BD: O.K. RaNae, What do you think of using the Baravelle or the Point to Point, cut them into quarters and use the New York Beauty setting?

Betty NYB 1 Betty NYB 002

RM: Betty, now from your sketch I think I see what you mean — you’re talking about cutting spirals in quarters and setting them like the NYB quilt in the picture, right? Sure, that could work. In the last group I had proposed the idea of cutting up spirals and some of the gals almost fainted at the notion. But here’s one of the sketches I used when proposing the idea:

Cut up spirals

Looking at the photo of the quilt you sent me, it also occurred to me that you could do some NYB blocks and some spiral blocks and combine those in your overall design. One approach may be to cut the spiral blocks in quarters and set them “checkerboard” style with the NYB’s. Another would be to use whole spirals interspersed among the NYBs (see the sketches below).

Betty 2 Betty 3

Betty, I just looked at your quilt photo again, and thought of another way (perhaps what you had in mind in the first place — hard to know without at least a scribble): Since Baravelle spirals will also do smooth RINGS, you could spiral out a certain distance, then fill in a ring, then do a NYB series of points, then another ring, then resume the spiral. In a multiple-block quilt you could do this in all or some blocks, perhaps combining with other blocks like I’ve described above. It might also be really neat in a single larger-scale spiral — might look something like an Aztec calendar. If you worked in a large scale, you could even put smaller spirals in some of the triangles that form the points of the NYB blocks.

Betty 1

For some reason, a tryptich [sp?] is coming to mind — perhaps NYBs and spirals colliding and combining somehow…

Just throwing out these last couple of ideas. Use – or not – as suits your own imagination, your patience, your time, your level of obsession, etc.!

BD: This is what I had in mind. Of course it would need refinement. I would just keep going until it was as big as I wanted or I was running out of time, which ever came first. I would most likely have a black background and bright colored spirals.

Betty Alabama Beauty

RM: I get the picture, Betty. I like how you’ve used different kinds of spirals and different coloration patterns. I think the bright colors will be beautiful.

Would you sew whole spirals and then cut them up? I think that will probably be the way to do it. Then maybe you could use the leftover 1/4-spirals in the border.

One difference I see between your mock-up and the quilt above is that the quilt above takes the 1/4 circles all the way to the edge of the square so there isn’t a lot of empty space in the design. You have probably thought of that already, but I call it to your attention “just in case.”

Good work!

BD: This is what I’ve done so far. This isn’t what I planned. My quilts seem to take over and make themselves. Sooooo, what do you think? Should I add to it, bind it and use it for a table topper (it is 22″ across from point to point), or throw up my hands in despair and call it quits?

Betty’s beginning

RM: Betty, don’t let your quilt boss you around! 🙂 What do YOU like about it and what do YOU not like about it? Clearly something is bugging you. Can you put your finger on what that is? Then we’ll have something to talk about.

BD 7-16-07: I’ve got the black triangles sewn in. I really like it as it is now.

BD:  Auditions 001 – plain borders would probably look good once they are sewn on all the way around.

RM: This looks good.

Betty audition 1

BD:  Auditions 002 – with just some of the spirals peeking out I’m not crazy about.

RM:  I think this is kind of interesting! You might have to make another spiral to have enough “peek-a-boo” spirals.

Betty audition 2

BD:  Auditions 003 – with 1/2 circle, I don’t like at all.

RM: I agree, not crazy about this.

Betty audition 3

BD:  Are any of them anything you can or would use? It’s your book. I want you to be happy with what I do.

RM:  Betty, you have taken a completely unique and different approach to using spirals, and I think it will make a valuable addition to the book.  🙂

BD 7-25-07:  “Peeking Spirals” is finished! 

Betty D Peeking Spirals


RM: Betty, it’s original, it’s unique, it’s wonderful! Thank you! 🙂


18 Responses to “Betty Donahue”

  1. bettydonahue Says:

    What I meant was, to use the spirals INSTEAD of the New York Beauty points. When I sent the e-mail I was thinking of either the Baravelle or the Point to Point spirals. Today as I looked at them I was thinking maybe the combination of the two.
    I”ll make a few rough drawings and e-mail them to you.


