Blue Stars for January’s Rainbow Scrap Challenge

I’ve started to notice a pattern in my work in that a lot of my projects are stars in one form or another.  I make many other types of designs, but stars are always a favorite of mine, so many possibilities!

I’ve also been following So Scrappy’s blog for a while and enjoyed the blocks and quilts everyone made in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, so when I saw that the January block was a star, I figured I’d give it a try this year.  My decision was also guided by the fact that the color for January is blue and I have a lot of blue fabric!

Kona blue and white fabrics-1

I decided to use some of my Kona solids for this project as I have something in every color (and I’m always willing to buy a little more!).  I have a lot more blue Kona, but the accent color this month is purple, so I left out any blues that leaned toward green and will probably gather some purple Konas to add to other blue blocks as I make them.  I’m going to use Kona Snow for the background as I have about 4 yards of it and I want to use one consistent fabric for the background.

I cut out a lot of squares last weekend, but it was back to work Monday so the sewing had to wait a few days.  I took off Friday from work and my husband and I went to see Star Wars (and loved it!) and when we got home, I sewed the sections of my first block.  It was pretty easy to put together but I didn’t focus on one of my stitching lines and had to rip out one seam. That’s not so bad though considering the first block is usually more challenging and as I make more, hopefully I’ll get better at it!

Blue star block in progress-1

So, this morning I woke up early, made some coffee and sewed the block together.  I really like the way it came out; now to find time to make the others to complete the column of blue stars as the challenge pattern shows.

Scrappy blue white star-1

I’m linking up with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge – stop by and take a look at everyone’s blue blocks.

Have a great weekend!

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Happy New Year!

I can’t believe it’s January already!  Hope everyone enjoyed the holidays.  They sure did go by fast!  I tend to work a lot between Halloween and New Year as my company’s fiscal year ends December 31st and this year was no exception.  I was able to take a few vacation days after Christmas, but tomorrow I return to the real world.

It’s going to be hard going back to the work routine.  This was one of those stay at home and just relax kind of vacations.  My husband was off too and we drove to the beach a few times (cold but still beautiful) and went to a local arboretum to see their Christmas displays.

Planting Fields Christmas Tree 2015-1

We went out on New Years’ Eve for the first time in a few years and had a great time.  We saw Jimmy Buffett at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Jimmy Buffett Dec 31, 2015-1

It was a bit strange seeing them in winter as we usually see them in the summer out at Jones Beach.  It was a great show as usual – now I’m counting the days til the warm weather is back!

While I haven’t finished anything lately, I have been sewing a lot –  more on that in future posts.  As today is my last day off, I decided to take a little time and finish this year’s Christmas ornaments.  Better late than never!  And I wanted to just relax and do some hand sewing.

Red NY Rangers ornament - EPP-1

Blue NY Rangers ornament - EPP-1

I made these from NY Rangers fabric that I got at Joann’s and some red and blue Kona solids I had.  They are simple pentagon shapes stitched together using the English paper piecing method and stuffed.  There’s a great how-to in Diane Gilleland’s book All Points Patchwork.  I will probably make more of these.  They were fun to make and didn’t take long.

I’m linking up with Kathy at Slow Sunday Stitching.  Stop over and see what everyone else is up to.

Have a great week!

 

 

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A Road Trip to the New England Quilt Museum

Although I didn’t get a lot of actual sewing done this week, much of my time has involved quilt related things.

My husband and I took a road trip to Boston and wonderful guy that he is, agreed to a side trip to Lowell, Massachusetts, just north of Boston where the New England Quilt Museum is located.   It was easy to spot the museum from a few blocks away.



I love the exterior of the building.

The current exhibit is of Caryl Bryer Fallert’s quilts. To say her work is amazing is an understatement.  I don’t remember exactly how or when I became aware of her work but I have liked her quilts for years now. I think she hand dyed much of the fabric in her quilts. The colors are so vivid and the quilting is  just beautiful.

I didnt take many photos as I wanted so that I could really look and appreciate the quilts. Sometimes when I’m taking pictures I find that I’m saving it for future use (which is fine) at the expense of enjoying the present moment. And there are beautiful images on Caryl’s website of her quilts.

I couldn’t resist taking a photo of this one.  Up close and personal, it’s just a joy to look at. 

IMG_9016

I did a little sewing in the car on the way to and from Boston (thanks to my husband who loves to drive so I get to sew).   I finished sewing the ten stars on my la passacaglia rosette.

I spent a lot of time when we got back home pulling fabrics and basting pieces for my next rosette so hopefully I’ll have photos of another finish soon.

