Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Lone Star Quilt Construction Tips and Y-Seams

"A moment's insight is sometimes worth a life's experience."
~Oliver Wendell Holmes


After so many Lone Stars, LeMoyne Stars and other eight-pointed stars I have a few tips to pass on. 
If you are sewing smaller diamonds together, it's easier to  press those seams open.

The back of a larger blue Lone Star section shows all the seams pressed open
Press seams open on smaller diamonds

Of course, that means those intersections need more pinning when sewing one larger unit to another. I put a pin exactly one-fourth inch from the edge and through the seam on both sides then add pins on either side to keep it from shifting. Take out that vertical pin as you approach it when sewing. 

Also, pin at an angle where the sewing line stops. See the pin at the right below. 

Place a vertical pin at the intersection of smaller diamonds and use another to mark where to stop sewing at the end.
Use pins to keep intersections aligned and to tell you exactly where to stop

When you reach the end pin, backstitch {more carefully that I did here} over the previous stitching line to keep seams from unraveling. 

Sewing up to the pin. 

If your backstitching must go "off" the stitching line, at least make sure it's in the seam allowance and not into the star itself.

A line of sewing on Lone Star seams is backstitched at the end
Backstitch at the end

Once the large diamonds are sewn into pairs, it's time to add the backgrounds. I usually sew the corner squares first and leave the side triangles for last but either order works fine. Pinning is almost exactly the same except you want to pin the intersection of the two diamonds to the corner of the square without any overlap. I.e., just pin one diamond to one side of the square. 

Pinning one side of a background square to one of the two diamonds 

Again, sew to the pin but not over it and backstitch.

Sewing to the intersection of three pieces of fabric

Then when sewing the background pieces to the Lone Star, sew them the same way: up to intersecting seam allowance and backstitch. Both sides. No overlapping here, please. And you'll notice this time my backstitching looks better. 

The background fabric is sewed to the Lone Star diamonds at backstitched when the intersecting seam allowance is reached
Backstitch when sewing backgrounds to Lone Stars/Eight-pointed Stars

I always press the large diamonds and the backgrounds to one side {not open} so the intersections spin.

Press these seams to one side and spin at the intersection

Monthly FUR (Fabric Use Rate) 

The LeMoyne Star was completed in August for a total of 13 yards. YTD = 124.75 yards.

Online Lectures and Meetings

How can we feel lonely with so many online meetings? Between Zoom and Meet, I now have at least five meetings a week. It's wonderful to see friends again and great to participate in lectures. I only participated in one short workshop but my friends are taking and teaching that way

Bisa Butler recently spoke with Dr. Myra Brown-Green at the American Folk Art Museum about her body of work. The excellent discussion covered the development of her craft {always my favorite part}, her history, and the reasons she chooses who to portray and how to portray them. She began as a painter and moved to quilting with her master's program. Initially she quilted portraits of family, then friends, and finally moved into the wider world as her confidence increased. I was very interested to see the development of her skills and color sense over the years.  She also had a wealth of information about the names of the African prints, something I was unaware of until this program. 

In the second part of the program, Myra discussed her quilts and books which focus on symbolism from cultures worldwide. The third part was a conversation between the two of them. And lucky us, AFAM made the program available for reply on their website. Get some coffee and enjoy an hour of in depth thought on unique quilts.


Our national election scheduled for November 3 is 70 days away. Have you requested a mail-in ballot or made plans to vote early? Check Vote411.org for details about your state and precinct. {Make the website is correctly typed and you are on a Secure site!} Democracy requires the participation of ALL citizens.

Wink at the Moon

Neil Armstrong passed away eight years ago today. His family asked that we wink at the moon annually in his honor. Tonight the moon will be in its first phase but I plan to spend a few minutes admiring the view and remembering an event that united our world with joy.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

LeMoyne Star Quilt Finished

"The evil that is inside men is at the last a matter for men to control. 
The responsibility and the hope and the promise are in your hands - your hands and 
the hands of the children of all men on this earth.
 The future cannot blame the present, just as the present cannot blame the past.
The hope is always here, always alive,
but only your fierce caring can fan it into a fire to warm the world."
~Susan Cooper in Silver on the Tree

LeMoyne String Stars quilt is finally finished. Hooray! Quilting started last week and now the rest is completed. It's bound, washed, dried, and ready to mail. 

