Monday, May 21, 2012

My first Pandemonium block

I am not a photographer and only have my phone to take pix which don't do anything for the truly awesome colors on this quilt.
Well, I finally finished the first block of Pandemonium and one of my first total applique pieces. 
I usually have done much smaller, less complex pieces. But what a joy!!!! I learned a lot Some of what I learned.

l. I had to zigzag around the block because it was beginning to ravel a lot on me.....and I still have enough to cut it off rather than have to rip it out.

2. I tried to use the "droplets" in one of Kaffe's fabrics for the fountain water instead of the smaller plain circles and discovered I really think I will re-do them at a later date to look more like the pattern. I kind of thought I would like the "folk art" look of the droplets, but as of yet, am undecided.........

3. Circles are really HARD for a beginner. I used Karen Buckley's perfect circles, a drafter's circle stencil ,and then scrapbooking punches on double freezer paper with starch etc. The last way worked best for me, but I haven't quite figured out the coordination to iron around little circles and use the stiletto at the same time........looks like I will have lots of opportunities to practice and can only hope I get better.

4. I reversed my transparent plastic and ended up inadvertently making the same planter on both sides of the fountain. But I like it so.........

But I am loving the pattern, and fabrics and am going to use this quilt as my GROWING project. The tutorials have been so helpful.

posted by janet for a guest blogger


  1. Beautiful block! Well done, I think this is the pesky block with lots of circles. Once you've done this one, you are going to be an expert on circles. Have you tried needle turning the circles? Do small bits of stitching at a time and push in the seam allowance as you go?
    I also overlock the background fabric before I start the appliqué, I should have mentioned this in the tutorials.
    Glad you are enjoying the quilt, take your time! Love to see more! Kim McL

    1. Thank you for the encouragement.....the inspiration of this beautiful, fun quilt keeps me going. I enjoy the variety of things in each chance for boredom. And the fabrics take away my breath every time I look at them. In fact, I have to force myself to cut them. :)

  2. It's beautiful!!! I'm so impressed.

  3. Your block, willingness and enthusiasm are an inspiration quilter501!!! GLAD to have you here and stitching up such an amazing block with all of us. ; )

  4. It's gorgerous and I love the dot fabric for trees. I'm really glad you were inspired to share with us.

  5. I just love the ombred fabric for the tree, and it's so exciting to see the first Pandemonium block. I have had good luck cutting blocks using a wavy blade on my Olfa to keep them from raveling, and it's quick and easy.

  6. Guest blogger --- yes, your circles WILL get better!!!

  7. It is very easy to make perfect circles using what I call the "shower cap" method. Use Karen Buckley's Perfect Circle plastic templates. Cut fabric about 1/4" beyond the template size. About 1/8" from the cut edge, do a running basting stitch. Hold the plastic template in the center of the fabric and at the same time cinch up the basting stitch so the fabric closes in on the template. Knot the two ends of the thread as close as possible. Then iron with a lot of starch on both sides. When cool, remove the basting thread and plastic template.

  8. To make circles, make sure fabric circle isn't too big because you won't be able to pull it up tight around the Perfect Circle template (my favorites to use). Make sure it isn't so small that when you pull it tight you unravel the stitching. When you sew the running stitch, more stitches are better to prevent the points you get around the edges. I sew teeny tine stitches (10/inch). Don't make a knot once you've sewn all the way around the circle and leave a tail of thread about 4" long. (I sew mine with double thread.) Also, when you sew around the fabric circle, I sew over where I started by about 2 stitches. This way, with the overlap, if the knot pops when you draw it up, you are still covered. I only cut one or two fabric circles until I know for sure which size is going to work. Only because I once cut 50 or 60 fabric circles, only to find out they were the wrong size!!!

    Okay, go to iron. Pull the tail thread up tight and hold while placing the circle with the right side facing up and press, finally letting go of the tail. Then, turn over and press from the other side. I don't remove circle until I'm ready to stitch it down (a down-side unless you own several sets of Karen's templates). Then, carefully lift one edge close to the tail thread and gently pull enough to allow the template to be removed. Then use tail thread to draw the circle back closed. NEVER press again after removing template until AFTER it is sewn down!

    I hope this helps you! I LOVE appliqueing circles and always put them in the blocks I design!

  9. Gorgeous block! There are some teeny tiny circles in there. I also use Karen Kay Buckley's Perfect Circles, running stitches around, best press and an iron .... but those are SMALL! Yikes ; )
    I use a pinking blade in a rotary cutter to cut out my background. No unraveling!
    I also cut my background pieces at least 1" bigger than any pattern says and cut it to the correct size with a straight blade once I'm done stitching all the pieces down. That way I have a nice crisp edge to sew my blocks together.