I should also mention that this is my first attempt to do a blog post from my phone. Hope it worked!

I’m linking up with Kathy’s slow stitching Sunday. Everyone does such beautiful work – make some coffee or get some wine and have a look. Enjoy your day!

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Ten Tiny Stars Stitched Together

I haven’t done as much sewing as I hoped this weekend.  But it was for good reasons.  I went out Friday night after work with some old friends and had a great time and then Saturday and Sunday nights were spent watching the NY Mets win game 1 and 2 of the National League Championship Series (Yay! Lets go Mets!).

I did get to Saturday Stitches at the library on Saturday morning and was able to stitch together a few more of the stars.  This isn’t as easy to carry around with me now so I am not working on this during my commute.  Before I left the library, I laid out the completed sections of my star quilt so far.  I didn’t realize until I got back home that I cut off the top part of the quilt in this picture and there was no way I was going to be able to get that much clear floor space at home for a new photo!

EPP Star Quilt - Oct 17, 2015

EPP Star Quilt – Oct 17, 2015

There are 56 full star blocks in this quilt and only four more of the half star blocks to go (three on the bottom and one on the top) and I’m finished with this top!

Of course, I’ve not even finished this top and I’m starting to work on a Christmas-themed version of La Passacaglia.  I’ve wanted to make this quilt for a while now.  I have the center of the first rosette stitched together and also the ten stars and diamonds that will surround it.  Those stars really are tiny!

After I took this photo, I started stitching the stars to the Santas and hope to finish sewing this together on the train tomorrow.

EPP La Passacaglia Quilt - Oct 18, 2015

EPP La Passacaglia Quilt – Oct 18, 2015

I then spent some time going through my fabrics to pick some for a second rosette.  I found a nice stripe and the perfect green to make the diamonds that surround it.  I was able to glue baste them all together pretty quickly.  I even had time to sew together the five stripe diamonds in the center and then packed up all the pieces in a ziploc bag.

EPP - La Passacaglia - Oct 18, 2015

EPP – La Passacaglia – Oct 18, 2015

These probably won’t get stitched together until later in the week.  I will carry them with me though just in case I’m on a train with delays.  As frustrating as delays are, if I have a seat and my EPP, it’s not so bad!

Linking up with Slow Sunday Stitching and Life Under Quilts.  Stop by and see what everyone is working on!

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It’s a Halloween EPP Blog Hop!

This week I’m excited to particpate in Diane Gilleland’s Halloween EPP blog hop.

Diane told us that any Halloween EPP project was fine.  I’ve been working with diamonds, hexagons, pentagons and triangles lately so I wanted to try something different.

I noticed a spider web design in Chapter 3, Building Your Own EPP Patterns, and thought that looked interesting. The center was an octagon, which was a shape I had not worked with before and the block was simply divided into eight sections based on the edges of the center octagon.  Each of the eight sections was then divided horizontally into two bands.  As I wanted to use a lot of my Halloween fabric, I wanted more than two bands in each section, but that type of edit was easy to do.

I opened up EQ7 and did a search in the block libraries for spider blocks.  I received 5 hits; Spiderweb Maltese 4 was the closest to what I wanted.  However, the lines from the edges of the block extended all the way to the center, and I wanted one open octagon shape in the center.

Halloween EPP EQ7 -1

Halloween EPP EQ7 -1

Fortunately it was a quick and easy adjustment.  I simply selected and deleted each of the eight lines in the center to reveal an open octagon shape in the center.

Halloween EPP EQ7 -2

Halloween EPP EQ7 -2

Finally, I drew lines across each of the four corners to divide it so that the band was the same size as the others leaving a triangle shape in each corner.

Halloween EPP EQ7 -3

Halloween EPP EQ7 -3

I printed out templates for a 16″ square block onto several sheets of card stock and glue basted my fabrics to the pieces.  I know many people like to thread baste, but I find that glue basting is easy and quick.  I used the ladder stitch to sew my pieces together, which takes a bit longer than the everyday whip stitch, butI think using a ladder stitch holds the pieces together more securely and that my stitches are less likely to show on the right side.
I started by stitching a band of black, orange and alternating green and purple to create 8 separate sections.
Stitching the bands into 8 sections

Stitching the bands into 8 sections

Most of this was done on the train to and from work. That is one of the things I like best about EPP; I can carry small parts of a project with me and stitch a piece or two together whenever I have a few minutes.  Then I stitched each section to one side of the central octagon.
Stitching the bands to center octagon

