Roman Tiles – Part 2 (or….the day that Math let me down)

As I ended the last blog, I knew that I would never have the patience to paper piece a large quilt so I wanted to look for other options.  I wanted to do it in a way that I could enjoy the creative process rather than struggling with the construction aspects.  I knew of one way to do it……FUSE IT!!!

The first step was to find a background fabric that would act as the “grout”.  I knew that most of it would be covered up by tiles so I didn’t worry a lot about the quality of the fabric that I was using.  I didn’t have a piece that was the right color,  so pulled out a basic white fabric and planned to paint it greyish.   I do not own any fabric dyes but have old pots of “Set-a-Color” fabric paints (bought on a clearance sale for about 50 cents each).  Many of them are so old that they have to be re-hydrated before use!!    I did have a large, fresh bottle of white paint, so I mixed up my paint pot, using the undyed fabric to sop up some paint that had spilled…..IMG_3535

I plunged the fabric in and let it soak up all of the color.  When it came out and was heat set and washed, I was happy with how it looked…..


Now when I picked this piece of fabric (or rather 2 pieces of fabric)  I knew that it was going to have to be seamed to make it the proper size.  Once again, because it was going to be completely covered with tiles, I didn’t worry too much about this seam.  However, I didn’t want there to be a ridge, so I actually just used a small strip of Wonder Under and fused the two pieces together.

Next I needed to pick the tile colors.   I had originally thought about bright colors, but as I looked at the inspiration photos, I realized that I might want to go with more muted colors.   I pulled a few fabrics from my stash…..Picture1Well, actually I pulled a few TOO many!!!

I finally started thinking about the actual design for the quilt, and after much trial and error, came up with this basic plan……


The black strips are bits of fabric that I have hanging on one side of my design wall and I grab them when I need to define a shape on the wall so that I can better visualize the size that I will be working with.

I started with the center circle, deciding to use this photo as my starting point……


Now comes the sad Math realization.   You see, I LOVE Math…..I loved it as a kid, I loved it in High School, especially Calculus class which is where I met my sweetheart for life (but that is another story).  I even sometimes do Algebra problems for the fun of it!!!   But, when it came to trying to divide this circle into 26 parts, it was just too hard to do.   As I mentioned in the last post, the tools that I had were not detailed enough to allow me to get the results that I wanted.  I even tried calculating the Circumference of the circle…….circumference-formula-using-radius

….and measuring the outside edge of the wedges that I needed…..IMG_3553

….but I just couldn’t get the wedges even.

I thought that I had it one time….


…. only to realize that I had split the circle into SIXTEEN wedges rather than TWENTY-SIX……sigh!!

OK….Math had let me down, so let’s move to the Financial world.   I pulled up Power Point and set up a Pie Chart that had 26 sections of $3.8462, and voila…..


….I had what I needed.

It was then a no-brainer to draft the circle…..


I used a piece of Freezer Paper to draft the design on and then had the idea that I could use the freezer paper to mark where the design was going on the background.


I picked a fabric and made a start…..IMG_3567

When I stepped back from fusing this first set of triangles, I was thrilled with the way things looked but it started me re-thinking my plan.  First of all, I really liked having a lot of the grey fabric showing and simplifying the pattern made it even nicer  (ie….no small triangles in each of the grey triangles).

I moved to the first corner, laid out my freezer paper pattern and started placing the next set of fabrics onto the base……IMG_3569While doing this, it hit me that since I wasn’t going to completely cover the base fabric, I was going to have a problem with the places where the previously fused “seam” was located.   I was not going to be able to cover it up and I was afraid that it would mar the look and the structure of the quilt top.

SO…… I started over!!!!


More to come…………………

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