La Passacaglia – First Steps For Getting Started

La Passacaglia

Are you looking to start the La Passacaglia? Are you looking for La Passacaglia Acrylic Templates, La Passacaglia Paper Pieces, or the La Passacaglia Book? Click the image below! If you are looking to learn more about the La Passacaglia Quilt, continuing downwards to view tutorials, tips and tricks, and information on the different type of supplies!

La Passacaglia and Passacaglia Quilt English Paper Piecing Pattern

I’ve been in touch with numerous English Paper Piecers working on the La Passacaglia Quilt, and they have all said that getting started was the hardest part. In this post Ill provide a step by step guide as well as a tutorial video that will help you with the first steps.

La Passacaglia First Steps (Video Tutorial)

The video provides several steps as well as commentary regarding the process for getting started with a La Passacaglia Quilt. The steps range from choosing threads, needles, and fabric. I’ll walk through several short cuts and tips that will help you start your La Pass journey as well. Enjoy!

First Steps To Get Started with your La Passacaglia Quilt (Written Tutorial)

Needle and Thread Suggestions for your English Paper Piecing La Passacaglia Quilt

Recommended Needle and Thread for a La Passacaglia Quilt

I got started with English Paper Piecing, and specifically the La Passacaglia Quilt after I saw it on social media. The shapes and colors were captivating to say the least; I thought I could master the La Pass in a short period of time.

Well – I was wrong. And while yes, I did finally master the techniques required for this gem it wasn’t without a serious learning curve. I will share with you what I have learned and what I would have done differently at the beginning in this written tutorial below. I’m making a second La Passacaglia quilt for my daughter so I get a second chance!

Glue Basting:

I find that glue basting generates a more precise shape and it goes a little faster than thread basting. I always want to get right to the sewing part and not get stuck in the basting phase. However, I do admire those who thread baste, I just don’t have the patience. You’ll need to find your needle and thread that you like best. I use a #11 Milliner. I use Gutermann’s extra fine polyester thread and I glue baste with Sewline.

Templates and Paper:

I did buy the templates and papers. That was the best investment ever. I used the 3/8″ seam allowance rather than the 1/4″. I felt they were easier to handle and fussy cut using the small pieces. Of course you’ll want the book and it has so many other patterns as well as the La Passacaglia quilt.

Fabric: 

There are so many designers of fabric nowadays that it’s hard to keep track. One point I’d like to mention is that I do NOT suggest using one, or even two designers (exclusively) for your quilt. You should not feel cornered or a need to stick to name brand designers either. Ultimately this is your quilt and the journey is long, so having more fabric choices will also make it easier for you. I’ve written a more in-depth article on fabric (which includes a video tutorial) HERE.

Don’t Get Overwhelmed!

Again I feel like this quilt takes so long, if there is anything you can do to help the process along that is great in my mind. The emotional tax of quilting was something that I did not realize until I started. I see too many quilters get overwhelmed or frustrated and then stop. This is so unfortunate because it truly is a gorgeous quilt.

Sample Color Palette for an English Paper Piecing La Passacaglia Quilt

Strict Color Palette for La Passacaglia Quilt

Color Palette:

I had a very strict color palette that I decided on before I started. I used peach, violet, pink, and lime green. Head to my “Choosing Fabric“ post for more details about how to select color and fabric. I did have to expand a little out of the palette to make things interesting by adding white and black. I found the limited palette does help if you are trying to get your quilt to have movement and not have clumps of color in certain areas that don’t relate to any others.

Colors:

Repeating colors helps tie in the overall design. I didn’t repeat too many fabrics but I did repeat the four colors in my palette. Some people just have a natural aptitude for color. I’m probably not one of those folks. But don’t get to bogged down about that you can work on all this as you go along. Some people take a more random approach to color and it works fine. I’m more calculating about color and need a plan.

