Julie Warm Up Project

JW: Here is a photo of my “warm-up” project. Just 9 blocks sewn together. glad i decided to practice… (re)learned a few things about paper-piecing, seam allowances, etc.

caught up on reading instructions and drafts. i think i’d like to try something with feathered spokes. will wait to hear what illustrations you might need before starting something new.

RM: Julie, talk about diving right in!  I love the colors you chose, and it’s interesting to see that even though it is symmetrical it doesn’t seem so.

Would you share with me and the rest of the gals what you feel you learned from this piece?

From my point of view, it demonstrates some important points about fabric choice, among other things, and I think it may be a useful piece for the book from that standpoint, even if it’s not your “official” project.

Thanks so much for doing this!

JW 6/25/07: Hi RaNae!  I’ve made a few new drawings and scanned them (attached). Hopefully they are viewable. They are all 8-sided nesting spirals. Two have the center divided into 2 pentagons, one has the center divided into 8 triangles. These are sketches, not finished designs. I have to work with paper and pencil, so haven’t done a final draft on anything. Besides, you wanted to see ideas before we started sewing. I really like the rainbow coloration and form of the 3rd sketch and would like to develop it for a quilt. What do you think? Useful for your book, or shall I try something else?

Julie A

Julie B

Julie C


strong>RM: Julie, I’m jumping up and down for joy.  You have done something that I’ve been thinking about but haven’t had time to do, and something that I’ve tried explaining to several people, but they didn’t get: You put SPIRALS INSIDE SPIRALS! Or, in other words, you put a big single-spiral ring around an interior multi-spiral design.  WooHOO!!!!!!!


6 Responses to “Julie Willis”

  1. juliewillis Says:

    It had been a good while since I’d done any paper-piecing. I had forgotten about adding a seam allowance to the outside of the blocks! Fortunately, that didn’t end up making a lot of difference in the finished design. I remember now how much I dislike removing the paper, too. Next time I’m using Pellon. I also learned to be very careful stitching and pressing those long, skinny, pointy triangles! There are a couple of places where the very ends of the points didn’t get covered by the adjoining piece. I can fix that with beads. 😉

    Thank you for your comments about my fabric choices. The fabrics in this piece are all from markdown tables at different quilt shops. None of them were very attractive as yardage. The pale colors and soft-focus prints are quite a departure from my usual preferences. I was especially happy with the look of the large-scale floral (tan, pink & blue partial fans at the edges) after it got cut up into little bits. I want to add a border that will extend the tan and white partial fans into different shapes.

    Oh, these are 4-sided nesting spirals with random increments, 4 blocks going clockwise and 5 going counter-clockwise.

    Julie Willis

  2. RaNae Says:

    May I just point out (not as criticism, but as direction in terms of choice of fabric) that because the fabric is the same in each triangle of each spoke, the triangles are completed obscured and blend into one another.
    This creates a solid fan-like shape.
    It also obscures the random increments.
    If you were to make this EXACT piece again, and vary the colors in the triangles within the spokes, we would see the random increments.
    Either way is a valid choice, it only depends on whether you want this solid fan-like look or whether you want to us to see the whimsical assymetrical rhythm that the random triangles create.

    As for the points issue — cut your triangles about 1/2″ longer!

  3. juliewillis Says:

    Truthfully, the main reason the increments are random is because I didn’t want to measure them. I am the “cavalier” as opposed to the “persnickety” type of quilter, which is why my paper-piecing skills are rusty. 😉 I did want solid-looking fan shapes, and the design looks pretty much as planned. Now I’m working on a new design, more complex, with feathers. I might paint or stamp some fabric to get variations in motif spacing for dimensional effects. Anyhow, that is a good reason for playing with paint when I should be cleaning house. 🙂


  4. RaNae Says:

    Sounds like you know what you’re doing! And I’m all for painting/ quilitng/ anything besides dusting — as the top of my piano will attest!

    Spiral on!

  5. juliewillis Says:

    RM: Julie, for the moment the blog won’t let me save your page, so here is what I’ve been trying to post:


    You got the spirals-within-spirals concept which has been floating around in my brain, which I haven’t had time to do myself and which few so far have understood.


    Two comments:

    In the 3rd design, the inner triangle in the 8:00 position appears to change direction, while the others do not. Was this intentional? It probably would make a more effective design if it’s the same as the others, given that you already have so much assymetry and energy in the design, but you make the final call on that one.

    As for colors, EVERYONE seems to want to do a rainbow. Before you settle on your final color choices, I hope you’ll consider several options — you may find something else that is as unusual and stunning as your design. That said, whatever you do will be fantastic!

    JW: Oh, I’m so glad you liked the sketches! I’ll work on a final draft of the rainbow-spikey one with triangle spirals inside and email it to you when it’s done. If you like it, I am itchin’ to be stitchin’!

  6. juliewillis Says:

    oops! just re-read your post… i’ll use a palette other than rainbow. 🙂

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