I discovered this very fun fabric piecing technique several months ago called Stack-n-Whack. Basically, you pick a fabric with an interesting print, cut a thin wedge out of it, then find the places in the fabric where the design repeats and cut identical wedges from each place. You then sew all the wedges together into a circle, and the end result looks like something you'd see through a kaleidoscope — a bit hard to explain, but that's why I have photos (and a very talented model, who evidently never wears pants) to show what I mean.

I made two circles, one for each mom; Jack's mom and my mom both have birthdays in June, so they often get similar presents. I showed each of them her circle and told them I could put it on anything they wanted, like a pillow, a wall-hanging, even a tote bag, and they both picked wall-hangings. Then, my first trimester hit. I didn't sew for a few months. When I did start sewing again, I was nesting, and I had never made a wall-hanging before so I was sort of procrastinating while I thought about the logistics and sewed it in my head first... anyway, I didn't finish them until recently. Thankfully, we have forgiving, patient mothers. The first one pictured was cut from a floral blue-and-white print, and it's for my mom, who has a blue-and-white plate collection hanging on her dining room wall. You can see where this fits right into that, because the finished circle really does look a lot like a Wedgwood dish.

One of the things I love about making a Stack-n-Whack circle is that you can't picture exactly how it's going to look when you're cutting the wedges, so the end result can be a bit of a surprise. This second one was definitely a surprise to me, in a wonderful way. The original fabric, which I grabbed on impulse from a clearance rack several years ago, is a little funky, with a print that I like to describe as Radioactive Irises. There's a LOT of very busy color, everything from periwinkle to magenta to lime green. The resulting circle is just amazing, though — and what's even more amazing to me is that I could make a completely different circle, same color palette but totally different design, just by cutting the wedge out of a different spot on the fabric. And, since the fabric looks fairly mutilated after having wedges cut out of it every few inches, the only real use I can see for the leftovers is making more Stack-n-Whack circles.

Jack's mom picked the light turquoise color that appears in the center of her circle for the background of her wall-hanging. I found a fabric that fades from a dark to a light version of the same turquoise, and I think it looks pretty cool the way it fades toward the bottom of the wall-hanging.

I told both of them, and I'll tell you, don't look too closely at the craftsmanship here, because the circles are by no means flawless, and the borders of the wall-hangings are kind of bumpy and... well, let's just say they're obviously handmade. By an amateur. I'm glad they'll be on a wall. Still, I had a great time with these, and I definitely look at printed fabrics nowadays with an eye on how they'd look in a Stack-n-Whack circle.

FYI, more info is available on Bethany Reynolds' webpage, and a lot of quilting and fabric shops offer classes that teach how to do this if you're feeling totally lost. You do need a really precise wedge to use as a pattern for cutting, which you can either buy (for about $10) or make yourself, if you have heavy-duty plastic and mad geometry skillz.

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I LOVE my Stack-n-Whack! I wish I could find a rod like the one your cute model is holding. Did that actually go through the pocket in the back? (I ask because the stitching for the circle seems to run through part of the pocket.) I think we'll get a skinny dowel and finals for the ends and just spray-paint them to LOOK like a metal rod.
Wow Erica, they are beautiful!! I remember seeing the method used for making jackets....thank you!
Erica, these are gorgeous!
so lovely!
Gorgeous! I love seeing all of your different projects - so eclectic!
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