threaded quilting studio

Feathered Star QAL: Week Nine

Jessie ZeiglerComment
Week Nine: Assembling the whole quilt top!

Week Nine: Assembling the whole quilt top!

We've come to our final week of the Feathered Star QAL!

Congratulations if you are caught up! Congratulations if you're still hanging in there! Congratulations if you're waiting for the right timing to dig in! The point is, you've challenged yourself to do a difficult thing and I admire that. It's so worthwhile to push yourself and learn new skills, I salute you!

Week Nine instructions: Use the Feathered Star QAL pattern to assemble the quilt top.

Before endeavoring to construct the top, make sure all of your papers are removed from the paper piecing stars and the appropriate sashing strips have been sewn onto the feathered stars according to the pattern. This will make assembly go smoothly!

Start on page 11 of the Feathered Star QAL pattern to begin assembling the Bonus Stars and follow the remainder of the pattern paying VERY special attention to the diagrams.

To get great results: go slow, take one step at a time, check and re-check your sewing in relation to the diagrams, PIN CAREFULLY AND FREQUENTLY, sew and press with care. 

I cannot tell you how satisfying this is to seam together! FUN!

I cannot tell you how satisfying this is to seam together! FUN!

My focus has now shifted to quilting and to be honest, I'm stumped! I'm sure something will come to me and when it does, I'd love to share ideas with you!

Click the photo to buy your own pin from Eye Candy Quilts! You might as well pick up a second pin for a fierce quilter friend!

Click the photo to buy your own pin from Eye Candy Quilts! You might as well pick up a second pin for a fierce quilter friend!

Question: HOW PERFECT IS THIS PIN?! Anneliese of Eye Candy Quilts generously provided this enamel pin for me to giveaway! It's adorable and precious and perfect for this crowd! ;)

In the last two newsletters that I sent out to the QAL participants, I asked them to share progress photos using certain hashtags and today I used a random number generator to pick the recipient. Kristen Lee was the winner! Congrats, Kristen!!

Kristen has posted many progress photos, but here's just one beautiful example:

Screen Shot 2017-08-27 at 1.19.30 PM.png

I'm not exaggerating when I say that my favorite thing is seeing the beautiful things that you make with my patterns. It's so awesome! Thank you for sharing photos and inspiring us all!

From Janet MacIntyre:

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I get excited every single time Chris Simon shares her work, too! ;) Here's just one of her beauties:

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It's safe to say that I might hyperventilate as these quilt tops begin to emerge. And I welcome that! 

Thank you so much to everyone who has participated in this QAL. It wouldn't have been much fun without you! I am considering hosting another QAL over the winter months (snowflakes?) so make sure to sign up for my newsletter (if you're not already) to hear about any developments. If a busy summer schedule wasn't ideal for you, perhaps a winter QAL would be better?

 

Hop on over to my closed Facebook group to join the discussion, share pictures, ask questions, get encouragement. We are a community and we'd love to help you out!

Feathered Star QAL: Week Eight

Jessie ZeiglerComment
The final stars we will complete are the 36" Fierce Feathered Star blocks. 

The final stars we will complete are the 36" Fierce Feathered Star blocks. 

Welcome to Week Eight! I cannot believe we only have ONE more week left!

Week Eight instructions: Complete two 36" Fierce Feathered Star blocks. Here's a weird thought: We will literally make ONE-HALF of the quilt top (in area) this week, minus the borders.

The Fierce Feathered Star construction is the same for the 20" as well as the 36" stars, so the only thing that varies from last week to this week is the size of the pieces you'll cut. Remember to be as exact as possible with cutting and with your 1/4" seam allowance.

It's very easy to get "turned around" when sewing the block components together, especially when it comes to the direction of the half-square triangle units. For as many times as I've made the blocks, I STILL match up my pieces to the pattern photos EVERY TIME to make sure I'm sewing them correctly.

And only because I haven't said it yet this week: pin a lot! I'm okay with being a broken record on this point.

And just because this is a fun side-by-side comparison, I give you the mama (36") and the baby (8") blocks! ;)

And just because this is a fun side-by-side comparison, I give you the mama (36") and the baby (8") blocks! ;)

I have a pattern correction for you that pertains to page 8 of the Feathered Star QAL pattern if you are completing the quilt with the kit (thanks for the heads up, Juleen). The color guide diagrams are correct, but I did not have the wording correct on the "color guide" listing to the left of the diagrams. It should read as follows:

 

Background = Shadow

Sashing = White

Spines = Blue Jay

Spine background = White

Cornerstone squares = Valentine

Star tips = Royal

Star points = Canary, Chartreuse

Star center = Blue Jay

Center triangle accents = Royal

 

At this stage, I only have the Canary star completed (pictured above), the last block I'll be making will have Chartreuse for the star points.

Don't forget to take one step at a time. This isn't fast sewing, each block takes several hours to complete. Enjoy the process - you can do it!

SIDE NOTE: This would be an adorable single-block baby quilt! Add as many borders as you like to make it the size you'd like. As if you needed to start another project, am I right?? ;)

Hop on over to my closed Facebook group to join the discussion, share pictures, ask questions, get encouragement. We are a community and we'd love to help you out!

Feathered Star QAL: Week Seven

Jessie ZeiglerComment
Next up are the 20" Fierce Feathered Star blocks!  You'll notice there is no paper used to sew these pieces together. ;)

Next up are the 20" Fierce Feathered Star blocks!  You'll notice there is no paper used to sew these pieces together. ;)

Welcome to Week Seven! There are no more paper piecing stars to tackle, so we're getting FIERCE this week!

Week Seven instructions: Complete two 20" Fierce Feathered Star blocks. There are only two in the quilt.

I would encourage you to look through the Fierce Feathered Star instructions in total before you begin. Notice how the Fierce block goes together in the end just like the No Y Seam Feathered Star block.

If you are using the fabric kit or a similar coloring scheme as mine, I've laid out the cutting instructions for you on page 4 of the Feathered Star QAL pattern. Because we're no longer dealing with foundation paper piecing, it's important to get the cutting measurements exact. I really, really want you to use washi tape or some other method to mark rulers for easier cutting. When it comes to using 16th of an inch measurements, it's very easy to make a mistake!

Once the fabric cutting is done, follow the Fierce Feathered Star block pattern to make two blocks. You will need to print and cut out two templates for the 20" star. Like with the paper piecing templates, make sure these templates are printed at 100%. Use the inch square provided on each template page to test accuracy. You will tape these templates to a rotary ruler to easily trim (pictures of each step in the pattern).

I also recommend doing a lot of pinning throughout.

In the photo above, notice how I use the same pinning technique as I did with the NYSFS pattern for lining up points, even though there's no paper. Pin liberally to get great results!

YOU CAN DO IT!

Hop on over to my closed Facebook group to join the discussion, share pictures, ask questions, get encouragement. We are a community and we'd love to help you out!

