The La Passacaglia Quilt
Have you seen La Passacaglia Quilt? If not you're missing one of the global superstars of the quilting world! Here's a crash course in the what, where, why and how to make your own version.
We've put together this post as your complete guide to the quilt that's swept the quilt community by storm. When it comes to quilt goals, they don't get more ambitious than La Passacaglia, the world famous sensation of fussy-cut English Paper Piecing that has created it's a wave of kaleidoscope EPP quilts in it's wake.
Read on to learn all about it and get our free guide, packed with hints and tips on fussy cutting for projects just like the La Passacaglia Quilt.
Main image (above): Willyne Hammerstein, author of Millefiori Quilts, the book that features her much adored La Passacaglia Quilt.
What is the La Pssacaglia Quilt?
The La Passacaglia Quilt is just one of many stunning designs to be found in Millefiori Quilts by Dutch quilt designer Willyne Hammerstein. It's something of a unicorn of a book but it's currently available on the website of European book publisher Quilt Mania. In fact since we first published this article, Quilt Mania have released two follow-ups to the original Millefiori Quilts book – Millefiori Quilts 2 and Millefiori Quilts 3. That's our Christmas list sorted then!
As for the quilt itself, the finished dimensions are 144 x 176 cm by 57 x 96in.
The full name of the pattern in the book is 'Passacaglia with Mr Penrose', explained by Willyne on the inside front cover:
" 'Passacaglia with Mr Penrose' is the quilt features on the front cover. Mr Penrose is a famous British mathematicion who works on sarts, cosmos and the geometrical designs of 'pavements'. This is one of the most difficult quilts to make, but making it is a fascinating pleasure! Good luck and have fun! "
Why has this quilt pattern become such a sensation?
Even if you've never heard of La Passacaglia, you have no doubt noticed the rise of the hexie! English Paper Piecing and EPP hexagons are nothing new, but this very traditional form of quilting has found a new lease of life thanks to the trend for geometrics, but more so the need for piecing that can be done without a sewing machine. We've been EPPing (!) in front of the TV, on trains, in waiting rooms, in coffee shops - basically anywhere we fancy doing a spot of sewing but can't get to a machine.
Soon we were hungry for more shapes, and diamonds, triangles, pentagons and more were part of the EPP frenzy. Word of mouth appears to be the catalyst in launching this particular book into the quiltosphere – one look at the cover alone (the La Passacaglia Quilt itself!) will convince you that it is possibly the holy grail of books for EPP fans, and the cover star in particular has intrigued and caught the imagination of the quilting world.
We can't pinpoint one reason why it's taken off. At a guess, the blend of precision piecing, geometric shapes and intricate kaleidoscopic fussy cutting, combined with the irregular composition, dizzying rosettes and frankly epic scale of the whole project is a heady cocktail guaranteed to take any English Paper Piecing addict to seventh heaven.
More like this
Here are just a few of the bloggers who have caught the bug!
- Flossie Teacakes
- Mommy By Day, Crafter By Night
- Lilabelle Lane
- The Little Red Hen
- A Life in Lists
- Sew What Sherlock (includes the coolest stop motion animation videos!)
In the world of modern quilting, it's the fussy cutting that has given this project the edge. With so many amazing graphic fabric prints around, there's fun to be had fussy cutting and piecing the bits back together to create dazzling new effects!
See more La Passacaglia Quilts in the wild
Try the following hashtags (or variations) on Instagram and other social media to find many more examples from the many other fans!
How can I have a go?!
The instructions in the book Millifiori Quilts are super clear, and include everything including templates, step-by-step walk through, and a detailed layout diagram. Taken on step at a time, this is a wonderful project to work through at your own pace.
Prefer to spend more time working with the fabric and less cutting templates? The DIY Addict have prepared packs of pre-cut templates especially for this project. Purchase everything from pre-cut paper pieces to acrylic templates (perfect for fussy cutting) in either the original size OR a supersize version, which we highly recommend if you're just getting started with EPP!
And don't forget that you can pick up a copy of the book from Quilt Mania.
The added fussy-cut element has become crucial to the new look, so Alex and the Love Patchwork & Quilting team have put together a FREE step-by-step guide to get you started. Once you've had a go, the possibilities are endless – enjoy!
Meet the maker
Alexandra Luenz is the superstar behind our gorgeous Passacaglia rosettes in this post (pattern taken from Millefiori Quilts by Willyne Hammerstein). She describes her style as “German precision meets world diversity expressed through modern colours, forms and fabrics”. She’s passionate about patchwork and is preparing all sorts of exciting ideas for patterns to share with the world very soon! Alex loves to travel and explore the world. She’s currently based with her family in the Munich outback preparing for their next adventure.
Follow Alex’s fussy-cutting antics over at her Instagram feed: @alexouq
What is 'La Passacaglia'?
Before we even get into the quilt, what is 'La Passacaglia' and how do we pronounce it?!
According to Merriam Webster:
noun pas·sa·ca·glia \ˌpä-sə-ˈkäl-yə, ˌpa-sə-ˈkal-yə\
Definition of PASSACAGLIA
a : an old Italian or Spanish dance tune
b : an instrumental musical composition consisting of variations usually on a ground bass in moderately slow triple time
: an old dance performed to a passacaglia
Alice is the former Editor of Love Patchwork & Quilting magazine and is obsessed with all things quilt-related. She’s worked with a whole host of the world's leading quilt designers. You can often find her flicking through the very latest fabric collections or testing out exciting new notions. She’s also the office EPP queen, stitching her way (slowly!) to gorgeous quilts with impeccably embroidered details. Unusually for a quilter, Alice operates a no-scraps-allowed policy at home and curates a very modest fabric stash.