Making Progress… And Placemats!

Last weekend I whipped up a couple of reversible placemats for our little kitchen table. Here you can see one of each fabric on the glass top.

I’ve also made progress on the quilt I’m working on. I’m now starting on the alternating feathered star pattern which is similar to these, but includes an 8 pointed star in the center like the one you see here.

I’m really loving how this is turning out, and I have changed my thoughts on layout from my initial plans.  Very rarely do I stick to my plans, so I guess this shouldn’t surprise me.  I know lots of quilters plan their quilts right down to each quarter inch.  Not me!  I let my quilts talk to me while they are in progress.  So… what do you think I will do with the little 8 pointed star block(s)? Yes, there will be more than one of them!  Actually, they will be in 2 different sizes.  
Ponder that for awhile!

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:











Now I’m here:


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. 


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!” 

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):


Can you spot what is wrong in this photo?

If not, see below…


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


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!

Feathered New York Beauty?

featheredstarWe all have lots of ideas for quilts that are collecting dust in our brains.  Have you ever tried to combine several of those ideas into ONE QUILT?  I love Feathered Star quilts, and did a wall hanging for my oldest son a few years ago with one large Feathered Star on it.  But I want to do more – on a quilt for me.  I also like New York Beauty quilts.  If you’re a regular reader of Michigan Quilts, you’ve seen me mention my recent fascination with the color gray lately.  Santa brought me some beautiful fabrics, and I added more to the pile when I went shopping on Saturday with a friend in Lansing.

1E-3D-126C-234-MichiganMSUMuseum-a0b8i6-a_8092I think I’m going to combine all of those ideas into one quilt and see what happens!  Kind of a “Gray and Red Feathered Star Beauty.”  Yeah, I think I like that idea!  I don’t have EQ, so I need to get busy with some graph paper and see what develops.
Yes, I know, I need to just invest in EQ and take the plunge.  I love working on computers, and I like being able to see the design in front of me, rather than just relying on my (aging) brain for details.  But learning a new program takes time, and I’d much rather be fondling fabric that touching the keyboard of my computer.  I’m on the computer all day, for goodness sakes!All of the fabric is washed and ready to be pressed.  I think that’s what I’ll do tonight while I watch television! 

So after I post this article and picture, the computer is going off and the iron is going on.  Wish me luck!

   Sean’s “311” Quilt (Hard to get a good picture of it, as it hangs over their stairway) with Flying Geese border

So after I post this article and fabrics1picture, the computer is going off and the iron is going on.  Wish me luck!

The beautiful red fabric in my pile is called “Angels Watching Over Me,” and it has a very faint pattern with gray swirls on it.  The song by that same name keeps going through my brain and won’t leave (I think they call that an “ear worm”).  But I opted to hand wash the red fabric, and I’m glad I kept it separate from the other fabrics.  I threw it into the sink with hot, hot, hot water, and it ran, ran, ran.  Four washings with detergent until the water ran clear, the another washing and sitting with Retain, then a dunk in cold water.  Please do not EVER use your fabrics without prewashing them!  If I had put that into my quilt without washing, it would eventually have run all over my lighter fabrics and ruined the whole thing.  I know, use “color catchers.”  I will still use them, but that much red dye isn’t good no matter how many color catchers you have.

Don’t say I haven’t warned you!


You can see more Feathered Star pictures here,
And more New York Beauties here.