Circling Toward Completion: Finding the Right Circular Pattern for an Eclipse-Inspired UFO


Lately, I’ve been on the hunt for circle-based quilt designs for an eclipse-inspired quilt. It’s become a UFO, all right, with stacks of new fabric showing up in my stash on far-too-regular basis. (UFO stands for Un-Finished Object.)

For the 2017 eclipse, I traveled through Paducah, Kentucky, stopping (of course) at the National Quilt Museum there. I was dumbstruck by Carol Bryer Fallert’s Corona II: Solar Eclipse quilt on display.

My own planned quilt is far, far less intense. My style is more ‘patchwork quilt’ than ‘art quilt.’ (Also, I’d have to say, my style is more ‘utility quilt’ than ‘masterpiece quilt.’) I want my design to work with traditional patchwork shapes, but definitely circular. And pieced, not appliqué.

The Freeform Block of the Month design interests me a lot, with its alternating blocks and medallion center. It uses the Fons & Porter Compass Template Set, which appeals to me, too. When it comes to circles and curved seams, since I’m putting in the effort, I want to know that the patches fit together accurately; these acrylic templates guarantee that.

In reviewing the project, I read through Gigi Khalsa’s BOM-along article, which is a handy month-by-month review of her project (Month 1, Month 2, Month 3, Month 4, Month 5, Month 6).

What interests me is how, in month 4, Gigi adapted her Compass templates to create a different block that would be proportional to the original Compass block. You’re not locked into using the templates a certain way; the point is to open up creativity, not hold it back!

I think the compass templates are a strong option for a circular design. Nancy Mahoney’s Copacabana quilt from Quilty’s May/June 2018 issue uses them, too, in a repeating design that’s both scrappy and cute.

The Curved Seam templates are another option for circles. Colleen Tauke used them in her quilt Scoop, and I like how that came together. It’s an easier design, that’s for certain, and adaptable!

It’s not quite the effect I’m going for, but I also very much like Karen Lee’s Sliced Circles pattern from QuiltCon Magazine 2018. Pretty dang cool…

Flipping through that issue, I spotted Quilt Invaders by Jo Avery, and—thinking of how Gigi adapted the Compass Template for Freeform—I got to wondering if I could do something using my Wheel of Fortune Template Set (which I’ve yet to even peel the paper backing from!).


With the summer solstice around the corner, I’m all fired up to get going… before I buy more fabric!

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