Vicki Herrman 1

VH: With my original plan, I was planning on making the hexagon or octagon a more oval shape. More sides in addition sounds better. How many would you suggest, and do you have a source for the many sided ones so that I wouldn’t have to draw them from scratch? 

RM: As far as number of spokes, it will just take a bit of experimentation to find what you like. Maybe 12? 15?

VH: I was planning on applqueing it onto black/white check fabric as I think it would be difficult to put 1/2 inch checks into the spiral with all the angles. Am I wrong???? I have several yards of the 1/2 inch check, about a yard of 1/8 inch check, and half a yard of the 1/4 inch check.  

RM: Since you have 1/8″, 1/4″ and 1/2″ a REALLY neat thing to do would be use the smallest near the center, then graduate out to the 1/4″ and the 1/2″. (From my point of view, it would help illustrate graduating scale, something I don’t have yet.) You could cut the triangles randomly, or cut the longest side along the lines of the checks. Either way, it might create great movement and energy in the design.

VH: Here’s a picture of the colored in drawing. The grey represents the check. My current drawing is about 13×16 in. I hope to have the spiral in the quilt about 26x 35 in. The largest triangle (outer) in what would be the check (grey in drawing) is now about 16 checks by 2 1/2 checks if I use the 1/2 inch check. the smallest (inner) would be 17 long and 2 high if I use the 1/8 inch check. By the time I double the size that’s still only 32 long and 4 high and 34 long and 4 high. I am talking about lining the checks up with the longest side of the triangle.  Is that going to show the checks???

RM: Yes, that sounds like it will show them fine.

VH: I also probably will do more rounds than the 10 I have now.

RM: When you draw the spiral full-size, consider the size of the photo in the center.  Keep the photo large enough to focus on what’s important (your son), and balance the size of the spiral so it doesn’t overpower the photo.

VH: Since this is foundation peicing, is my drawing the mirror image of the finished quilt??? In my drawing the spokes go clockwise and race cars always go counter-clockwise.

RM: Not having to think in mirror image is one of the advantages of using a translucent foundation material — you draw the spiral the way you want to see it, and you can see the lines both from the front (for placing the fabrics) and from the back (for sewing on the lines).  You are using translucent Pellon for the foundation, so just draw the spiral the way you want it to look when it’s finished.  And if you change your mind and want it to go the other direction, just turn the foundation over and use the other side.  It’s really fool-proof.

VH 7-26-07: Progress!!! I’ve sewn the first 2 rounds out of 8 spirals. It seems that each color has different size and shaped triangles because of where they fall in the 12 sided figure. I have some REALLY skinny triangles. Since I used freezer paper to draw my design, I cut it apart and ironed the templates to the fabric and rotary cut the fabric.

VH 7-29-07:  Almost finished!  Just need to figure out how to do the edges….  I tried to reduce the size of the picture, but I don’t think I want you to post it to the blog. I noticed when I laid it out to take the picture that it’s not laying flat. Any suggestions? I will have to remove the foundation under the white where I wrote on it. I’m excited about how this is shaping up.  

I never would have tried this before. You have definitely taken me into uncharted territory. I’m anxious to hear what you think. Thank You

RM:  Vicki, it looks great — please let me know when I can post it to the blog — I think the others will be excited to see it. 

As for the not-laying-flat problem: I can think of a couple of things that might have happened: the Pellon might have shrunk a bit because the iron was too hot, or somehow the stitching tension pulled up a bit?  It’s hard to tell for sure without actually seeing the piece.  My first gut reaction is to suggest that removing some of the Pellon might fix it — or even just slashing it to allow it to open up in case it shrunk.  Of course, if it did shrink, and you kept sewing over it, the problem may have translated into the fabric itself.  In teh photo it doesn’t look like a LOT of slack and it may well be that it could be stretched or eased when you sandwich it together for quilting if you use a frame of some sort that puts a bit of tension on the fabric.

You asked about putting on the edges, and that may offer another possibility for taking up some slack.  If you ease the slack of the quilt top into the border strip and pin every 1/2″, then the loose fabric is forced to compact when you sew, which eases it in when you sew on the border.   I have used this method successfully to take in up to 1″ slack in a 36″ span.

As for the area surrounding the spiral, I would simply extend it out to the edge of the rectangle, like this:

Vicki Surround

VH:  Ranae, I see what you mean. Wonderful idea. I really like it. The spiral as it stands now is 21 1/2 by 32. I’m at the ends of the pellon so I would have to splice more onto the sides and draw directly on the pellon and then guestimate the hunks of fabric. Am I right??? 

Would you do a narrow seam, or butt joints?

