Saturday, September 6, 2014

Spiral Quilt - Part II

Before I go on I need to clarify one point.  My spiral quilts are not made in "blocks."  They are made in wedges for a kaleidoscope effect.  The quilts I have made with this technique have one very large, intricate circle or mandala as the centerpiece of the quilt.  For the quilt that I am designing in this and a few following posts the completed circle is 21 inches in diameter.

Did you fill in the pentagon and triangle yet?  I hope you did, as it will help you understand the design.  Below are my diagrams.  I colored the one on the right so you can see the pentagon and the triangle.  Spirals are sewn by paper piecing the main shapes:   the pentagon is stitched as one unit and the triangle is stitched as another unit.  Then they are sewn together to create one wedge-shaped unit.  As you can see on the left, the two shapes intermingle and become one.  The seam between the pentagon and triangle gets lost in the maze.  The fabrics you choose will determine what parts of the design are emphasized.

Pentagon and Triangle united.
  You then copy and rotate the combined shape at point X into a circle, or use your mirrors if you are not working on a computer, or make copies that can be cut out and placed in position.  In this case, there will be 12 - 30º wedges in the circle with side A on the left and side B on the right all the way around.  Isn't that sooooo cool?

Another option is to flip a copy of the wedge so that it mirrors the original with side A aligned with side A of the flipped piece.

You will notice that side B will also align with side B of the next wedge.  Now you rotate this 60º wedge as one unit.  See the difference in the two completed circles?

I love doing these.  Once you are to this point you can start coloring the design.  I usually color one wedge and then rotate it in Illustrator.  If I don't like it, I go back to the wedge, make changes and try again.  If you are working on paper you can use mirrors or copies to get an idea of how the coloring will turn out.  Gradations of color work beautifully in these designs.

TIP:  This is playtime.  Have fun with it.  As long as your basic shapes can be sewn together it will work.  Believe it or not, this is "quilting" too...all part of the process.

I had so much fun playing that I have too many designs.  I'll never have time in this life to get them all made into quilts!!


  1. Looks nice. I've done something like this long time ago. I used the book "Log cabin with a twist"

  2. I am truly amazed. Would love to see how you use this is a finished quilt.

  3. I have been drawn to kaleidoscope patterns and twisted log cabin patterns for years. I feel as though I have found a fellow soul mate when I saw your design. Any chance of your publishing a pattern?

  4. I do not intend to publish a pattern. I suggest you purchase or borrow RaNae Merrill's "Simply Amazing Spiral Quilts." Her directions are excellent and these are really fun to design yourself. They do take some non-sew time, but the results are so unusual and spectacular that it is worth it. It is part of the process.

  5. Wow, this is amazing! Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and for linking up!!

  6. I made this with Ranae's book. It is very simple and amazing.
    From Argentina