Tuesday, May 9, 2023

More Tools for Star Upon Stars: Mirrors and Pins

Next Star in Progress

April and May are the busiest months in my year. If I'm starting seeds for the garden, I'm paying as close attention to them as I would a baby. Well, almost. But it does take a lot of time to get everything ready to get your own seed starts into the garden at just the right time, and I'm still figuring that out. Last Sunday I decided I needed a lot more space than I had planned, and we tilled another plot inside the fence. I'm a no-till gardener at heart, but conditions weren't optimal to go that route now. It's rained ever since we tilled, and I've used that time to catch up on the next block. Let me show you that along with a neat tool and technique.

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Star Upon Stars 4: 3 Tools that Rule

Third Block in Star Upon Stars

Let me say this block was a trial to see if I liked the two color stars. I did! I think it helped tie the red, white, and blue theme together well, and will definitely employ the technique again.

This quilt is not fast paced for me. I have a greenhouse full of seedlings and plants, and am quilting for customers several days a week. Forgive me my gaps in posts. I have a sewing space at home that affords me the convenience of popping in to work a few minutes here and there, and that time adds up to a new block every few weeks now. It will get better next month when the garden fills up, and I'm not so busy. Now let's talk tools.

Friday, April 7, 2023

Star Upon Stars: Block 3 & Color Process

Block 2 Is Finished

I finished this block up Sunday morning. It was completely fiddly, and I was lucky it came together. The outer circle of stars were all off enough to make me sew and rip, sew and rip. I will say I'm developing a sense of how to see where I need to mismatch seams a bit to make it fit. That's good progress. 

Friday, March 31, 2023

Star Upon Stars: Block 2 and Backgrounds

Star Upon Stars: Block 2 and a Background Fabrics Discussion

A beautiful star in the end, but not exactly what I was looking for. And that is the whole question when we create any block. "What exactly do you want it to look like?" Being so new to this pattern, I'm was still not completely sure. Remember I said I knew I had a lot to learn by making this quilt. Watch the video below as Edyta explains her theory for picking colors, and method for construction.

While Edyta Sitar was explaining her take on the quilt, she remarked about the setting stars being darker than the center star. That says to me that the center star is the focus, and the outer stars are in more of a support role for the block. The outer stars should include some of the colors from the center, but ideally be a darker shade. This one is the same shade as a green within my star. Let's get into backgrounds, and see what happened.

Monday, March 27, 2023

Star Upon Stars: One Done, One In Progress

Block One: Star Upon Stars
Pink and Brown

There were a several people that said this was their favorite combination with pink in the center, and blue on the tips. And to be fair, it was my original intent so I sewed the block this morning. It was quite a relief to see it come together the way it should or nearly there. If the rest fit this well, I'll be delighted.

The star itself was about 13.5" tip to tip before adding on the corners, and I was nervous. While I assembled each corner star to the large star, I checked against my cutting mat markings. When I had both corners in, I needed to be fairly in range to 12.5". If I wasn't, I ripped and readjusted until I was.  Adding the half stars took it down just to where it needed. 

FYI: A shocking amount of each star tip got swallowed into the seams. 

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Star Upon Stars

Star Upon Stars
Pattern by Edyta Sitar inspired by an 1846 antique quilt from the Grand Rapids Public Museum. 
Re-created with permission.

I am tentatively saying this 12" block is the first of many, but I'm honestly not sure yet. I've never done such a labor intensive block. It took days, and isn't together yet. I had decided a few months ago to do a challenging project this year, and first bought the pattern Common Bride by Edyta Sitar. While I gathered my ideas for that quilt, I came back again and again to look at Star Upon Stars. I wasn't sure I could actually make it, though, as I had practiced those pesky stars for months, and still wasn't great at it. 

I had watched her video (link below) over and over on how to make a star. I did all the steps, and somehow still I wasn't consistently successful. I felt like Thomas Edison touting how he knew all the ways not to make electricity. Then I broke the process down to the accuracy of cutting, rulers vs. templates, seam allowances on different machines, pressing or not or waiting until the end as she suggests, and on and on. And then one day, by gosh, I made a star, and I was hooked. 

Second Colorway of a 12" Block
Star Points Flipped Around

The lovely thing about working with star points is the option of turning them one way or the other. I've gone back and forth thinking I like one or the other better, but really I'm good with either. I do think the block itself looks better with the pink points to the outside edge as above. It spreads color throughout the block, and cheers up the darker stars in the corners and edges. 

I think there is a lot of experience to gain in making this quilt, but it will probably take me all year. This trial block has had more ripping than anything I've ever done, and I would hope the next ones go much faster. I was shocked at the difference in time between learning to do the corner stars and then the half stars. By the end, I was chain stitching, and zipping through them.

The pattern is in the book above and also available at her website Laundry Basket Quilts.

The quilt along information and tutorial are below, and I encourage you to watch the star construction if not both. Perhaps it will be encouraging enough to tempt you to join, too. This week's quilt along video focuses on the corner and half stars only. Two more videos are scheduled to follow, and I'm looking forward to them.

Do you have a favorite of my stars above? I'd love a little help in deciding, and in turn I'll tell you some hints I've learned along my star making adventure the next time I'm here. Please leave me your ideas in the comments. 

Edyta is one of the sweetest quilting voices out there, and I'm so grateful she's doing this. She's a very talented quilter, and also gifted with inspiring us we can do the hard quilts as well as the easy ones. 

Come on, Doxie girls.
Let's go sew.

Delightfully linking up with Sarah at~

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Quilt, Hutch, Dogs

Barron's Debut

Before you wonder aloud, the Doxie girls are still with us, and doing as well as14 years old dachshunds can do.  Their days are full keeping one step ahead of this incredibly sweet, but rambunctious Japanese Chin named Barron. He turns a year old in a few weeks. He came to live with us last May, and we haven't had a dull day since.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Ocean Waves Blocks Ready

9  Kind of Blocks

Sewing has saved me this week. I find it calming, and when life gets to be a lot--and it has lately, I dodge into my sewing room at home for some therapy. To explain, I mainly longarm quilt in my studio, but I also come home to sew after work. If I have a quilt with an edge-to-edge going on the longarm, I can sew at work too, but often I'm engaged with other client work. At home I can do my own thing. It's more conducive to be creative when I'm not listening for an empty bobbin. 

Friday, March 10, 2023

Ocean Waves In Progress

Ocean Waves

Getting back to sewing was good, but I still wasn't in the creative mood just yet. There's still a lot on my plate. Grabbing a kit I had sitting on my shelf for some years meant I could sew, but didn't have to think much. Pure therapy.

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Simply Sparkly Quilt Top

Simply Sparkly

This is a free quilt pattern available at Robert Kauffman Fabrics designed by Kay Koeper Sorenson. It has the vibe of a Gees Bend style housetop quilt, or that same style you see in many Nancy Crow quilts. 

Nancy Crow lives in Baltimore, Ohio, while Lunn Studios is just south of her. Some of her earlier pieces were made with their hand-dyed and surface manipulated fabrics. The fabric featured in the pattern is Pointillist Palette by Lunn Studios, coincidentally, and shows an ombré effect. One of my year's goals is to use fabric that's been aging in my studio, and free up space. This was an ombré yardage bundle I purchased from Craftsy years ago when they had the Boundless line.