We’re back with a new excerpt from Essential Guide to Modern Quilt Making, an all-inclusive guide compiled by Susanne Woods, founder and publisher at Lucky Spool Media. Through the book’s 10 workshop chapters, expert quilters teach you modern quilt-making design principles, providing support as you practice a variety of quilting techniques and concepts. Included in this informative guide are 16 new quilt patterns. Susanne and Lucky Spool are sharing excerpts from the Essential Guide to Modern Quilt Making in a weekly series at Sew Mama Sew.

This excerpt from Chapter Six is from Cheryl Arkison, a writer, quilter and mom. She writes and teaches on quilting, craft, creativity, food and family. And it all comes from her dining room empire in her crowded, colorful house! She teaches internationally and will be hosting a workshop at QuiltCon 2015.

Learn more about the book and check out previous excerpts in the following posts:

Essential Guide to Modern Quilt Making brings an authoritative voice from modern quilting leaders, putting their expertise in your hands for access and success any time!

Goals of the Workshop: Circles and Curves

The sixth workshop in Essential Guide to Modern Quilt Making continues on with more techniques. This time, Cheryl teaches readers many ways to create circles in their quilt making culminating in her award-winning, skill-building pattern (shown below) that uses techniques from the workshop. Here, Cheryl presents the most straightforward circle technique: Appliqué Circles.

Appliqué Cirlces
Over the years I’ve tried many appliqué methods. These include using aluminum foil and cardboard templates or sewing fabric to a dryer sheets or lightweight inter-facing. These techniques have given me inconsistent or bulky results. My favorite method for making perfect circles uses freezer paper, a hot iron, and a basting or gathering stitch.

1. Make the Circle
Determine the circle’s diameter. If you aren’t concerned with making a specific size, go ahead and trace an object that is more or less the size you want. Draw your circle on the dull side of the freezer paper. Cut it out with paper scissors.

2. Apply the Template
Pick your fabric for the circle. With an iron, press the freezer paper circle– shiny side down– to the wrong side of your fabric. Leave enough extra fabric for a 1/2″ seam allowance. Cut your fabric around the circle, remembering to leave that seam allowance.

3. Gather the Edges
Set your sewing machine stitch length for a straight stitch to the longest it can go— likely a 5 or 6. Leaving long tails of thread, slowly stitch around the circle, approximately 3?8″ from the edge of the freezer paper template. When you get to the end, stitch slightly to the side of where you started and go three or four stitches beyond. You want to overlap, but not to stitch over where you started.
Holding the circle down on a flat surface, pull the bobbin threads to gently gather the fabric around the edge of the template. It won’t go evenly at first and you may need to ease the gather around the template. Take care that the template edge does not get folded over. Once your fabric is gathered, press the circle well from the front and back. Remove the freezer paper (reserving for use five or six more times) and press again.

4. Attach to Background
Attach the circle to the background fabric. (The next step in Cheryl’s workshop in the book shows you four methods for attaching your perfect circle to your background fabric.)

Lucky Spool’s Essential Guide to Modern Quilt Making compiled by Susanne Woods (192 pages, $28.95, published in 2014 by Lucky Spool Media, LLC) has more of this, and other great workshops.