Sunday, November 29, 2015

Christmas Stars - Considerations and Decisions

60" square
There is nothing like a public commitment, along with a challenge, to get me to buckle down and focus.
The Christmas Lone Star blocks I made in 2002 (as described in the previous post) have been rescued from the UFO tub and come together in a very festive Christmas quilt... (technically still a top which at this late date will be the case until Christmas 2016)
Still, I am so pleased to have made progress on this! It was a major goal of mine this year to deal with my UFO's.
After determining the math and cutting the squares and triangles to finish each block, I got quite adept at the somewhat tricky process. As I worked at my machine I thought about how I might arrange them. I spent evenings browsing books from my collection for ideas and looking on-line using Google Image and Instagram with 'lone star quilts' as key words.
Texas being the 'Lone Star State' I started with these books:

Then these:

and this one, To Honor and Comfort, which inspired my Southwest Star

After studying these books and internet photos I knew what I wanted to do.

What is your destiny?
I decided to use nine of the ten blocks set 3 by 3 resulting in a square quilt. Besides the challenge of setting ten blocks, I felt that this one was much bolder than the others and that it would distract from the balance of the piece. I'll make something else with it.... pillow? table topper? wall or doll quilt?
Truer colors of the red and green

Every project involves multiple decisions. My considerations in this case were these:
  • What size and shape did I want the finished piece? 
  • How did I want to use it? 
  • How much time did I want to invest in it?
    • complexity of setting
    • how it would be quilted 
Ultimately, I decided to set the blocks straight, three by three, within a narrow (1.5") sashing for these reasons.

  •  Setting them side by side results in big open squares that insists on some pretty special quilting in my opinion. You can't see how that space is quilted in this example but you do see the big open areas of background.
  •  My blocks are all different and I like the idea of each one getting some attention.
  •  The finished size would be about 60" square - fitting for my goals.
  •  Available fabric -I found some of the same red in the stars in my Christmas bin for the sashing. I used tidbits, also in that bin, of a large scale print that also appears in most blocks, for the cornerstones.
I used EQ to play with numbers and layouts; with and without cornerstones in different colors; tan, green, mottled. I liked the break those little squares provided. That helped me decide to cut the sashing 2" wide and let it serve as the outer border.
I used my design wall to arrange the blocks.The process of making all of these artistic decisions can be frustrating but it's energizing in the end. This is my work. Yes, it takes a sometimes more agonizing path than following a pattern but the satisfaction you get as you take each step is worth it.
There are so many ways to do things; no one way is right. Keep moving along. Try things, decide, move on. Sometimes you don't know why you like one thing or another but you don't need to. Stand back, squint, move things, try this and that ...and you will know what you like. Be okay with ripping if what you thought would work doesn't. Get it the way you want it.

Each 2" square can be different
For example, I cut the 2" squares for the cornerstones from a large print and just sewed them in.  I wanted a random look...not match-y. But I realized when they were sewn in that one was almost all dark green and it stood out. I had to decide to leave it or remove it ...maybe I should use a different dark green for all of them; think think think.But I wanted them to be less obtrusive. I removed two of them and this time was more careful to selectively cut lighter squares that would blend.

I decided to put squares at each outer corner, too, and for those I thought before I cut! I wanted the dark green dominant with a cluster of red included so my fabric looks like Swiss cheese now.I like the result.

So now on to a few other things.....

What is on your 'to-do' list for the holidays?


  1. Your quilt is beautiful! Always so glad to dig out an old project and make it come to life and a finish

    1. thanks! It does feel good - plenty still in the wings!


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