RA 6/27/07: 

 Rhonda scans

My initial inspiration came from a photo of a Cathedral floor taken during my travels…although what I’ve drawn is not looking at all like the photo now. I have off centered the star and played with various spirals in the polygons formed in the centers. All are drawn by hand, so be gentle…they are rough ( I’m not an accomplished EQ gal yet).

In the last three star circles, I tried placing spirals in the star points…I like what is happening here. My thought was to use one of these options for a large medallion but in an assymetrical layout…these of course would be larger than the smaller circles containing the stars with small spiral centers.

My mind is spinning with lots of ideas, but as is the case with many of my projects, they tend to take on a mind of their own as I sew and place them on a design wall…reel me in, please. I need to keep this project in check with the timeline you set forth. Am I being overly optimistic with the idea of piecing several spirals?

RM: First of all, there is time to do a design with several spirals.  After you do the first you’ll have an idea of the time involved for your particular spiral (which you may already have from your warm-up project) and you can plan from there.

Now, about your spiral.  I notice in #1 that you skipped more than one point on your circle when you drew the basic star shape.  This results is that your “point” shapes have many small subdivisions within them, and you need to decide what to do with them.  In #4 you have left them empty.  In #5 & #7 you have created overlapping “petals” by merging some of these shapes together. 

In your original circle, you began with 12 points, but in #2 you reduced the center design to 6 sides.  Look at the result in #7.  The points alternate 3-sided and 4-sided irregular shapes, and each side of the center hexagon has 2 points emerging from it.  A design issue that you will need to answer here is how to make ALL the points feel integrated with the center, or to create a compelling visual rationale for why they don’t.  One answer for integration may be to go back to a 12-sided center, using 4-sided kite shapes instead of triangles to creat the central flower.  This would mean sewing 6 spirals, but having 12 facets from which to spin off your spiral points.  OR stick with the 6-sided center, and use alternating colors to emphasize overlapping petal pattern that shows up so beautifully in #7.

In #6 you are using mirrored pair triangles to form the central flower, then in #7 you have all the spirals that form the points circulating in the same direction.  You may find as you develop this design that the single-direction and the mirrored direction compete.  Take a look at Kathy Edwards’ designs to see what I mean.

RA 6/29/07: And here’s what I got when I drew the star centers keeping a 12 sided polygon in the middle…this still intrigues me 🙂

And a 12 petal dresden plate…the VA Spiros liked this a lot, but it does bring up the question of how to color it to make it effective . . . .

Rhonda 4a

RM: Rhonda, you’ve begun to discover spiral mandalas! I started working with this idea last year, inspired by the 16-segment rose window at St. Bart’s in NYC (yes, more scribbles on church programs). I’ll post a a couple of my experiments now on a Mandalas page — I plotted the original shapes in EQ, then exported and played in PhotoShop — goes much faster. If you like this kind of thing I would be delighted to see you go with it.

It would be interesting to see it done in traditional Dresden plate colors — 1930’s reproductions. I find the concept of using a modern design approach while referencing tradition an intriguing one… Or going in a completely different direction, it would be gorgeous done in gradations, with different colors in each spoke of the spirals — you could make it look as though it is weaving in and out of itself. 

Also, you can pick out individual triangles and make them a contrasting color to create a secondary pattern in the design.

RA:  . . . . . and what to do with it on a background…is it a flower, does it get a stem…too ordinary? Kathy E thought a cup/saucer…

RM: No flower, no stem, no teacup – the design speaks for itself.  Don’t trivialize it.

RA:  . . . would I spiral in the center, too?

RM: No, I think some fabric that has the colors of the spiral, or a fabric that has some sort of round design.  Perhaps something that unifies the center with the border?

RA: Is it a medallion? 

RM: Of course – and it would look stunning in the middle of a large bed quilt – and I could see a beautiful spiral border hanging over the edges…..but that’s more work than could be accomplished by September, probably!

