What is the La Passacaglia Quilt?

The La Passacaglia Quilt was created by Willyne Hammerstein of the Netherlands. It is known for its intricate shapes and complex designs that allow you to contrast the quilt depending on your fabric choices. More specifically; the quilt offers quilting blocks of varying sizes known as rosettes.

Passacaglia Quilt Rosettes

Before we jump in, please view the table of contents above! Our complete guide is designed to be a single, complete resource, to everything and anything La Passacaglia. This includes where to purchase the book (we have information below), the different sizes of quilts (regular and oversized), where to purchase your supplies (you can buy your paper pieces and acrylic templates in a section below), as well as a library of video and written tutorials to help you get started. We plan on updating this web page weekly with new content, specifically with tutorial videos. Check back every Friday for updates!

Passacaglia English Paper Piecing Quilt

The Millefiori La Passacaglia, La Passacaglia, or Passacaglia Quilt

When I first started quilting the La Passacaglia Quilt Pattern I was confused by the terminology. In the title above, there are three different terms that describe the quilt pattern. Each one of these is correct and can be considered 'slang' to help shorten the name. The correct and more formal name is ‘Passacaglia with Mr. Penrose by Willyne Hammerstein'.

Passacaglia Quilt Small Rosettes

La Passacaglia Quilt Pattern or Passacaglia Quilt Pattern

The La Passacaglia Quilt Pattern is found exclusively within Willyne Hammerstein's Millefiori Quilt Book, book #1 of the Millefiori Quilts series. The front cover of the book states;

“’Passacaglia with Mr Penrose’ is the quilt features on the front cover. Mr Penrose is a famous British mathematician who works on stats, cosmos and the geometrical designs of ‘pavements’. This is one of the most difficult quilts to make, but making it is a fascinating pleasure! Good luck and have fun! “

Why People Love The La Passacaglia Quilt and English Paper Piecing

The La Passacaglia Quilt is internationally known. Even if you are not a hand piecer or english paper piecer, you’ll fall in love with the quilt. The intricate designs provoke endless color combinations and the quilt keeps you busy, thinking about it daily! It’s very addicting. But what makes English Paper Piecing so special? Even though the cost to get started is high, it’s cheaper in the long run. The key to English Paper Piecing is its versatility and the fact that you do not need a machine. Even though the paper pieces and acrylic templates can cost up to $100 for some English Paper Piecing Quilts, it’s cheaper than buying a $1,000 sewing machine! (we just saw a sewing machine for $7,999 dollars that was recently released by Bernina – someone buy us some lotto tickets!) But the best part of English Paper Piecing is versatility – you don’t need to bring a machine! Going to the beach tomorrow, watching your children in the library, commuting to work, sitting in front of the TV? Just pull out a rosette and get started or continue sewing!

English Paper Piecing Complete Guide

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How Hard is it to Get Started?

Getting started is extremely easy! If you are English Paper Piecing, the core supplies are The Book (for the pattern), acrylic templates, paper pieces, fabric, and thread. There are additional supplementary accessories and supplies that you might consider purchasing such as a Sew Line glue pen. We have a complete supply list in a section below which will provide you with more detailed information. The step by step instructions found in the book is also extremely detailed which will allow getting started immediately. At TheDIYAddict, we have also put together a comprehensive list of video tutorials which will help you visualize the process which can be found in a section below.

La Passacaglia Rosette

Where Can I Buy the Book and Do I Need It?

The book is published by Quiltmania from France. The book is available in two languages, English and French. As of 2018, TheDIYAddict sells all 3 Millefiori Quilt books (even though you only need the 1st one published in 2011). Due to the overall complexity of the quilt pattern, it is highly recommended that you purchase the book.

How is The Quilt Made?

The La Passacaglia Quilt is traditionally hand stitched but can be completed by machine as well. The preferred method of hand stitching is ‘English Paper Piecing’ which involves using paper pieces and acrylic templates.

What Are Acrylic Templates and Why Should I Buy Them?

Even though acrylic templates are not required, they are highly recommended to assist with cutting out the fabric (fussy cutting). The templates help with precision and save you time by allowing you to view your fabric as you cut! There are multiple sizes of acrylic templates which relate to the different seam allowances; 3/8”, ¼”, ½”, and ¾”. The most popular seam allowance sizes are the 3/8” and ¼” since they leave just enough fabric on the back. You can also find acrylic templates of different colors such as blue, green, yellow, red, and clear. At TheDIYAddict's online storefront, you can purchase 3/8” and ¼” clear seam allowance templates. We’ve found the seam allowances to be perfect and the clear acrylic templates are ideal for seeing your fabric verse using a tinted color which distorts the view of the fabric.

What Are Paper Pieces and Why Should I Buy Them?