RM:  Vicki, I don’t think you need to add Pellon, since there’s plenty of room for seams as it is now.  I would just use some paper to size out the edge pieces, then sew them to the edges of the spiral using a 1/4″ seam along the edges of the fabric.  If you cut a straight seam allowance on the side you sew, the seam allowance can guide the stitching.  You’ll have to do a partial seam on the first piece, just like you did with the triangles in the spiral.  You’ll overflow the Pellon, but that’s okay.  However, if you feel more comfortable, add more Pellon.  (I’m not sure what you mean about butt joints….) 

VH 8-20-07:  I’m finished with my quilt!

 Vicki Herrman done

Well, almost. I still have to come up with a name and make a label. I know that mine is not nearly as complex as some, but I am really impressed with myself that I could design something from scratch. I never could have done it without your guidance.  For the name I’m thinking about something to do with getting trapped in a vortex. I’m open for suggestions.

RM:  Great job, Vicki!  Give yourself a big pat on the back!

VH: I’m not sure I did the right thing with the quilting. I just quilted in the ditch where each spiral meets and the in the center of the spiral to emphasize the spirals. In the outer border I put a snail-like design, and next to the picture I put a portion of the same snailish design, only on a larger scale. I think that the spirals need more, but I’m unsure what to do as I want to emphasize the spirals.

RM:  Vicki, how about quilting some flames along that line of quilting that runs down the center of each spoke?  Since you have a race car in the center, it could look like those flames that they paint on cars.  Just an idea…..

VH 8-29-07: RaNae, I’m sending a picture of my quilt with the quilting redone. It made all the difference. Thanks for the suggestion. 

Vicki Vroom Vroom with Flames

This illustrates just how much you can improve a quilt with the quilting! The flames were a stretch themselves as my previous machine quilting has been following templates. I haven’t really done any free-form machine quilting. 

I know that my quilt doesn’t have the WOW factor that the others do, but anyone who knows my usual quilting comfort zone won’t be able to believe that I did this. (I’m just getting used to the idea.) I am so proud of myself, and I thank you for that.  Vicki


24 Responses to “Vicki Herrman”

  1. vickih Says:

    I see what you mean about the spiral overwhelming the photo. I think my next step is to draw it closer to the size I want it and see how many spirals it works out to be. I also think I want to make it more oval. My center is proportionally more elogated than the overall shape. Once I crop either of the photos, They will be at best traditional photo proportions, or square. What about adding a say 6 sided spiral to either side of the photo in the center??? Maybe I’ll get some inspiration while he’s racing tomarrow afternoon.

    RM: Vicki, I think you are on the right “track”! 😉

  2. vickih Says:

    I have 2 questions.
    To get my starting 12 sided shape I found one on a math site on the internet and printed it out. I The ‘split ‘ it to enlogate the top and bottom parallel sides. I then traced it onto freezer paper hat I spliced to make it larger. Then I used my quilting rulers to draw parallel to the sides that I had trace. I also found that I had to exagerate the length of the sides that I wanted enolgated. I unintentionally traced/drew in inaccuracy. I then drew the spiral. Is there an easier and more accurate way to draft the beginning shape. (In talking about the order of 23×34 inches)?

    RM: Vicki, it sounds as though you approached this in a very practical way.

    Is there an easier and more accurate way to draw the beginning shape? What I am planning to do for the book is to include shapes that can be enlarged on the photocopier — in sections if necessary. For absolutely perfect accuracy, the best method would be to draw and print it in EQ or a drawing program like Illustrator if you have either available.

    I’m not sure exactly what kind of inaccuracy found its way into your spiral, but here’s a thought: that the if the spiral is a little “imperfect” or “assymetrical” it will be more dynamic and active around that zooming race car. You could even go for an uneven number of sides that would create more motion and eliminate any perceived “imperfections.”

  3. vickih Says:

    I don’t think you’ve covered fabric requirements yet, but I may get to the quilt shop in the next town tomarrow. If my largest triangle has a long side of 18 inches and a maximun height of 3 1/2 inches, and I do 10 rounds, is a yard plenty on fabric for each color??? (2 spokes of each color)

  4. vickih Says:

    I think have the spiral drawn on freezer paper like I want it. Waiting to get ahold of the picture I want to use in the center. A more or less professional photographer takes digital pictures at the track, and doesn’t know what to charge me for the picture without his watermark on it, and not printing it himself, so I can print it on fabric. Need to bug him about it.

    Did you get the foundation/stabilizer I sent?

    I think I’m ready to transfer the design to whatever I use for the foundation. (I have some lightweight sew-in interfacing also).Do I trace it from the paper to the foundation. I don’t understand what you mean about templates. When I have done foundation/paper piecing before, I have just cut a hunk of fabric, and then trimmed after sewing it down. The trimming part is perhaps why foundation piecing is not my favorite as it makes a big mess and seems to waste a lot of fabric, but I need to fussy cut the black/white check.

  5. vickih Says:

    I went and read the comments about sewing the pinwheel spirals. I think it answered my questions about templates. I didn’t really want to cut up my orginal drawing, so I’m thinking about either doing that or precutting by measuring.

