Pi, Pie, and Quilts

March 14, Pi Day…or is it Pie Day? It’s also International Quilting Day. Pi, pie, and quilts. What do these things have in common? Well, pi(e). Who doesn’t like pie?

I’m not a math whiz, but I remember that 2πr=circumference (of a circle) and πr²=its radius. Of course, dork that I am, hearing the expression, “πr²” always leads me to think of the lame joke, “Pie are not square, pie are round.” So, there you have pi. And pie. I love pie, and I’m a pretty good pie baker, if I do say so myself. No one would know this, of course, since I haven’t baked much of anything in a while, so you’ll just have to trust me. We did have pie for supper, though…of the pizza sort.

But what does pie have to do with quilts? Well, I can’t imagine a much happier home than one that contains both pie and quilts, can you? But I would never eat pie near my quilts.  Pie shapes can be used in quilts, though, can’t they? Yes, quite effectively. And pies ARE round. I know that many folks refer to a wedge shape as pie-shaped, but that is really only the shape of a slice of pie. I’d rather have a whole pie. With that in mind, I’m going to show you some quilts I own, all of which have round blocks, or at least round centers. Some of these are old, some are recently-made, and some are blocks. Eventually all of them will be quilts, I hope.

Pastel blocks


My friend Mary gave me these blocks, to see what I’d do with them. That was a long time ago but I haven’t done anything I loved with them yet. You can see what she did here: Mary Kerr’s gallery.


I found these funny little blocks in a local flea market a while back.  Aren’t they terrific? Like cinnamon in apple pie, these need something to give them a little zing.


If you’ve been to my quilts page Asteriskon Facebook (and if you haven’t, go like it!), you’ve seen the sister to this quilt (it’s turquoise and bright!). I had so much fun making that one that I decided to make another. Same but different. Still pie-shaped, that is, round (if a little wrinkly).

yellow dp
Typically, Dresden Plate blocks like these at left have a white or ecru muslin background. When I found these 1930s blocks with a yellow ground, I had to have them. The leap from not-quite-white to yellow is small but what a difference it makes.

white wheel


Aren’t these 40s wheel blocks fun? I have some ideas for how to set them, just need to find the time. Time. Ha!


This Sunflower is one of the earliest quilts I own, and it must have once been glorious. It’s ca. 1830, and though you can’t really tell except in person, the background is actually a pale blue serpentine print. The blocks still look pretty good but they’re fragile. This one is awaiting stabilization.


Here is another Sunflower, about twenty years more recent, give or take, than the one above (I spent a lot of time researching these blocks way back when I first started paying attention to quilt history). It was an eBay find several years ago. I didn’t pay a lot for it so I was not as disappointed in its condition as I could have been (you can just barely see its threadbare border). Honestly, this piece has been loved to death, but what a beauty it must have been, don’t you agree?

I like quilts. Maybe you can also tell that I like round blocks, especially if they make me think of pi (or pie). I like pie a lot, most any kind unless it’s lemon, and I’ll even eat that in a pinch. What’s your favorite kind?