Similar to acrylic templates, there are varying sizes and styles of paper pieces. Paper pieces make it easier to hand sew a complicated pattern together. Even though paper pieces are not required, they are also highly recommended. The different sizes in the case of paper pieces relate to the overall quilt size. At TheDIYAddict we sell two sizes of paper pieces; regular and oversized paper pieces. The oversized paper pieces make a quilt that is 1.5x times larger than the original quilt in the book. The styles of paper pieces relate to the type and thickness of the paper. There are 100% recycled paper pieces, printer paper pieces, and cardstock paper pieces. At TheDIYAddict we offer white cardstock paper pieces since we found it easier to glue baste. You can find more information on where to buy your paper pieces in the section below.

How Much Fabric Should I Purchase?

It’s very hard to answer this question, but we suggest that you start out with enough fabric for 1 large and 2 small rosettes. You should try to pick between 5 and 8 fabric designs and purchase around 6 fat quarters to sew your first 3 rosettes. Once you have completed your first 3 rosettes, we recommend that you view other people’s quilts (Pinterest is great for this) to find inspiration from others. Finding inspiration from others can help clarify the color direction you are looking to head; certain individuals like solids while others like fabric with specific designs. If you fussy cut, you will need more fabric than usual for the quilt.

Passacaglia Quilt Fabric

Glue Basting or Hand Basting

This is based on individual preferences, but glue basting is preferred by many. Sewline’s pink and white glue pens are a favorite of many La Passacaglia quilters. The great thing about glue basting it’s easy to remove the paper pieces. We offer a step by step guide on how to glue baste in our video tutorials section at the bottom of this article.

Which Thread To Use?

There are various threads that people use. One popular favorite is Bottom Line which is from Superior Threads which is thin. Some people like Gutterman 100% cotton thread. Another favorite is Aurifil’s 28 weight thread. The best way to pick your thread of choice is to try them all! Each one will sew differently and has different attributes.

How Big Is The Quilt, What Sizes Are There (Regular and Oversized)?

There are varying sizes of La Passacaglia quilt depending on the store you purchase it from. The original pattern is 144cm x 176cm which is 57” x 70”. Due to interest in larger sizes, which make the quilt easier to sew together, TheDIYAddict offers ‘oversized’ quilt supplies which make a quilt that is 1.5x larger than the original (85.5” x 105”).

I always recommend Oversized Supplies for beginning English Paper Piecers looking to get started with their first Millefiori/La Passacaglia Quilt.

La Passacaglia Paper Pieces

Finding the ideal paper piece size you are looking for can be tedious! Certain quilters love smaller paper pieces while others find the original sized paper pieces to hard to manage. The original pattern has a small pentagon that measures 3/4" in size. The oversized paper pieces offered by TheDIYAddict are 1.5x larger, making the small pentagon 1 1/8" in size.

[caption id="attachment_9060" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Passacaglia Quilt Paper Pieces Regular Size (Top Rosette) and Oversized (Bottom Rosette)[/caption]

Regular Sized La Passacaglia Paper Pieces

- Original pattern makes a 57" x 70" quilt (45" x 58" without the borders) - The small pentagon has ¾” sides - 2,954 individual paper pieces (complete quilt)

Oversized La Passacaglia Paper Pieces

- The oversized pattern is 1.5x larger than the original pattern - Oversized pattern makes a 85.5" x 105" quilt (67.5" x 87" without the borders) - The small pentagon has 1 1/8” sides - 2,954 individual paper pieces (complete quilt)

Our La Passacaglia paper pieces can be shipped anywhere. This includes Australia, the UK, France, Canada, and New Zealand.

La Passacaglia Template, La Passacaglia Acrylic Templates, and Passacaglia Quilt Templates

Finding the La Passacaglia acrylic templates can be as hard as finding the paper pieces! There are several types, styles, and colors of templates available. The traditional English Paper Piecing style offers 3/8" and 1/4" seam allowances. The 1/4" seam allowance is considered to be for 'hand piecing' which includes marking holes. Another main difference is the color of the templates. We've experienced with different colors and have found that clear if the preferred color because it's easier to see your fabric when you fussy cut. Attached below is an example of the two styles of templates.

[caption id="attachment_9061" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Passacaglia Quilt Acrylic Templates Regular 3/8" Seam (Top Left), Regular 1/4" Seam (Top Right), Oversized 3/8" (Bottom Left), Oversized 1/4" Seam (Bottom Right)[/caption]

Regular Passacaglia Templates

- Original pattern makes a 57" x 70" quilt (45" x 58" without the borders) - The small pentagon has ¾” sides - 5 acrylic templates (3/8” seam allowance)

Oversized Passacaglia Templates

- The oversized pattern is 1.5x larger than the original pattern - Oversized pattern makes a 85.5" x 105" quilt (67.5" x 87" without the borders) - The small pentagon has 1 1/8” sides - 5 acrylic templates (3/8” seam allowance)

Our complete kits include the  La Passacaglia Millefiori quilts templates styles mentioned above and can be shipped anywhere in the world. This includes Australia, the UK, France, Canada, and New Zealand.

