Evelyn 2 Evelyn 1

Evelyn 3

EL: I have wanted to do something with an abstract checkerboard for some time. Does it overwhelm the spiral?

Evelyn 1

RM: Evelyn, I think this is a really interesting combination of spirals with other elements, and also an interesting use of partial spirals. As for “overwhelming” I think that potential problem would be resolved with your color choices — choose colors that make your spirals really pop against the background, and perhaps instead of only white in the checkerboard, use a light grey — or graduated shades of grey, which would create a feeling of depth.

I would make one suggestion, that you rotate the four smaller spirals in the very center (as you have all the other spirals in the design) so that the same-colored spokes create a star.

EL 7-6-07: Here is my proposed final design. The colors of the spiral block may change- they will be graded in color (I am waiting for a shipment of hand dyes). At this point the quilt is 52 x 52 inches. There will probably be other modifications as I start the blocks. Does this meet your criteria? All suggestions welcomed.

Evelyn’s spiral quilt

RM: I have nothing to add. It’s specatacular. I even love the colors. And what a sense of perspective!

I LOVE the pentagon blocks, because they get away from the assumption that a square space has to have a square block! By drawing the pentagon in the square block, and blacking out everyting around the pentagon, you were able to design this in EQ but not be locked into having a square spiral in a square space.

You have sent me several other designs since sending this one, but STOP. This is the best of the lot — it is original and dynamic and perfect. Start sewing!

Just one suggestion – you might want to consider putting a bit more black space around the edge of the design to let the ball “float” a bit more.

For those of you who are wondering how the heck Evelyn drew this incredible quilt, here is the secret: In EQ there is a layout library that gives many quilt layouts that are like individual quilt blocks. They are made up of all kinds of interesting shapes (though mostly triangles and various 4-sided ones). This is how Evelyn got the underlying structure of her quilt, which you can see here:

Evelyn’s underlying quilt

(I think — can someone confirm this? — that I even saw a new function in EQ6 called “block to quilt” or something like that that will convert a block drawing to a quilt layout.)

When using one of these block-like layouts, EQ re-shapes a block to fit the shapes of the “patches” when you put it into that layout. So EQ set Evelyn’s square blocks as diamonds in the edge patches, which creates a sense of perspective, and thus, the illusion of the design curving around the edges of a ball.

Evelyn went one step further: although EQ requires that you draw a block within a square, she escaped the “tyranny of the square 😉 ” by drawing a pentagon (5-sided) spiral in the square block. She used black in the space around the pentagon and in the background of the quilt, so the edges of the square block are hidden.

Evelyn Red Fusion Block

Lastly, she incorporated other types of quilt blocks into her design — in this case a Texas Lone Star.

EL 7-16-07: Look what happened when I replaced the black and white diamonds with a block. Better or not?


RM:  Evelyn, besides adding the spiral block in the middle, you changed the position of the blocks in the outside ring.   Comparing the two, I think one of the things I really like about the previous design is how the white spokes of the spirals in the ring seem to spin off of the white diamonds in the center.  And I like how the two white spokes touching each other seem to almost create a bird flying away.

I recall that you said at the beginning that you have wanted to do a quilt that incorporated an abstract checkerboard.  Your new design loses this.

I have a hunch that perhaps you tried this new design because you felt the old design needed more “action” in the center, more of a focal point than the plain black gave it.  Could you accomplish that simply without changing the whole design — perhaps by doing the center star of the Texas Lone Star in the reds and oranges of the spirals?

I also wonder, with the new design, how it would look if you turned the center blocks so that the white spoke was at the center.

In the old design, is the white in the spirals the same white in the Texas Lone Star?  I think it definitely should be, to help unify the two different designs.

Overall, my gut says I like the previous design better.  There’s something stronger about it that appeals to me on a gut level.

EL:  I’ve started the blocks – the grey didn’t look good so I substituted a beige marble for the light fabric. I’ll send a pic of the block as soon as I can.

EL 7-29-07:  Here she is – “Goodness Gracious – Great Ball of Fire”. Now on to the quilting.

Evelyn-Great Ball of Fire

RM:  Evelyn, WOW!  I have one question: did you do the spirals in reverse direction from the drawing on purpose?  Or did you print the templates, then sew from the back which effectively reversed them, although inadvertently?

EL 9-19-07:  Please see Evelyn’s comment below of this date for all the wonderful details about her quilt.  Here are the photos she sent.

Evelyn GGGBOF Finished

Evelyn GGGBOF detail 1

Evelyn GGGBOF detail 2

EL:  I have lots of ideas now for others things I would like to try. This has been a very delightful experience.


22 Responses to “Evelyn Larrison”

  1. turtle011 Says:

    All I can say is WOW!!! Love the designs

  2. s23lock Says:

    Absolutely spectacular!

  3. quilterk Says:

    Double Wow! I love the 3-D effect in the ball shape. You’ve got me interested in pursuing EQ6 training after this project is over. Your quilt is wonderful!

    RM: Kathy, just start with the tutorials in the program. It’s really easy!