Feathered Star QAL: Week Six

Jessie ZeiglerComment
Here's one of Kristen Lee's beautiful 8" No Y Seam Feathered Stars! Visit Kristen's Instagram feed for more inspiration and check out her fabric selection in her online shop.

Here's one of Kristen Lee's beautiful 8" No Y Seam Feathered Stars! Visit Kristen's Instagram feed for more inspiration and check out her fabric selection in her online shop.

Week Six! 

Can you believe that we'll tackle the LAST paper piecing blocks this week?! 

Week Six instructions: Complete two 8" No Y Seam Feathered Star blocks.

Looking ahead: Think of your practice making the NYSFS blocks as training wheels for a smooth transition onto the larger feathered stars. Both blocks go together in the same manner, the Fierce Feathered Stars just don't use foundation paper piecing. And there will only be 4 Fierce Feathered Stars total. That's all the blocks you'll have left (after this week)!

If you need any reminders on the 8" NYSFS blocks, see the information posted last week.

Hop on over to my closed Facebook group to join the discussion, share pictures, ask questions, get encouragement. We are a community and we'd love to help you out!

Feathered Star QAL: Week Five

Jessie ZeiglerComment
Check out the tiny 8" No Y Seam Feathered Star on top of this stack. We'll make two for Week Five!

Check out the tiny 8" No Y Seam Feathered Star on top of this stack. We'll make two for Week Five!

I hope you enjoyed the break from the QAL last week. We're back at it today with Week Five!

This week we'll tackle the 8" No Y Seam Feathered Star block. We will be making a total of four for this quilt, but let's just focus on two this week.

As you might have guessed, for Week Six next week, I'll assign the other two 8" NYSFS blocks, so if you'd like to batch them together in a big group of four, be my guest!

Remember to print at 100% or "actual" size, making sure your print dialog box is not set to auto-scale. A test square of 1 inch is provided on every page so that you can ensure accuracy.

If you bought the PDF bundle, print pages 27 & 28 of the PDF if you haven't already. You'll need 4 copies of each page. 

If you're working from the No Y Seam Feathered Star PDF (original, not bundled), it's pages 9 & 10 of the PDF. You'll need 4 copies.

Check out these 8" and 12" NYSFS blocks made by Lindsay Mayland! Find more from Lindsay on Instagram @lindsmayland and her blog Happy Hour Stitches.

Check out these 8" and 12" NYSFS blocks made by Lindsay Mayland! Find more from Lindsay on Instagram @lindsmayland and her blog Happy Hour Stitches.

Cut templates apart and cut fabrics* according to pattern.

*As the blocks get smaller, the less excess fabric you'll have according to the pre-cutting instructions. This is especially true for the 8" blocks, you will have the least amount of margin as compared to the 16" & 12" stars. If you have the extra fabric, feel free to cut the pieces bigger unless you're working with the fabric kit. (For more information on fabric kit cutting, read this: Week One - the first few paragraphs of the linked post.)

The 8" blocks go together in the same way as the 16" and 12" blocks. Can you make them in your sleep yet?? 

Remember to remove your papers when you are done with each block and refer to the QAL pattern to see how the sashing strips need to be sewn to the 8" blocks.

In case it's been a few weeks since you last paper pieced, remember to use a shortened stitch length. 

If you need any further clarification on the process of making these blocks, I'd suggest reading the Week One information and reviewing those photos and tips.

Hop on over to my closed Facebook group to join the discussion, share pictures, ask questions, get encouragement. We are a community and we'd love to help you out!

Feathered Star QAL: Week Four

Jessie ZeiglerComment

Hellllllllllllo, Club 129! How is it going?

Another week down! In the first three weeks, we've made four 16" and two 12" No Y Seam Feathered Star blocks.

Here are the details if you're just now joining us:

Week One

Week Two

Week Three

This week we are taking a little bit of a departure. We will each become a well-oiled HST-making machine!

Go ahead and cut everything in the Borders & Bonus Stars cutting section, even though we will not use all of the fabrics this week. If you've printed the the Feathered Star QAL pattern, you can find the cutting details on p. 5.

As for the sewing assignments this week, the first is to complete the instructions on the bottom of p. 8 under the Inner borders section. Don't worry, it's two tiny seams and some trimming. Piece of cake!

Job #2 for Week Four is to complete the HST assembly steps on p. 9. That's significantly more work! In fact, it's the bulk of this week's work.

We will be using the Magic 8 method for making half-square triangles as detailed in the pattern. I just wanted to mention here that the HSTs are intended to be a little oversized and trimmed down to exact specifications.

As you're sewing the larger squares together, try to align the outer edges as best as possible, but don't worry if they end up like the next photo. I don't pin the squares together or go to any other heroic measures, the trimming step will make them perfect!

I set my stitch length is a little shorter (2.2) than what I normally use to discourage unraveling after all the cuts are made.

I set my stitch length is a little shorter (2.2) than what I normally use to discourage unraveling after all the cuts are made.

Stacks on stacks!

Stacks on stacks!

The third and final part of Week Four is to construct the pieced borders according to the instructions on p. 10 of the Feathered Star QAL pattern.

I also want to look ahead to next week - July 23. We will be taking a one-week intermission to give everyone a chance to catch up. I wanted to mention that now in case you'd like to spread the HST and border-making jobs out over the next two weeks.

Week Five instructions will resume on July 30.

Join our Facebook group to connect with other QAL participants!

Feathered Star QAL: Week Three

Jessie ZeiglerComment
12" No Y Seam Feathered Star

12" No Y Seam Feathered Star

Thank you Club 129 for your input last week! I asked in the weekly QAL email that went out what blocks you wanted to work on next.

I'll be honest, when I penciled in the calendar for the QAL, I planned on doing ALL the foundation paper piecing blocks first. Because I have to kind of switch my brain to get into "paper piecing mode" and gather the appropriate tools, I thought it would be more efficient to make the similarly constructed blocks in batches instead of switching back and forth from paper piecing to regular piecing.

Either you all REALLY like paper piecing, you see the "wisdom" in batching, or you are nervous about the upcoming Fierce Feathered Star blocks, the clear majority want to continue paper piecing!

Your Week Three challenge is to make two 12" No Y Seam Feathered Star blocks! 

In the whole quilt top, there are only two 12" NYSFS blocks, so when you are printing the templates, you'll need two copies of each page (print pages 29-33 of the PDF BUNDLE or pages 11-15 from the single NYSFS pattern PDF).

Cut templates apart and cut fabrics* according to pattern.

*As the blocks get smaller, the less excess fabric you'll have according to the pre-cutting instructions. If you've had trouble aligning your pieces when making the 16" stars, you might want to cut larger pieces to give yourself more margin. The big exception to this is if you are working with the fabric kit. The white fabric pieces need to be cut exactly as stated because there isn't a lot of extra fabric (my fault) and I'd hate for you to run out! You don't have to be careful with the other fabric amounts for this star, so even if you have the kit, you can still cut the other fabrics larger to give yourself more room. 

