I finished up the Star Surround top and back last night, and stood on the ottoman in my living to try to get a picture of the whole top. Apologies for the flotsam and jetsam randomly shed by my children that surround it on the floor.
Here’s a slightly better close-up of the border fabric, the 12 Cats of Christmas. It’s super busy, so piecing it together doesn’t look as bad as I originally thought! I’m not sure that the solid I used was the “right” one, but it’s too late now. I’ll try to brighten it up with a quilting thread that’s closer to white than beige, and that should help.
For now, though, I’m happy the top is done! Now to pick out a quilting pattern.
Alternate title: As My Friend Porkins Says, “Almost there!”
And no, I’m not apologizing for the Star Wars quotes. They are in my blood.
This evening I finished the final bit of piecing and pressing for the surround portions of the Star Surround Quilt Along this week. So far I’ve managed to press my various units so the seams nest, but we’ll see if that holds up once it’s time to put these together into a top!
“Stay on target!”
As I was putting together HSTs two weeks ago for the Star Surround Quilt Along, I noticed that I was getting enough HSTs to make the center of the star, the “spokes” for the star (4 each of 2 fabrics paired with the background fabric), and then two extra HSTs of each fabric with the background. That tipped me off that something was weird. How the heck was I going to make a 4 sided block look symmetric only two of one type of unit?
If someone had said, “Hey dummy, when you pair the other 3″ squares for those same A/B fabrics to make a NEW set of HSTs for a second block using the same fabrics, you end up with two more of those HSTs for a total of four. Duh.”
But no one said that to me, except Morelli who only said it with his eyes, which is NOT terribly helpful. Needless to say when I was putting the star centers together this week, I only had 10 blocks.
(as we say in the South)
So I posted a comment on Melissa’s blog explaining what I was running into, and someone said the equivalent of “I followed the cutting directions and got the right number (dummy).” so I went back to the HST step and actually read the whole thing and realized I had only made half as many HSTs as needed. This also explained why I had so many leftover 3″ squares, too, which weren’t going to play all that nice with the remaining 2 1/2″ squares.
After I finished my first 10 star centers, I went back and made the rest of the HSTs and then made the rest of the star centers and then I lived happily ever after. The end.
I’ve been working steadily on the Silver Star quilt, having finished units and blocks on Sunday and laying it out to piece the center together just before Breaking Bad on Sunday night. I like to call this quilt “Whose Quilt Is It Anyway?” since the points (apparently) don’t matter in the some of the blocks.
While piecing the rows and columns for it, I’ve used my Star Surround centers as leaders and enders. I will tell the full story behind my “D’OH!” moment on that project when I post the finished centers later tonight. In the meantime, here is Morelli judging me for miscounting and some of my finished centers.
I happily got ALL my flying geese sewn last night, a good two days ahead of schedule. I had gotten the red ones trimmed before sewing the blue & green ones, and just sat down and finished out the audiobook of A Dance with Dragons (which I had read before but was refreshing myself) and sewed the snot out of some flying geese.
And look, I love sewing, and I love my cat. But I also love My Little Pony and sushi and I know those two things don’t always mix. So this happened when I finally got all my finished geese laid out:
I handily distracted Morelli by… I don’t know, breathing or showing him something shiny (bless him, but he’s sort of a flake), and was able to take this picture instead.
Now to focus on prepping for my retreat Saturday!
I finally got my Star Surround HSTs sewn and trimmed yesterday (slight impediment due to quilting Beachwalk, but I powered through with the help of Project Runway and a card table).
I’m still stymied by the counts of these units - how can six of one unit work out to cover two blocks? I suppose that’s why I don’t run a mystery quilt along.
Anywho, I also powered through my Saturday Sampler blocks. My little organized heart was delighted with the alignment of all the prints in the same direction in the blue & white block.
And also finished the 5th Jingle Pieced Block. The 5th applique block is in progress right now. I accidentally embroidered the stems for a straight set instead on point set and had to start over. I’m about halfway done with the applique leaves and bird parts, and can hopefully finish up this block tonight when I want a break from the next Star Surround step.
While piecing all these various blocks, I’ve been piecing together some more leader & ender four patch blocks and sixteen patch blocks. Although the Parade of Charity Quilts happened last month at the East Cobb Quilters’ Guild, they are still taking donations through the year. As I understand it, there’s always a need for quilts suitable for teen boys, so I’m going with blues, greens, browns, greys, and blacks set with neutrals. You can tell there are some orphan flying geese blocks thrown in, which is a fun way to use up some of those orphan elements from various quilts. I’m trying to get at least 42 blocks, and then will add in a couple borders to bring it to a lap size.
And finally, a gratuitous Helper Cat picture. Nina is very smart and has sorted herself appropriately with the oranges.
Well, I’m sort of stuck with Beachwalk quilting. I’ve “finished” quilting 4 out of 9 blocks, but reserve the right to go back and quilt in some areas if it looks uneven when the center is done. I’d love to take a break and piece something, but I have the superstition that if I move my machine back into piecing mode from quilting- with- monofilament- mode (change the bobbin case, adjust stitch length, change the needle, etc.), catastrophe will happen. So I suppose I’ll power through, and maybe set up my Featherweight if I really need to piece something?
Here’s what I need to be piecing to stay on top of the Star Surround quilt along. I think I’ll get a chance to mark my HSTs today, but at least I have all my pairs set up.
In pairing my fabrics I was a little leery of some of my fabric choices but ultimately decided to go with my gut and keep my fabrics in there. Also, if I changed my mind that meant I had to do more cutting and NUH-UH. Not doing it. So I go with the feeling that “well, it’s only a Christmas quilt, so if it’s truly hideous we only have to look at it for a month!” I suppose I could also give it a real kick-ass back if we want to turn it over instead. 🙂
And side note, if you follow my Stash Reports, you know I’ve been steadily using up my stash. Lest you think I’ll run out of fabric, let me show you this.
It used to be that all three shelves were full and I couldn’t fit those green boxes on there. I’m excited to have it at this level because it means that those green project boxes are off the corner of my cutting table, and onto the shelves so I have more room to spread out on the cutting table. This picture does not include my novelty drawer, holiday fabric, or batiks. Each of those live in a plastic drawer unit next to this shelf. On the whole, I’m glad I’ve reduced my hunter greens down to half a stack, but feel like I need a little more aqua and “regular” browns (which I’ll need for my parents’ quilt next year anyway), and some more yellows and regular reds. However, I don’t know if I don’t use those colors because I don’t have them, or if I don’t have those colors because I don’t use them. It’s a real chicken and egg question!
Once the magical package delivery man arrived with the remainder of my background fabric (Kona Sand) (which I accidentally over-ordered and now have 3 1/2 yards to spare) (oh well!), I was able to finish cutting all my bits and pieces for the Star Surround quilt.
To recap, I’m doing a 4×5 block layout of 16″ blocks.
I have around 3 different variations of this photo; Nina’s was the least obtrusive, Morelli’s has him draped over the cut colored squares, and Jett’s has him knocking over the stacks of the background fabrics. They have since been safely tucked away into a project box to avoid further cat hair contamination. Honestly, that’s sort of a losing battle since all three cats go in the for wake-up call when it’s time to wake up my daughter, on whose bed this quilt will ultimately reside.
In other sneaky peek news, I finished the top for Easy Street Redux. Here’s a preview to see how I did borders on it to make it king sized. The extra HST border is on the two sides to give it a little more drop on the sides of the quilt, to protect our precious piddies when they hang over the sides from certain aforementioned cats.
I am putting the final stitches on the Easy Street Redux top. Well, not at this moment… at this moment I am clickety-clacking on the keyboard and trying to tear my eyes away from the final chapters of The Cuckoo’s Calling while simultaneously answering “How much longer until we leave for camp?” from my daughter every 30 seconds.
So two more seams and that top will be done, and I think I’ve worked out when I can long-arm the center of it on my friend’s long arm machine. In the mean time, I’ve picked out fabrics for the Star Surround Quilt Along.
Now before anyone shrieks in horror, the 12 Cats of Christmas fabric is over a decade old, I think, and will be used as a border on the quilt. The quilt will be a Christmas quilt for my daughter’s full size bed, hence 1) cats and 2) Christmas. I’m going to do a 4×5 block layout of 16″ blocks, which means although Melissa has done an awesome job of providing all sorts of math already worked out, I’m still going to have to be a math nerd and do some myself.
My plan is for each star block to have a red in it, and it will pair with either a blue or a green from the other stack. The Kona Sand is the background. I have a feeling her method for HST and Flying Geese construction is to pair squares and rectangles instead of triangle pieces so there will be some “waste” triangles, which I suppose just means I’ll have little bits leftover to make pillow covers out of.
Anyway, enough worrying about that! In between the steps for the SSQA, I’m working on Beachwalk next. FINALLY. Thanks to Katie’s post about fear of failure.