March (Quilting) Madness


This year when we refer to March Madness in my household it has nothing to do with basketball and everything to do with my quilting schedule.

My quilting events have book ended March, beginning with my return from Gwen and Empty Spools on the 4th and ending with my leaving this weekend for the Pickles. But before I go, here is the story of my four vintage tumbling clowns.


Clown InspirationThe clowns came in a bag of vintage fabric samples I bought many years ago at the White Elephant Sale. I recently (re)found them in my continuing efforts to “use or move on” packed away in a plastic shoe box with other vintage pieces.

Added acrobatic dog!


The box also held squares and rectangles of assorted polka dots. Yet another box revealed unfinished fans from the same era with many of the same colors as the clowns. The dots, clowns and fans all wanted to play together – I just needed to figure out how they fit.



Starting to add background piecesI bought a yard of a solid grey background color that was close to the grey in the clown fabric. Wanting to avoid the issue I had with my “What If” quilt, I went back and purchased 2 more yards of it – just in case.

Found the background color

DSCN2242Once I had a lay-out, I started building my quilt. Beginning with the seven fans, I made units and then sewed the top together in sections.

As much as I tried I wasn’t able to avoid having a few partial seams during the construction.

Sewing it together



The best tip I have regarding partial seams is measuring, lots of measuring and remeasuring. The top will buckle and pucker if the seams aren’t straight.

Squaring it up for inset seams

Partial seam tip: MEASURE and use multiple rulers!!





I used multiple rulers going both vertically and horizontally across the quilt top to ensure my seams aligned perfectly as I slowly sewed all the pieces together.



"Tears of a Clown" backThe back also came from my stash. (Yes!!) A yard of fabric designed by Riley Blake called “Rainy Days and Mondays” – vertical rows of multi-colored raindrops in clown colors that matched many of the colors in my top. They looked like clown tears to me!!



DSCN2792Quilting lessons learned: next time I will print a picture of the quilt top and make copies so I can draw out different quilting ideas. Instead, I just started in, outlining the squares and echoing the fans, using my edge guide attachment for my echo stitch guide. Halfway through I realized I really liked the fan echoes and ended up redoing a number of areas to add more curved lines.


I love the edge guide accessory on my Pfaff!


Surrounding the clowns with fan quilting


Either I’ve gotten better at packing for retreats or I’ve forgotten a few things! Oh, well! It’s all good.

But it’s all finished now except for the handwork and I’m off to see the Pickles!!! I’m taking another one of my unfinished projects – my long forsaken Sonoma Stars Quilt. I’m determined to bring it home as a completed top!

Sonoma Stars - almost finished

Sonoma Stars – just need to add a few more trees and sew up some seams!



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5 Responses to March (Quilting) Madness

  1. Frieda Wisshack says:

    Turned out wonderful…enjoy you Pickles time :) Big HUGS

  2. Barbara Snyder says:

    I so admire you and your work! Your stash continues to amaze! Have fun with the Pickles!

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