It was an easy choice for me to select a project for Passion 48. I’m smitten with the glamour of the circus. (I’ll tell you more about that in the months to come.) Without the discipline of sewing an hour a week on a project at work, I probably wouldn’t have set aside the time to make this quilt for myself. Instead, it would have been on my wish list forever.
Under The Big Top (shown above) is by designer Tammy Barfels (October 2012 American Patchwork & Quilting). To my mind’s eye, this quilt captures all the joy and color and excitement of the circus. The circus is happy. Fabrics should be happy, too. My fabrics, at least so far, are strictly dots. I have a huge stash of dots and I may be able to make the entire quilt without adding any new fabrics. (You may not know that I am the official crowned Queen of Quite-a-Dot. See From the Editors, Quilts and More, Fall 2011.)
The pattern says “advanced”…will I be able to complete this quilt in 48 hours? Hmmm…this calls for streamlining. Just thinking of cutting 480 assorted wedge-shape pieces for the circles is daunting.
With the help of Maggie Goldsmith, our very capable art assistant, we created a paper-piecing pattern for a quarter circle. Each quarter has ten segments. When a task is overwhelming, what’s the best thing to do? Break it down into little pieces. This seems more reasonable, and I won’t have to cut 480 pie-shape pieces.
The first week I cut, and cut, and cut fabrics into 2-1/2”-wide strips for foundation piecing. An hour later… I did make a dent in the stash. Bonus: On the outside chance that I might cut too many strips for the circles, I’ll have made scrappy binding for this project. Time will tell.
Second week, I tried out the foundation piecing paper. Success! First trial, two segments (half a block) in one hour.
Third week? I’m getting faster… three segments in an hour.
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