The center of this scrap quilt is four LeMoyne stars in red or blue surrounded by two rows of HSTs with a row of red Sawtooth Stars at the top and bottom of the quilt.
LeMoyne Star string quilt

Last week's post showed the quilting on the LeMoyne Stars in the center. The flowers in the background are reprised in the centers of the Sawtooth Stars. Both stars have orange peels, too. 

Quilting on the red sawtooth star reflects the flower motif in the background of the LeMoyne Stars
Sawtooth Star detail

In fact, there are even more orange peels on the light HSTs in the border. After finishing those, the dark HSTs seemed to need some, too. At least it will help hold those patches securely in the wash. If you look carefully, you can see the difference in the quilting from the top to the bottom photo below.

An extra round of FMQ is quilted in the dark HSTs
HSTs before and after an extra row of quilting

Using red thread on red fabric means almost nothing shows. However, the FMQ is much more visible on the grey solid that makes part of the back. 

The FMQ quilting designs in red thread show up better on the grey quilt back
View of quilting on Sawtooth Stars and HSTs from the back

There wasn't enough of the red calico for the entire back so I pulled all my solids until I found one that went with it. It's not that I'm deliberately trying to not purchase fabric, but I want to use what's on hand first. There's a feeling of peace to see the piles dwindle. Shopping soon.

Red calico and grey solid form the quilt back
Back of LeMoyne Star string quilt

Cadet blue, a medium greyed shade from QS, looks good with the red, white, and blue of the front so it became the binding.

View of front, back, and binding of the LeMoyne Star string quilt
LeMoyne Star string quilt folded

My youngest has requested this. How flattering. How fortunate I am that my family enjoys my quilts.

Quilt Specifics
Size: 63" x 83"
Design: Le Moyne Star string blocks
Batting: Mountain Mist Cream Rose cotton
Thread: Red, white, and blue Superior 50/3 cotton thread
Quilting: SID and FMQ
Approximate yardage: 13 yds

Previous posts:


The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates finally came in... just in time for my book club discussion. In fact, I hadn't finished it by the meeting so the meaning of conduction wasn't clear in my mind. After reading the final pages, I no not see it as "magical realism" or "fantasy." To me, it shows that Blacks have the strength and intelligence to rescue themselves while it also tells of the rejuvenation of Black history by highlighting the tremendous effort to keep it alive. While Hiram struggles to exhaustion to bring forth the story, it was his personal choice requiring communal efforts from the people he was conducting. Juxtapose this with his original escape, orchestrated by {mainly white} others who tortured him {or allowed him to be tortured} in the attempt to turn his talents  - not to their use exactly - but to their direction, to times of their choosing rather than his. 

The best review is by NPR here. An excellent book, well-researched, well written. I enjoy his writing, not least because of the different point of view. In fact, his preface quotes Frederick Douglass: "My part has been to tell the story of the slave. The story of the master never wanted for narrators." 

V-O-T-E and Complete the Census. 

Please. Don't let anyone rob you of your voice. America is made of ALL of us working together even when we disagree.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

LeMoyne Star Quilting Progress

You do not write your life with words. You write it with actions. What you think is not important. 
It is only important what you do.
~ Patrick Ness in A Monster Calls


I haven't moved quickly but at least the quilt is in progress. I wanted a quilting design that honored the piecing, didn't have many starts and stops {burying threads takes so much time}, and was less densely quilted than usual for me. My friend, Marty, spent an hour with me on the phone discussing how to quilt this. We used FaceTime to see exactly what we were talking about. Isn't technology great!

We decided on orange peels in the star points and a modified flower in each background segment. It turned out better than expected. The quilting really shows, which is not always the case on printed fabrics.

FMQ arcs and flowers on LeMoyne Star

The small sawtooth stars on the border will reprise those flowers and orange peels. Here's a sketch on transparent overlay. One of the nice things is that this doesn't have to be marked on the quilt.

Sketched FMQ ideas for Sawtooth Star blocks

I'm still weighing options for the outer border. 


