Friday, September 18, 2009

Stones tutorial

Small Stones Quilt tutorial

A few supplies you'll need:

A compass, for those perfect circles.
cutter and cutting mat are helpful
straight edge for cutting


For the back ground strips,
I selected one fabric that had an assortment of colors to use as my palette.
pink, browns, blues, and light greens with a touch of yellow
yet over all it is a Medium toned fabric. Not to dark or light, not to bright...

If you think in terms of steps.
the back ground strips, which can be made from fat quarters...
got up in value in 4 steps.

light medium dark and very dark

2 LIGHT Neutral & Pink
3 medium tones= 1 brown, 1 blue, 2pinks
2 dark tones, 1 brown and blue
one VERY DARK brown

SIDE NOTES: Select a range of fabrics. We, my daughter and I, used this as a challenge to find fabrics that matched the original idea, and then laid them all out on the floor to see if they read nicely together...
My daughter quickly pointed out that I had to many large floral prints, so we yanked them back out and tried a few more. We found that smaller prints work better for this project.
But Hey! PLAY! There is no right answer!

Here are the fabric sizes and pieces you will need:

Strips left to right:
#1 = 6.5" x 19"
#2 = 5.5" x 19"
#3 = 10"x 19"
#4 = 2.5"x 19"
#5 = 1"x 19"
#6 = 5"x 19"
#7 = 1"x 19"
#8 = 1"x 19"
#9 = 5"x 19"
#10 = 3"x 19"

Cut your strips per the lengths in order as listed above.

Sew these together in this order #1-10, as a 1/4" seam.
press seams flat.

Select your fabrics for the circles

Using your compass, Cut out templates and circles per measurements listed below:


Paper card stock templates cut:
you can also use freezer paper, I like card stock, holds tighter and doesn't warp.
(Your templates should be 1" smaller than you fabric circles...)

Cut 2= 6.5" card stock template circles
Cut 8 = 5.5" card stock templates

Fabric Circles cut:

6.5" circles

1 dark tone
1 bright tone
1 medium tone
5 light toned fabrics

Large background circles cut:
7.5" circles

1 medium tone
1 light tone same fabric as circle # 4

Once you have you fabric circles cut, Set your sewing machine to a long basting stitch
Take one circle at a time, stitch 1/8' around circle, be sure to back stitch when you start,
but DO NOT back stitch when you complete the circle leave long threads at the end.

insert you paper template circle to middle of fabric circle,
and gently pull the thread to pucker the fabric so that it folds over your paper template.

try to get it as fit as you can, then iron down the folded over puckered fabric.
this will give you a nice sharp edge and make appliqueing the circles
on to the background much easier.

Layout of circles:

#1 = 5.5" light tone circle on top of larger 6.5" medium tone circle
#2 = 5.5" size BRIGHT toned circle
#3 = 5.5" size DARK toned circle
#4 = 5.5" size light toned circle
#5 = 1 large 6.5" light toned ,Same fabric as #4 fabric, circle
with medium toned 5.5 size circle on top
#6 = light toned 5.5" circle
#7 light toned 5.5" circle, cut in half (same fabric for #8)
#8 same light toned 5.5" fabric circle as #7

pin the circles in place. You can then begin to applique the circles onto the background.
I am no expert on applique, but the tricks I learned in Jr. High School seem to get me through this process quite nicely!

I start from the bottom edge of a circle, just underneath the circle taking a bite, then again down to the back ground fabric... if you keep your stitches just under neath, they will be well hidden when you complete the stitching.

As you are about half way around a circle, pull out the paper template and complete the circle.

Once you have appliqued the circles, you can layout your batting, and select a backing.
Pin and quilt as desired.

I like to hand quilt the small projects with perle cotton size 8.

Highlighting the circles, and using a lighter thread to quilt out the back ground in lines, or diagonal boxes or cross hatching...

Cut three inch wide strips of various fabrics, join, and iron in half.
aprox. 120" of mixed 3" wide strips will get you all the way around the quilt.

A great circle tutorial by mrsschmenkmanquilts, which is the same process I use,
just using card stock instead of freezer paper.

And Amanda Jean has a great tutorial for bindings, if you need more help.

Since this was my first attempt at writing a tutorial,
if you have loads of questions, I won't be surprised!
ask me anything, email me.
;-) I gave it a shot... Now I better go finish my new one!

Please show me if you make one!


  1. I'm compass challenged. Wonder if it has anything to do with being left-handed? :o) Terrific project and I love all things circle and polka dot.

  2. Great, detailed tutorial! I will have to start pulling some fabric for one of these! Thank you for your work on this.

  3. Nicely done. Complete information with pictures for those of us who are reading challenged.

  4. It sounds like you covered everything! Looks like a very fun project!

  5. Thanks a certainly sounds very straightforward and while it might be a while til I get to it, I will get to Honest, I will. Stop looking at me like that!

  6. oooh this is fabulous!! (and looks so much fun to make too! I'm jealous...


  7. Well done V! You rock!
    See ya soon! Yipee!!!

  8. Very nice and easy to understand tutorial...thank you so much. Now we all have to go and make a few circles.

  9. Your fabric choices are inspirational!

  10. I've never done circles before because I'm intimidated, but I love that idea of baste stitching and then pulling the thread. Genius! I'm going to try it out for sure now!


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