Small Rosettes for a La Passacaglia Quilt

View of Several Small Rosettes for a La Passacaglia Quilt

 

Additional Tips:

Patterns and Shapes:

Get the hang of the patterns and shapes and how they come together relating to one another. Use the five diamond shapes, the five skinny diamonds, and the ten pentagons. On one of those rosettes put on the row of the star shapes with a set of four stars and the diamond shapes. All of the rosettes have at least 4 stars sets so you can use it anywhere. It is good to understand the play of pattern each section makes and I don’t think you really understand it until you actually make a rosette. Maybe you’ll keep them or maybe you won’t.

Star Row:

When you add the star row it changes the relationship of the rosette to the adjacent rosettes so you do need to try that so you can see it. When I started, I made one small rosette and just keep going. I ended up making one of the big rosettes! I just couldn’t help myself. But when I was done with that big one I really didn’t like it. I would have done it differently had I worked with the smaller shapes a little more and understood how it all comes together. I’ve wrote extensively about Attaching the Star Row Here.

Small verse Large Rosettes:

At that point though I had put so much time into this I had to use it! In the photo above I went back after making the big rosette and played around with the small ones. There are only 4 big rosettes and they make different fun patterns unlike the smaller rosettes. I think you can get more playful with those big rosettes and you want to make the most of those and you only get four chances.

A Large Rosette for an English Paper Piecing La Passacaglia Quilt

One of Four Big Rosettes for La Passacaglia Quilt



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Pentagon Ring:

Keep in mind that the ring made by the pentagon shapes are a multiple of 10. You can also use a 5 and 5 pattern. Having each of the 10 pentagons a different pattern also works.

An example of a partially complete English Paper Piecing La Passacaglia Rosette

Partially Completed Large Rosette for La Passacaglia Quilt

The larger ring on the big rosette is 20 pentagons and the ring outside of that ring is 20 pentagons. So if you are fussy cutting something like a lizard or what ever, you need 10 of those images for the small rosette or 20 for the large. Now you can split it up and do a 5 and 5 pattern for the small rosette. See photo above. Some people have just used random non matching images in the pentagon row and in that case it doesn’t matter. The beauty of this quilt is that it all works in the end.

An example of a partially complete English Paper Piecing La Passacaglia Small Rosette

Partially Completed Small Rosette for La Passacaglia Quilt


Zoomed in view of a large rosette La Passacaglia Row

Large Rosette La Passacaglia Row

I had bought some really cute I Spy fabric with lots of images that I wanted to use but I didn’t have enough of the particular image to fussy cut. Again for me that really happened only four times at the larger rosette ring where you need 20. If I were to do this over again I would pick four pieces of fabric that I could get 20 of the same fussy cut images out of or maybe 10 and 10. If you do the flower pattern with the large ring you need 25 and 25 of each image. See below.

Fussy Cutting Pentagons:

You need a fair amount of fabric to fussy cut 20 pentagons (big row) whether they are identical or random if you are using the same piece of fabric.

Zoomed in view of the Invisible Flat Back Stitch for La Passacaglia Quilt

Invisible Flat Back Stitch for La Passacaglia Quilt

Flat Back Stitch:

Try and learn the flat back stitch for invisible stitching see other post. It really helps to make your stitches invisible.

An example black and white negative showing the color contrast of your La Passacaglia Quilt

Black and White Negative La Passacaglia Photo

A Combination of Tips:

Always take color, and black and white photos of your quilt as you go. Audition your rosettes before attaching either one at a time or as a group. You’ll want to document everything and this will help you decide what colors look best next to each other. Your eyes can play tricks on you. Looking at a photo makes it easier to locate problem areas. Taking a black and white photo will show you where the values are in the quilt. You can see in the photo above I have light and dark scattered pretty evenly. I made a few rosettes at a time and auditioned them before attaching. About halfway though I would only design and attach one at a time. I sort’a got crazy about the colors.

Contrasting Light and Dark Fabric For A La Passacaglia Quilt

Light and Dark Color Contrast for a La Passacaglia Quilt

Decide early on if you want to use the same color through out the quilt with your star points. I didn’t and I think that might have made it harder to make the colors dance. Take a look at some of the other quilts people have made and notice how the colors play with each other at the star points. In this beautiful quilt above, Cassandra Webber Tamplen is using white for all her star points. I think it really ties all the rosettes together.

