Round the Year Blocks – Setting Circles on to Squares

I had promised you a guest blogpost from Sobana Sundar, who has squared up all the circles for her BOM blocks! If you have not seen her beautiful blocks, you must!

Without much ado, I hand this over to Sobana Sundar :

Any jewel is defined by its setting – so too your blocks need that final touch of being set into squares before they can become a quilt top or wall hanging. The Round the Year block circles measure 15.5 inches and are to be set into squares that are 18.5 sq.inches.

The following blocks can be set using the ‘squircle’ templates provided by Madhu along with each block. They are all not identically set as some finish up with six pieces, some four but they join up easily as long as you patiently pin them and sew slowly using 1/4″ seam. (I copied out the template to freezer paper to avoid repeated tracing on the fabric.)

Block 2- An Evening at the Pond,

Block 4 -Sapphire Fire,

Block 5- Venus,

Block 12- Dozens Squared,

Block 13- Feathered Star and

Block 14- Fractal Mandala

The rest are circles and have to be appliqued to the square, if you have a lot of patience and time to do that. Personally I can never be happy with my stitches when I applique, be it button hole or a hem and I definitely do not have the inclination to spend long hours hand appliqueing the circles to the squares.

So I chose a method that I have used before using Freezer paper, a method where there is very minimal sewing and still one gets a lovely block. I learnt it from this tute here – and did this whole quilt with it .

Another bonus about using the freezer paper method is that one can square up all the blocks using the square template if one does not have a 18.5″ square ruler. I have only a 12.5″ square ruler and hate making the bigger size blocks for fear of ruining them while squaring with a smaller ruler. And here I just pressed the freezer paper template and trimmed away the extra fabric on the blocks I finished using Madhu’s templates.

There are some adaptations to be made to use it – for simplicity sake I will call it the port hole method (as named by Desi Quilter Tina Katwal)  – for our finished circles. This method is normally used to make Drunkard’s Path quadrants and once the background circle is prepped, one attaches a piece of fabric that is generously bigger than the circle. However, here we have already finished circles so some attention is required to properly attach the square and the circle.

And here is a photo trail to explain the how-to…

Start by cutting a 18.5″ square from your freezer paper. The paper rolls available in the market are usually 18 inches broad so you will have to cut out another piece of freezer paper that is 18.5 x 1 inch and iron/ glue it to get it to the size we require. Fold it in four find the centre and then draw a circle with a diameter of 15″ – not 15.5″ – on the paper side (as opposed to the shiny side). I used a quadrant template (that you can download from the link at the end of this post ) to mark my 15″ diameter circle and cut it out.

Cut 15
Cut 15″ circle from centre of 18.5″ freezer paper square.

The ready template…

Iron the freezer paper to your background fabric and cut the18.5″ square.

Cut a 18.5″ square from your background fabric and iron the freezer paper on it.

 Draw a circle on the fabric. This should be about 3/4″ away from the circle on the paper. See the next photo for clarity. I just followed the circle on the paper to draw this. But you could use a big plate from your kitchen. It does not need to be perfect and you will see why soon.

Draw a circle on the background fabric, approximately 3/4″ inside the `porthole’.
 The next step is to cut out the fabric along the lines we drew in the last step. You are going to have a lot of circles in the background fabric which you can use for another project.

Cut out the circle on the drawn line…
 Make little snips on the fabric as in the photo below. Do not cut till the edge of the paper. Stop when you are about 1/8 of an inch from the paper.

Snip the fabric upto 1/8″ from paper edge
 Apply a thin layer of glue using your glue stick along the edge of the paper and fold back the snipped fabric so that it is flush with the paper edge. Use your iron and press to keep it in place.

Apply washable glue stick on snipped edge and fold it back  on to the paper.

Centre your finished circle on the freezer paper again on the wrong side, making sure it is evenly placed.  Apply glue again along the edge of the folded back fabric snips and press your circle in place with your iron. I missed taking a photo of this stage. Remember to keep your finished circle right side down.

Centre the finished circle thus,.using glue stick to attach the edges to the snipped edge of background.
Turn it over and ensure your placement is correct and the glue holds the two pieces of fabric together. Now at last we get to use the sewing machine. Remove the freezer paper gently pulling it away. You may have some problems if the glue has adhered too firmly but a tug will release it.

Remove freezer paper
 Change to zipper foot and with needle position at extreme left stitch along the crease. Make sure you cross over your starting point to secure your circle totally.

Sew on fold …
 This is how it looks once you are done.

 And after a press on both sides you have your finished block. And you can start work on the next block with the same freezer paper. I did about four blocks a day. If I had hand sewn it would have taken me two days to do a block.

Easy and perfect!

The beauty of the freezer paper is that you can reuse it. I did all my blocks with that one freezer paper and also trimmed the other blocks not made this way to size. And I think I will preserve it for the next 18″ block I make! Here are some of the finished blocks made with freezer paper.

Some of the blocks finished using freezer paper method.


These are gorgeous, Sobana! 

Thank you so much, Sobana!  That sounds simple enough! You can view more of Sobana’s work on her blog, The Quilt Bug

I have still not got my background fabric, so am doing other stuff these days…And, as promised, here is the template for a 7.5″ radius circle! Happy Quilting. 

Template 7.5 inch Radius circle

Author: Mads

In alphabetical order: daughter, mother, painter, philosopher, poet, quilter, seeker, wife...

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