Cosmatesque #2

The first quarter template…

Cosmatesque final planThere’s no point attempting to draft the template for this piece all in one go; it’s 48 inches square and I simply don’t have a flat surface that size (apart from the floor, and I’m not up to grovelling around down there any more). So I’ve divided it into 24 inch square quarters, which still fit on my cutting table. Luckily the design divides neatly into equal quarters, so I just need to make each one and then piece them together. “Just…”, she says airily, as though it were the work of moments.

Extension arm compassI decided to start with the most difficult section first. With that out of the way, the rest of the sections will seem much easier. So it’s the bottom left hand corner, a series of concentric rings with inset triangles. I have a set of good compasses, from small to large, with an extension arm. Just as well, really – do you have any idea how tricky it is to draw an accurate 20 inch circle, even with an extension arm on the compass?  The thing just wobbles, spreads, dislodges and generally misbehaves. But the template’s done. The next thing will be to make a tracing or duplicate of each ring, which I’ll then mount on cartridge paper and cut out to make the papers for EPP (English Paper Piecing*) the triangles.

At least, that’s the plan for now. I’m still wondering if I can do it with FPP (Foundation Paper Piecing†), but just now I’m tending against it, because of the trickiness of matching up all the pieced segments. You can adjust a little with EPP, but over a piece this size, FPP errors tend to magnify.

Explanation of terms for non-quilters, including the quilt’s new owner:

*EPP: fabric is wrapped around a card template and basted/tacked on. The covered templates are then joined edge to edge with tiny hand stitching through the fabric only, and once fully assembled, the basting/tacking is pulled out and the templates removed. This is the process used for traditional hexagon quilts.

†FPP: fabric is stitched directly onto a paper foundation, along drawn or printed lines. This ensures a lot of accuracy of individual pieces, but this shape has to be made up of many sections, and joining these sections can be a little inaccurate (when I do it, anyway!), so that points do not meet and things slip a little. The paper is torn away from the back of the piece once it is fully assembled, which is a laborious job in itself.

I need to start auditioning fabrics now, as very soon I’ll be able to make a start on assembly. I need a good tone-on-tone white. Flat, solid white will not look right, it needs a texture. If I could get a marbled white that would be ideal, but I’ve never seen such a thing (if anyone out there has, let me know asap, please?), and a tone-on-tone print will be the next best thing. I also need a warm deep red, a dark cobalt blue, a granite grey and a limestone beige, all marbled or textured batiks. And if anything else catches my eye, I’ll grab a bit of that too. This quilt won’t need large quantities of anything except the background white, I just need to be careful I don’t run out of any of the fabrics with one triangle to go!

Time to put away the ruler and compasses for a bit, and fetch out the scissors, needle and thread.


39 thoughts on “Cosmatesque #2

  1. Looks like a pretty complex project, not my speed! 🙂 You might consider Moda Grunge. It might be too directional but maybe not.

    • katechiconi says:

      The pieces are not as small as I feared, and I only have to do each section once, not like assembling a whole hexie quilt, so I’m not as intimidated as I might be… Thanks for the suggestion, I’ll see if it’s available down here, since the postage is a killer to Australia, it usually more than doubles the cost of buying fabric in the US.

  2. Lynda says:

    It is going to be wonderful and you will figure it all out. Tone on tone white? How white is the white? I will look too! 🙂
    Meanwhile, have a look at these:

    • katechiconi says:

      Think white marble floors… I doubt very much I’ll be able to find white marbled fabric, so what I’m looking for is white with a large irregular very pale grey or toned white pattern. Think Fossil Fern, or perhaps a pebbly greyish white filler. My problem with buying fabrics from the US is the cost of postage, which can often be a lot more than the fabric itself, so I’m hoping to source something here.

      • Lynda says:

        I understand. It cost me about $20.00 to mail an apron to a friend there.

      • katechiconi says:

        It’s unbelievable, isn’t it? Luckily, with F2F, three blocks are nice and light and it only comes to about $5, but if I were to buy several yards, it would be about what you’ve quoted.

    • katechiconi says:

      The Sand Dollar Grey is probably closest to the sort of thing I’m after in the Bali Bliss range. The other colours are probably too ‘hot’ considering I’m trying to recreate the feeling of stone mosaic…

      • Lynda says:

        I’m not sure how far you want to go for this fabric, but…
        I was looking at tie dye methods via Google this morning and if you can get past the garish coloring there are a few methods that might work for that stone look you need. Just my .02 cents.