I pulled my first watermelon radish. These lovely specimens look a bit like watermelons with red centers surrounded by white and a green outer rim. For the last few years, I find them in restaurant salads but have only found the root in the grocery twice. They are very large radishes, about three inches, so it takes at least sixty days for them to grow. This is day 75 but the one I pulled was only about an inch and a half. And the outer layer was green at the top but the part under the soil was still white. But I shaved narrow slices off it with a potato peeler and enjoyed some on my salads this week. Who know how long the others will take to get to full size. On the other hand, the beans and squash are coming in steadily.

New Blogger

So many people are having trouble with the new Blogger that I wanted to share a trick I've used for a while. When starting a new post, I first write x's like this:





Then I move the cursor to the lines between the xx's and add photos. In the example above, I can add three photos. I've found I must have some xx's {my temporary substitute for type} above and below each photo. If I want to add more photos, I first add more xx's to the "end" so there's always text after each photo. Does that make sense? Finally, I move the cursor to the xx's, type my text, and only then backspace out the xx's. Otherwise the text seems to become part of the captions and does those other weird things. I hope this helps.
Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Why Do I Ever Think Construction will be Easy?

"Opportunity's favorite disguise is trouble."
~Frank Tyger


Another baby quilt will be needed next month and even though there are ten previous stars, I thought up  another Lone Star variation. Small stars in the corners and partial stars on the sides means it won't need as much of a single fabric for the background. 

Last time the mother wanted mint and coral. This time I'm not asking. There's several mints in my stash, one red, and a couple of red diamonds leftover from previous Lone Stars. Using those as a start, I added some greens and a dark print to round it out. 

Fabric choices for Lone Star quilt

Even though the additional stars in the corners is a traditional design, I want the main star to read more contemporary so I chose to cut the light green print into long parallelograms rather than diamonds. Then I placed some darker fabrics on the outside and tried several variations of reds for the center.

The centers of these Lone Stars vary in the arrangement of red and pale blue diamonds
Laying out Lone Star variations

Thinking the center was complete, I looked a two minor variations on the outer row and didn't like either.

Turquoise and dark green alternate in these two layouts for the outer row
Two variations of the outer row of the Lone Star quilt

Finally I decided they were in the wrong location altogether. Exchanging their location with the light green parallelograms made an enormous difference. But back to the drawing board to get the center correct. 

Lone Star 11 comparing center changes

Finally it's time to place stars around the sides. Remember the small diamonds were cut from 2.5" strips so they finish at two inches. That makes the corner squares 11.25" finished so the outer diamonds are slightly larger. I cut mine 2.875" to finish 2.375". Then I had to determine the best placement. 

Of course, I thought more red would be better but that was a mistake. None of these photos shows a complete layout. They are just to get an idea of what looks better. I occasionally use a folding mirror to "see" the entire idea. It saves laying them all out.

How much red does a border need?

And here's the final layout. Way less red than I'd ever have thought. 

There is a good mix of new and very old fabrics. Traditional, conversation, and contemporary. I like the touches of red paired with a range of turquoise/aqua values. The dark print adds needed depth and the Kona white background makes it all so clear.

Lone Star 11 quilt - mint and red

This quilt has been loads of fun to create but it was not the cakewalk I expected. Simply using a new collection of fabrics {even if some are leftovers from previous projects} changes the needs of the quilt. It's always good to keep an open mind. 

Last week Nann's husband offered an extra copy of String Too Short to be Saved {the story I mentioned here.} What a surprise to find a very large and heavy box on my doorstep two days later. I knew the book was fairly small and couldn't imagine what was in it. Look! Three bags of scraps, too! It's a treat to received some new fabrics to work with and is sparking my imagination.

I enjoy having my own copy as it's worth rereading regularly. And now there are some new scraps for my next scrap quilt foray. Thanks, Nann!  

Fresh veggies

The squash and beans have been coming in. What fun to run out and pick fresh vegetables for lunch. My friend gave me several varieties of beans including these purple ones that turn dark green when steamed. 

Voting and Census

Our national election scheduled for November 3 is 91 days away, just less than three months. The deadline for registering is fast approaching and is a prerequisite for voting. 

Help your community by completing the Census and encouraging your neighbors to do so, too. It helps support hospital services, transportation funding, and other community projects as well as Congressional representation. Everyone who lives in the US counts in the Census whether they are a citizen or not because everyone who lives in the US impacts the infrastructure. The current Executive branch recently decided to close the Census early (September 31) so please help everyone you know complete it. 

Enjoy the day, Ann