For more information on fabric kit cutting, read this: Week One (first few paragraphs of the linked post). 

By now, you are a PRO at constructing the No Y Seam Feathered Star blocks! The 12" blocks go together in the same way as the 16" blocks. 

Remember to remove your papers when you are done and refer to the QAL pattern to see how the sashing strips need to be sewn to the 12" blocks.

I hope you're all experiencing the excitement of having the 129 fabric pieces come together to form each star! I'll leave you with Chris Simon's 16" stars! Check out more from Chris over on her inspiring Instagram profile @thecolorfulom.

Have a great week! Don't forget to join our Facebook group here: Friends of Threaded Quilting Studio.

Feathered Star QAL: Week Two

Jessie ZeiglerComment
Week Two will be a repeat of Week One: two 16" No Y Seam Feathered Stars

Week Two will be a repeat of Week One: two 16" No Y Seam Feathered Stars

#ClubOneTwoNine! How are you doing!? 

Of all the stars in our sky–I mean quilt top–I think that the 16" No Y Seam Feathered Star is the easiest one to complete. 

To ease us into the QAL and to give those who are starting late an easier time of catching up, Week Two will be about completing the last two 16" NYSFS blocks needed for the twin quilt top. If you did your printing, cutting, and prepping last week, this week should take less time! If you haven't yet made the first two blocks, check out the Week One post for lots of tips!

This is a heads up if you're looking ahead to the other sizes of paper piecing stars: the difficulty increases the smaller the pieces get. If you have the extra fabric available, you may want to pre-cut the pieces a little larger than what I recommend in the pattern, especially if you have trouble getting them aligned. I'll talk about that more in the weeks to come, but wanted to mention it now if you are thinking about working ahead.

The final part of making this block for the QAL is sewing the sashing strips onto certain sides of the blocks as detailed in the pattern. Make sure that between Week One and Week Two, you have the correct number of blocks with the appropriate strips sewn to each.

When sewing the sashing strips into place, I find it most helpful to sew with the back side of the star on top and the sashing strip on bottom, that way you can prevent seams from being turned. And always pin! At first glance, I find that there is usually a slight difference in the length of the strips compared to the length of the blocks. I pin at both ends first, then in the middle, and then I ease the rest of the fabric in by pinning at regular intervals. Sew and then press (I've been pressing these seams open, but do whatever makes you comfortable). 

It has been an absolute joy to see these stars coming to life in your very capable hands! I'll leave you with this photo of Doris Brunnette's blocks (check out the fussy cutting!), but if you'd like to see more, come join us in our Facebook group! For even more photos, check out the #featheredstarqal hashtag on Instagram.

I've also started a Pinterest board to which I will be pinning QAL inspiration!

Made by Doris Brunnette.

Made by Doris Brunnette.

Feathered Star QAL: Week One

Jessie ZeiglerComment
This is the 16" No Y Seam Feathered Star. We'll make two for Week One!

This is the 16" No Y Seam Feathered Star. We'll make two for Week One!

PLEASE NOTE: If you bought the kit or bought yardages specifically based on my original yardage requirements, I would like you to cut all of the White and Chartreuse fabrics (or their equivalents) before we start. I've written a sequencing suggestion with diagrams to ensure you get the most out of your fabric.  Please measure twice and cut once, as they say!

To be transparent: I used EQ7 estimates for the fabric yardage because I've known them in the past to be generous. They mostly were generous, except for the White (2.25 yards) and Chartreuse (.75 yard) quantities. It might be the construction techniques I use in the pattern, but as I cut my way through the whole quilt, I would have preferred extra fabric to account for any cutting errors. I have since changed the requirements in the pattern and online. 

*****

We've FINALLY arrived! Week One is here!

Week One is all about getting our feet wet with the 16" No Y Seam Feathered Star block. We will be making a total of four for this quilt, but let's just focus on two this week.

Let's begin, shall we?!

Printing: You'll need to print the paper piecing sections onto your preferred foundation paper. I use regular printer paper, but please use what you're most comfortable with. The most important thing to remember is to print at 100% or "actual" size, making sure your print dialog box is not set to auto-scale. A test square of 1 inch is provided on every page so that you can ensure accuracy.

If you bought the PDF bundle, print pages 34-39 of the PDF if you haven't already. You'll need 4 copies of each page total. 

If you're working from the No Y Seam Feathered Star PDF (original, not bundled), it's pages 16-21 of the PDF even though the page numbers at the bottom of each page are 15-20 (the cover page isn't numbered). You'll need 4 copies.

Even though we'll only be working on 2 of the blocks this week, I find it easier to print all the copies for the 16" block at once.

TIP! If all of your blocks will have the same coloring (like mine will), you may want to print one set, note the colors on each section and then make 3 copies.

TIP! Using a marker or colored pencil to note the section also works well (not really applicable before making copies unless you're using a color copier).

Cutting unit templates: To efficiently cut the templates apart, I stack all of the same pages together (add staples if you prefer, I don't find it necessary) and cut through the 4 pages at once. I like to use a dull rotary cutter that I've set aside for paper use to do the cutting. Make sure to cut outside of the dashed line. The space between the solid line and the dashed line is the seam allowance. Once all units are cut out, separate half (two complete sets: Units A-U) to be used this week.

Cutting fabrics:  I've written the cutting instructions by block so as to not overwhelm you with ALLLLLLL of the fabric cutting at once. I want to get to the fun sewing part, too!

On page 3 of the Feathered Star QAL pattern, the instructions include quantities for FOUR stars, so cut them all, and then set half of each quantity aside for next week. Yes, that's a spoiler, we'll be working on the last two 16" stars for Week Two. :)

Note: I'm working with two shades of gray. Shadow is the lighter shade of gray and used in the background (including the first triangle pieces adjacent to the "star tips", positioned toward the perimeter of the block i.e., pieces A1, B1, C1, D1, E1, F1, G1, H1). This is a slightly different coloring scheme than what is written in the NYSFS pattern where all the background spines are the same color. In this QAL, I have white as being my main background spine color that contours the star points. Iron is the darker gray color and is used for the spines and centers of this 16" block.

There are a few square sizes that are very similar, it might help to label them. For example, the 5" Shadow squares will be used with Units R-U and the 5.5" Shadow squares will be used with Units A-D. Do what you need to do to keep your pieces organized. 

Sewing: If you've never foundation paper pieced before, I highly encourage you to watch my video tutorial series that will show you step-by-step how to complete this pattern. If this ain't your first paper piecing rodeo...  well, giddyup! ;) You should be just fine following the instructions in the pattern.

