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Playing With Stripes

May 14, 2012

A few weeks ago I learned that an old childhood friend had given birth to a baby boy, her first. And when I got an invite to the shower I knew that I had to make little Kiran something special. I tossed around some ideas for a few days, but nothing seemed right. Then I stumbled on this new quilt design by Cluck Cluck Sew, called “Pow-Wow.” And THAT reminded me of this Lauren Moffat fabric that I’ve been kind of obsessed with, as well as these stamps, which I pinned last fall, and which, it turns out, inspired Allison’s quilt, too!

Suddenly I had an idea that I really wanted to run with, so I pulled out a pile of vintage stripes from my stash and got to work.

Playing with some vintage stripes this afternoon Progress on those vintage stripes...

Once I’d sewn up a bunch of chevrons, I strayed from the original plan for a minute. I thought they looked like the feathers on an arrow, so I played around with that, but ultimately decided that perhaps the new parents might not like weapon imagery…

I also really liked the idea of a colour wheel, but I’ve never pieced curves before, and thought that doing so for the first time on a last-minute gift might be asking for trouble. I think I’ll revisit it in future, though, because I love the way the mock-up looks! I just need to tackle a few test curves first. When I figured it out I’ll let you know!

Another option...

Finally, I went forward with my original plan, and I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out!

Vintage Chevrons baby quilt

Vintage Chevrons baby quilt

Vintage Chevrons baby quilt

Vintage Chevrons baby quilt

Vintage Chevrons baby quilt

The back...

I have no idea what the grey is, since it’s been in my stash a LONG time, but it’s close to Kona Coal.  The backing fabric (unfortunately I only got the one crappy picture of it) is an Ikea print from 2007.  I thought it matched the vintage sheets quite well!  The binding fabric is a Cranston VIP print. And I’ve got lots of vintage stripes in the shop, if you want some. ;)  I’m hoping to put some bundles together this week for anyone who’s interested, so stay tuned!

Show & Tell

April 1, 2012

Have you finished your Oh My Stars! quilt yet?  I certainly haven’t!  I had such high hopes for last week, but there were just too many other things that took priority.  But I promised to put up a linky post this weekend, so here it is.  I’m going to keep it open for a good long time so that people have time to finish up.  People like me… :)

So if you’ve finished up your quilt, or at least have the top put together, then please share!  I’ve really been loving the work people have been posting in the Flickr group, and I can’t wait to see how everyone chooses to quilt the finished products.  I haven’t decided yet what I’m going to do with mine.  And you don’t have to have a blog to play along, you are more than welcome to link to a Flickr photo, etc.



(Ok…so after much fussing around it seems that blogs hosted on WordPress.com don’t allow javascript, and therefore won’t allow me to display the link list within the blog post. Boo-urns. Yet another reason why I really need to shift to self-hosting this blog. You know, eventually.

But you can still add your link by clicking on the symbol above. And you can see all the other links there, too.)

Oh My Stars! (A Quilt-Along)


…Spring?

March 22, 2012

I don’t know about where you live, but around here the weather has been nothing short of unbelievable.  Record-breaking.  And I must admit a tad concerning.  I can’t shake the feeling that some sort of April snowmageddon is inevitable given how nice the weather has been.  It’s been in the mid to high 20s for days, and I’m beginning to forget that it’s not actually summer yet.  I mean, we’ve had a humidex factor the last few days!  (I understand that things will be a bit more normal this weekend.)

Stella is thrilled.  Her favourite warm-weather pastime is to chill on the balcony off my studio and watch the world below.  The neighbours refer to her as Queen Stella, surveying her vast kingdom.  She never barks, just observes intently.

Surveying her kingdom.

Surveying her kingdom.

Surveying her kingdom.

Surveying her kingdom.

Of course, Stella and I aren’t the only one’s enjoying the warmth.  My garden is coming alive at a rapid – alarming? – rate.  In fact, there are a few things coming up that will very likely need protection from the inevitable spring frost yet to come.  But for now it’s been nice to get into the garden and start to clean things up.

Spring.

It’s also been a great opportunity to get a jump start on some of the spring cleaning chores around the house.  Am I the only one who sees quilt designs everywhere I look?

Spring cleaning...

I hope you’re all enjoying some lovely weather, no matter where you are!

Constructing The Top

March 8, 2012

I can’t believe we’re at the end!  The final tutorial…time flies, doesn’t it?!

Now I know that many of you have already worked out your own strategy for piecing everything together, which is great!  But for people who need a bit more direction, I hope that the following diagrams help.  Essentially, the top is broken down into a small number of large sections which can each in turn be broken down into smaller parts that are easy to put together.

For a throw/twin quilt, there are six (6) sections, and for a full/queen quilt there are two (2) more sections for a total of eight (8).  (What?  You don’t remember there being a full/queen option?!  Well, someone wrote to me asking if I would mind working out a slightly larger version, and I was happy to oblige.  I’ll be adding the necessary details to the post about the blank diagrams as soon as I’m done here.)  In the following diagrams I am including the extra two sections (the pink and purple on the left side), but if you are making the smaller size then just ignore those.  Everything else is the same.

To begin, arrange your completed stars according to the groupings shown below, and start joining them together.

Completing the Top

Once you’ve sewn together the individual sections (the stars within the dashed boxes in the above image), you can begin to join them together. First, join the sections in pairs:

Completing the Top

Then join the paired sections together into the completed design:

Completing the Top

At this point, your finished top will be 60″ x 84″ if you are making the smaller size, and 80″ x 84″ if you are making the larger size. If you’d like to increase the size of your completed quilt (68″ x 92″ for the small, 88″ x 92″ for the large) by adding borders, then start with the strips for the top and bottom. For the small they are 4-1/2″ x 60-1/2″, and for the large they are 4-1/2″ x 80-1/2″.

Completing the Top

Then add the strips to the side. In both cases they are 4-1/2″ x 92-1/2″.

Completing the Top

Tada!!  A completed top!  (At least in theory…I have a few more 4″ stars to make before I get there myself…)

Completing the Top

Completing the Top

I think that this should be enough information, but if you have any questions then head over to the Flickr group and ask them in the discussion thread I’ve started here.  I’ll be stopping by shortly myself, since I have lots of catching up to do.  I’m sure there have been lots of lovely new stars posted while I’ve been away!  I’m still catching up on all my email, too, but I’ll try to answer the questions that have come in by the end of the day.

And I’d love it if everyone would join me back here for a little linky party at the end of the month (March 31st) to share their images of their finished quilts.  Sound good?

Oh My Stars! (A Quilt-Along)


VNR

March 5, 2012

It has been a difficult few weeks.

I went home for the long weekend (Family Day here in Canada, President’s Day south of the border) thinking that it would be a short stay.  Dad really wanted to spend a day skiing with me, something I hadn’t done in about 15 years…and for the record, I can’t believe that I am old enough to say something like that!  So I headed north on the Friday evening, and had a lovely few days visiting with family and enjoying the outdoors.

I was packing the car and readying myself for the drive back south when the charge nurse from my grandfather’s nursing home called to say that he had developed pneumonia and wasn’t doing well.  So I unpacked the car and Mum, Nana and I spent the rest of the week sitting with him, watching him struggle for every breath, ensuring that he received enough medication to keep him from feeling any pain.  He died on Saturday, just before 11:00 pm.

The week since has been one of mixed emotions.  In many ways we have been hoping for this for a while.  Dementia took Poppa from us five years ago, and it has been incredibly painful to see him living a life that would have horrified him.  He was smart.  The kind of smart that took him from living on the streets of London during WWII to a Vice Presidency at Bausch & Lomb.  The kind of smart that awarded him a commission in the Black Watch despite being neither a Scot nor an aristocrat.  The kind of smart that allowed him to write electrical engineering exams having never even finished high school.  Dinner at my grandparents’ house was always engaging, with heated discussions about politics and ethics.  I learned from Poppa that you can learn more from playing the devil’s advocate in a debate than from defending your own beliefs.  He also had an excellent sense of humour, which often had us in stitches for most of the meal.

My grandfather had an impeccable eye for art and design, and he taught me to value thoughtful design in everyday objects.  His closet was full of custom-tailored suits, and my grandparents’ home was full of lovely, well-built furnishings and the walls were covered in original art.  While I did not follow directly in his footsteps, my decision to study architecture was in part because of the example he set.

And he was the ultimate boy scout.  Likely due in part to an early life of uncertainty on the street, and in part to his officer training and time served in the Middle East, he believed in preparedness, and his car was a survival kit on wheels:  blankets, flares, cans of food, bottles of water, paddles, life jackets…  He took his role as family protector seriously, and always made sure that we felt safe and supported and loved.

He was a role model to us all: to work hard, to be generous, to be thoughtful, to be loyal.  He set quite an example.  I am grateful that his suffering has finally ended, but I will miss him.

Black Watch

Victor Norman Ryland

Globe and Mail

Captain Bligh. ;)

Christmas 1981

Ryland's Rangers c.1994

Exploding Star

February 21, 2012

We’ve reached the end!  Woohoo!  One final option and then we can get to work piecing together the top.

I was really pushing to have this posted last Friday, before the long weekend, and since I was driving north to my parents for a few days with my brother and sister-in-law, I couldn’t just leave when it was finished.  I had a deadline.  Now, the room with the best natural sunlight is two stories down from where my machine is, so I was running up and down the stairs trying to get it finished.  Stella was also running up and down the stairs, wondering what all the fuss was about and trying to trip me with each flight.  Who knew that quilting could be such an extreme sport?!  Well, I came really close to having it finished, but right before the “finish it up” step I really did have to go.  I threw all the pieces in a box and today I hauled out my mum’s machine to finish it up.  (I’m so jealous of her machine and can’t believe she doesn’t use it more often!)

Just like the last few blocks, this one is a serious scrap-buster.  And while there are lots of pieces, it’s very straight-forward.  The centre is essentially just a Courthouse Steps block, but we’re going to throw some striped star points onto it.

Exploding Star Tutorial

Starting with the centre 2″ square, work your way out, adding two strips to opposite sides with each step.  I cut my strips longer then necessary so that I could square up after each step, ensuring the accuracy of the block.

Exploding Star Tutorial

Exploding Star Tutorial

Exploding Star Tutorial

Exploding Star Tutorial

Exploding Star Tutorial

Exploding Star Tutorial

Exploding Star Tutorial

When the centre is finished it should be 6-1/2″ square.  If you are worried about the accuracy of your 1/4″ seam allowances, you could cut the final two steps of the block a bit wide (maybe 2″ instead?) and then trim down the centre when you’re finished.

Next we need to piece the star points.  Again, I cut the pieces longer than necessary so that I had the freedom to square things up later.  Sew the strips to each other in the order you’d like, ensuring that you have four (4) left-leaning blocks and four (4) right-leaning blocks.

Exploding Star Tutorial

Exploding Star Tutorial

Exploding Star Tutorial

Exploding Star Tutorial

Then trim the two sides with make the right-angle to 3-7/8″ (2-7/8″ | 1-7/8″) in length, and cut from corner to corner to create a triangle.

Exploding Star Tutorial

When you’ve sewn the striped triangles to the QSTs cut from the large square of background fabric (such as with the Plaid Star), you should have four (4) flying geese which are 6-1/2″ x 3-1/2″ each.

Exploding Star Tutorial

Now sew everything together (a 3-hour car ride is NOT necessary for this step to be successful…) and guess what?  You’ve completed your final star variation!

Exploding Star Tutorial

Now then, I think we all need a bit of time to get all our stars completed (I have a pile of 4-inch stars that need finishing up!), so how’s about we meet back later next week for a strategy for putting all these lovelies together?  Sound like a plan?  As always, let me know if you have any questions.

Oh My Stars! (A Quilt-Along)


Shimmering Star

February 16, 2012

Are you seeing the starry quilt at the end of the tunnel?  I know I am!  I’m really looking forward to putting this sucker together!

This star is pretty straightforward, with lots of repetition, but because there are so many pieces there is also lots of opportunity for little inaccuracies to add up.  So a little extra diligence is required with both the cutting and the seam allowances in order to end up with a finished block that is 12-1/2″ unfinished.  Also, while I have provided the dimensions for the 4″ star because it’s tradition at this point, I’ll be really impressed if any of you succeed in making one!

Shimmering Star Tutorial

There are many ways to arrange the pieces to achieve a number of effects, including the following three (although there are many more if you play around) :

Shimmering Star Tutorial

Shimmering Star Tutorial

Shimmering Star Tutorial

Shimmering Star Tutorial

The last option is the one that I picked, since I thought it was the most “shimmery.”

First, use twelve (12) squares from each of the two fabrics to make HST square units.  (Save 4 of each to cut in half diagonally for the star points.)

Shimmering Star Tutorial

Forgive me for not walking you through each step, but I figure that we’ve done this before, so you probably know what to do, right?!  When the HST squares are sewn and pressed, trim them to 2″ (1-1/2″ | 1″) before continuing.

Again, I didn’t take pictures of putting the centre together, since it’s essentially a 16-patch.  Just make sure that it’s 6-1/2″ (4-1/2″ | 2-1/2″) square when you’re finished.  And you should have eight (8) of the HST squares left over for the points.

Speaking of the points…  Which pieces go where will be a bit different depending on the layout you decide upon, but the method is the same no matter what.  You’re going to sew two (2) of the HSTs you cut earlier to each of the remaining HST squares, following the steps below:

Shimmering Star Tutorial

Shimmering Star Tutorial

Shimmering Star Tutorial

(I didn’t notice that I had forgotten to clip the overhanging seam allowance until after I had documented this step, but you clipping it will help keep the bulk down, so I recommend it.)

Shimmering Star Tutorial

When you have the points sewn and pressed, trim them to 3-7/8″ (2-7/8″ | 1-7/8″) on both sides that create the right angle, and then trim the diagonal to the new “corners.”  You should be trimming off an amount about 1/8″ wide.

From here, you can sew up your star point flying geese following the directions we used last time for the Plaid Star, and then put the whole thing together!

Shimmering Star Tutorial

One more to go!!!!

Oh My Stars! (A Quilt-Along)

 

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