Another Star… and other pressing issues

You’ve been pretty good about tolerating my minimalist posts lately.  I’ve been SO busy and have been determined to focus on my feathered star blocks in my spare time. 

The last time I posted a picture of the completed blocks, I showed you this:

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Now I’m here:

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I just started on block number four.  It’s averaging me about a week per block, which is about all I can get done with an hour or hour and a half per evening available for sewing.  And with all the pieces in each block, it’s a fiddly little thing!  This block will measure 14 inches square (finished).  Hang in there… I’ll get to it! I’ll have 5 of the blocks shown above, and four of a different variation of the block.  I will have a total of 9 blocks, but something special in the sashing and borders.  

Since losing all the weight over the past (almost) 2 years, my wardrobe has totally changed.   I’m finding I still need to do more shopping to fill in missing items.  When you lose 148 pounds, that’s to be expected!  One thing I really needed was a dress.  Just a nice dress for those “need to get cleaned up” occasions.  I have two skirts, but they are both a little large.  I found a blue one I love in the NorthStyle catalog here and even though it was a little more money than I wanted to spend, I decided to go for it.  The dress arrived a few days ago, and I tried it on and loved it! 

This morning I decided to wear it to church, so I showered, dried my hair, put on my makeup, and ran downstairs to lightly iron the wrinkles out of the fabric.   Because it’s a knit fabric, I knew to use a cool iron, and started to lightly press.  It worked wonderfully, until I got to the last area that had a wrinkle. 

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Lovely burn, isn’t it?  The fabric just melted away in a matter of two seconds! 

Now, I’ve been a fiber artist for about 35 years.  I think I know how to use an iron. 

The fabric melted as if I were holding a torch to a plastic grocery bag!  I’ll keep you posted as to how everything shakes out over the next few days.  I love the dress, but obviously a large burn hole like this right in the front of my crotch just won’t do! I shudder to imagine would would happen if a person were to walk by a hot fire wearing this dress!  I’m imagining the scene from the Wizard of Oz where the Wicked Witch is yelling, “I’m melting!  I’m melting!” 

I’m in Love!

Block 1 is now complete! 
This is hand pieced.  I’ve never hand pieced a block with this many pieces before.  I enjoyed it, but I need to learn how to handle all the seams this threw at me.  If you’re a hand piecer, do you press each section as you go, or wait until the entire block is finished?  When do you trim your seams?   I mark each piece on the stitching line and add a rough quarter inch all the way around when I cut.  So after I sew, I go back and trim seams to a scant quarter inch.  It’s how I learned, but I am game to learn something new if it will help.  
Please give your feedback!  You’re never too old to learn new things, right?  

Maumee Bay Country Quilters’ Workshop

What a fabulous group of ladies in the Maumee Bay Country Quilt Guild! I led an appliqué workshop for them in the afternoon and a lecture in the evening. They were SO warm and welcoming and open to new ideas and techniques. If you are a quilter in the Toledo, Ohio area and would like to join a good guild, this would be a great one to check out! The guild meets at 6:45 pm on the first Tuesday of the month at St. Charles Mercy Hospital in Oregon.

The difference between right and wrong

There’s a reason that I don’t usually follow quilt patterns written by someone else.   The ones I tend to like seem to have problems with the directions, size of templates, or some other such thing.  Take this for example.

The feathered star block I posted just this morning

I did a little more sewing on it today, and something just didn’t look right.  The more I looked at it, the more wrong it looked.  I compared what I had HAND sewn to the diagram I was following.  Yes, I followed the diagram exactly.  Husband even verified that point for me.  But when I looked online at a gazillion other feathered stars, my thoughts were confirmed.  The diagram was incorrect.

Here’s the wrong version (which exactly matches the diagram):

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Can you spot what is wrong in this photo?

If not, see below…

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See the two light colored triangles and how they are sewn?  WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!

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This photo was taken after I made a few adjustments and corrected the wrong direction of the half-square triangle blocks.  If you look closely at the top and the bottom photos, you’ll see three different areas had to be tweaked.

It’s ALWAYS important if you use a pattern from someone else – whether it is in an older book, as this was, or from a new book or magazine, to test your patterns.  I had plenty of this fabric purchased (enough for probably two or three quilts) so I wasn’t worried, but I’m glad I caught the mistake early on in the sewing process.  I won’t mention which book this came out of… it’s an older book that my guild happened to have in its library.  I thought by using a pattern which was already created would save me time drafting it out myself.  Hmmm.

I DO like how this is shaping up, and I’m enjoying the hand piecing of the block.  It actually goes fairly quickly… for me, it goes much faster than it would if I were sewing by machine!  I dislike machine piecing.  I spend more time ripping out seams than sewing them.  Maybe you and I can make a pact… I’ll teach you how to hand piece if you teach me how to machine piece!

Some people were born to hand piece, you know.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

I need a twelve-step group for quilters!

I started another quilt. I just couldn’t wait any longer to see how it was going to look with the fabrics I bought (a long time ago). I’m in love!!!

This will be entirely hand pieced, appliquéd and quilted. Entirely! By hand!

I’m still here

Did you think I fell off the planet?  No.  I didn’t.  Just feeling drained lately, not much to report, and being busy. That’s all.

I made it to the AQS show in Grand Rapids and really loved the exhibits.  I’d show you some of my favorite quilts, but they have this icky policy that says you can’t post photos on the Internet.  I’ve seen other blogs with photos, but I’ve always usually been a rule follower, and AQS was the publisher of my first book. so I won’t tempt you with gorgeous photos.  I will say that I was very proud of Tim Latimer’s beautiful hand quilted quilt that you can see on HIS blog. He took the photo… it’s his quilt, so feel free to click on it and take a good look without being chastised.  
I enjoyed getting together with my friend Annemart Brendske as well.  What a fun time we had.  Far too short, but very fun!

We took a nice ride on the motorcycle yesterday and headed down to the French Laundry for breakfast.  OMG, if you live in Michigan and haven’t ever been there, please go!   They won’t clean your clothes for you, but the food is out of this world!
After a great breakfast we explored the area south of Fenton and ended up at Heavenly Scent Herb Garden.  Oh my gosh!  Absolutely gorgeous place!

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They had a big fairy garden with miniature items and plants that was SO gorgeous.  Here are a few photos, taken up very close…

Click on photos to enlarge.

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Visit Heavenly Scent’s website at http://www.heavenlyscentherbfarm.com/ to get more information. 

I need to spend tomorrow (Labor Day) getting ready for teaching a workshop and giving a lecture on Sept. 4th in Toledo, Ohio.  Looking forward to meeting with the Maumee Bay Country Quilters’ Guild!!!