Sideways Sine Waves Spirals

Confession time:  For the past two years, I've been sworn to secrecy on a special quilt project!  But I am super excited to finally be able to share this special project with you, especially since it is in the process of being published in RaNae Merrill's newest book:  "Sideways Spiral Quilts, Book 1:  Chains & Ropes!"  The book is due to be released in early April, and RaNae has been featuring "Sneak Peaks" on her blog/facebook page, with my "Sideways Sine Waves Spirals" quilt being highlighted in today's post!!  There is a link you can click to read more about my quilt...but here are more photos and information about my design process!

Back in Spring 2014, RaNae sent an email out to her followers, inviting application submissions to be considered for participation in an online laboratory in preparation for a new book.  I had been following RaNae's work for some time and was waiting patiently for her to travel to the west coast so I could take a class with her.  So I seized this opportunity and worked to assemble my application and portfolio for her consideration.  A few weeks later, I was delighted to learn that I had been accepted and the online laboratory would commence soon!

In the online laboratory, RaNae revealed her newest spiral designs:  Sideways Spirals.  There were several variations and our first task was to choose which variation(s) we would use to create an original quilt design!  I will admit that they all piqued my interest, but after going back and forth, I chose her Bracelet Charm design.  With the addition of a parallel curve to one strand, I was able to create some interesting areas of overlap to play around with the illusion of transparency.   I had yet to explore EQ7, but still utilized technology to help tease out my design.  Doug helped to create the Sine Wave curves in Excel, which we repeated to create the basic unit below.  I aimed to create the illusion of transparency in some of the overlapping regions, and selected analogous colors.  Paint Program was then used to audition different color palettes (warm version on the left and a cooler version on the right).  Even though the grid lines and numbering transferred over into Paint, it was enough to evaluate color palette choices.
Basic Sine Wave Unit
These units were copied and pasted into a larger grid design.  Both colorways yielded exciting designs, but ultimately I went with the cooler colorway, on the right, as it seemed more balanced.
Larger Grid Layout--Warm vs. Cool
With RaNae's blessing, I went to work on translating this design into fabric!  I started by copying and taping together the individual units into the larger grid layout.  As I did not have a large enough light box to transfer onto the foundation fabric (muslin), I used my front window!  I used templates to trace the background shapes onto Wonder Under fusible and then onto Kona solids.  
Quilt Preparations
Once all my shapes were traced and cut out, it was time to start coloring inside the lines.  I added one shape at a time to my foundation, and enjoyed watching the overall design evolve and bloom!  While there were a few thin gaps between the shapes, I was not worried as they would all be covered by the 1/4" fusible bias tape.
Color Inside the Lines
I have no idea how many yards of fusible bias tape I made, but it was quite a bit!  Luckily, long lengths were not necessary, as I was able to conceal starts/stops at the overlapping intersections!  I slowly worked my way from left to right, adding a set of 3 braided lines at a time.  While I applied fusible tape to the undersides, pins were still necessary to keep my lines from shifting.  Given the multiple layers, I opted to use curved safety pins as they proved easier to apply without distorting the overall design.  A matching grey Aurifil thread was used to applique the bias tape.  I opted to break thread at every other intersection, which preserved the over/under illusion, but did involve burying lots of thread tails!!
Appliqued Lines
All those solids were just begging for quilted texture!  Again, matching Aurifil threads were used to fill in each area with a different free motion filler:  pebbles, spirals, baptist fans, figure eights, flowers and loop de loops!  A solid grey was used for the backing fabric, and bobbin threads matching the top thread were used, all combined to make for a lovely whole cloth quilt on the back side!!
Details of Quilted Texture!!
"Sideways Sine Waves Spirals," finishes 36"x36"
Be sure to check out RaNae's blog/website for "Sneak Peaks" of the other beautiful quilts that were included, along with updates as to when and how to purchase your very own copy of "Sideways Spiral Quilts, Book 1:  Chains & Ropes."

3/27/17 Update:  Just learned that my "Sideways Sine Waves Spirals" quilt will be a "cover girl" and included on the cover of the new book coming out April 15th.  Super exciting!!


  1. Mel! I love RaNae's work and own one of her books. I am so impressed!

    1. Oh thank you Joni--I am super excited as well to have had the opportunity to work with RaNae and to be included in one of her books, as they are all so fabulous!!


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