Stitching the bands to center octagon

Next, I stitched each section together from the center out to the edge of the block.
8 sections stitched to center octagon

8 sections stitched to center octagon

Finally, I added the four corner triangles done all in the same spider web fabric.
Pillow top completed

Pillow top completed

 I then removed all the paper pieces from the pillow front, being careful to mark my stitching lines on the wrong side of the fabric 1/2 ” in from the four sides of the block.  I pressed it with a dry iron and then prepared the pieces for the back of the pillow.  My pillow form was 16″ square so I cut two backing pieces, one 17″ by 12″ and the other 17″ by 8″.  I pressed under 1/2″ on one edge of each piece, then pressed under 1/2″ again and top stitched along the edge of each.
Pillow back pieces

Pillow back pieces

I then laid the pillow back right side up, placed the pieced pillow top right side down on top of it and pinned them together on all sides.
Pillow front and back pieces pinned together

Pillow front and back pieces pinned together

I stitched 1/2″ around on all four sides.  No need to leave an opening as the hemmed edges of the two separate back pieces provide an opening so that I can remove the pillow for cleaning.  I clipped the corners, pressed the seams open, and turned the pillow cover right sides out.
Pillow front and back pieces stitched together

Pillow front and back pieces stitched together

Last, I inserted the 16″ pillow form, fluffed it up a bit and placed it on my sofa to admire!
Finished pillow -front view

Finished pillow -front view

Finished pillow -back view

Finished pillow -back view

I’m really pleased with the way this turned out.  I am already thinking of making a Christmas version.  I was careful when I removed my card stock paper pieces so I can easily reuse them. And since I worked from a block in EQ7 and saved my changes to the sketchbook, I can print as many as I need even if I don’t want to reuse them.  I could even reduce the block size and make enough for a matching quilt.  The possibilities are endless!  And since EPP is so portable, I can carry a project like this with me everywhere and stitch a little here and there when I find some time.  I only spent a few minutes sitting at the sewing machine to make this pillow.
Hope this inspires you to check out Diane’s book, All Points Patchwork, and try an EPP project of your own.  Also, check out what the other Halloween Blog Hop participants are making – lots of fabulous EPP!

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56 Star Blocks are Finished!

After a busy week, this has turned out to be one of these rare weekends when I don’t have to do anything or be anywhere.  There’s a cold going thorough our house and I took the opportunity to rest and do some sewing.

I made a little progress on La Passacaglia on the train during the week; four of those tiny stars are done.  Six stars and ten diamonds to go on this section of my first rosette.

La Passacaglia progress - Oct 11, 2015

La Passacaglia progress – Oct 11, 2015

I’m also working on an EPP Halloween project that I’ll show in a couple of days.  It’s so much fun to play with all the great Halloween fabric out there!

Halloween EPP progress - Oct 11, 2015

Halloween EPP progress – Oct 11, 2015

And finally, I added the last two full star blocks to my EPP star quilt, for a total of 56 completed stars.  I have five half star blocks to add to the top and bottom and that’s it! After that, on to borders.

Star quilt count 56 blocks - Oct 11, 2015

Star quilt count 56 blocks – Oct 11, 2015

I’m linking up with Slow Sunday Stitching and Life Under Quilts, check out all the great projects there.

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Slowly Stitching Stars as Summer Comes to an End

I’ve been spending as much time as possible outside enjoying the last of summer, which has been wonderful.  That of course meant not so much time sewing or on the computer.  But that’s OK once in a while.  It will be a long time before we can swim in the ocean again here in New York.  Hard to believe only two weeks ago we were enjoying the warm sun and water.

sunset

sunset

Now that beach days are over, I found a few hours to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art this past weekend.  Always wonderful inspiration there.  There were some antique quilts on display.  I love old appliqué quilts, especially red and green on white background.  These two were my favorites.

Antique quilt - Met

Antique quilt – Met

Antique red and green quilt - Met

Antique red and green quilt – Met

Autumn has definitely arrived in New York though, so while I’ll still be going to the beach, now it will be for walks, not sitting and sewing.  I’m still sewing on the train to and from work, so progress is being made, albeit slowly.  I’m getting very good at organizing my time so that I find at least a few minutes to prep some EPP pieces to take with me the next day for sewing on the train.  Then, even if I only have a few minutes here and there at home, I’ve been stitching the stars together.  I want to finish this top and get going on other EPP projects.  But, more on those in another post.  I haven’t had time to take many pictures or edit them.  I was barely able to get two volunteers to hold the stars together for this photo!

