Friday, May 27, 2016

String Star Tutoral, Part 2

I'm happy to say I completed 5 blocks in less than an hour last night. The construction is pretty mindless once all the background squares are marked and ready to go, and while I'm not always into mindless sewing, it's pretty therapeutic after a long day at work. 

Here are the instructions for how I added the strings to the background squares:

Lay the first strip against one of the drawn lines, right sides together. Note the white line is not the stitching line, it's just a guide for placement of the strip. The stitching will be 1/4" from that edge. Remember the 3-1/4" measurement? The reason I added the quarter inch was to accommodate the seam allowance. The sewn strip will actually be 3" from the corner.  I pinned the strip down so it wouldn't shift under the presser foot.

Once the stitching is completed, iron the strip open:

One thing to remember: don't skimp on the pressing. The strips need to be very flat before the next one is added.

Do the same thing on the other drawn line:

Right sides together, and placed just inside the white line. Then add the next strip to the outside of the previous one:

I drew a pink line of the last picture to show which edge to stitch. After stitching, open the strip out, and press it. Keep adding strips until the black on the sides is completely covered.

At this point, I didn't try to trim them to the correct size, but I did some rough trimming (about 1/4" outside the black square) just to reduce the bulk.

I'm really pleased with the way they are turning out and can't wait to get some more done!

Stay tuned for more progress. By the way, it you try this tutorial, leave me a comment and let me know how it worked out for you. Feedback is good! I'd love to see pictures of your blocks and will post them here if you want to email them to me.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

String Star Tutorial

I have this picture pinned to my Pinterest board, and there's something so attractive about it, I must have looked at it dozens of times.

Photo from:

I have tried to find tutorials for the blocks, but all the pictures I have pinned take me to a site or blog that references a book called "String Quilt Revival".  I'm sure it's a wonderful book, but I really can't convince myself to buy it yet. Anyway, I'm pretty sure I can figure this out myself. I'll post the steps so (1) I have something to refer back to if it becomes a UFO (not that unlikely), and (2) so anyone else who wants to make their own won't have to figure it out for themselves.

I did find a Nancy Zieman tutorial where she cut kite shapes from her solid fabric and added strings to the sides, but I think it would be easier to cut solid squares and just mark where to start adding string strips. So, what size squares? I decided to cut them 8", mainly because I figured removing the selvedges from my solid fabric would leave me about 40" of usable fabric, and 8 goes into 40 exactly five times. Four of the 8" blocks sewn together to make the star pattern will give you a block that finishes at 15", so again, another easy measurement to work with.

Step 1 would be to cut 8" strips from whatever fabric you are using for the background. Mine is black:

Then remove the selvedges and subcut into 8" squares.

Using a white chalk pencil, I marked one corner of each square 1/4" from each side:

Turn the square to the opposite corner and mark the two sides 3-1/4" down from the corner. This is one of those times when a picture is worth a thousand words. Hopefully the white chalk marks show up in the pictures:

Once you have four marks connect them by using your ruler to make straight lines as shown in the next picture.
This is all a little time-consuming with the marking, but my reasoning is that once I take the time up front to get the squares made, I can sit down and just sew, sew, sew.

That's probably enough for now; check back in a few days, and I should have something posted on how to add the strings.

Update: I was asked how I chose the measurements for marking the blocks. The 1/4" in the first corner is so the strips will overlap, and you won't lose those nice, sharp points when joining the squares together. The 3-1/4" measurement was just a nice, middle-of-the-road choice that is entirely up the maker. If you want star points that are skinnier or fatter, you could decrease or increase that measurement. You may want to try a few variations to see what is most pleasing to you.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Two More Finished

I finally got some pictures of the quilts I finished last week.

This one will most likely go to the Nazareth Academy Fall Benefit for their auction. It's quilted with an all-over leaf design. Traditional double-fold binding made from the same fabric as the border and stitched down by machine.

This one is for Quilts for Kids:


I like the Hello Kitty Fabric and hope it will bring a smile to a little girl who is in the hospital. I used the same print for the back and brought the backing fabric to the front for a fold-over binding which is stitched down by machine.

The next pic is totally unrelated to quilting, but these are blooming in the flower bed and are such a pretty color!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Quilting Eye Candy

I got two quilts bound this week but we've been getting torrential rainstorms off and on the last few days, so I won't take them outside for pictures until it dries up a little. 

I was scrolling through some pics on my phone and found some pictures of pretty quilts that I took at the Victoria Quilt Show and thought I would share my favorites here.


The last one is my favorite, and thanks to Alan, I have the pattern. It is definitely on the "to do" list.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Baby Shower

Sunday was Nichole's (step-daughter) baby shower, and I thought I would post a few pictures of what I made. The baby is a boy, which makes it a little harder for me. The nursery is aqua and gray, so that part was easy. The colors are really pretty and look so good together. I was able to find some flannel and some minky at Joann's .

Three flannel receiving blankets and a minky-backed blanket. 

I thought this flannel was really cute and just the right colors:

I always have trouble with beginning and ending the serging and making it look neat. If anyone knows a better way, please leave me a comment and tell me how to do it.

I really should have taken more pics at the shower. All the decorations were done by Melanie and were really cute.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

I Had an Idea

What if I could quilt two quilts at one time? I got two tops done for Quilts4Kids that are the same size and sewed the two backs together and loaded them on the quilt frame.

My thought was to put the batting on and pin the tops side by side, but the more I thought about it, the more I couldn't work out in my mind how to do it successfully. For one thing, I couldn't find a thread and bobbin color that would would work well on both. I also wanted to fold the back over to make the bindings when I finished the quilting so edge to edge quilting wouldn't work. I ended up taking it off and separating the backs. I loaded just one and started over.

Once, that was done, it didn't take too long to get the quilting done. I used a small meander which went pretty fast but is still dense enough to stand up to a lot of use.

If I have time, I'll get the second one loaded before I leave here today. 

We will be having lunch at my daughter's today for Mother's Day. I picked up a cute little gift for my mom at Joann Fabrics last time I was there.

A little cosmetic bag and hand cream. Gotta love Joann's. Hope you have a happy Mother's Day!

Monday, May 2, 2016

A Little Progress

Progress is good in any amount. I finished the quilting on this one

I still need to square it up and get it bound.

I really, really, really need to clean up my sewing room. My friend Alan came over Saturday and helped me do some reorganizing. I really appreciated his help, and we found some more tops that need to be completed. We made a quick trip to Hancock's to get some backing fabric for the tops we located. Now they are in line to be quilted (and finished!). Hancock's is closing and has every thing on clearance, but the quilting cottons are only down to 40%. I asked Alan what we were going to do when Hancock's closes, and he said, "Use our stash!" Good answer, but still, it's been so convenient to just run over there when I need anything. I'm dreading not having a fabric store in town.

This evening, I got my little doll quilt sewn into a flimsy.

It's not perfect, but it's pretty cute. Next, I need to cut some binding for one of the quilts that's waiting in line to be finished.