Additional Additional Tips:

– Make a couple of small rosettes first, maybe even five. I would make these little test rosettes before I bought a bunch of new fabric. Don’t worry about whether or not you’ll keep them. You can always make them into pillows or table runners. Just make a rosette.

– Naturally I did the opposite and in hindsight I would have picked some different fabrics had I known how the pieces play with each other. Some of the fabric that I purchased worked out well but others did not. I had some pretty big scale patterns that didn’t work well for fussy cutting.

Community:

Last of all if the community; I couldn’t have done it without the community. Tutorials were not always the best, hence I asked a lot of questions on forums and Facebook groups.

I’ve even had the courage to start a Bay Area meetup group as well!

Find your community and you’ll find your love for La Passacaglia.

Let me know if this is helpful!

View Our La Passacaglia Quilt Kit

Choose between paper pieces, acrylics, or both!

La Passacaglia Quilt Kit


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49 Comments
  1. Jill 2 years ago

    I hope to make one someday. I love yours and think it’s one of the prettiest ones I’ve seen.

    • thediyaddict 2 years ago

      Jill you are too kind thank you. Well I can tell you it is really fun and addicting!

  2. Constanze Henschel 2 years ago

    Thanks, this is very helpful to me. I´m planning to start and I sure will keep your experiences in my mind!! What a very very beautyful la pass

    • thediyaddict 2 years ago

      Constanze I’m so glad you like it. Let me know how it goes when you start 🙂

  3. Dawn 2 years ago

    Beautiful! Thank you for sharing tips to help others as they begin their own journey in creating their own masterpiece. I am about to start mine and am so glad I read what you have shared.

  4. Sue 2 years ago

    many thanks for ur email… Most helpful.. I’ve been a quilter for 20 years but having great difficulty starting this quilt.. I’ve got both books templates and papers but can’t decide where to start with colours . Found ur email helpful! Thanks

    • thediyaddict 2 years ago

      Sue I hope this will help to get you started! Thanks

  5. julie714 2 years ago

    Just wondering what you are using to sew your pieces together! Your quilt is stunning and a glorious colour. I will eventually want to make one too. At the moment I am making a insanity quilt with 1/2 inch hexies. I’m using bottom of the line which give a virtually an invisible joint. Decided to follow you via WordPress so I can see what you are working on. Truly remarkable work and colour. Love it!

    • thediyaddict 2 years ago

      Julie to tell you the truth I struggle with Bottom Line. I switched to Gutermanns. They have an extra fine they just came out with but I can only find it in England and Australia . But I also use the”flat back stitch” which are invisible stitches. Thank you for the kind words:)

      • julie714 2 years ago

        Thank you for responding to my question. I looked at your flat back stitch! I’m going to give it a go while I’m making my insanity quilt using 1/2 inch hexagons! Any help when stitching the 20,000 hexies I need for my quilt is a bonus. Will send you an update at some stage. Many thanks Julie.

  6. kathleenbaden 2 years ago

    So incredibly helpful. I have really enjoyed your Instagram posts and thanks for sharing your knowledge here! I have started my first rosette. Woo-hoo!!!

    • thediyaddict 2 years ago

      Kathleen thank you! I’ve been watching you as well. Love your quilts. One of these days I’d like to come back and take a class!!!!!!!

  7. thecraftyrunner 2 years ago

    Thank you for this post! I recently discovered La Passacaglia and would love to try my hand at it but I’m a complete novice when it comes to EPP. I’m pinning your post and will be referring to it very often I’m sure.

    • thediyaddict 2 years ago

      Oh that’s great. Check back soon I’m doing a whole series on EPP and La Pas!!!! Thx

  8. Agnes 2 years ago

    This is very helpful! I’m not sure if I’ll get up the nerve to start but your post makes it slightly less daunting. Thank you.

