Strawberry Stars

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I'm sorry I don't post here as much as I used to. I'm finding the new way the WordPress blog works a bit frustrating. I know it's just me learning something new. I'm giving it a whirl today because I have something really cool to share with you. This won't be the prettiest presentation but I think you'll get the idea.

Several weeks ago I saw a quilt at auction and for a few minutes, I thought about buying it. Then the light bulb came on and I said " I know what block that is". I decided it would be way more fun to make something like it, in my own way. You have to be amazed at the things quilters of the past were able to accomplish with limited tools. Granted, they didn't have the distractions of television and social media to suck time away from their creativity. I challenged my creative spirit to come up with a way to make the block using modern techniques. I'm thrilled with the results and am having a blast working on this. I hope you'll want to work on this too.

Do you recognize this quilt block? It's Florence Peto's Pine Tree. It's a pretty great block and as you can see I've colored it in a little different way. Why?

The greatest thing happens when you put four of these together and..............

Skip the tree trunks and viola! You've got a Strawberry Star!

Yes, those are some small pieces but I've worked all the bugs out and you can easily foundation piece this block. I couldn't believe it myself - it really goes together smoothly!

I give you cutting instructions specifically for foundation piecing.

The foundation pattern is shaded so you know where each piece of fabric should go.

The foundation is numbered so almost every seam will nest together when sewing the sections. You remove the paper as you go along.

In the pattern, I share all my tips and tricks about thread choice (Invisafil is a must), what foundation paper to use (Carol Doak's Foundation Paper is best for this project), the perfect stitch length (go with 1.60), and so much more so you'll have great success on your very first block. (Yes, you could rotary cut and piece this block. If that's your thing - go for it. I've had better luck with the foundation method. My blocks are perfectly flat and square.)

You can make 1 star - 4 stars or go crazy and make 12! I did include a layout for a nine-block quilt which finishes at a great usable size.

You can use this as a stash buster project but the triangle pieces are perfect to cut from a jelly roll, charm pack, or layer cake! Pretty great huh?

I should also mention this is a great block to work on while you're at a quilt retreat or when you're binge watching something on tv.

You've got to try Strawberry Stars!

Happy Stitching,

Gay

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Folding Fabric Christmas Tree

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I fell in love with this fun pattern and when I started sewing realized if I was going to offer this in the shop it might be a good idea to go over some of the things I encountered during my afternoon of sewing. We're making the Folded Fabric Christmas Tree. I'm not giving any measurements with these tips. This is a copyrighted pattern you'll need to purchase.

A picture is worth a thousand words so let's get started -

Depending on the size you're making you'll start by sewing your strips together as directed.

Label your strips as directed. I used the Alphabitties for this.

Cut your strips in segments according to the directions. Be sure to follow the directions to label your segments. Easy peasy so far, right? If you're wondering which fabric I'm using, it's from the Christmas Memories collection by Riley Blake.

You need to cut the angles on your segments. You can use a specialty ruler but to be honest.............

I found it a lot easier to just rotate my ruler back and forth. If you want to order one of the specialty rulers just email me and I'd be happy to order one for you.

We're going to sew the side seams. Backstitch at the top edges and clip the corners before turning right side out..

Now, these are pretty sharp points and I poked holes in my fabric before I realized these are not going to be sharp points when you turn them right side out. Once I accepted this, things continued to go pretty fast. I opted to use a scalloped blade in my rotary cutter rather than zigzag or serge the top edges of the segments. Next time, I think I'll do one or the other but didn't have the serger with me at the lake and was too lazy to change my throat plate to do a zigzag. Pretty bad, huh? I am keeping myself organized with these cute paper plates.

Now we are getting to what I found to be the tricky part. This is going to be the base for your tree. A solid-color fabric is recommended. I was going to use a piece of my tree fabric but the wrong side of the fabric would show under my branches so I went with the only coordinating solid-color fabric I had at the cottage. In retrospect, I wish I'd followed the pattern and made a paper pattern to cut from. I think I would have been happier with the shape of my base. It came out a bit narrow for my segments but still worked. You can see I was following the instructions for folding my base piece.

I marked..................

I cut using my pinking rotary blade............

I stitched as directed...............

Turned, pressed, and stitched. Take a break ......... As I said, next time I'm going to make a paper pattern for this section. I'd like this piece to have a little more body to it and might add a seam allowance to the pattern so I could make a nice turned edge on the sides instead of just turning the raw edge to the inside one. I suppose you could use felt for the base. That would give you nice edges even turning up the bottom edge. I also felt it was about 1/2" too narrow when I went to attach my segments.

I used a wood grain fabric for my trunk. It's from The View From Here by Northcott Studio.

You're going to start adding your tree segments at this point. You can see how mine extends off the edge on both sides. I experienced this with each segment and maybe I sewed something incorrectly but it bothered me so I'll make sure that doesn't happen next time. Also, before you sew the first segment in place, I'd center your trunk underneath it against the base and stitch it in place when you stitch the first segment. The directions don't tell you to do this but when I got to the trunk instructions it was obvious I could have done this so the raw edge at the top of the trunk was neatly tucked away.

Keep adding your segments as directed. I recommend doing this on your cutting mat so you can keep everything nice and square. You don't want to end up with a lopsided tree.

The finishing instructions were pretty clear. After I tied my hanging cord through the enclosed tube I was able to tuck the knot to the inside so everything was neat and tidy. I've had trouble getting the velcro to stick to my star but that could be because I painted both sides and didn't rough up the back before gluing. I'll work on that.

Thanks to Barb Tomasov for the following tip - If you have trouble getting your star to stick, Barb used a Command hook which has the two-sided tape that sticks to the wall and holds pictures that are much heavier than the star. She cut it to the length of her velcro to match the hook and said it worked like a charm.

I hope you'll have fun making a tree and please, make a few extra to cheer someone up during the holidays. If you get stuck somewhere, email me and I'll do my best to help.

Happy Stitching,

Gay

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Ella Maria Deacon Quilt – Month 21

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This is the final month in our Ella Maria Deacon quilt. Thank you to everyone who followed along for the last 21 months. Each month I've been amazed by the beautiful blocks you are creating and can't wait to see your blocks set together. We have 5 blocks this month to finish the quilt so here we go -

Block 81

attributed to: Elizabeth C Reeves

This is such an interesting block. Select the perfect fabric to applique each of the motifs.

Block 82

attributed to: Rebecca D Deacon

A pretty, wide petal dresden plate block. You can piece the petals together before you applique the ring to the background square to make this block easier to construct.

Block 83

attributed to: Deborah D Coles

This block is going to be a challenge. Those diamonds are little pieces. You can hand or machine piece the block or use the foundation paper piecing pattern. Either way, I wish you good luck!

Block 84

attributed to: Mary Jane Buzby / 1841

What a pretty block! I really like this one. It's similar to another block sewn earlier. The tulips in this one are so sweet. Again, you can piece the ring part together before sewing it to the background.

Block 85

attributed to: Caroline _ Horner

What a perfect block to end with! Not only is it beautiful but it has a surprise or two I'm sure you'll find as you begin stitching.

That's a wrap my friends!

Ella Maria Deacon Quilt - Month 21

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