns for 50% off!) You can do without this, but it makes cutting around the CD easier, and it's also great for squaring up blocks.
Cut out 4 circles from each of your prints, plus one more for a total of 49.
If you folded and pressed the white squares, fold and press each circle in half and then in quarters. Center the circle on the square. (Or skip ALL the folding and just eyeball it!)
Once you have the circle centered, press both the circle and square. (It just helps hold it in place while you pin.) I use three pins, away from the edges so you can leave them in while you sew.
At this point I lay out all my pinned circles. That way, I can see if there are any changes I want to make before I've sewn a stitch. Once I'm happy with the layout, I number the squares. I use paper with double sided tape- I've made a set that I've now used on four quilts- if the tape starts to loose it's stick, I just put a new piece of tape over the old one. I store the numbers stuck to the inside of a cupboard until the next time I need them.)
Now you're ready to ZIG ZAG the circles! Test your stitch width and length on a scrap circle to get the desired look. (I like it best when the stitch doesn't look like a strong outline.) I match the thread to the print color, so I group them by color as I stitch them- all the ones stitched with brown, then the blue ones, etc. The numbers help me put them back in the right place after I've sewn the circle on.
Okay, that's the end of part one! See you tomorrow for Part Two! (LINK, Part Two: http://makeitawonderfullife.blogspot.com/2009/08/simple-circle-quilt-part-two.html