    • thediyaddict 2 years ago

      Agnes thank you for taking the time to read my blog and comment. I hope you give it a try. I bet you’ll love it 🙂

  9. Olga Retterath 2 years ago

    Hi, wonderful.
    but
    I don’t know, where I can get this patterns (Paper piece tutorials)?
    Can you help me and send more information?
    You can write a comment under my newest post here . hansundgrete.blogspot.de. or answer to my Email Adress.
    Thanks.
    hugs Olga

  10. Becky Campbell 2 years ago

    I created a product that enables you to do EPP by hand or machine. No pre turning, use a running stitch which goes much faster. You can piece by machine and hand on the same project and not be able to tell the difference. I would love to sent you a sample. The product is not on my website yet because I just got back from Market.

    • thediyaddict 2 years ago

      Hello Becky. I’d be happy to test it. I’ll send you my shipping address.

  11. Susan Moore 2 years ago

    I am just starting my adventure with EPP and the La Passacaglia Quilt – your tips and video are so helpful especially the ones on pick the fabrics and the flat back stitching – thank you for documenting all of this!!

    • thediyaddict 2 years ago

      Susan thank you so very much for taking the time to read and watch all my rambling! I remember when I was just starting as well. It’s really a fun quilt. Let me know if I can help- enjoy 🙂

  12. Debbi Russell 2 years ago

    For those of us with limited DYI time I just wanted to say thank you for adding this quilt process to your blog and also making the video. I know that both efforts added to your day. The tips and tricks are a value. Love your work.

    • thediyaddict 2 years ago

      Debbi thank you for the kind words! Never enough time in the day 🙂

  13. Jessica 2 years ago

    Thanks so much for the tips. My husband has been asking me what I want for Christmas and I’m going to say that book…and kit. It’s such a beautiful stunning quilt!! I’ve been eyeing them off for a while now, but I think I just need to dive in.
    I really appreciate your tips. I wouldn’t have thought of them otherwise

    • thediyaddict 2 years ago

      Jessica you are so welcome. And if I can give you any words of wisdom it would be just start by trying one rosette. Don’t worry about it being perfect or matching. Just jump in, it will all fall in place. Good luck 🙂

  14. jennifershioya 2 years ago

    Your LaPass is what finally pushed me over the edge — I just bought the book, acrylic templates, and paper pieces today, and can’t wait to get started! Thank you for all of your information! (Waiting on FB Group approval now!)

    • thediyaddict 2 years ago

      Jennifer I had one of those moments too! @kamiemurdock if you are on instagram was my inspiration. Check out her Millie it’s lovely. Also you can get updates on Millie related things on my instagram @karenthediyaddict

  15. Robbin 2 years ago

    Beautiful work! I have a question- where did you buy the papers and the templates? I would like to get those!

    • thediyaddict 2 years ago

      Hello Robin thank you so much. I love this quilt pattern as if you couldn’t tell. If you click on La Passacaglia Quilt category under the big photo and then click General Information -that should answer your question.

  16. Cristy Boothe 12 months ago

    This is truly spectacular! I want to find a layout pattern with just the lines drawn on it to print so I can color in the pieces and help with design. Do you know where I can get that? Someone said it is in the first book, Millefiori . I just purchased Millefiori Quilts 2 and to say the least, I am completely overwhelmed. The directions are definitely for a very advanced quilter. I am just advanced…ha ha!

    • thediyaddict 12 months ago

      Cristy I have seen that diagram on pinterest but I didn’t save it. The diagram in the book has already been colored. There is a Facebook group for this quilt but you aren’t allowed to post that diagram on Facebook because of copyright infringement and out of respect for the designer.
      As I always say with these complicated quilts, just take it slow and before you know it your a master!!!!!! I was going to try Ballet but chickened out!!

  17. Nancy 12 months ago

    Just starting to think about starting this beautiful quilt. Book on the way will help me decide. Your site was very informative especially when discussing the value of the print and how many needed. Thanks, Nancy

    • thediyaddict 12 months ago

      Nancy thanks for the kind comments I hope to your progress soon! Let me know if I can help with anything.