USE A SHORTENED STITCH LENGTH! Sorry to shout, but this is important. I'm using a 1.2 stitch length which is tiny, tiny, tiny. Anything 1.5 or smaller is okay. I'm also using the aforementioned regular copy paper which is kind of thick. I also use a strong poly thread, so I don't have thread breakage issues, and I use a 90/14 Microtex needle from Schmetz. Feel free to adjust any of these factors until you're happy with sewing and how the papers tear away.

Does your sewing machine have a thread cutting feature or button? If it functions properly: USE IT!!! I paper pieced for years before I started actually using mine and it was a game changer! The nature of paper piecing is sewing a bunch of small lines, starting and stopping frequently. You could chain some pieces together, but it's a little awkward. When you use the thread cutter, you don't have to hold your threads as you begin the next seam. That is a wonderful thing! You'll end up using less thread, too.

I could stop now and say "Go for it!", but... I want to do everything to make this super-enjoyable for you so I took photos (captioned for your pleasure) as I was sewing my test block together to illustrate a few other tips and/or reminders. 

While it doesn't really matter which order you sew all of the units (21 total), if you're just getting back into the groove of paper piecing, you may want to start with Unit I (as in igloo) shown in the next photo.

I used a dab of fabric glue to secure the 5" center square positioned in the center of the template, covering the seam allowances on all sides (it's tight so if you're slightly short, don't worry, it's going to be fiiiiiiine). Place your folding aid (an expired insurance card here) along one seaming line, fold the paper back , align the Add-A-Quarter ruler and trim before adding your triangle accent pieces (in Chartreuse for my block). It makes the alignment of the triangles a bit easier.

I used a dab of fabric glue to secure the 5" center square positioned in the center of the template, covering the seam allowances on all sides (it's tight so if you're slightly short, don't worry, it's going to be fiiiiiiine). Place your folding aid (an expired insurance card here) along one seaming line, fold the paper back , align the Add-A-Quarter ruler and trim before adding your triangle accent pieces (in Chartreuse for my block). It makes the alignment of the triangles a bit easier.

When aligning a triangle piece along its bias side as illustrated here, imagine a straight line traveling from the corner of the area you will be covering, with the right angle of the triangle you're adding, like shown above. Use this technique with all applicable units.

When aligning a triangle piece along its bias side as illustrated here, imagine a straight line traveling from the corner of the area you will be covering, with the right angle of the triangle you're adding, like shown above. Use this technique with all applicable units.

Unit A (but this applies to all units that have pieces adjoining on 2 sides). Try not to stitch into section A8 (where my stiletto is pointing) because it'll affect how you fold and trim when the time comes to add the fabric for A8.

Unit A (but this applies to all units that have pieces adjoining on 2 sides). Try not to stitch into section A8 (where my stiletto is pointing) because it'll affect how you fold and trim when the time comes to add the fabric for A8.

BEWARE! Avoid lining up fabrics as shown above. This is Unit A, but it applies to most units. When adding a lighter fabric, make sure that it completely covers the dark piece beneath. Otherwise, you'll get shadowing (dark fabric in the seam allowance is visible from the quilt top through the light fabric). If the piece shifts while you sew and you do experience shadowing: Before sewing the next piece, carefully trim small amounts of the dark fabric away until it no longer extends beyond the lighter fabric on top.

BEWARE! Avoid lining up fabrics as shown above. This is Unit A, but it applies to most units. When adding a lighter fabric, make sure that it completely covers the dark piece beneath. Otherwise, you'll get shadowing (dark fabric in the seam allowance is visible from the quilt top through the light fabric). If the piece shifts while you sew and you do experience shadowing: Before sewing the next piece, carefully trim small amounts of the dark fabric away until it no longer extends beyond the lighter fabric on top.

YES! This is the same piece from the previous photo sewn successfully. This is what you want. :)

YES! This is the same piece from the previous photo sewn successfully. This is what you want. :)

When I'm piecing spines, I think in terms of covering the "upright" triangle (outlined in red dashed lines). I make sure the new triangle is "leg-down". Also, it's important to note that I'm making sure I cover the 1/4" seam allowance on both the right (unmarked) and left side of this spine.

When I'm piecing spines, I think in terms of covering the "upright" triangle (outlined in red dashed lines). I make sure the new triangle is "leg-down". Also, it's important to note that I'm making sure I cover the 1/4" seam allowance on both the right (unmarked) and left side of this spine.

Once it's sewn in place and finger-pressed, you can see how it's in perfect position. In other news, I MADE A GIF! :)

Once it's sewn in place and finger-pressed, you can see how it's in perfect position. In other news, I MADE A GIF! :)

Once all units are sewn, they'll need to be seamed together. Refer to the diagram in the pattern to arrange and seam the pieces together. 

PIN!

Assembling sections: Pinning is important, if you're into accuracy. There's no other way around it. I've made sooooooooo many stars over the years and I still pin (a lot) every time. I promise it's worth it. Adequate pinning can make ALL the difference in not having to unpick seams. And let me tell you: It's not fun to unpick stitches sewn at a 1.2 length!

I start pinning at the point-matching places from one unit to the next. There is also a photo of what my pinning looks like in the pattern. I run a straight pin on and through the solid, black seaming line of one unit and match it up at the exact point on the other unit. I'll match several pins running straight through the pieces before I'll readjust them in order to sew.

Alright, this makes more sense watching it, so here's a very quick video showing what I mean. And, because I'm great at GIFs now! ;)

If you'd like to see the regular speed version of this along with the verbal play-by-play, check out this video (at the 2:25 mark).

If you'd like to see the regular speed version of this along with the verbal play-by-play, check out this video (at the 2:25 mark).

Removing papers: I used to wait until a top was all assembled before removing papers because I liked using the solid black lines to expertly assemble a whole quilt top in the most precise manner. But now, I trust in the accuracy of my 1/4" seam allowance without having to sew on the line and papers are a lot easier to remove in a 8", 12" and 16" square rather than having the weight and bulk of a whole twin-sized top in your lap. So go ahead and remove your papers after you complete each block, I think you'll be glad you did!

Press: After papers are removed, give each block a good pressing. I tend to let the seams fall to the side they want to go. 

Then follow the instruction in the QAL pattern for adding sashing strips. I don't want to give all of my intellectual property away as far as how all of the stars are going to fit together, I respect those of you who have purchased the pattern too much to give everything away for free! :)

Hop on over to my closed Facebook group to join the discussion, share pictures, ask questions, get encouragement. We are a community and we'd love to help you out!

Feathered Star fabric selection

Jessie ZeiglerComment
Here are the fabrics I'm using. They're all Kona Cotton Solids from Robert Kaufman (with a wide back from the Doe collection in the background). Kit available here!

Here are the fabrics I'm using. They're all Kona Cotton Solids from Robert Kaufman (with a wide back from the Doe collection in the background). Kit available here!

It's about that time! It's time to start selecting fabrics for the upcoming Feathered Star QAL, if you haven't already. Find yardage requirements here.

