I can’t claim the idea of concentric circle quilting as my own. It was suggested to me as a way of breaking out of the blockiness of all those squares. I was shown some gorgeous examples and then despite finding out just how hard it was going to be during a machine quilting class, I just couldn’t get the idea out of my head. Nothing else I could think of seemed quite right. Really, I probably should have just followed the lines, maybe quilting a 1/4 inch either side of the seams, but no, it had to be circles.
To quilt circles you basically have to slowly turn your item around 360 degrees under the needle as you sew. If you have a circle to follow, either as part of the project itself, or by drawing your own guideline then you can use that for the first round and then use either the side of you foot or a guide on the previous line to keep the spacing even.
I tried out the idea on my Sashiko Sampler Scissor Pouch a little while back which was a really good practice run. At that size it was really easy to move through the machine, however I already noticed how many stops & starts there were, and how many thread ends I would have to go back and hide afterwards.
On the larger quilt I decided to quilt it as a spiral instead. I traced around a small side plate to start just off centre of the middle. The beginning was quite hard as you’re turning a really tight circle under the walking foot and there’s a lot of long quilt edges to push around but as I moved out it gradually got easier. The middle was left empty as it would have been near impossible do to spiral that tightly, then I came back to free motion quilt it at the end.
I left this all set up on my machine so that I could just sit down and do a little bit at a time as I could and it worked! I had the whole top quilted in just over a week doing a bit each night.
Spoiler alert: The quilt is finished! Final post in this series coming up shortly. Should be a good note to end the year on.