  18. Raven 10 months ago

    Got all my chores done, just so I could watch the 2nd Video. I’m looking forward to Thursdays video. Perhaps it will help me when I choose my fabrics at the Houston show. Wish I was still in Calif. I’d take the two hour drive to the Bay Area to meet up you and others hooked on this quilt top. Moved to Texas last year, Army moves families every 3-4 years, DD’s husband got stationed here, so here I am, in the middle of no where. Love your dog by the way! Looking forward to tomorrows video. Thanks so much for doing this for myself as well as others who are on the fence.

    • Author
      thediyaddict 10 months ago

      Raven my daughter just moved to Austin and she loves it. I’ll be in Houston at the quilts noon on Saturday and Sunday please introduce yourself and look closely at my quilt. We can talk about color!!!! 🙂

      • Raven 10 months ago

        OMG, I’ll be there when it opens Saturday. I’m with a bus group coming from Killeen, TX. We will arrive Friday night. I will find you near the LaPass Quilts at noon time? I’ll be there.

  19. Linda Wagner 10 months ago

    I watched your second video but didn’t get the sound. am not the sharpest tool in the shed but I did check the sound on the computer & 0n the video…not sure what happened. Your words of wisdom are difinately helpful…am going to give my best.
    Thank You, Linda

    • Author
      thediyaddict 10 months ago

      Oh no Linda I’m not sure what to say the other folks have sound. Is there anything I can do? maybe refresh your browser. Karen

  20. Tomomi McElwee 10 months ago

    Thanks Karen! Great video!!

    • Author
      thediyaddict 10 months ago

      You are so welcome it is my pleasure!

  21. Marlene Stevens 9 months ago

    Loved your tutorials and would like to start my first rosette. My questions:
    I assume I get the paper shapes shown in the back of the book for the La Pass but they are in centimeters as opposed to inches. Also, do you get paper pieces from PaperPieces.com? I don’t want to buy incorrect pieces so I guess each piece has a shape name? I assume I need some acrylic templates also for fussy cutting? Wish I could find a meetup group in the Sacramento area but haven’t been able to locate anything. Thanks so much for all your info. Love your rosettes (and colors). They are the colors I use in my quilts.

    • Author
      thediyaddict 9 months ago

      Marlene I believe when you buy from paper pieces.com they are in inches. I would highly recommend buying the pre-cut papers because they are extremely accurate and those star points are so small. I couldn’t have finish this quilt without the templates either. Paperpieces sells them together and I think Massdrop.com is selling the set as well. Thank you for stopping by I hope this is helpful.

  22. elizabeth rehmer 7 months ago

    I just found your posts on Pinterest. I have over the past year bought the templates (for fussy cutting), the paper precuts, and the new hexagon book and the millefiore book. Already this has been quite the investment and I’ve been so nervous to start. But after perusing your posts I am feeling brave! Thank you so much for such concise info and tips and it’s nice to read and see as well. I’m normally a planner, however I am consistent in my color choices (gray, teal, black, white) so I think doing a pull for each rosette will work alright… I’m now trying to decide if I want the star points to all match though… I’m thinking of using all dots and stripes…

    Thank again for your great tips. I have bookmarked your blog and am sure I will be referring to it often!

    • Author
      thediyaddict 7 months ago

      Elizabeth that is a great start. Keeping the star points matching is really a good idea. Dots and stripes go well together. I hope you’ll share with me how it goes. Have fun 🙂 Thanks for the kind words

  23. Tammy Hoffman 3 months ago

    I have been wanting to make this quilt forever now, but have just been too lost to even start. Thanks to you being so generous and taking all the time that you have to post these pointers and encouragments, I am now ready to take the plunge. Thank you so much for giving me the direction that I needed,

    • Author
      Karen Tripp 3 months ago

      You’re so welcome! Stay tuned as there is more to come.

  24. Matthew 2 months ago

    Thanks so much for your generosity and providing all this advice. I just discovered this quilt but have been doing EPP for years now. I have the book and joined the Facebook group, which has also been really helpful. I am wondering if you could do this quilt entirely (or significantly) using batiks. I am thinking the inconsistency in the printing process would make fussy cutting a challenge. I think I’m going to do all the stars one color — thanks for suggesting that. I think it will help me. — Matthew

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