Rainbow Scrappy: Color Wheel Applique Tutorial

Circles and the rainbow scraps have been colluding together these past weeks. I hadn't gotten them out of my system after making a few crazy blocks with them. But then it became obvious where this was all leading too....where all these scrappy circles wanted to lie. It was a color wheel.

I'm not sure why but raw edge applique has been my favorite method as of late. Probably due to the fact that I lack the patience and skills to make my ideas happen any other way! And that's just fine by me. I'm here to create - not be perfect.
And if you'd like to join me and make a little color wheel of your own well then come on let's go!

Materials Needed:
Small scraps of fabric in all colors
9" x 3" strip of fabric in black/white for connecting lines
13" square piece of white background fabric
Glue stick
Small scissors
Thread in each color of: white (bobbin), yellow, green, blue, purple, red, orange
Seam Ripper
Sewing Machine
(Note: directions correspond with photos from top left to bottom right)

1. Gather up your supplies including small fabric scraps from all colors of the rainbow in varying shades from light to dark. You will need 6 pieces of scraps in each of the colors yellow, green, blue, purple, red, orange. 
2. Here is a detail of the way each color way is put together. Start by separating your scraps into two piles, 3 scraps each of light and dark fabrics.
3. Cut out a rough circle approximately 2" across (a little less than 2" is better than a little more than 2"). This will serve as a template for the rest of the circles you cut. Then place the first cut circle onto another scrap from the same 3 scrap colorway. 
4. Cut around that scrap so that approx. .25" shows all the way around your first circle.
5. Next cut out a circle approx. .25" smaller than the first circle and stack in on top of the previous two cut circles. Now you have a little colorway pyramid. 
(Note: The trick to getting a nice color way pyramid going to is make sure there is contrast between your fabrics so that each has a chance to shine.) 
6. Once your first set of colorways is cut use these 3 as a guide for the rest of the rainbow. This will ensure that the circles are roughly the same size. Go ahead and cut out the rest of the circles before  heading onto the next step. 

7. Horray! All the little circles are cut and you've got 12 little colorway pyramids. 
8. Let's glue them together so they don't fly around the sewing room. Start with the biggest circle and apply a small dot of craft glue. (I use a simple glue stick from the office supply section)
9. Another small dot of glue secures the top circle.

10. Next clear off your 13" square of white background fabric and fold it in half and then in half again.
11. Press firmly and unfold. Can you see the grid creases? These will be the layout guidelines for the color wheel. 
12. Place your pyramids along the four lines in the order of the color wheel. Blue, Purple, Orange and Yellow.
13. Glue each of the four pyramids in place...
14. 1/2" from the edge..
15. And then place the rest of the colorway pyramids in between the original four. 
(Note: you'll have to fuss with them a little bit to get them to all play nice together and line up properly. You could use a pie plate or something similar as a guide - I just eyeballed it) 
16. Next prepare the black/white strips. Cut 6 strips 9"x 0.5" long.
17. Place each strip between two colorway pyramids starting in the center with yellow/purple. (you can add a little glue here if you'd like)
18. Stitch around the perimeter of the b/w strip to secure leaving the threads long so you can tie them later. (shown in a later step)
19. Repeat step 18 on the opposite center between blue/orange.
20. Repeat step 18 until all the colorways are connected.
21. Once all the strips are sewn down carefully turn the block over and tie each loose end securing your stitches. This process is shown in the next set of photos.

If you've never pulled your thread to the back and tied the ends off no worries! It's a really simple thing to do with a little patience and practice. I show the steps here for when it comes time to tie the loose ends after you raw edge applique the pyramids. The steps are the same for both the strips and the circles. 
22. Turn the block over and find your threads. Here you can see the bobbin thread is white and the loose end is hanging down. The top thread is purple which is the color I used to thread the sewing machine.
23. Next pull up on the bobbin thread a bit...see how that top purple thread got pulled out a bit and made a nice loop?
24. Good, now use the seam ripper to tug the top thread (purple) out
25. Pull the top thread all the way out and tie a couple of simple knots and trim excess thread. That's it! You just pulled the top thread through, secured it to the bottom and made it so that there is no evidence of it on the front. 
(Note: You can use this method when quilting as well to give a nice clean finished look!)

26. Now the fun part! Choose thread to match your colorway pyramids. I chose one for each of the colors, not two so that I wouldn't be changing my top thread so often. I also decided to use white for the bobbin thread so that I wouldn't have to keep changing bobbins and winding just a little bit of each color onto each one.
27. Once colors have been chosen start with the outer most circle and stitch around close to the edge. I turned my stitch length down from 2.5 to 2.0 which helps with the tight curves of the circle. Go slow and pivot when needed. I also keep my sewing machine needle in the down position so that when I stop the needle keeps my place. 
28. Continue stitching around the circles; bottom, middle then top until your pyramid is secure. 
29. Repeat steps 27 & 28 until all colorways pyramids and sewn down. Remember to leave the thread long so you can go back and secure the stitches on the back side. Tying each thread is a lengthy process but there is no better way to achieve a flawless front finish. 

Ta-da! Your very own Rainbow Scrappy Color Wheel! 

Now as for what to do with this block? Ah, ha - that's all up to you! I've got a mini wall hanging in the works with a few other blocks I made....but I think this would make a wonderful stand alone reference for your design wall that can be easily finished off and hung. Or another option would be to use it as a center piece for a rainbow quilt. Couldn't you picture scrappy log cabin blocks in all colors of the rainbow surrounding it! Yum. 

I hope you enjoyed this crazy little tutorial! It really was a lot of fun to make this block; use it as you see fit and please tell me about it if you do!

p.s. I'll  be linking this up with parties all week. Find them all on the Link Parties I Love page! Including Sew Modern Monday and Crazy Mom Quilts.
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