I’ve made a couple of wonky star quilts in the past, which I’ve donated to Project Linus in Austin, Texas, but I’ve never made one to keep or to give to someone I know. This one is going to be for my Grandma, if I can get it made in time for Christmas. (Well, even if I don’t get it made in time for Christmas, really.) I started working on it quite a while ago and then the light bulb of my sewing machine burned out and it was surprisingly difficult to sew without the extra bit of light. No matter how I shone project lights over my shoulder or across the table or whatever, it was just too dark and shadowy to sew with any degree of comfort. It took a while to find a light bulb that fit (I finally bought one that is longer than the original but has the right watts and whatever and also the same size base – it seems to fit okay in the machine even though it is bigger than the original), and then I seemed to lose my sewing mojo. (Either that or I just got distracted by embroidery.)
(Please excuse the wildly varying light in this photos. They were all taken after it was too dark outside to use any natural light, but the ones on the ironing board are much closer to the project light I use to light my sewing table and they got a really different colour cast over them than the ones taken a little further away. I tried to fix it using flickr’s photo editor but did a very poor job of it and probably made it look worse.)
The last couple days though I’ve sat myself down and got myself back to work on it. I’m on vacation from work this coming week and really wish I could spend the time sewing, but I’m heading to Saskatchewan to visit family for most of the week, where I won’t have access to a sewing machine. (Well, I suppose I could work on my mom’s machine, but that thing always hated me. No matter what I did, I’d get a tangled wad of thread on the back of whatever I was sewing, and then my mom would try and it would work perfectly. I don’t even know.) My goal right now is to get all the blocks done before I leave, and then hopefully I’ll be able to get the top pieced once I’m back. After that it’ll be quilting… well, acquiring backing and then quilting. Which is always where I get hung up. I’m just afraid of quilting, though I’ve been trying to get myself to do a little more of it. I always seem to wind up with wrinkles in the back, no matter how I try pinning it.
Anyway, the two photos up above show what’s left to be done with the blocks. The block up top is of course nearly finished – I just need to get all those pieces sewn together. The stack in the second photo is the last five blocks, plus all the leftover bits of white I’ve got for making the star points. When I started this, I pulled a piece of white-on-white fabric off my shelves and decided to use it, without measuring or anything, and so I didn’t know if there would be enough to make the whole quilt top. And this close to the end… I still don’t know! I’m really hoping I’ve got enough squares and triangles left to do those last five blocks, but I might have to substitute some other white-on-white print for the last block or two, depending how far I can make it stretch without making the star points really small.
So far I’ve got 15 blocks pieced – 11 of them look more or less like this. The Vintage Modern fabric line also has 5 or 6 prints that are just grey on white and I was worried when I started that the white stars wouldn’t pop well enough with those greys mixed in, so I pulled all the grey fabrics (I started with a layer cake) and made four blocks that are just greys with red stars.
I’m going to have 21 blocks in the end, though I only need 20, so I’m not quite sure how I’ll decide which to use. I don’t know why, but I always feel like when you add a contrasting element like those blocks with the red stars, then you should do so in uneven numbers, so it’s a pretty good bet that I’ll only use three of them and leave out the fourth. (Mini quilt? Cushion? Piece it into the back?) On the other hand, if I run out of the white for star points, maybe I’ll not make that 21st block and just use all the grey ones. Anyway, it’s obviously not going to be a bed-sized quilt – 4×5 blocks means 48″ x 60″. I did buy fabric for a border, for which I chose the print on the bottom right of the block in the very first photo (that grey/blue circular one), but it just occurred to me now that I probably should have chosen a red-based print for the border, so that those red stars don’t stand out too weirdly. Hmm. Maybe I should buy something with more red, just in case I don’t like the blue. I’m leaning towards buying one of the prints in flannel for the back (so it’ll be cosy), but I’m waiting to hear back from an Etsy seller to see if she’s got enough yardage in one of the red on grey prints for that.
In any case, my goals are thus:
1. Finish the blocks by November 5
2. Piece the top by November 13
3, 4, 5. Baste & quilt & bind by ??? (Have to get the backing fabric for that…)
Let’s hope I can make it stick.
Linking up with Leah Day’s UFO Sunday: