Let me present the quilt called Thea's Puzzle from the free pattern by quilt and fabric designer Amy Butler:
This is a rare bright colored quilt for me, done in an even rarer improv and modern style. Edited To Add: The pattern was designed to showcase Amy's Designer Collection solids from Rowan/Westminster fabrics but mine was made from my stash of Kona Cotton and other solid fabrics.
Once the design was done I debated on a number of ideas for the quilting. The important thing for me was to bring the attention to the center but also integrate the borders. I had seen a number of quilts around the web stitched in concentric circles and decided that was the ticket. I found a great tutorial on this at Karen's Anderson-Abraham's Blooming Poppies blog. Her method involved marking a medium sized circle (she used a food processor bowl) on the quilt and then stitching with a walking foot around the outside of the circle out to the quilt edges and then around the inside of the initial circle to the center of the quilt. I took a slightly different path (and you know me, it must involve gadgets): I started the quilting right from the quilt center and did it by free-motion using some new templates: Westalee's Circles on Quilts!
This set of templates will quilt circles from 2" to 12" wide at increments of 1/4", 1/2" and 1" spacing. You will need to have a ruler style presser foot which Westalee also sells if your machine brand doesn't offer one (Janome does). Also good news: Westalee, which is based in Australia, now has a stateside distributor: Sew Steady and according to their website, the Westalee templates may eventually be offered in stores.
Since the stitching is done free-motion, at this stage of the game there's no turning of the quilt, instead you turn the templates which are positioned on a center pin. Westalee has a great video here showing how to use the templates. The set up was simple:
This project had been waiting patiently for a long time so I'm glad to knock it off the "To Do" list. I was also glad to get to try some new quilting templates. The next test for the Westalee templates (and the next project up for finishing) will be to quilt Baptist Fans on one of my Civil War sampler quilts.
BTW, if you are a big Amy Butler fan, she was Free Spirit Fabrics designer of the Month for July. Click on the links to read a blog post spotlighting her career and find out "10 Things About Amy Butler".