An OLD Lemoyne Star

As I have mentioned on this blog before, my mother quilted. So did my grandmother and my great-grandmother. And, I fully expect that if I went back further, I would find many more quilters!!!

This is a story about a Lemoyne star quilt.

My grandmother (named CHESTER!!!), pieced this Lemoyne Star quilt back in 1957 and gave the top to my mother who was supposed to quilt and finish it……

The purpose of this quilt was to keep ME warm at night!! Well, apparently I was NOT an easy child and my mother never got around to finishing the quilt……until she had a granddaughter!!!

Although it never kept me warm at night it was a part of my daughters life for many years.

I love to look at some of the individual blocks in this quilt because it tells me that my “Granny” made do with what she had!!!

Most of the blocks are made in this style…..

….with two fabrics in the star and the gray fabric being consistent thru most of the blocks.

But then there are a few that have two or more fabrics in the alternate points….

And then there are a few where the grey fabric doesn’t appear at all….

In today’s world, we might freak out because we had run out of one of our fabrics and might even make a hurried trip to the quilt store but I love that Granny didn’t do that. Instead she just used what she had available, knowing that the quilt would keep her loved-one’s warm!!

That is the kind of quilter that I want to be……

That block is TOO small!!!

On Monday, I posted about my lemon block in the 2021 Monthly Color Challenge…..

When I first made this block using the quarter-inch foot on my machine……

…….it was well over 1/4 inch too small!! Mind you, there were FORTY-EIGHT seams in the 6-inch block but that just meant that I had to be much more accurate!!

I started working with the Bonnie Hunter’s Bonus Buddy Ruler….

To use this, you put your needle in the 1/4″ hole and the edge of the ruler marks the 1/4 inch seam allowance.

In my case, I used a stack of painters tape to form a ledge against the ruler…..

I figured that this would do the trick so I started over on the block, carefully sewing the strip sets and pressing them SUPER carefully, using my fingers first and then doing it again with the iron…..

And guess what, they were a bit too big!!! How did that happen!!

Then I started thinking about the rulers that I use and the way that I set them on the fabric before I cut and decided that the problem was starting there…..

I played with it some more but couldn’t figure out exactly where to hold the ruler to make the cut perfect. Finally, I decided that I wasn’t going to try to change my 25+ year method of cutting and instead change the seam allowance.

It took a few tries but I finally figured out where I needed to hold the fabric edge to make it the PERFECT size…..

It was easy to sew the blocks together, using the tape edge as my guide……

I seldom pin when I piece but decided that, for this intricate of a block, I needed to….at least in all of the matching seams……

The result was a block that was ALMOST the perfect size (may 1/8th inch too small)…..

Two other comments about this process…..

For my normal piecing of a large block with a normal number of seams, the 1/4-inch foot works just fine. The difference was simply the number of seams in such a small block!!

Although the painters tape ledge works well, you can use other things instead. I have used a magnetic marker (only for non-computerized machines), or a simple stack of Post-It notes……

It was frustrating to have to make the block a second time, it was a great exercise to figure out how to sew a PERFECT (or close enough) seam!!!

Geese Opt In

Woodpile Inspirations…..

Before I get to the inspiration, I have made a decision to GIVE AWAY the “Crumbs for the Geese” pattern to anyone who subscribes to my mailing list. You can do that on the right column of this post or by clicking HERE.

NOW……onto the design……

Back in December, I shared a photo of a Cord of Wood and the quilt design that had spring from that photo…..

Then earlier this month, I described an amazing set of hand-dyed fabrics that I bought.

Now it was time to merge these two!!

As I was ironing all of the hand-dyed fabrics, I kept thinking about this pattern and decided that it might be gorgeous to do in blues with touches of yellow!!

I started out by cutting a LOT of 1.5-inch strips…..

Have you ever used a barbell to keep your ruler from sliding?? Try it some time….it really works and you get some exercise at the same time!!

Next I did a lot of sewing, sub-cutting and re-sewing to get it to this stage…..

WOW… I REALLY like those colors!!

Next was making the accent blocks, using paper piecing…..

….and then laying the whole thing out……

I tried flipping some of the triangle sets around……

But all I could see here were Gator mouths!!

I added an orange-ish border…..the only fabric that is not hand-dyed……

…..and voila….this idea has moved from paper to fabric!!!

I am contemplating what type of quilting to add and can’t wait to see it finished.

I am also debating about turning this into a pattern but haven’t made that decision for sure. What do you think…..is this pattern worthy???

Winter Blues

Let’s get this new year started out with the quilt that moved me into my “monthly quilt series”.

When I first started quilting, I really needed a REASON to make a quilt….not like now when I will make one simply because I want to!!!

Our house didn’t have lots of wall space so hanging a bunch of wall hangings just wasn’t in the plans. So, I got to thinking about having one area (in the entryway) where I could hang a different quilt every month. You see what I did there…..I could make TWELVE quilts and still have a purpose for them!!!

And, to make it even more special, I wanted a surface underneath that I could decorate to match the quilt!! A friend of ours was a woodworker and he built this pie safe to match my specifications (mainly that it be tall enough that I could hang a 30-36 inch quilt above it)…..

But back to the quilt!!

One day I was drooling in my local quilt shop and saw this wonderful fabric….

I immediately thought of the term “Winter Blues” and the quilt seed was planted!! If I remember, the pattern came from one of the Trudie Hughes books about template free quilts (my introduction to rotary cutting).

I loved the way it looked……

The quilt was 34 inches square and I made it it 1994….over TWENTY FIVE years ago.

As my kids went thru school, I often did talks to classes about the art of quilting and this quilt was the one that I used to start my presentation. I would start by showing the various shapes of fabrics…..

…..and then show how these shapes were used to form the different blocks…..

I was younger back then!!!

…..and then I could show them a quilt that contained a four-patch…..

….flying geese…..

…..puss in the corner…..

….and square in a square……

The quilt is proudly displayed every January…..

….and makes a great start to the new year!!!

State of the Studio – 2020

Every year on December 31st, I stop and look back over the work that has happened (or not happened) in my studio during the year.

Although 2020 was tough in many respects and we suffered disappointments with trips and other events being cancelled, it was an amazing year for the Studio!!

First of all, it gained about 75% more space. The before and after photos say it all…..

Now I find it really hard to believe that I was able to create anything at all in the space that I had previously!!

And then came the addition of Julio……

He has really spiced up my quilting!!

I have had a bunch of finishes this year…..

I made two tops for charity quilts…..

Three tops for Quilts of Valor…..

….and lots of hours practicing quilting on various charity quilts..

I moved one quilt from the UFO bin to the trash can and haven’t thought twice about doing it!!!!

I have spent a LOT of time working with Ruler Quilting and am super happy with the advancements that I have made in my skill level…..

I shared my studio with several people during the year and had fun teaching Kaitlyn to quilt…..

I have designed two new quilts and almost have a pattern ready for one of those…..

Probably the biggest change in 2020 has been the establishment of my brand…..FrancesQuilts, complete with new logo….

I have published 248 Blog Posts, including daily posts since July 21st and have produced 28 instructional videos.

When I look back over the year, part of me feels that I should have completed more projects, but I am honestly proudest of the “FrancesQuilts” portion of the year. From comments that I have heard, I believe that I have been able to provide information, inspiration, assistance and encouragement to quilters around the world, and that is about as exciting as it gets!!

…..And there are lots more exciting things in the works for 2021. Come back tomorrow for those!!

So as we HAPPILY say goodbye to 2020, here’s wishing you a wonderful New Year’s Eve…..

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