  4. barbarab Says:

    Wow! Great colors and designs.

  5. hoopie Says:

    In the design you have selected, I say WOW. Isn’t that a “Texas Star” in black and white? Also, what did you do to skew the blocks?

  6. lindacooper Says:

    Your quilt, Evelyn, is too cool! Great design

  7. sqtdenise Says:

    OMG!!! WOWOWOW!!!

  8. mcif Says:

    I can’t wait to finish my EQ lessons 4,5,&6. I have loads of things to try and Evelyn’s design are fantastic and inspire me to do more.

  9. yogib2 Says:

    I’m speechless! Just speechless! I can’t wait to see it in it’s final glory.


  10. scowlkat Says:

    DITTO! (And for me to be speechless!!!! … unheard of!)

  11. devi7 Says:

    WOW… absolutely inspiring

  12. joaninga Says:

    What a great looking quilt that’s going to be.
    You did good girl

  13. evelynrn Says:

    Thanks everyone.

    It really was easy with EQ. I just used the pointer to isolate the block I wanted – clicked on print – print paper piecing (cliking on “use block from quilt”) and there it is ready for me. I have the fabrics laid out and ready to start tomorrow. I am going to add black around it to make it float. Now looking for a name and thinking of how I’m going to quilt it. I’ll be back for suggestions when it’s done.

    The block was also easy to design – I have both EQ5 & 6, but used 6 for this one.

  14. RaNae Says:

    From EL on the 7-17-07 post: I have started the blocks – I like my color choice and though I still worry there might be something better, for the purpose of this quilt, I am going to stop looking for something different. Now as I work on the blocks I am thinking of the quilting. The name is still avoiding me but it’s starting to look like “Good Gracious – Great Ball of Fire”.

    RM: Evelyn, I think that name is PERFECT! I can’t think of a better description!

  15. evelynrn Says:

    Only two more blocks to do (each of the small ones takes about 3 hours) and then put everthing together. I’ve been thinking about the quilting but only vague ideas at this time. I should be able to get it all together this week end.

    RM: Evelyn, that’s so exciting! I can’t wait to see it all come together! Great work!

  16. evelynrn Says:

    My blocks are finished. I fouund out a couple of things when paper piecing the blocks. First – I printed the foundations on tear away stabilizer because of the really small pieces. I’ve decided since it is a wall quilt I am not going to take the stablizer out. Second a trick I saw in Paducah. When you have all those little points coming in together and they leave a little lump = give them a shot of steam and wack them with a mallet. I bought a little one at Home Depot for $3.95. It really gives you a nice flat joining.

    I plan on putting the quilt together this weekend so may have a picture for you next week.

  17. RaNae Says:

    I have this great picture in my mind of you with a mallet whacking away at your quilt — quite amusing! Can’t wait to see the quilt!

  18. juliewillis Says:

    Absolutely marvelous!!!!


  19. evelynrn Says:

    Evelyn Larrison
    DeForest, Wisconsin

    Well “Good Gracious, Great Ball of Fire” is completed. She is designed (“inspiraled” by RaNae), made and quilted by yours truly. The end product is 52″ square.

    As I noted earlier I designed the block then dropped in into a EQ6 quilt layout. I paper pieced it using light weight interfacing. I decided to leave the interfacing in the quilt as it is a wall hanging. I had no problem quilting through it all.

    For quilting I chose to use a copper metallic thread and a spiral quilting stitch for the over all quilting in the black. I used invisible thread to quilt around the “spiral blocks”. I drew an arc betwen blocks to complete a “ball”. Outside the ball I used orange and red metallic thread to mimic fire coming off the ball. What little quilting I did in the spirals I used back, red, gold, and orange metallic thread with a decorative stitch following the flow of the spiral. I deliberately stretched the fabric outside the “ball” so that it would pucker slightly. I was trying to give the image of heat coming off the ball. When all quilting was done I used over 1000 fire opal crystals to give sparkle to the quilt. Hopefully the pictures will show some of these details. I thought about the final quilting all the time I was putting the blocks together.

    My only disappointment is that I quilted it so heavily it won’t hang straight no matter how much I steamed it. The border tends to ripple a little.

    I hardly every make a quilt twice, but I have another “spiral” quilt I think I will try as soon as I get caught up with all the things neglected while completing this project.

    I hope the book is published as soon as possible – it’s hard keeping a secret.

  20. quiltfee Says:

    Have you tried blocking you quilt? In case you haven’t done that before – pin your quilt into the shape it should have, stretching a little. Put the in on the inside of the binding. Wet it with a plant spray or something like it. Leave to dry over night. Don’t iron. When the quilt is dry it will be hanging straight.


  21. Debee Says:


    I am so glad you stayed with your idea of using a checkerboard pattern.

    As a potential “spiromaniac” (if I can get the courage to join one of ReNae’s classes)your design has shown me that it is possible for traditional quilting design elements to be used in harmony with spirals.

    Your design is the yin and yang of both.

    Thamk you.

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