La Passacaglia Quilt Kit

To clarify, we also sell a complete La Passacaglia supplies kit that includes the paper pieces and acrylics but NOT the book. There is a discount if purchased together. If you are looking for information on where to buy the book, please continuing scrolling to the next section.

[caption id="attachment_8470" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Complete La Passacaglia Quilt View the complete La Pass quilt kit[/caption]

About The La Passacaglia Quilt Book Author

Willyne Hammerstein Quilts

The Millefiori quilts book is a collection of Willyne Hammerstein's Quilts. She is a European quilter with over 30 years of experience designing quilts that have been featured in quilt shows across the world. Her most famous quilt is known as the 'Mr. Penrose Passacaglia Quilt'.

Millefiori Quilt Book

There are now two books, the original or 1st book, a 2nd book, and there are rumors that a 3rd is on the way! The first book is the ONLY one with the La Passacaglia within it.

Tula Pink Passacaglia

The picture below is of Tula Pink's famous La Passacaglia quilt where she increased the size of the original shapes to better fit her fabric. There is folk lore that the La Passacaglia was 'born into modern popularity' by Tula Pink from this blog post due it's colorful design and increased quilt size (which is sold as the 'oversized complete kit' on our website).

[caption id="attachment_8491" align="aligncenter" width="259"]Tula Pink La Passacaglia Quilt Tula Pink La Passacaglia Quilt[/caption]

You can view more information about the Tula Pink Passacaglia at THIS ARTICLE.

Passacaglia Patchwork and La Passacaglia Quilt Along

Getting started is the hardest part! It took me over two months before I got to me too start. The trickiest part was that I needed extra help before I even started sewing. Even though there isn't a traditional La Passacaglia Quilt Along, there is a La Passacaglia Facebook Group. The La Passacaglia Group was the first Facebook group I ever joined and I loved the inspiration I found for my upcoming masterpiece.

[caption id="attachment_8336" align="aligncenter" width="300"]La Passacaglia Quilt Facebook Group Join the La Passacaglia FB quilt group by clicking the image.[/caption]

La Passacaglia Quilt Tutorial

It's time for the tutorials section of the article! I'm a huge fan of videos and photos verse written content as if you cannot tell, I'm a terrible writer :(

I've completed an extensive list of tutorials over the last year which is listed below.

Hide Your Stitches Using The Flat Back Stitch

We'll start with one of my favorite topics and tutorial videos and work our way through the quilting process. The whip stitch is one of the most popular stitches for English Paper Piecing and we recommend it to all new EPPers. If you are looking for something new, or are specifically looking to hide your stitches, we'd recommend the flat back stitch.

The First Steps for Getting Started

Getting started is not as hard as it sounds. Are you looking to learn more about the quilt without committing to buying the book and supplies? Watch this video!

Choosing Fabrics

Whether you are using Alison Glass, Tula Pink, or your favorite designer - fabrics can be hard to match. I'll go over fabrics in extensive detail in this video to show you that any combination is possible!

Choosing Colors

Fabrics and color go hand in hand. Do you prefer solids or love designs focus on images or icons? Let's talk about it!

Sewing Your Five Star Centers

A great guide for learning about rosettes of all sizes.

Marking Your Paper Pieces

Let's not lose anything in the process!

Written Tutorials

[caption id="attachment_7853" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]La Passacaglia Video and Written Tutorials La Passacaglia Video and Written Tutorials[/caption]

1. First Steps 2. Choosing Quilt Fabric 3. Marking Your Paper Pieces 4. Attaching the Star Row 5. Sewing Five Star Centers 6. Sewing Filler Pieces 7. Hide Your Stitching Using the Flat Back Stitch 8. I've Finished Quilting! 9. La Passacaglia COmmunity 10. Complete How To Guide

Tips for the La Passacaglia

1. The best way to get over the hump is to start by sewing a few of the smaller rosettes without the star points and pentagon row. So you will have the five diamond star and the five skinny diamonds.

2. Decide early on if you want all your star points to be the same color or will they be different colors.

3. After you have made several small rosettes, choose your favorite one, and add a pentagon row and the star row. This will allow you to see how the shapes play with each other.

4. You should start the quilt as soon as possible. Don't get stuck on fabric choices. The best part of quilting is that you can always re-do rosette's which did not turn out as you please.

5. Don't give up! It took me almost 18 months to finish my first quilt!

La Passacaglia Supplies and Accessories

No matter the pattern you have selected, supplies are generally the same for any English Paper Piecing Quilt. Supplies consist mainly of paper pieces, the pattern itself, and acrylic templates (fabric is also a requirement!). In addition to the main supply list, there are a ton of accessories to help with your project. These consist of the following: