Sunday, November 29, 2015

Upcoming Blog Post Topics

This may be a very busy week here in Blogville. These are my plans:

Tuesday: December 1rst reveals the last block in my Galaxy of Stars BOM. Can you guess which one that will be?

And more details on the TWO BOMs for 2016. Remember, one of those is my African Adinkra Quilt:

African Adinkra Quilt

The other is based on my Block a Day calendar:

Wednesday: Windham Wednesdays with some sort of tutorial using a new collection. Don't forget the one I shared last week for the large Lone Star blocks all rotary cut, using the Carmen Collection:

The Carmen Collection by Windham Fabrics
Thursday or Friday: Blog Hop with Benartex Fabrics. You're going to love my little projects!

And, if I haven't worn you out, I'll share the String Pieced Stars Scrap Buster quilt I referenced last week. I hope to include some pictures of string piecing on paper. It is NOT like foundation paper piecing with writing on the paper. This is so easy and I know you'll find it very easy to do. Like I said, it's a SCRAP BUSTER.

String Pieced Stars - Scrap Buster Quilt
I have 3 other Windham Collections to play with and may be involved in a Lotta Jansdotter Blog Hop (sponsored by Windham).

Remember: just because I show it here and offer a pattern, I certainly don't expect you to sew all of it. Save it for one of your 9 lives (like a cat). I heard it said that we really don't have to leave Earth until all of our fabrics and scraps have been used up, right? (ha ha)

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Galaxy of Stars - Housekeeping and Updates

I want to catch you all up on what we have so far. Also, I've received requests and questions from several bloggers and I have NO WAY to answer you because your email comes in as a "no-reply" comment. For example:

Pamela had a wonderful comment about how she has all of her fabrics and plans on finishing the quilt in 2016. She's made several blocks already. But I had no way to get in touch with her and tell her "Kudos, Pamela!"

Then there's Sandy:

Do you see what I mean? If you don't get a question answered from me within a day or two, it's probably due to the fact that I can't get in touch with you. Remember my email: Yes, I made that public! You can always write to me there with Galaxy of Stars (or whatever blog topic) in the subject line.

Now for the blocks so far:
  • I've given patterns for eleven 12" blocks (one more coming in December), 
  • one 24" block, 
  • the pattern for the 6" blocks,
  • and the pattern for the Square in a Square border blocks.
  • You should also have the supply list of materials and a layout diagram.
The Galaxy of Stars page (navigates from a button at the top of my blog):

Should be current. I was notified that the link I gave in the November block for the extra Sawtooth Star Variation was broken. Again, I couldn't get back to the commenter because it was a noreply-comment.

I added the Sawtooth Star Variation block as a separate post November 15. There is a picture of the block from the quilt and the link to the pattern:

Sawtooth Star Variation makes 11 blocks so far!
Next week, before Thanksgiving, I will give more info on my upcoming 2016 Block of the Month projects. I actually have a page that shows all 12 of the projects that are based on my Quilter's Block a Day calendar.

Would you like to see them? Would that help you decide if you want to participate? I also have several quilts from when quilt shops offered it, but those won't be revealed until the appropriate month.

And remember, I am also offering patterns for my Adinkra Quilt:

African Adinkra Quilt in blues and browns
And the first Adinkra Quilt I made (and since gifted):
African Adinkra Quilt using authentic African fabrics

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Galaxy of Stars - Block #11

Yes, it's true. Block #11 of the 12" size has yet to be revealed. Thanks to the eagle eyes of both Amy O. and Suzanne J., they were worried they had somehow missed a block. This is because they are actually keeping up with the blocks, sewing them each month and Suzanne is actually going to finish the quilt top and give it to her brother and sister in law for Christmas! (She did assure me she will take it back and then quilt it as she has time. I thought she was also going to quilt it!)

So, here is the 11th of the 12 blocks that finish to 12". I gave you the center block (24") and the pattern for the small 6" star blocks that are fillers. I lost track. Even though I used to be a high school math teacher, I guess I am getting rusty when it comes to counting!

This is called Sawtooth Star Variation, all rotary cut and stitched (whew!) The last block will be paper pieced, so I had to give you an easy time of it on this block.

12" Sawtooth Star Variation
And what about next year's Block of the Month? I have two ideas and I will probably run both of them. One is all applique based on my Adinkra Quilt. I have made the quilt twice and still own one of them. I also have blocks and patches all cut out for a 3rd one, so I have all the parts to share in steps.

There are 12 applique blocks and 13 Square in a Square blocks. This is easy raw edge applique. The fun part of this quilt is that there is a meaning ascribed to each of these symbols (ie, Friendship, Home, etc). This blue quilt was patterned for Blank Fabrics using their Ethnic Echoes Collection (several years ago). I sold the pattern on CD and in 2016 it will be FREE!

