Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Lonestar revisited

"Desert Star"   78" x 86"
Hand quilted
Years ago I went on a retreat where I learned how to make the classic Lonestar quilt. We visit Arizona each year so I chose a southwest theme.

Here's the finished queen sized quilt. The very simple graphic result does involve a bit more complex piecing; working with diamond shapes and then setting in the corner squares and side triangles.
I got very excited about working with this design...and I went a little crazy!

I wanted to try different sized diamonds and other color combinations. I worked up a class which I taught both in Minnesota and Arizona.
I made three samples for that class; 30 inches square. This one is currently being quilted - you can see my pins. I'll use it on a wall or as a table topper.
Sample 1
The rest are still tops waiting to learn their fate. The patriotic themes may serve as centers for a larger quilt.
Sample 2
Sample 3
This size was doable for the students in the number of sessions we had, allowing them to get to the 'setting-in' part with guidance. That seems to be where many quilters abandon the design.

Here is one such top in progress... probably made around 1900 by the look of the fabrics. This is a 6 pointed star (which you see less often than the 8 point) but the construction and the challenges are similar.

I show it lying on the carpet and then lying atop a piece of blue fabric as a possible idea for finishing it -- someday--maybe.

I made a mini with scraps from the big one.
10" x 13"
Then I took a few Christmas fabrics I had on hand for yet another size - and made up 10 blocks, each different due the placement of the fabrics. It was fun ...but the stars ended up in UFO tub.
That was 2002!
Fast forward to last month. A quilting friend asked us to bring something to the December meeting that was holiday themed - that was unfinished - and that we wanted to finish. She'd come across a pillow she'd started years ago and was determined to finish it.
The pile of pieced stars

Those star blocks had been on my 'to-do' list for years! Her challenge came at just the right time for me.
Out came the blocks.
Out came the folder from my class with the tips for cutting the setting squares and triangles.

A shopping trip resulted in a fabric I thought would be perfect for background.
A Kay England print
I got busy cutting out the needed corner squares and side triangles and setting them in. 

The finished blocks measure 18" square. Here are 4 of them.

 Today I'll finish the rest and begin deciding on how to set them. 
Shall I use all 10 or go with just 9 - an easy 3 by 3 setting?
Maybe a narrow sashing?
Or 'on-point'?

 Stay tuned!
I promise is won't be 13 years!


  1. A classic but favourite design and I love your colour selections. Take care.

    1. Thanks, Frances. It was holiday fabric I just happened to have - more experimental that a real plan but I do like how they came out! The background fabric just jumped out at me and I knew immediately that it was the look I wanted. Thanks for your comment

  2. All are just lovely! Yes,setting in intimidates even the most stout-hearted of quilters.The Christmas project is just sparkly and bright- very nice. I think sashing might be a way to go. Do hope you finish the vintage one. It's so unusual.

    1. Thanks, Nancy! I wish I could believe it would be done for this Christmas but - probably 2016! The vintage one is quite softly worn...not sure how unless it was 'un-sewn' but I see no evidence of that. The fabrics would have all been from worn clothing I suppose - fun to conjecture. I do feel that I will at least set it into something for stability. It's unusual and I love the colors.

  3. Your blocks are gorgeous & love the background fabric. I hope you find a great setting for these----I like how they are placed now, but can imagine them on point also!!

    1. Thanks, Judy. I'm going to play with EQ a bit - I think on-point might end up bigger than I want...leaning toward straight set, 3 by 3 with maybe a narrow sashing....thanks for your comment!

  4. Looking good Jean. I love a classic 3 x 3 touching stars. I am so impressed you are finishing projects. I have a few that have started speaking to me from under tote lids. Thank for sharing!

    1. I have decided to do 3 by 3 - the 10th star will become a table topper or possibly a pillow. Still going thru lots of books and pinterest to see images before I decide on sash or what kind of sash.

  5. Lone Star quilts always have such a graphic look. I tend to like the more complicated looking ones but even a simple one is very attractive.

    1. I agree Karen. I've started a file on all the varieties...some pretty wild, others very plain but all very interesting to see.

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