Star quilt, Oct. 4, 2015

Star quilt, Oct. 4, 2015

There are 54 star blocks and 3 half blocks attached so far, which means I only have one half star block to add at the top and then two full and four half blocks left to add at the bottom.  I’ve finished one more turquoise blue star block, but haven’t added it yet, so really only one more full block and five half blocks to make.  Such a great feeling to have the end in sight.  I have too many unfinished projects and I really didn’t want this one to wind up like that.

I’m linking up with Slow Sunday Stitching at Kathy’s Quilts and the Monday Morning Star Count over at Life Under Quilts.  Check out all the hand stitching, some nice EPP there too!

Have a great week!

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Savoring These Last Few Days of Summer

I was lucky enough to be able to take a few days off from work last week and relax.  We didn’t travel anywhere.  Just went to the beach (we’ve had gorgeous weather for end of summer), did a few things around the house and of course, I did some sewing!

I can’t say enough how much I love the portability of EPP.  I can prep my pieces ahead of time and even when I’m rushing, I can usually find time to quickly glue baste a few shapes.   I have been able to make progress on my star quilt that would not have been possible with hand or machine piecing.  I sew on the train, at the beach, in the car (when I’m a passenger!), and while waiting for appointments.  I don’t use pins at all when I EPP; I glue baste the pieces and hold them together with small butterfly clips from office supply stores, so I don’t have to be concerned about dropping pins, or worse leaving them where unsuspecting people may sit or step on them.  I use ziploc bags for EPP when I go to the beach, so no worries about getting my pieces wet or dirty.  It really is amazing what can be accomplished in only a few minutes here and there.

I have been stitching the star blocks into columns and then stitching the columns together. into two sections.  Once I add the final blocks to the bottom, then I’ll sew the right and left sections together.  Here’s what my star blocks are looking like now.

Star quilt blocks joined 9-13-15

Star quilt blocks joined 9-13-15

I really have to start planning borders and binding.  And, as much as I love this project, I can tell I’m reaching that point where I’m ready to start something else!  So, I finally took the plunge and started my first rosette for the La Passacaglia quilt.  I’ve had the book for ages and my local quilt shop started a class/group once a month and I just had to sign up!

Right now, I’m working on a Christmas themed rosette.  I have some Christmas fabrics in my stash I’d like to use and I found a few new Christmas fabrics to buy for this quilt.

Start of Rosette # 1 - La Passacaglia

Start of Rosette # 1 – La Passacaglia

I’ve stitched together the red center star and the five yellow diamonds surrounding it.  I’m having a hard time with the yellow.  I’m determined not to make this a red and green Christmas colored quilt/wall hanging.  I want some other colors in there so I’m trying to build on any other colors I find in my Christmas prints.  There are some yellow stars in both the red center print and the green outer print so hopefully by the time I make a few more rosettes, the yellow diamonds won’t stand out so much!  But first I have to sew all those green Santa pentagons together.

I don’t think I’m going to make the entire La Passacaglia quilt in Christmas fabrics, however.  A Christmas wall hanging, or even a pillow if I run out of time, will give me enough practice with these shapes and design possibilities to figure out how I want to make a full size La Passacaglia quilt.

Hope you all are having a great week.  I’m linking up with the Monday Star Count over at Life Under Quilts.

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Stitching the Star Blocks Together!

I’m finally at that point in this quilt where I’ve started sewing the star hexagon blocks together.  Yay!  I laid them out on the sofa Sunday and took a couple of photos.  I’m working in sections that are one or two rows of four or five blocks because I’m still sewing these on my way to and from work and that’s about the largest I can easily manage on a moving train.

Star Quilt Layout

Star Quilt Layout

Of course, my cat decided to inspect them.

Nugget on the Star Quilt Layout

Nugget on the Star Quilt Layout

I think she approves.

I still have to make some half blocks to fill in the top and bottom.  Hopefully, I’ll get to that over the weekend.

I’m linking up with Life Under Quilts (a little late for the Monday star count, I know!).

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Monday Star Count – August 10, 2015

After not doing much EPP last week, I got back to it today. I got organized last night and started stitching them together on the train to work and then again on my lunch hour.  Most days, I just don’t have time to sew on my lunch hour, but it was quiet enough in the office and nice enough outside that I sat outside to eat and sew.  I could get used to that!

I’ve finished 56 of these star hexagon blocks, but may add a few more depending on my final layout.  I decided to go with a random layout, not in color order.

Assembling the Blocks

Assembling the Blocks

For now, I’m going to continue sewing a few together at a time and will decide on a final layout later.  I’m linking up with Life Under Quilts for the Monday Star Count.

Have a great week!

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