Sarah’s Star

I have a wonderful problem. My trips to Seattle this year are starting to blur together a little bit. If I could go to Seattle every weekend, or every other weekend, I just might do it. I like that city and I feel so relaxed after I come back.

I think the blurring may bea result of both TFQ and I being creatures of habit. We like eating in the same places and going to the same stores. I welcome the variation that she provides for my trips when she asks me to go with her to some home store or we go and explore a shop we’ve never visited.

On one of my trips, we went to Quiltworks Northwest and saw their Block fo the Month club. One of the blocks they had up was one called, we found out later in Around the Block, Sarah’s Star.
I like it because of the way you can highlight the different spokes of the star and make it look like two pinwheels overlapped on each other. I want to try it with a black background.

Bold graphics

I am catching up on my blog reading and this picture comes from Kathy at Pink Chalk Studio. Isn’t it great? I love the simplicity with interest and the bold, graphic colors. The alternating of the colors is wonderful as well.

I know I should be writing about the Gabrielle (pronounced Gob-Ree-Yell) Swain class. In short, it was fantastic. More on that tomorrow; I am making it an early night.

clipped from
  blog it

Snowball Wreath

Per a conversation on the AQSG list, I am posting a couple of photos of an old Laura Wheeler block called Snowball Wreath.

Notice the crazy shapes the newspaper printed for piecing (lower right). Could anyone actually make a quilt from those kinds of pieces? I would really love to see a 1930s or 1940s (or whenever this pattern was printed) quilt from this pattern.This is my attempt. I appliqued the circles on after piecing them.

Snowball Wreath
Snowball Wreath


JZS Snowball Wreath
JZS Snowball Wreath

I issued an informal challenge on a list and Julie made the one above.

The challenge required people to draft their own templates and I found that to be quite a challenge, because 1) I only had the information on the newspaper clipping image. I don’t have the actual newspaper; 2) the block is not made from a grid that I could figure out; and 3) the circles did not exactly line up.

It was a fun and challenging puzzle, one in which I am still interested.

Cross Block and Royal Cross

The research of the real name of the Cross Block started with a stray comment I made on a list saying I wondered what the real name of my block was.

That sent Sarah on a frenzy of Googling, where she found that the Library of Congress has quilt photo called Royal Cross that has similar bones to the Cross Block. Sarah also found that Tazzie has a pattern for the Royal Cross.

Then Leslie chimed in with the sudden realization that she had a quilt from her Grandma in this [Royal Cross] pattern. She posted the pics, which I have reproduced here.

Full quilt


Comparison between the Royal Cross and the Cross Block.

Blocks are constantly modified to suit the needs of the maker and I am sure that these blocks are no exception. My block and the Royal Cross look similar in the middle, but the outside of the Royal Cross looks like it is meant to draw attention to those squares in the corner. I can’t say much about that as I went on and on in one post about the center of this, among other patterns, not actually being the center. I’ll have to look through the Barbara Brackman book and the Kansas City Star books and see what I can find. If all else fails I’ll post a picture on the AQSG Yahoogroup and start sending photos around to various quilt historians.

Julie’s MavSwamp Project

I had nothing to do with this project, but went to visit my friend from High Fiber Content and found out that she has been holding out on us on her blog. I took pictures of these blocks she got through a swap. I thought they were really a good group.

This is one of my favorites.

I like the color combination of this block as well.

Happy Geranium Block Dots

I got a sample of Mrs. Meyer’s dishwashing soap. The scent was geranium. This is not a scent I have ever thought much a about. I don’t think I knew that geraniums had a scent, but I tossed the sample soap into my dishwater last night and it was amazing! Very light, not chemical-ly, not overpowering. I have been thinking about it all day. I was disappointed not to have had more of it tonight when I did the dishes again. Fortunatley, the sell it at, so I can get some with my next order. Aromatherapy in action? I think it has made me happier today…as odd as that sounds.

Happiness brings productivity in quiltmaking. All weekend, I worked on SLB’s blocks. My calendar dutifully informed me that I have only 13 days until the shower. Most of the blocks have three sides of sashing sewn on to them. (A good thing) I have been making progress using chain piecing methods and sheer determination. I need to 1) count the blocks; 2) figure out how many blocks I will need to make a nice sized quilt and, finally, 3) figure out if there are people who might like to contribute who will not be at the shower. I think ESGL and MCLB will both like to make a block. We’ll see.

I took the bull by the horns and started the block exchange that JCN and I have been planning. Yes, I did tell her when we were on the phone this afternoon. Again, we’ll have to see what happens. My block is a Sawtooth Star on point, which JCN says is called Evening Star:

Additionally, I cut a couple more blocks for the Thoughts on Dots piece. Immerhin.

The addition of the blue dot square (Alexander Henry??) looks good. I think pink and yellow make an excellent combination, but want to use more of my dots than just pink and yellow. I have a chocolate brown with dots that I will have to dig out, as well. I think ToD may be the one use I will find for it.

All of this block making (SLB’s and the ToD) is sort of related to the Judy Martin’s Scraps book. I started reading it last night and she has an interesting essay on scrap quilts. One of the things she says (paraphrased) is that if you use the same fabrics for all of your blocks, the creativity ends after the selection of fabrics, but if you use scraps, each block is a new work of art. I like that thought and I think it is true. SLB’s blocks all have different sashing, which make them somewhat scrappy. It will definitely look scrappy once it is put together. It makes me much happier working on SLB’s blocks to have so many different fabrics to work with.