Still playing….  Rhonda

PS Aside from the obvious in my question posted earlier (draw it properly), I see that when you spiral inward how important it is to START from the same place every time. I really had to mark the A to B line so I stayed on track as I spiraled inward…it SEEMED like I was ALWAYS starting at the same place by just sight, but obviously I wasn’t, that’s how I lost a spoke in the spiral. Is it still possible to piece this way…it gives a great effect.

RM: I haven’t tried it but I suppose you could….

RA:  And here’s what I got when I drew the star centers keeping a 12 sided polygon in the middle…this still intrigues me 🙂

Rhonda 1

rhonda 2

rhodna 3


12 Responses to “Rhonda Adams”

  1. yogib2 Says:

    Hi RaNae,

    My, we have been busy haven’t we? WOW! WOW! WOW!

    With pleasure, I have just finished reading all the new postings and updates I missed while entertaining my nieces and nephew at the beach in DE this past week. Awing at best!

    Your tutorials and the comments shared on the Work in Progress pages of my fellow Spiros have provided a wealth of information to work from. It’s amazing how many great minds think a like.

    With my quota of “Aunt Rhonda, Aunt Rhonda” on full and many doodles in the sand later, I think I am ready to Spiral. I look forward to sharing some of my ideas with you soon…(I just looked at the clock, is it really noon already? My how time flies.) Have a great day!


  2. yogib2 Says:

    Good Morning!

    So at the risk of sounding like I’m spiraling out of control here goes my (perhaps silly) question…I realize the beauty of foundation piecing allows you to piece small, but I am wondering what the smallest increment you would advise working with inside a polygon? I started nesting spirals with 1/2” increments and in trying to incorporate perspective into the spiral moved to 3/8” which makes my inner triangles ¼”…too tiny? Should I keep going and then enlarge the polygons on a copy machine to create a larger block? Do you recommend starting with larger increments?

    Out of curiosity, how large are the blocks you show in the Spiral to Quilt 2: More Than One Shape? It was interesting to see your photos as I had begun playing with the shapes within a block while in Geneva a couple of weeks ago…Should I keep going and run this by you? Or spiral onward to another idea?

  3. Mary Ann Says:

    Hi Rhonda and all!
    I’ll venture to answer a couple of your questions, at least regarding my project in the “Spirals to Quilt 2: More Than One Shape”. The ‘kites’ of the main section in “…Sisters!” are 4 inches on the long side, 2 ¼ on the short. I divided an 8 inch triangle to obtain those kite shapes. Some pieces in the center were only about ½ inch tall and ¾ inches long.
    Now, before anyone panics or hyperventilates—those were the finished sizes. I added very generous margins to the strips that I used for the piecing. I added at least one inch in length and ¾ to one inch in height.
    I did not use pins at all. Probably my favorite hint in this entire spiro process is using painter’s tape to position my fabric strips for sewing. It’s reusable many times and very inexpensive. If you chose to use painter’s, tape select a brand that tears easily for convenience sake (most brands do).
    Working on a small scale had its advantages for me. There was never a concern regarding manipulating my project throughout the sewing process. Foundations sheets were copied without any need to piece them together later. I did not use templates but used only strips, cut to approximate and generous dimensions. Fat quarters fit the bill. These are some of the reason I elected to do a project in near miniature scale. It does have certain advantages! ; )
    Challenge! Now let’s hear from the “Bigger is Better” crowd! ; )

  4. RaNae Says:

    Rhonda, I’ve worked in all sizes — the pieces in the spiral on the priest’s robe were at smallest 1/2″ wide by 1/8″ high, while the corners of Sails & Waves were 41″ long. Everything MaryAnn wrote is right — the important thing is cut generously and trim after. Work in whatever scale you feel comfortable with.

    And MaryAnn, thanks for the teaching comments!

  5. yogib2 Says:

    Hi RaNae…

    I just sent off an email to you with some scans and some of my ramblings. Hope you can make sense of them and I’ll look forward to hearing from you.


  6. yogib2 Says:

    Hi RaNae…you have an amazing response time! Thanks for taking the time to muttle through my ramblings and for the constructive comments.

    When working up close and personal with the spirals I missed the “what seem so obvious now” things you pointed out. I was trying all sorts of things and what I sent to you was a collage of trial and errors.