  6. RaNae Says:

    Vicki, just make a second copy of your original drawing — with the markings — and then cut up the copy for your templates.

    I’m glad to hear you’re making headway!

    Yes, I did get the stabilizer, thank you. Have I had a chance to sew a stitch? NO! But thanks for reminding me that I need to send you some stuff to try too. Putting it on my “Do tonight at home” list now.

  7. RaNae Says:

    VH: Finally!!! The photographer emailed me back. The link is to the pics he thinks I might want. Which one do you think???? I’m leaning to the one that ends in 70, 137 or 138. Vicki Herrmann

    RM: Vicki — he’s your kid, but what I immediately noticed is that in #70 you can’t see most of his head, while in the other two you can see his visor and perhaps a bit of his eyes. Also, I just checked your drawing to see if the spiral went in the same direction that he is driving — it looks good. Make sure you keep the same orientation (clockwise spin) when you sew!

  8. vickih Says:

    I picked 137. I can see his eyes and the background is less cluttered. I think you mean counterclockwise. Racers on oval tracks go counterclockwise. (I get this stuff by osmosis because of where I live) The picture is taken from the infield. I had to use the professional picture as he has the right equipment to get a good shot. When he snaps the picture the cars are probably going close to 60 mph as they are coming out of the turn and just beginning to accelerate again. Hope to get sewing tomorrow. Thanks for your help so far.

  9. vickih Says:

    Progress!!! I’ve sewn the first 2 rounds out of 8 spirals. It seems that each color has different size and shaped triangles because of where they fall in the 12 sided figure. I have some REALLY skinny triangles. Since I used freezer paper to draw my design, I cut it apart and ironed the templates to the fabric and rotary cut the fabric.

  10. vickih Says:

    Hurray!!! I have finished sewing the outside spiral. I extended it 7-8 inches, but plan on trimming it off. Maybe to 4 inches past the original spiral??? Then a black outside border 2 inches or less. Time to let it sit to mellow and ferment for a few days. Still thinking about quilting options.

  11. vickih Says:

    Basted my quilt today. Plan on getting a bunch of the quilting done tomorrow. Will start out with in the ditch where the spirals meet each other, and then maybe in the center of each spiral. The piecing is what I want the eye to go to and I’m afraid of distracting rather than enhancing.

  12. yogib2 Says:


    How about a sneak preview of your quilt…you’ve certainly peaked our curiosity 🙂

    Happy Quilting!

  13. vickih Says:

    I’ll try tomorrow. I’t dark here now. Not sure where I’ll hang it to get a good picture.

  14. vickih Says:

    I’m done!!! I just sent a picture to RaNae so that she can post it to the blog. I still have to think of a name. I’m thinking something to do with getting trapped in a vortex. Suggestions are welcome.

  15. yogib2 Says:

    Yahoo! Can’t wait.

  16. vickih Says:

    I’m not sure I did the right thing with the quilting. I just quilted in the ditch where each spiral meets and the in the center of the spiral to emphasize the spirals. In the outer border I put a snail-like design, and next to the picture I put a portion of the same snailish design, only on a larger scale. I think that the spirals need more, but I’m unsure what to do as I want to emphasize the spirals.

  17. yogib2 Says:

    Vicki…I’ll be anxious to see the quilting and what, if anything RaNae recommends for further accentuating your spirals (I’m sure it is perfect as it is) I’m about to have mine quilted so it’s nice to be able to share and learn from one another.


  18. yogib2 Says:

    Well done Vicki…I never would have guessed I could have done a quilt from the design phase upwards either…what an incredibly rewarding experience.


  19. vickih Says:

    I LOVE the flames idea. I’ll start sketching some ideas to see how they will fit.

  20. vickih Says:

    Haven’t started sketching flames, but what about taking out the line of quilting down the center of the spokes????? I could be much freer with the flames. With the quilting line down the center of the spokes I’m afraid that they will look like funky/misshapen feathers.

    RM: That sounds like a good idea. It actually had crossed my mind, but having just had to remove ALL the quilting from an ENTIRE baby quilt, I hesitated to suggest it. But in your case, it’s not THAT much….

  21. RaNae Says:

    Vicki, as I popped onto your page just now, a title for your quilt popped into my head: “Vroom! Vroom!”

  22. RaNae Says:

    Vicki, I need a photo credit for the picture in the middle to put in the book.

  23. vickih Says:

    The photgrapher is Ryan Northcote. His business is called Ryan Northcote Photography. I told him that the picture was for a special quilt.

  24. vickih Says:

    It is called Vroom! Vroom! unless I come up with something better. It is a single dodecagon (12 sided) that is elongated. I used a point to point spiral with 8 rounds, plus another on the outside of the figure to make it a rectangle. It is 30″ x 40″. I machine quilted it myself.

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