African Adinkra Quilt: 10" blocks, 69" x 69" quilt
Here is a picture of the first Adrinkra Quilt I made (now in a museum collection):

Original Adinkra Quilt, gifted to the African American Museum in Virginia

The other one is based on my Quilter's Block a Day calendar by Martingale. This means that in order to participate you will have to own either the desktop version or the CD version. This is more than a block a month - it is a QUILT project a month! This was a quilt-shop-only program in 2008 and I realized that this could get a lot of traction with all of you!

Block a Day Calendar with 366 blocks
The calendar is available on Amazon, at your local quilt shop and in limited quantities from me. More on that in December. But check out your LQS to see if they have them in stock. This is not tied to any one year; it is perpetual.

What sorts of projects will these be? There will be one a month for 12 months.

Glory Leaves Placemats (based on a November block)
Prairie Flower Quilt (based on a January block)
And for each month I give a tip sheet (like a newsletter) which is specific to that month's project: making half-square triangles, bias strips, etc. All the yardages and steps for making the projects are included, just like a stand alone pattern. Each pattern is 3 pages (pdf) and then the tip sheet.

Each month I also include a line drawing so you can make your project using your own colors.

The catch is that I don't give cutting directions for the blocks because that is in the calendar. You have to have the calendar to get anywhere!

So, think about it. And to see ALL THE BLOCKS that are in the calendar, go to this link:

You can see all 366 of the blocks and get an idea of the breadth of the calendar. Hope you'll join me in one of the two BOMs for 2016!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Thread and Patterns are Key to Sewing

I have a few dozen spools of rayon and polyester thread in various colors. Most of these date back to when I was a quilt magazine editor. I have separated them by color and placed them in zip lock bags. But they are still MESSY!

I found an easy way to keep those threads under control. I had some Glad Press 'n Seal and cut in into 1" x 6" strips and wrapped the spools. I say that they had a bad hair day and I gave them a hairnet!

Sticky plastic wrap which NEVER has been in my kitchen
 Some of my blue threads, which were having a bad hair day!

Blue threads wrapped with self-sticking Press 'n Seal
I'm almost done with the other colors; just have the purples to do.

And patterns? Well, I get paid to write patterns for quilts so I never use other people's patterns. But when it comes to jammies for my grandsons, I have to use those tissue patterns, don't you?

But what's happened to the price of patterns over the years? I have sewn for almost 50 years and I can remember buying Simplicity, McCall's and Butterick patterns for maybe $1.25. Can you see the price on this pattern? Of course, I got it on sale, but that's rather steep. Even that little dinosaur is checking it out!

Today's pattern prices would drive me to shop for kids' jammies!
But here is a picture of the flannel pjs. Aren't they cute? He loves them.

Flannel dinosaur pjs, fabric by Benartex
I ordered another pattern in larger sizes and it should arrive soon. I only paid $4.00. Now that's my price!
Probably 20 years old, but it's uncut and I can't wait to make pjs for oldest grandson
And I was busy making more of those place mats with applique fork, knife and spoon for my little granddaughter. I NEVER could have done this without a pattern. I can only draw stick figures!

What do you think? This way Eva can know where to put her utensils and then on the back she can learn her letters so she knows how to spell knife, fork and spoon, right?

Fun placemats

Lavender background fabric with a fun printed plate
 This is the back of the placemat. Look at all those letters!

Perfect backing fabric
I have several other boy prints to make more pj bottoms for Miles: dinosaurs, camo print, cowboy boots and hats - you know the drill. And what about his little brother? Oh, he has all the pairs that used to fit Miles!

Hope you have a good weekend. I'm going to reveal details about my 2016 Block of the Month this next week so you can be prepared!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

November Block for Galaxy of Stars

Yes, it's November 1 and I reveal the 11th block in our Block of the Month project. Actually, I've shared more than 11 (the center 24" block, plus the 6" blocks). Today I reveal the Woven Star which is at the bottom righthand corner of my quilt:

12" Woven Star
I converted it from paper piecing to standard rotary cutting and stitching. It's not a difficult block to sew. Don't you love the "woven" effect of those bold colors?

In October I shared the Stars Assembly page to help you plan all the sashing, corner stones, etc. It's still up for those who may have missed it.

I promised I would give the pattern for the 6" Square in a Square cornerstone blocks for the four outside corners of the border. I have both the paper piecing version and the rotary cutting version. Your pick!

Here is another rotary cut block that you can use to substitute for any paper pieced blocks you don't want to make. It is a Sawtooth Star Variation (sorry for the small size). Yes, this is all rotary cut for a 12" finished block.

Sawtooth Star Variation
I have one more blogger's star blocks to share. Sandy sent me pics of her blocks. I love that she also uses a light background color:

Sandy's blocks so far
 And here's Sandy's Royal Star block!

Sandy's Royal Star block
I guess it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know what our last block will be. Yes, you can figure it out! Until December 1, I'll leave you to figure it out. Remember, if you have a question or concern about any of this, send me an email ( Many of you come through as a "no reply blogger" and I have no way to answer your emails and comments.

Thanks for making this a successful Block of the Month! I'm busy planning the 2016 one. I'm leaning toward applique (raw edge is my method) and I hope you'll give it a try.