Thursday, July 13, 2017

Dodecagon Progress and Tips

It's been several months since I shared the beginning of my version of Marge Sampson-George's Dodecagon pattern (HERE).  I've been poking along with it and have just started the final assembly of dodecagon #13 of what I think will be 21 in the final version.  I am so inspired by Kate's version (@midknightquilter on Instagram) that I've started to mess around with the basic layout suggested with the information Marge included with the templates and papers.  

Here are the first twelve!
Looking at them on the living room floor isn't ideal but it's the largest clear flat space in the house right now.  Thinning out is a messy business but that's another story!

All of them will be outlined with black hexagons and there will be four large floral pieces plus more hexagons outlining the dodecagons -- maybe scrappy greens??
Does auditioning for the color using the rug count?
This week, I spent a morning with some local gals who also want to make this pattern -- they purchased templates and paper from Paper Pieces here in the USA.  Not that I'm an expert but I'm thirteen blocks ahead of them and was able to share some tips about what is working for me.
Maybe you might be interested, too?
I think some of the tips I've discovered will apply to other English paper pieced designs with similar centers where eight or more pieces comes together.

I prefer thread basting my EPP (have never been a glue fan -- not even in grade school) and I find that doing my basting in the same direction around the pieces is an advantage.  I happen to go counter clockwise but clockwise would work too as long as you are consistent.  
Shouldn't do "either or" -- pick one and stay with it.
The advantage in my view is that it enables you to swirl the seams at the center without giving it much thought because the seam allowances are lapped the same way on each individual piece.
The photo below zooms in on the hardest spot to match -- the "corner" on the brown blade where the pink blade has to match is more of a "bend" and so going slowly and double checking before the stitching starts is important. 
Get careless about this and you'll be destitching!!
I've been assembling the blades into quarter sections of three -- seemed quite logical to me but the group had all tried to construct a half block (sort of Dresden plate style). 
I think the logic I applied comes from piecing 8-pointed stars in quarter sections.
This approach helps me achieve a sharp V-intersection at the center of the blocks and that's critical.
Then I piece the quarter sections into halves and finally do the center seam which I do in two separate seams coming from the outside edge to the center, tying off my thread and then coming in from the opposite edge.  The result is that I haven't actually sewn through the center -- there is a tiny little hole but it doesn't seem to be a problem. 
If you look back up at the dodecagon outlined in black hexagons, you'll see my centers aren't perfect but a search on Instagram for #dodecagon shows me I'm doing as well as most others with this!
And the blocks are getting better with experience!

So perhaps these are some helpful tips you can apply to your own work!

Looking ahead, in the studio this week, I've started to review Emily Breclaw's new book, Adventures in Hexagons, which was just released by C&T Publishing.  This is the beginning of my version of one of the quilts she designed for the book.  The patterns in the book are compatible with Marti Michell's hexagon templates sets which I'll be using for the cutting and I'll be machine piecing using the technique I teach, Set-In Piecing Simplified.
More to come on August 1 as part of her blog tour for the book!!
Ready for the weekend!!
We've had a bunch of rain so weeding should be a snap and is at the top of my "to-do" list!

See you next week!


  1. I have not seen this EPP project before it is quite pretty and looking forward to seeing what a finish looks like

  2. Wow Mary! These dodecagons are such interesting shapes, and quite eye-catching. Looking forward to seeing where this one goes!

  3. I have been struggling with the dodecagon. I have destroyed 3 and gave up. I am going try your method. I have been trying to assemble using 2 half's, will try the quarter method

    1. Pat -- since you are a no-reply commenter, I hope it works for you. Marge Sampson-George now has a pattern written out for it and it's available through Elizabeth Wright's shop on Etsy -- here is a link --