My hand stitching this past week consisted of stitching the red strips onto the border fabric for Joyful Noise (see last post for picture). Each border has 2 long red strips which have to be stitched down on both sides so that means stitching the length of each border 4 times. Two borders are complete and two to go! The rest of my sewing time was devoted to making more stars! This week’s color was purple and, of course, I had to make 2!
And I made an extra block in pink too. I read blogs of others doing this quilt along, saw the center fabric below used, had this fabric, and had to make one too because it was so pretty!
And I made another 4 inch star as well as a couple of 3 1/2 inch stars. I’ve decided to go ahead and use the 4 inch stars for a crib quilt and 3 1/2 inch stars for a doll quilt. Here’s my design wall (click to enlarge):
The lone little star in the upper left corner is a 3 inch star – I’m not making any more of those(at least for now!)! The 3 below that are the 3 1/2 inch stars for the doll quilt. Underneath the 6 inch blocks (i have 20 already!) you can see that I put the 4 inch blocks on point just for fun to see how they look. I definitely want to use different settings for the 3 quilts:
The stars project has been good for me and I’ve learned some things. Accurate piecing has always been a big challenge for me and I’ve often avoided it by using the paper piecing technique. Making these stars has challenged me to figure out ways to piece more accurately. I’m being more careful about cutting and about how I feed my pieces into the sewing machine. I’m pinning mostly with the points of the pins facing away from the fabric as Sally Collins advises in her great book on accurate piecing. I’m using sizing to stiffen the fabric and this has been a major help!
Another thing I learned is that even though I have 2 drawers full of 19th century reproduction fabrics, most of them are medium to dark shades. I have very few light fabrics of this type and I’ve been struggling to find them for these blocks. I remember reading that most of us gravitate to medium shades of colors and that often fabric stashes lack enough lights or darks. Darks have never been a problem for me, but the dearth of light fabrics for this project was very clear.
I had hoped to use almost exclusively fabrics I already had for the Stars project, but decided to take a trip north to Keepsake Quilting in Center Harbor, NH this AM to remedy the lack of “lights” in my reproduction collection. Keepsake is about 80 minutes from my house and is a very pleasant and scenic drive, going up the western side of Lake Winnepesaukee with great views of the mountains and lake along the way. This is the shop I went to with a good friend to get fabrics for my first quilt more than 20 years ago and I try to get there 3-4 times a year. They have a fabulous selection and I had a great time picking out background fabrics today. I was trying to bring my stash up to speed in one fell swoop!!! Here’s what i got:
Some purples, gold, tans, and yellow:
Some pinks, gray, and blues:
And some greens (they look more vibrant in reality than in the picture), reds, and more pink:
Another “lesson” I’ve learned from looking at stars that others are making is that mine have been very “orderly” – colors go together and I’ve used only 3 fabrics per star – one for the center, one for the points, and one for the background. Lots of star quilts from the civil war era used more than one fabric in their points and more than one in the background. I am going to have to try to do less “matching” as I go along!!
I just finished reading an excellent book that I can highly recommend: “Someone Knows My Name” by Lawrence Hill. It is the story of an African woman who is stolen from her village in 1745 and taken on a slave ship to Charles Town (Charleston), S.C. The story includes her experiences on the slave ship, her experience working on an indigo plantation, her escape in NYC and her life there during the Revolutionary War, her move to Nova Scotia by the British and her experiences there, her trip back to Africa (by the British) to help establish a “free” colony there and her move to London in 1800 to work for the abolishonist movement there. Although fiction, it is based on true stories from the time. The story is compelling and written very, very well.
Thank you for visiting! Delight in the gift of life and be grateful! Gladi