First and foremost, I have to disclose that I'm a solids lover. I tend to gravitate to solids for many projects, not just feathered stars. I'm not exactly sure why this is... it feels like solid colors are easier for me to work with, but I don't think that's always been the case. Part of it is the longarm quilter in me (read: overquilter) who loves when her stitches SHOW. I know there is an appeal in solids not masking those quilting designs.

Another benefit of working with solids as it relates to paper piecing: you can't accidentally sew the wrong side! This isn't such a drawback to the experienced foundation paper piecer, but when a person it just learning, it's one more consideration that needs to be made.

Okay, phew! Now that I've written some of my reasons for choosing solids, it all seems a little better founded than just selecting solids on a whim.

But my goodness, there have been AMAZING feathered stars made from non-solid fabrics. Which brings me to a major downside of using solids: not using the fantastic, cute-as-can-be printed and designer fabrics that are oh-so easy to come by in our local quilt shops!

Check out this link to other feathered stars. Note to yourself what strikes you as being successful (or less so). Personally, I've found that strong contrast appeals to me. 

Here's a star I made a year an a half ago. It was a slight departure from the No Y Seam Feathered Star, but I think it'll help to illustrate my point.

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I attempted to have a "matchy" center. When I had my pieces sewn together, I pretty much hated it. There was not enough contrast and with the center square being the only printed fabric... well, I think it fell flat.

I decided to un-sew the center and tried a solid fabric with more contrast.

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In my opinion, the second attempt is WORLDS better. I ended up setting this star on-point to make a wall hanging:

Ooops! I used all solids again. :)

Ooops! I used all solids again. :)

Here is one more example from my checkered feathered star past. (Ha!)

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I use this example not in a "what not to do" sense, but in a way of preference. I actually like this block, and it gives me a chance to point out some other things to think about when you're choosing fabric for your feathered stars.

Contrast:

This block has contrast AND it has a "softer" feel to it. The star center, star tips, and capstone squares (my lingo, I don't know if these have proper terms) in teal have great contrast. They really jump out against the background and other star components.

The spines and the "star point" fabric are prints with similar tones to the background fabric. That's what gives it the softer feel.  They are not well defined against each other, which brings me to...

Scale and size:

The spines are in a medium-scale print. The star shown above is an 8" block, so the spines are tiny! Any medium- or large-scale print that gets cut up into a 1.5" square and then cut in half diagonally is not going to retain the overall look of the print. But they can still be fun and pleasing to the eye!  

Direction:

When studying the block above, I want to draw attention to the fact that two of the print fabrics are directional. Can you spot them? The background print–while it is small in scale–is also directional. Let your eye travel around the perimeter of the block to see how the direction of the tiny triangles in the print change. The other directional print is in the star points. It's a subtle print with series of lines. Generally speaking, when lines are involved, there's a good chance the print is directional. 

As you can see, it wasn't important to me that all the directional prints were going the same way. Just like all the other considerations I've mentioned using fabric, these aren't a list of do's and don'ts, they are things of which to be aware.

Fussy cutting:

I speak with absolutely no authority on fussy cutting. HA! At least I can tell you when I have a blind spot. :) I just know it can be done. At this point in my life, I have no interest in it, but then when I see fussy cutting perfectly executed, I think it's the most amazing thing ever! The centers of these feathered stars make for a great opportunity to showcase a special fabric in a really special way.

My last tip on this subject is to use the Recolor app to test out your fabrics (colors) and contrast before you commit to them IRL. I've written about using the free app here. I still think that it's such a fantastic tool!

Also, if you have purchased the Feathered Star QAL, send me an email or get in touch with me on social media and I will send you the coloring page file for the whole quilt layout! Or you can find the single feathered star coloring pages on either the NYSFS or Fierce Feathered Star pattern listings.

Feathered Star QAL pattern is now available

Jessie ZeiglerComment

It's ready for you! Summer challenge, anyone? :)

We're closer to beginning the Feathered Star QAL (June 25th)!  As I was testing the pattern and getting it ready for you, I fell in love with the fabric combinations! It's one thing to design on the computer and a completely different thing to see a design come to life in person. I love the whole process of designing and quilting, but that is one of the best feelings! 

Fabric Shack is still selling kits of the exact fabrics that I'm using in my quilt. You can check out that deal here. The whole quilt top + binding fabrics for $68?! Yes, please!

Do you own the Fierce Feathered Star pattern? It's the one with large 20" & 36" stars. If you do not have this pattern already, you'll need to buy this bundle for the QAL:

If you have already purchased the Fierce Feathered Star block pattern, all you'll need is this pattern for the actual twin sized quilt top:

I realize that having different options can get confusing, but it was important to me to honor those who had already paid for the Fierce Feathered Star block pattern and not make them pay for it twice.

Email me at threadedquilting@gmail.com if you have any questions about which you should buy if you are interested in quilting along with us! 

Watch this space for more as the QAL unfolds. I'll just say this, too, if you like the pattern but know you won't be able to commit to a 9-week project (I get it!), the patterns give you everything you'll need to QBY (Quilt-By-Yourself). HA! I just made that up, but it's true. :)

Feathered Star QAL - tools & other materials

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I'm getting pretty excited to start the QAL! Have I mentioned that already?! Mayyyyybe a time or two. ;)

I'm teaming up with Fabric Shack to offer kits of the Robert Kaufman fabrics I'm using. I'm so, so pleased with the combination of Kona Cotton Solids (see photo for a teaser of my progress)! If you are interested buying all of your fabric with one click, check out the kit. All of the fabrics you'll need for the top & binding for only $68! :) Crazy good deal, huh?! Oh, and if you'd also like the backing, they can hook you up. The pattern will be sold separately, however.

In addition to thinking about the fabrics you'd like to use in your quilt top (yardage requirements listed here if you'd like to choose your own), I also wanted to list tools and other materials that you'll need, whether foundation paper piecing or using the Fierce Feathered Star sewing methods. These items are in addition to "basic sewing supplies" like a sewing machine, thread, scissors, seam ripper, rotary cutter, etc.

Let's make sure you have what you need, when you need it! 

If you're lucky enough to have a local quilt shop, check with them first. Otherwise, I'm including these Amazon Affiliate links for your easy access and so that you have a visual of the product. 

Need to have:

Add-A-Quarter ruler

Rotary ruler 12" square or larger

Rotary ruler with 16th-inch markings AND 45º line for trimming HSTs

Clear tape

Paper for printing foundation paper piecing templates (I usually use copy paper, but if you have a foundation paper that you prefer, stock up!)

Paper cutting scissors or a small rotary blade for cutting paper templates

Batting - Quilters Dream is my absolute fave! You'll just need to make sure to get a size that'll be larger than your top. The final dimensions of this quilt are 76" x 86".

 

Nice to have:

Washi or painters tape (optional)

Fabric glue (optional)

Strip cutting ruler (totally optional, I just loooooooooove mine because it makes cutting faster!)

