When I first set my sights on the La Passacaglia Quilt, I was in love! I was going to try it. I had to. But I had to ask myself a few questions. What happens if I picked the La Passacaglia Quilt and I didn’t like it? What if my color choices were wrong? Are there any tutorials? Is there a community to get help?
After completing my La Passacaglia and entering it into the Houston Quilt Show, I thought I’d share the process I went through from start to finish. The tips, tutorials, and information below are in chronological order.
Starting a new project, no matter if it’s an art project, or quilt is exciting. All in all, from start to finish (including long-arming), it took me 14 months to complete my La Passacaglia Quilt.
I ended up finding a few tutorials here and there, but there wasn’t a single place to go from start to finish. In terms of the La Pass community, I found an amazing Facebook group to share questions, comments, and even offer help in area’s which I was well versed.
For a more in-depth overview of getting started with the La Passacaglia Quilt, I’ve written a piece which talks about the initial setup, thread, color, and getting started with your first rosettes (it includes videos as well!)
Selecting colors is an aspect of quilting that I love, yet I am fearful of. Color and value is almost more important than the pattern itself. Luckily, I have a large fabric stash to choose from (My son calls me a hoarder, but I’d like to call myself a collector! :)) and I had a color inspiration that I had in mind from previous projects over the years.
Even though everyone wants to have the perfect colors/fabrics on the first try, I can honestly say it took me over two weeks to find the base colors.
How did I get there? A lot of trial and error.
There was definitely a large amount of fabric on my kitchen table for a very long time! Mixing and matching fabrics side by side on a table is one of the best approaches to color selection. It can take a long time, and I slept on it a lot, but having a well thought out plan is better than no plan. I did a lot of auditioning.
For information on how I choose my colors I suggest going to the link below. I can’t make this page too long!
The Flat Back Stitch
When starting anything for the first time, the learning curve is always tough. But one of the beauty’s of just getting started, is that learning is fun.
I started out using wonder clips and the whip stitch to sew my pieces together. The FBS (Flat Back Stitch) was a trick I taught myself due to the fact that I couldn’t get my alignment right.
It also fixed another big problem in the process, my stitches were showing on the front!
There are a few photos of my horrible stitching as a newbie; so be warned!
Sewing Five Star Centers
One of the most challenging parts of the La Passacaglia Quilt is sewing the five star centers together. Its tough when you first get started, but after a few tries, it becomes easy! For a step by step tutorial check out the link below.
Marking Paper Pieces
Marking your paper pieces can be daunting and take a lot of extra time, but it’s worth it in the long run. When I first started, I thought I could skip this step, but it came back to bite me.
Seeing how I fussy cut most of my pentagons, it was hard to keep everything in order and in the same direction. I’d spend a couple days sewing, then realize that one of my pieces was in the wrong direction. I spent a lot of time with the seam ripper!
If your not doing La Pass, it might be a little different, but for La Pass I’d recommend marking your pieces. This system works with all pentagon rings and/or symmetrical shapes. More information in the link below.
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Attaching the Star Row
I’ve personally tried several ways to connect the star row to the La Passacaglia Quilt. Ultimately, it’s a hard task to accomplish due to the fact that I don’t like to change thread all the time. There are several techniques to completing the task, but I prefer this one in particular, which I’ve written about extensively (linked below). In the article, I also mention a second way, but not in a lot of detail which is Marlene Hill’s way of attaching, but leaving out the 5th star point.
As I continued my journey (it sure felt like one!) through my La Passacaglia, I ended up running into a few dilemas. One of them was the (extra) filler pieces. As I attached more and more rosettes, I noticed that there were extra pentagon shapes and the rosettes weren’t lining up. In particular, rosettes 5, 8, and 10. All in all, there wasn’t that many pieces in total it was an awkward problem. I decided to take it upon myself to fix the awkwardness and developed three separate methods to deal with these pieces.
I put my heart and soul into this quilt (not to mention a lot of time!). I don’t have count, but I’ve re-done a fair amount of stitching, changed fabrics, and fixed a ton of errors due to the fact that this was my first La Pass.
I’m not a finisher, so I had to hand over my baby to Sue Fox, who is a very talented long arm quilter in the Bay Area. There is no way I could have long-armed this quilt the way she did – not a chance! Luckily for me, Sue even fixed a few of my newbie errors which was awesome and showed how detail oriented she is.
Once I got into the La Passacaglia Quilt, I found a thriving community of individuals working on the pattern that were willing to help.
The La Passacaglia Group I recommend is on Facebook and can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/335041176691683/
and the English Paper Piecing Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/303172933165385/
I can’t stress how helpful the Facebook group is/was, I even met a few friends in along the way!
It came to the point that there were enough individuals located in the Bay Area that we held a La Passacaglia meetup. I wonder if there any meetup groups which I’m unaware of – if I find out more, I’ll post them in my blog post.
Frequently Asked Questions
I’ve combined and answered several commons questions about the La Passacaglia Quilt. More than Happy to add and answer more in the comments!