  2. bettydonahue Says:

    So, do you think this idea would work out o.k.? I was thinking I would make half circles where two quarters come together in a line and a quarter circle where it comes around the corner so that there would be seam allowances, and HOPEFULLY, it would continue in a smoother line. I’m afraid if I make a complete circle and cut it after there would be a jog where they come together.
    I also think I should bring the spirals nearer to the edge – do you agree?
    As for spirals in the border – I think that is a great idea and would really finish it off.
    If you can think of anything else that would make it better I would be happy to listen.

  3. RaNae Says:

    Betty, how about, instead, do a whole spiral, then cut out one quarter and applique the edges over each other. That way you have no seams, and you can still use the cut-away quarter in the border.

  4. bettydonahue Says:

    I’ll try it both ways and see which gives the better result. I sometimes do a lot of auditioning.

  5. bettydonahue Says:

    Actually, the more I look at it the better I like it. I like the shape, I’m tired of squares and rectangles.
    I had surgery three weeks ago and I was tired and in a slump for awhile and hated everything.
    If it is o.k. with you I would like to quilt it and bind it just the way it is.

  6. bettydonahue Says:

    Oh, it is brighter than the picture shows.

  7. RaNae Says:

    Betty, will you turn the spirals so that it makes a square or are you leaving the blocks on point? If the latter, will you fill in with a triangle on each side? How big is it now?

    (Sorry for the slow response…I sometimes get interrupted in the middle of doing this at work (well, you know, I have to do SOME work) and then forget where I was….)

  8. bettydonahue Says:

    Hi RaNae — I would like to leave it the way it is. I do like odd shapes.

    I have one extra spiral that I folded into quarters and pinned it into one of the spaces and it didn’t look like it belonged. It looks like it is being put there just to fill in the space. If I do fill in the spaces I think it should be plain black. Does an octogon have eight sides? Filling in the triangles would turn it into one. That would look nice.

    Right now as it is hanging there in the shape of a X it is 22″ across from point to point. If it is orientated in the shape of a + it is 22″ across the center. By filling in the triangles it would still be 22″ across.

  9. RaNae Says:

    Betty, I’ll look forward to seeing it when you have it all finished. You clearly have a vision of it and I don’t want to interfere! 🙂

  10. Micki Says:

    Betty, this is a very interesting, one-of-a-kind design. And you’ve used the spirals in such an intriguing way on the edging. Neat!

  11. joaninga Says:

    very nice Betty, I love your border design.
    The black background really make your design pop.

  12. marian15 Says:

    I really like this. The shape and design is unique and I think the colors are great.

  13. barbj Says:

    Great job Betty, I am hoping mine turns out as well. I really like your end result.

  14. bettydonahue Says:

    Thank you, everyone. As I was making it I had a lot of doubts but now that it is finished I’m pleased.

  15. sewbig Says:

    Great design, Betty! Your quilt looks wonderful.
    Congratulations on your Alzeheimer’s quilts. You really are an over acheiver. I really like all of the techniques you have used in the quilts. You have made a great contribution to the cause. My MIL has this terrible disease and it really affects the whole family.

  16. sewbig Says:

    Hi Betty,
    While going through some old magazines today, I came across a picture of your Fading Star quilt. This appears in a magazine called “Caring Today” from July/August 2006. It was exciting to see your name and quilt picture. Do you have a copy of this? If you like, I would be glad to send this to you. Beth

  17. bettydonahue Says:

    Quilt Name: Peeking Spirals
    Made by: Betty Donahue, Talladega, AL
    Size: 28″ x 28″

    The center spiral is rings 8-7/8″ dia. made into an 8-7/8″ square.
    The ones around the center are 8-3/8″ across using point to point pinwheel spirals and baravelle spirals. The patterns were cut in halves and quarters and each one was made using 1/2 and 1/4 to get it to turn the corner.

    The black was set in and then bordered.

    There are 16 peekers approximately 5″ x 1-1/2″ using partial baravelle

    It was machine quilted by me using metallic thread following the shape of the spirals and larger stippling in the background.

  18. quiltfee Says:

    Great Quilt Betty! I love the outer ring.


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