Sewing clips (another optional tool for organization) 

Rotating cutting mat (optional, but oh-so-nice for trimming templates!)

 

We're getting closer to the start date and editing and polishing of the pattern is nearly complete! YAY!

UPDATE: Pattern is now available to purchase! Click here.

Sign up for my newsletter to receive QAL updates to your inbox.

Pre- Feathered Star QAL

Jessie ZeiglerComment
Twin size: 76" x 86"

Twin size: 76" x 86"

The Feathered Star QAL is a go! I'll be your host and we'll be starting June 25th. I'll be "assigning" portions of the quilt weekly over the course of 9 weeks, but the pattern will have all pertinent information for finishing your top if you'd like to work ahead or play catch-up! Summertime needs to be flexible like that! 

You will be able to purchase the pattern before the kick-off date but it's being tested right now, so I'll have to keep you updated on that. (UPDATE: PATTERN NOW AVAILABLE!) In the meanwhile, I wanted to give you the fabric requirements if you'd like to start planning and dreaming about the fabric you'll use!

I'm using ALLLLLLLL Kona Cotton Solids from Robert Kaufman. They are my fave! I've written the pattern based on my selections. Kits are available with these exact fabrics in the quantities below from Fabric Shack for only $68! Each kit includes fabric for the top & binding, but you could easily add in your backing to your order.

Royal (dark blue): 1.25 yards + .75 yard binding = 2 yards

White: 2.5 yards*

Iron (dark gray): 1.25 yards

Shadow (light gray): 4 yards

Valentine (pink): .5 yard

Canary (yellow): .75 yard

Blue Jay (light blue): 1 yard

Chartreuse (green): 1 yard*

Backing: 2.5 yards of WIDE (108") fabric OR 5.25 yards of regular 42"+ quilting cotton

If you'd like more information and haven't signed up for my mailing list yet, you can do that below! :) I'm so excited to share this journey with you!

*update 6/16/17 I increased these quantities by 1/4 yard each to increase margin for error

Quilting trick: removing threads under a quilt's surface

Jessie ZeiglerComment

It doesn't seem to matter how careful you are. Inevitably, dark threads seem to wind up trapped where you want them least, like just beneath the surface of the lightest fabric in a quilt top. I'm also going to assume that the quilt is already quilted, or at the very least basted at this stage. Sigh!

I ran into this problem often when I quilted for customers and I still run into it when I quilt my own tops.

But, after a helpful Instagram post pointed me in the direction of the Soft Touch Thread Pic by Clover, (see Amazon affiliate link) a few years ago, I've been able to capture those threads. This tool quickly became a within-arms-reach kind of a thing while quilting!

There's no sound in this video, but it shows the tool in action on one of the last quilts I was working on. The higher contrast in your fabrics, the more this issue will come up. It does take a little bit of finesse, but with practice, you'll get the hang of it. 

Did you know I have a list of tools and products that I use on the regular? Find it here: current recommends. I hope it's helpful, sometimes having the right tools at the right time makes all the difference!

Coloring Contest!

Jessie ZeiglerComment

***CONTEST CLOSED***

How about a good ol' coloring contest?!

I'm so jazzed about this Recolor app that I want to share the love and excitement with you!

Rules:

1. You must be a follower of @threadedquilting and @mashemodern on Instagram to win.

2. Color one of my quilt patterns and post the finished photo to Instagram with the hashtag #recolorquilts. Please tag me in your post @threadedquilting. Your Instagram profile must be public for it to count. You may color and post as many colorations of my blocks or layouts as you like, just make sure they are separate postings and not a collage. 

You will find a blank coloring file to save to your smart phone or tablet at the end of any listing from my patterns page. If you need help saving the file or knowing which app to download, check out this tutorial for help (there's a video, too).

3. On Tuesday, November 15th at 7 pm CST, Kristen and I will choose a winner! The winner will receive a $30 gift certificate to Mashe Modern online fabric shop (she carries Tuuuuuuuula!) and a PDF download of 3 of my patterns: Fierce Feathered Star, Brighten the Corners, and Star Sighting.

(No purchase necessary. Giveaways sponsored by Threaded Quilting Studio and Mashe Modern, not Instagram or Recolor.)

International submissions welcome and eligible! Good luck to all!!

email me @ threadedquilting @ gmail (dot) com or via Instagram with any questions

Using the Recolor app to color a quilt block

Jessie Zeigler4 Comments
Above you'll see a picture of a feathered star that I've colored. I have this block available in two patterns:  No Y Seam Feathered Star: Free, paper piecing, comes in 8", 12" and 16" sizes Fierce Feathered Star: $10 PDF download, no paper piecing, no y seams, 20" and 36" block sizes

Above you'll see a picture of a feathered star that I've colored. I have this block available in two patterns: 

No Y Seam Feathered Star: Free, paper piecing, comes in 8", 12" and 16" sizes

Fierce Feathered Star: $10 PDF download, no paper piecing, no y seams, 20" and 36" block sizes

A few of the tools I rely on A LOT in my quilt making are my Electric Quilt software and Adobe Illustrator. I absolutely love these tools! They are both pricey, so if you don't see yourself investing in either one of these programs, I have a workaround for you that will help you with selecting colors (fabrics) for your quilt blocks!

I discovered a fantastic FREE* tool to help you color any or all of my patterns! This means that you can play with color first before having to buy or cut any fabric. It takes the printable color page to a whole new level!

How to:

Download the Recolor app from the App Store. It's free and has amazing features!

One of the features is the ability to add your own photo to color. So, if you have a photo of a uncolored quilt block or layout, you can import that photo and play around with whatever colors you'd like!

That's where I come in! I'm here for you! If you scroll to the bottom of any of my pattern listings, you will see a blank coloring file (in some cases multiple files) that you can save to your device, upload to the Recolor app and experiment with different colorations of future quilts!

Or just play without worrying about making actual quilts, but I'm warning you: it's addictive! :)

A note for Android users:

I've heard from some Android users that when uploading a screenshot of blank file, the app will blur some sections together. If possible download or save the image without taking a screenshot, or email me (threadedquilting at gmail dot com) or send me a direct message on Instagram and I will send you any file you'd like.

Watch this video for the step-by-step tutorial:

This lap quilt layout is two 36" Fierce Feathered Star blocks arranged an on-point settling.

This lap quilt layout is two 36" Fierce Feathered Star blocks arranged an on-point settling.

 

Have fun!!!

*The free version of the app limits the number of pictures you can import to color per day. New importing "allowances" are renewed the next day. Unlimited importing power can be purchased if so desired.

Fierce Feathered Star straight set quilt layout

Jessie Zeigler2 Comments
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If you're keeping track at home, this is the second Fierce Feathered Star quilt I've finished so far. :) The first one has a very different look.

What better way to test measurements and instructions than making the pattern NINE times? I felt like I got the process down to a science while making the last few blocks.

