Thursday, September 15, 2016


Stardate 2016.259.01

Sometimes we all need a bit of a break, even from the things we love to do.  After being so focused for the first 8-months of the year, trying to get quilts done for various deadlines, I think I just needed to have some down time.  Seems a common theme, as I’ve read others’ blogs.  My “break” came in the form of taking a trip for a relative’s wedding.  Now, while I spent much of my vacation helping out with the wedding, it was time spent away from feeling that I had another quilting deadline to meet.  That break helped my brain calm down and re-focus on some of the various projects that I’d put on hold.  When I came back to my quilting, I found myself finding a happy place again. 

Finally I’ve been able to get time in to play, an oh what a smile it put on my face.
Being inspired by the likes of Victoria Findlay Wolfe and her suggestion that we spend 15-minutes “playing” by just piecing scraps together got me to start working on this fun-filled 6-pointed star.

One scrappy star which I'm currently auditioning background fabrics to use.  (This just makes me smile!)

Now, while the technique really is not really new, it does let the mind just relax and produces some fun combinations.  I have antique quilts  - one of my aunt’s and one from my husband’s grandparents – which both used the sewing together of scraps to make larger pieces of which to cut shapes to make into a quilt block.  So, here’s how I created the scrappy pieces…

Start with a bag of scraps, and pick out any scrap you like.  I grabbed this red triangle…that’s my start.

Then, I grabbed this fun black-and-white fabric that would easily combine with the red scrap.  Sew one side, then press. (I used a standard 1/4" seam) 

Go back into your scraps and pick another…and stitch away.  Each time, it helps to set the seam with the iron, then press the fabric to one side.

I gave this a quick audition and I liked it, so I attached the hot pink scrap to the red & black scrap pieces.

Trim off the seam to be a ¼” seam.  Now, just keep on going until you have enough scraps sewn together to cut a piece for the block. My tip is this - don't spend too much time "auditioning" scraps to use; the more spontaneous, the better.

Just tidying up the seam allowance to the 1/4" standard.  

If you happen to get a wonky edge, then just create yourself a straight line by trimming the piece were necessary.   That’s what I did here.  I had an L-shape and I just cut off a chunk to eliminate the L-shape.

I had a wonky edge where the red scrap and the retro scrap came together in almost an "L" shape.
So, I lopped off the pieces to give me a straight edge to add a new scrap to.  

I had enough scraps sewn together to cut the block piece.  In this, I’m cutting a 5 ½” diamond using Jaybird’s quilt ruler (that makes it really easy).   While you are working on positioning the ruler on the scrappy fabric before cutting, be aware of where the points land; you want the points not to land directly on a seam.  So, take your time and just be aware of where you are placing the ruler, before you cut.  Kind of like the old adage, “Measure twice, cut once”. 
You can see where I sewed the pink scrap to the wonky edge which I cut (above).
Now, I have a large enough piece of fabric, so I can cut the piece I want for my star.

Once you have the diamond cut, you’re one-sixth of the way there.  Now, keep on going…

So, here's one-sixth of the next star that I'll assemble.
This is so fun and spontaneous that you just don't know how it's going to turn out. 

I’ll work on getting the star sewn together, but, I’m still trying to decide if I want a patterned background or not.  I’m leaning towards “not”, because I don’t want the block to become too busy, and if I use a solid background, the emphasis really focuses on the scrappy stars.  We’ll see where I land.

I’m having so much fun with this technique.  One piece of advice – and why I understand Victoria says to just take 15 minutes to play – seriously, after 15 minutes, your spontaneity fades and you find yourself naturally trying to “match” fabrics.  By just playing for 15 minutes or so, you focus less on that need to match fabrics and you actually wind up with something very spontaneous and energetic.  

Hope you try this sometime...and have as much fun as I'm having.

Linking up with friends at the various link parties on the right.

Keep Calm and Quilt On