      • katechiconi says:

        It will be very hard to control the depth of colour, and my main problem is the white. So far, I have managed to locate enough scrap of a suitable colour and texture to get the first part done, which gives me time to find something for the rest. Thanks for the input, though! 🙂

  3. knitnkwilt says:

    Beginning steps are quite tedious. Good luck on the fabric search.

    • katechiconi says:

      Luckily, I have managed to source suitable fabrics for the central circle from my stash and scraps already, so I have a pleasant evening of hand stitching ahead of me. I will need to do some fabric hunting tomorrow, though, as today was a public holiday and everything is closed.

  4. anne54 says:

    I love the idea of auditioning fabrics! It seems like that would perfectly sum up what you do! I am looking forward to seeing the progress on this quilt.

  5. What HAVE you taken on??? I couldn’ tbegin to plot that. A dinner plate is the largest circle I will undertake!
    Marbled white – must it be white white? How about Essential Marble Earthenware (which would look like tile background) from Cotton Patch. I think the postage from UK would be cheaper than from US. You’ll find it here:

    I’ve used Cotton Patch for 25 years, and they are reliable, though not exactly cheap!

    • katechiconi says:

      No, it need not be white-white. I’m using a scrap of pale cream with a white overprint for the points of the inner star. And you know, now it’s all planned out, it’s going to go really fast! I have the templates and fabric cut for the inner star already, and will start basting tonight. We’ll see how fast I get on! Thanks for the link, but I think the postage from the UK is also pretty prohibitive.

  6. Lorij says:

    I know that it’s not a Christmas projectbut,you know that there is white fabric with snowflakes on it that just might workbecause it is patterned and with shapes on top the snowflakes won’t be real noticeable. Just a suggestion.

  7. norma says:

    English paper piecing is perfect for this project – I did wonder how you were going to do it when I saw your plans. Have fun!

  8. I know nothing about quilting – and can just about fix a hole in a sock or put a button back on. But I love this pattern, and I will be fascinated to see it through!

  9. Carine says:

    Wow you are moving fast! What I really love about this bottom left-hand panel is that it reminds me so much of the central part of a floor I actually dug up myself – albeit in ruined state but with lovely deep colours [it needed the help of a bucket of water, but all the same]. Have a look if you like:

    • katechiconi says:

      I’ve been careful to use colours and design motifs which are common to a lot of floor designs. They’re beautiful enough without having to invent anything new. The colours of the hanging itself will be stronger – think new floor and bucket of water – but I love the crispness of the colour adjacencies, and hope you will too 🙂

  10. If I had to do all that you just did to make a quilt, it would never be considered. I’m in deep admiration of your ability to figure out what you need to do and how to do it. That takes some real skill. Very impressive. Looking forward to the updates.

    • katechiconi says:

      So many of my ideas are quite insistent about becoming a made piece. I’ve tried in the past to push them into the background, but they do insist on getting out. So the best thing is to work out the quickest and most effective way of making them happen! I find the working out and making bit quite calming.

      • It’s the concentration and focus that are much like meditation to the mind. I do understand but my poor brain just wouldn’t go there. Whatever yours comes up with, turns out wonderfully. Looking forward to the updates. 😉

  11. Magpie Sue says:

    Oy! I don’t think I could be paid to undertake such a project! Well, not under my current circumstances. No, probably ever. Good on you, and good luck finding just the right white print that’s affordable!

    • katechiconi says:

      I’ve located a soft off-white mottled print that gives a marbley effect from a distance. It’ll do the trick! So far, it hasn’t been too bad planning this thing and getting started. I think I may have a bit more trouble when I come to all the tiny pieced square blocks. The flying geese will be foundation pieced, so will be quite quick.

  12. I would do some FPP (especially for the curved flying geese) and then use the plain circles and areas, which I would applique by hand, to keep it all in true. The plain areas can be subtly adjusted. However, there is no wrong way. Do what works for you!

    • katechiconi says:

      That is in fact the plan! Anything I can machine piece in straight lines I will. Anything I can paper piece I will, anything else that needs the accuracy of EPP will be done that way. Over the next day or so I’ll be hand stitching the white ring, and then on with EPP for the outer.

  13. rutigt says:

    I just finished a star in FPP and it will soon be on its way to you! After sewing this star, I know I wouldn´t sew one more. It was very tricky and I had to remake it twice 🙂 So I wish you good luck with your project and hope it will work out fine!

    • katechiconi says:

      Thank you so much, both for making the star and then re-making it! Sometimes we do something just so we know we can, and then we don’t need to do it ever again!

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