To keep the making more interesting, I decided to pick a different combo of blues and greens each time. I really didn't know how or IF the quilt would have a cohesive look when I was done, but it was interesting! I think the result is fun and more interesting than if I would have used the same color scheme again and again, which honestly felt like the safer choice to me.

In other words, this is me being dangerous! :)

I did make some color decisions before beginning the first block. I decided that I was going to use the same gray background fabric throughout. I also decided I would use just 3 "main" (aka non-background) fabrics for each star. The last thing I kept consistent was the use of the white fabric as a secondary background in each star.

Once I made the aforementioned color decisions, I sat down and made each block one at a time, I worked at a pace of about one star per day. Once I had all of the blocks done, I arranged and rearranged them on my design wall until I was happy with the color distribution across the top as a whole.

I wanted each block to stand out on its own. For that to work, I decided that there needed to be some space between each block. The sashing strips and borders helped to make each star independent and pronounced.

I'm attaching a diagram of how I add sashing strips and borders to quilts.

For this quilt, I cut four sashing strips and positioned one on each side as shown in the diagram above. Then I sewed one sashing strip to the first two blocks and two sashing strips to the last block. Next, I sewed those sashing strips and blocks into a row. Then, I repeated that process until I had 3 rows.

After my rows were complete, I pieced and cut long border/sashing strips exactly to the measurement of the rows. Four were needed for this quilt and btw: both the vertical and horizontal sashing strips are the same width. 

As far as handling bulk, I find it easiest to pin the long border strip to one row and then seam. Repeat until all long sashings are sewn. One row will need a long strip sewn to both the top and bottom edges.

Then I sew the rows (with sashing attached) to each other to form the quilt top.


Interactive coloring! From a smart phone, save one of these blank diagrams for coloring in the Recolor app. Click here for full instructions in this tutorial (with video).

How would you color your Fierce Feathered Star?

As we all know, the quilt isn't done when the top gets assembled!

I can't leave you without giving you a little more about the quilting, it's my favorite part!

I decided to quilt lines within the stars. Because there is already a lot going on in the piecing and in the background quilting, I wanted the stars themselves to have strong-but-uncomplicated contrasting lines. Every other star has diagonal lines and its neighbor has vertical and horizontal lines. I used a marker (the pink air-soluble marker on my list of quilting tools) to draw the lines first and then used a longarm ruler + baseplate extender to actually quilt the lines out.

Last but certainly not least, let me talk about the background quilting! I have a video tutorial with step by step instructions on how to draw this out, it's called paisley feathers. You can even print your own PDF tracing sheet to draw along with me as I walk through the process.

If you want to buy your own Fierce Feathered Star pattern, click here!

Sew Mojo Series #2

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I had the opportunity to test the latest pattern in the Sew Mojo series (#2) this last week. Thanks Suzy! If you haven't already, go check out the pattern listing that shows multiple variations and colorways of this pattern.

I have the wall space in my house already picked out to hang this series when complete, and I knew I wanted to use the same color palette for the second mini as I did the first. In fact, I used many of the same exact fabrics which should make for a very cohesive look in the end.

The emphasis is on composition in this second pattern exercise. Having next to no art training, I appreciated this mini lesson as it applies to quilting.

The pattern builds on the skills exercised in the first mini lesson and adds a healthy dose of intentionality without being oppressive in the slightest. In fact, I love how the pattern uses some guidelines but then encourages you to follow your creative impulses. (Which I was happy to do!)

Part of that creative impulse was to echo a design element of the first mini (above, left) in the second mini (above, right). Whereas the shorter wonky strips were going vertically along the side of the first mini, I wanted to play off of that idea and add wonky strips going across the top of the second mini.

Ultimately, I wanted the focus of the piece to remain with the orange center square, so in order to minimize the boldness of the strips along the top, I added matchstick quilting to those areas to unify that space and to downplay it.

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Once again, it brought me so much JOY to add some hand stitched lines to the mini quilt. Is embroido-quilting a thing? Because the thread is going through the top and batting (no backing necessary if displaying in a frame), it's "quilting". But since I'm also stitching with 3-ply embroidery floss and hunting and pecking my way around, it's kind of like embroidery, too. I'm good with the name-combo in any event. :)

In the areas where I added hand quilting, I marked my lines using a very faint white marking pencil by Sewline. I have an ever-growing list of tools that I use and personally vouch for, you'll find the details of the marking pencil included.

In keeping with the style of the first mini, I used machine quilted lines in the "background" areas and hand stitching in the foreground fabrics.

What can I say? Always perfectly imperfect!

sunshine + quilts = cat magnet

I hope that you'll give Sew Mojo #2 a try! It's an absolute blast to work out your creativity muscles, learn a new approach to design, and have a finished piece of art in the end!

Fierce Feathered Star layout option

Jessie Zeigler1 Comment
This is my Fierce Feathered Star pattern shown in the 36 inch version (center) with another 36 inch star cut apart and added to the corners. Including the borders, this finished at 60" x 60".

This is my Fierce Feathered Star pattern shown in the 36 inch version (center) with another 36 inch star cut apart and added to the corners. Including the borders, this finished at 60" x 60".

When I decided to figure out how to expand the feathered star pattern that I love so much, I knew I wanted to go BIG!

When I created the free No Y Seam Feathered Star paper piecing pattern, I explored the idea of going small. The 8" block is a thing. Eight inches doesn't seem that small... unless you're talking about fitting 100+ seams in that space... Then it seems slightly cramped. :) Super-cute, don't get me wrong! But super-cute AND tiny. Don't worry, if you are interested in downloading the pattern, it also comes in a 12" and 16" version.

I loved the idea of creating one huge star as a stand-alone baby quilt. Baby quilts are my absolute favorite quilts to make! Have I mentioned that yet today? If not, baby quilts ARE the best. Exploring a new idea without a significant investment in materials and time is SO appealing to me. I mean obviously it's still more expensive and time consuming than buying a baby gift from a registry like a normal person. But, compared to what it takes to make a large bed quilt... it's a walk in the park!

This was my original vision for the 36". I was just going to quilt it and bind it. It would have been fine. But then I had another idea...

This was my original vision for the 36". I was just going to quilt it and bind it. It would have been fine. But then I had another idea...

Then I had this crazy thought that making only two of the huge blocks would cover significant "real estate"... but how would that layout work? A 36" x 72" masterpiece? Hardly! But what if I *shudder* cut up one of the blocks? If I set my main block on-point and then placed the cut-up star pieces in the corners? What would happen?

This is what happened. :( I didn't realize that what I needed were triangles and not squares. Clearly, my spatial reasoning skills leave something to be desired. I'm glad I used my brown scraps for this prototype, I didn't feel bad about cutting it up. Sorry, brown, it's not you, it's me.

Oddly enough, I got more confidence after I messed up the first block. I thought again and again about it and decided that cutting up a second block would work. 

I took this photo moments before I cut it up. I needed proof of its beauty in case it turned into a painful memory.