    You’re right, I did take out lines from the inner circle to create the polygon in #2, (actually I did it in all the stars with spiral centers) but I didn’t see that it made an element go missing until I looked at it after reading your comments…as I said I was just practicing drawing spirals, and I think I tried to take a short cut not realizing the effect…I’ll rework the 12 sided center and redraw the pinwheel center in #2 and spiral using kite shapes for the center in #6 to see how it changes their look. Do you reccomend the pinwheel or nesting spiral as I redraw #6? I recall there are issues in connecting the kite shapes when using the nesting spirals, realizing of course that both offer defferent design possibilities…

    Hmmmm, and now what about #7? If I rework the other stars with a 12 pointed center, what do I do here?…maybe I should just work on redrawing the centers of the others first.

    Stay tuned….


  7. yogib2 Says:

    Good Morning…so I spiraled using the original 12 sided polygon formed by my circle centers until late last night and what a difference that made! (How envious I am of those who have conquered EQ to create their polygons…it must be so much quicker than my hand doodles…all in time I guess).

    Before I turned out the lights, I went back through many of my practice drawings and discovered that indeed one of my favorite designs was one that used 4 sided kites which I copied several times and mirrored at the copy machine to play with…I just couldn’t see how to get it to move along any further…now I’m seeing some possibilities. I’m thinking of abandoning the stars and moving in another direction…perhaps they will emerge again in the design process or maybe they are a project for another time. I’ll spiro on and see where it takes me…feedback welcome!

  8. yogib2 Says:


    I am still fascinated by the spirals created when I use an irregular 12 sided polygon, but I have noticed that as I near the center, I end up down to an 11 or maybe even a 10 sided polygon…I like the effect of one of the spokes sort of “disappearing” and “starting” at a random spot in the spiral, but now I’m wondering what will happen when I go to piece it? Just wondering if you’ve hit this hiccup before?

    I can see almost immediately where I loose a triangle…it seems to be happening on the shortest segment of my polygon (I’m drawing with random segments) and since I’m hand drawing them, I’m finding I’m spending a lot of time starting over…suggestions from those of you who may have encountered the same thing…

  9. RaNae Says:

    Rhonda, while I can’t see a drawing of exactly what you’re talking about, I think that what will happen is that wherever one of your spokes “drops out” you’ll have a 4-sided shape instead of a triangle. You can probably hide this with careful color placement if you want to. As for sewing, I’d have to take a close look at what you’ve got, but on a hunch I would say that if you start with the 4-sided shape, you probably won’t have a problem.

  10. yogib2 Says:

    Mandalas…hmmm. I can’t wait to see what you’re going to share. I would be happy to refine this idea with your help in order to go forward.

    Off to the garden…the bind weed has gone crazy with the heat and rain from the past few days.

  11. yogib2 Says:

    Hi RaNae,

    I was just looking at the “mandalas” hanging on my wall that I sent you in the latest set of photos, perhaps I got a little ambitious with my ideas. I’m leaning towards the last photo I sent (the one with the half of a plate…although, I still like the first draft)…there ARE a lot of pieces, but not as many as in the other two using the pinwheel spirals in the doubled blades….perhaps I should work on getting those spirals that vary their increments to give me the interest I seek and that I see in the other two…looking forward to your thoughts.

    Also, I just read you were heading home after work, I’ll wait to chat with you on the phone over the weekend and give YOU a break from all of this spiraling…you’ve got an amazing “jar of energy” as Kathy E. would say. Thanks for all your doing to get me/us through the design phase. Scott is working all day tomorrow, so if you’re up for a chat…


  12. yogib2 Says:


    I think Kathy E. diagnosed you with a case of “spiralitis”. I’m beginning to think there is no known cure…this has truly been an addiction this week….one idea literally spins into another.

    I am really getting excited about moving forward with the Dresden/mandala idea. It’s a sad admission to say that while others were fast asleep in the wee hours of the morning, I was back at the dining table spiraling away yet more drawings.

    Hope you’re revitalized and off to the start of a great weekend.


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