Forced Creativity WORKS!!!!

This is the block that I made today. I wanted to get it done to show my students and just hadn’t made the time. I decided that I was in the groove and did it this morning. I thought I would run my errands first, but realized that that was deadly and did the pieced part of the block first. After cutting, it took me about half an hour to do the main part of the piecing. HALF AN HOUR!!! That is nothing. How could I forget that piecing, once you know what you are doing, takes no time??!!?? Later this afternoon I appliqued the handle and sewed the two halves togther.

I am pretty excited now and will, perhaps, make the Nosegay. I gave the Nosegay to the students as an alternate block to the 8-pointed star. I always give an alternate block, but haven’t made many of them for this project. Nobody has done the Nosegay including me. It is the traditional version with inset seams and not Doreen Speckman’s version with no insets.

I think the colors are pretty bright, but I like the brightness and the different way in which the fabrics react with each. The purse fabric is a new colorway, as I ran out of the other colorway. I like this colorway better with the bright green and pink. I am wondering if I should redo the other blocks with this colorway? Seems a little crazy, but I am the woman who took apart a whole back of a quilt, because I needed to use some of the fabric on the front of another quilt. Stranger things have happened. 😉

My sis said she didn’t really like the color combination. Oh well. I have to admit that I was getting tired of it until this most recent block. I like it. We’ll see how it ends up.

This is an interesting photo that I took before I cut and placed the middle pieces. You can see that I was having some trouble cutting the background so that it all lined up. I eventually got it right, which you can confirm in the photo at the top.

My problem with lining up the fabric the way I did is that two sides of the block (top and left) are on the bias. I have to remember that so that I can take care in handling the block later.

I still have to applique the Grandmother’s Flower Garden to a background, so perhaps I should do that instead of starting the Nosegay. It shouldn’t take too much time, especially if I machine applique the petals. Stay tuned.

How to Sew a Curve in 3 Easy Lessons

I spent time this week catching up to my students on my blocks. I had the pieces to the Drunkard’s Path blocks cut for weeks, but couldn’t seem to get them together. I pinned and pinned and pinned and pinned and pinned and something didn’t seem right. I couldn’t figure out what it was and I couldn’t sew the things with so many pins. Per chance, I picked up Ruth McDowell’s Piecing book. If you don’t have this book, get it. It is the best.

Anyway, I read the bits about sewing curves and found the problem. Clipping! I had forgotten to clip the concave part of the curve. I think I was so caught up in having problems with the block when I was a beginner and trying to make the Drunkard’s Path that I couldn’t think straight.

I sewed all the little blocks together then played with the layout for a few days and came up with the following layouts:

Drunkard's Path
Drunkard’s Path

Good graphic look on this one.

Drunkard's Path #2
Drunkard’s Path #2

I really like the way the middle circle comes forward in this design.

Drunkard's Path #4
Drunkard’s Path #4

Not sure what the heck this is supposed to be, but it obviously doesn’t work.

Drunkard's Path #5
Drunkard’s Path #5

I like the way the pinwheel type design shows up. This is my second favorite.

Drunkard's Path #6
Drunkard’s Path #6

Again good graphic look, but the way the circles go off the side don’t appeal to me as much as the other layouts.

Drunkard's Path #7
Drunkard’s Path #7

This is supposed to be an X, but the X doesn’t show up, because I used three colors (2 for the background) instead of just two total.

Until I finally decided on the design below. I did have a hard time deciding between this and the pinwheels:

Drunkard's Path Final
Drunkard’s Path Final

This exercise, again, shows how great blocks are. I could make a whole quilt with this block and do each one with a different layout. I think that there is so much that can be done with block designs.

Kansas City Star Blocks

Several years ago I bought a book from the Central Oklahoma Quilters Guild. It is volume three of a multi-volume set of Kansas City Star blocks. I looked through it recently and was reminded that the blocks make me drool with possibilities. Of course, the blocks would have to be redrafted for piecing. I have to say that the women who made some of the blocks when the blocks were first published were no sewing wimps. Many of the blocks have inset seams, irregular shapes, very thin triangles, etc. In that vein, I began thinking about the newspaper clipping of a Laura Wheeler block (newspaper clipping) and tried to remake it.

Snowball Wreath Pattern
Snowball Wreath Pattern

I didn’t use the templates given in the newspaper clipping, because I only had a picture of the newspaper clipping and not the original clipping. Also, the shapes of the pieces were crazy – at least for my level of skill in piecing! I am pleased with the way my block came out, even though I used different techniques (piecing combined with applique’ than the original block.

Snowball Wreath by Jaye
Snowball Wreath by Jaye

I would like to try again different ways, using different fabrics. I don’t think I got the spacing quite right. There is something not quite right about the newspaper clipping when compared with the actual fabric sample I made. I don’t think it is an easy task to look at a picture of a newspaper clipping and then create it in fabric, but it was a puzzle that I couldn’t put away.

I feel the same way about some of the Kansas City Star blocks. It would be a great project to try and remake them all. What a lot of blocks that would be. Some of them would be fine, but some would be quite challenging.