Embracing My Wonkiness

I am fairly new to sewing with a machine and to any kind of quilting. During covid I took up quilting and made three quilts for family members. I thought I had the hang of it. Until someone requested quilt blocks with circles.

I belong to a local quilt group, PVQA (but because of covid the meetings occur virtually). I learned so much about quilting through the talented people in this group (and through YouTube).  So, a year into the pandemic it was that time of year where members make Thank You blocks for the volunteer officers of the organization. I eagerly read the list of what type of block each officer wanted. I was pleased that I could handle each type of block—except the circles. I hadn’t ever made circles with fabric, let alone sew them back together with contrasting fabric. If we were meeting in person, I could easily get guidance. But we weren’t, so I had to learn on my own. After many online and YouTube tutorials, I tried the technique that seemed the most doable. I failed. I tried and tried and failed and failed. I used other techniques, and failed. I meshed techniques, and failed. I used this tool, that template, a plain old teacup, and the results were the same. Once I sewed them, my circles refused to be round. My circles were wobbly and wonky. I showed my misshapen circles to a few ladies in my Tuesday zoom quilt group meeting. They gave advice. I followed their advice. No mater how much I tried changing settings on my machine, using different thread, different fabric, putting in a fresh needle, etc., my circles did not come out circular. I finally gave up. I cut squares of beautiful fabric, larger than the requested size of the finished circles, and gave that to the officer along with a note that I had tried to make her the blocks she wanted.

And then a surprising thing happened…

Victoria’s Wonky Circle

The PVQA invited a guest speaker, Brenda Gael Smith, to give a workshop showing us how to make freeform circles! The core of her techniques was to make unexpectedly abnormal circles. She was going to teach us how to make wonky circles! I decided to embrace my wonkiness and I registered for her workshop. It was so much fun and I learned a variety of ways to make uneven, bizarre, non-circular circles. I had a blast and I learned a valuable lesson. I learned to not fight what comes naturally to me. Apparently non-conforming circles are what I’m meant to make. Smooth, perfect circles are not my thing. And that’s okay.

I’m enjoying this quilting journey I’m on, I’m grateful for the new friends I’ve made, and I’m learning odd things about myself. And now, I’m off to make a quilt of crazy circles.



  1. Thank you for joining my FUNdamentally Circles workshop. Freeform piecing without rulers or templates is so liberating and it’s FUN! I love that technology enables us to get together and celebrate creativity even when travel is restricted. With serendipity. Brenda

  2. Victoria M. Johnson says:

    Hi Brenda. It was certainly a liberating workshop. I am happy to have joined you even though you’re all the way over in Australia. Hoping to attend another one of your upcoming virtual workshops.

  3. jan says:

    This is a great post–I look forward to more, whether about quilting or writing. I am so glsd you are in our guild and zoom group. Keep quilting, in whatever way works for you!

  4. Victoria M. Johnson says:

    Hi Jan. Thank you for stopping by to read my post. I am so glad I am in the guild and zoom group, too. You are all so talented, encouraging, and friendly.

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