I took this photo moments before I cut it up. I needed proof of its beauty in case it turned into a painful memory.

I worked up the nerve and cut into my "good" block! I used a 24" ruler and aligned it exactly from the corner of the block to my first "reference point" which was intersecting the "capstone square" in its path. And then I aimed for my next patch (a triangle accent) to bisect. The cutting became easier after that initial slice was made. I kept going until it was in two pieces. I had to carefully reposition the block and my ruler several times to do a good job without stretching the bias edges I created. And then I cut diagonally in the other direction to get my four triangle corners.

One in-tact Fierce Feathered Star block set on-point.

One in-tact Fierce Feathered Star block set on-point.

One Fierce Feathered Star block cut diagonally into quarter square triangles.

One Fierce Feathered Star block cut diagonally into quarter square triangles.

Triangles placed in the corners around the main block.

Triangles placed in the corners around the main block.

The biggest question mark for me while I was piecing the top together: How bad are my points going to look?! Because I'd worked with on-point settings in the past, I knew that the setting triangles had to be longer than the main blocks in order to preserve the points. Since I was starting with two blocks the exact same size, I knew I was going to have blunted points when I seamed it back together, I just didn't know how much it would bother me.

If nothing about this photo bothers you, chances are you too can live with the drawbacks from this layout method. :)

If nothing about this photo bothers you, chances are you too can live with the drawbacks from this layout method. :)

In the end, I realized that it didn't bother me at all! The ease at which you can make two identically sized blocks and come up with this interesting lap quilt layout was much more appealing than a few triangle point "nubs". It's made even less noticeable when using the same or similarly-valued fabrics. 

The blunted tip is definitely minimized by using similarly-valued fabrics. Using the same fabrics would be even less noticeable.

The blunted tip is definitely minimized by using similarly-valued fabrics. Using the same fabrics would be even less noticeable.

I knew I would need some kind of border to stabilize all of the outer bias edges. Borders are something I don't generally add if I can help it. In this case, the borders were necessary and I added two: one to blend in with the main part of the quilt top and one to frame the whole thing. I was surprised by how much I liked the bold pink (almost red) color along the perimeter. I decided to use the same fabric for the binding. 

The arrows are pointing to the other "casualties" of this method and losing some of the points in the seam allowance. More importantly, the actual star tips are still nice an pointy!

The arrows are pointing to the other "casualties" of this method and losing some of the points in the seam allowance. More importantly, the actual star tips are still nice an pointy!

Overall, I'm so happy with this experiment! I'm glad I took the risk of cutting up a pretty block. The reward was pretty sweet. One last thing: How adorable is that gingham for the back??? Soooooo adorable. I would have also accepted "very adorable" as an answer. ;)

If you are thinking about making this quilt or using the Fierce Feathered Star block in your own quiltmaking, you can download the pattern here. You'll get detailed (and photo heavy) instructions for making either the 20" or 36" block. There's no paper piecing and no y-seaming! :) 

Sew Mojo Series #1

Jessie Zeigler4 Comments
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I just finished up an awesome creative exercise and wanted to share some thoughts I took away from the experience.

Let me back up a sec. Last month I attended the Sew Pro convention in Chicago and met new quilting friends. [Come for the info, leave with friendships!] One of the topics of conversation that weekend was how my Sew Pro roomie Megan (find her on Instagram @citystitches) had lost her sewing mojo. She's got a great excuse, btw. She's busy planning her wedding, and because of that, hadn't sewn in months.

Listening with interest was Suzy Williams of Suzy Quilts. The question of recapturing that elusive sewing mojo conjured up an idea. A few weeks later, Suzy created this pattern series (with three more mini patterns to come) to help Megan and others bring back that sewing mojo! 

Find the pattern here in Suzy's shop. And definitely check out how this group of amazing quilters (and me!) took this pattern and freaking RAN WITH IT! 

To be candid: I have sewing mojo in spades. SPADES, I tell you! :) With ideas constantly in my brain and a full to-do list, I wasn't sure if I wanted to introduce a new project. I wanted to be up-front about that in case you too feel like you don't belong in the "lost my sewjo" camp.

In the end, my curiosity gave way to my schedule. Also? I loved the idea of challenging myself to do something out of the ordinary. And let's face it, the whole thing took less than a day. Anyone can give themselves a day to play!

I am so glad I did it!

Here's what I learned:

1) Quilting is art.

In my heart, I knew that. I think that because it's also my everyday, I can easily forget that fact. Putting textile art in a frame makes it more legit. That's just how it is. Putting it on the wall makes everyone else take notice, too. ("Mom, you DID that?!")

2) Sewing mojo doesn't have to be lost to be found.

Trying something new on a small scale was so fun and freeing. Even though I wasn't in a rut, I know that this simple exercise will affect how I approach future quilts.

3) I love quilting.

I will over-quilt every time I get the chance. It's who I am. In this case, I used my domestic sewing machine, my longarm and my own God-given hands to saturate this mini with quilting stitches. 

4) Adding hand quilting embellishments was my favorite part, "hands" down.

A+++++++ will do again. This was my first time! I "cheated" by hunting and stabbing each stitch, but that's okay with me, I love the look. This topic might be its own post at some point in time. :)

5) Editing is allowed in improv. 

My first design was this:

I had to chuckle when I took a photo of my work in progress and discovered my piece was almost exactly the size of a vinyl record. I selected my fabrics with our music room in mind as being the final destination for my mini quilt. While the size was fitting for the theme of the room, when I discovered that I already owned three 10" x 13" picture frames, I decided to edit my piece to fit the frame. Instead of starting over or chopping off entire sections, I ripped out a few seams, trimmed the strips down in width and seamed them together again. I am so much happier with the "skinny", framable version.

"Compressed" after editing, but just as punchy:

6) It doesn't have to be complicated to be really valuable.

In addition to this sentiment being my main take-away from Sew Pro, this idea is also true as it relates to this pattern. This month marks the 11th anniversary of taking my first quilting class! Yet this totally accessible-to-anyone pattern/exercise stretched me and taught me so much.

And I have new wall candy!

Before I let you go, I wanted to share how I hung my framed mini quilt. This is one of my favorite tips (thanks, Mom!):

Straight pins (this is a glass head pin) are amazing "nails" for hanging things on drywall. You'd be surprised at how strong they are! It does take a lot of constant pressure to push them into a wall (watch out for studs!) but once they are in, they can support most standard frames. 

I love hanging frames this way because it doesn't require any tools and they leave the tiniest of holes if you should change your mind (see photo below). It's a wall freckle, for goodness sake!

Be careful not to use so much "sudden" force that you bend the pin. And seriously, you have to press so hard and steady that it's difficult to place more than a of couple pins at one time. Your thumb will get sore!

I'm looking forward to seeing what Suzy has up her sleeve for the next minis!  And of course, putting more tiny holes in—and art on—my walls.