Friday, August 30, 2013

Finish it up Friday!

We we have a big grand opening at our clinic tomorrow and on top of that, last sunday Mateo and I got caught in the rain on the bike so I am very under the weather this week. I stayed home resting and of course, sewing!

I finished up the tutorial that I have been wanting to put together and finished up two Star quilts that I have been working on. The red and Blue one is for a raffle for the Doula program and the grey one I made for the tutorial so it might go to the school raffle in a few weeks. Here's a pic of the two together. Please see the tutorial if you would like to see the process pics.

I have one more WIP that I just didn't quite finish. This sweet Rainbow Morning Star quilt is only the second bed size quilt that I have free motion quilted at home! I'm so excited that I tried a new all-over pattern and it looks decent! It was getting dark but I still just had to update.

Anyway- so liberated by the idea that I can get good enough to FMQ  my own quilts. My new sewing set up helps so much with the clamps and the set-in machine. Well, off to sew the binding on this star then go over to the clinic and help get the birth room ready for our open house tomorrow!  Have a great weekend quilty folks!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

My first tutorial! Strip Pieced Star Quilts

So this is my first tutorial so I hope that I put it together in a way that is helpful. I love making lone Star Quilts. I make them in all sizes, with extra diamonds, in solids and prints. I also make Lone Stars right out of my scrap bins. Those made from scrap strips come out the best because I have to work with the fabric that I have and I end up putting them together differently than if I had more fabric to choose from! I have several strip bundles that I sort for Lone Stars from the scrap bins!

The first thing you need to do is decide how big you want your Star to be. The size of the star itself is determined by two things: 1) The size of the strips you cut, and the number of diamonds in the star. For this tutorial, I cut 2 inch strips and I chose 11 colors. This Star will end up being about 43-44 inches point to point. The number of colors or fabrics has to be an odd number to create the diamond.

When you are preparing your strips you will need one strip of the first, two strips of the second, three strips of the third, four strips of the fourth, five strips of the fifth fabric, six of the center fabric and then decrease down by one from there so five strips of the seventh, four strips of the eighth fabric, three of the ninth, two of the tenth, and one of the eleventh. Here you can see that I have my strips laid out. Remember that the center fabric has the most strips but is not the center of the star. The center fabric (the one with the most strips) actually ends up to be the largest ring. The color/fabric with just one strip will be the point of your diamond making either the center or the points of the star, depending on how you piece it. That took me awhile to remember where the fabrics actually get placed.

Then the next thing that you will do is create six piles of strips starting the first through the sixth, then the second through the seventh, then the third through the eighth, then the fourth through the ninth, the fifth through the tenth and lastly the sixth through the eleventh.

Sew them together with 1/4" seam allowance.

Make sure to start the next strip slightly below the last one so it is staggered because you will be cutting at 45 degrees.

So you will end up with six strip sets. Mine looked like this.

Press each one very well because you don't get to press again until after you put the background fabric in the corners of the Star because of how delicate the bias cuts are on the diamonds. When you press, alternate directions on each set. So press towards the first fabric then the next press towards the last fabric and alternate that way so that your seams sit nicely.
 After you press these strips very well, it is time to cut again. You are going to cut at a 45 degree angle at two inch widths. You need to have at least eight because we are making an eight pointed star. When you cut you'll see that you will have more than eight. I just cut them all and save the extras for a scrappy star or binding later.

Then after you have cut all six strip sets at least into eight 2 inch 45 degree strips, then you are ready to pull one of each six strips to create your diamond.
 When you do sew the strips together to make the diamonds, you will have to be careful to allow for the 1/4 inch that it needs to line up the seams. So its hard to see in the pic but there is a quarter inch between the seams.
 It is much easier to do when the allowance happens to be pressed towards the seam you're matching up but that only happens some of the time.

 So here is what I ended up with- eight beautiful diamonds ready to complete a lone Star!
 My diamonds stacked at the machine ready to get assembled.
 When you put the diamonds together, you line up the seams exactly to each other.
 I will add more in a bit to finish explaining how I do the Y seams and cut the background squares and triangles. You can do this same process with 5, 7, 9, 11, or 13 (or any odd number) fabrics/colors. You can also cut your strips to be different widths that will change the size of the diamonds. But then when you go to cut the strip sets, you will cut them at 45 degrees at whatever width you chose. You can also email me at if you have any questions.

Here is the completed top

And getting quilted

Close up of the quilting. It was the first time that I did an all-over pattern on a Star.

 The finished Quilt! It ended up measuring 45 inch square

 Just to show you how you can size your star- here's another I finished today that measures 43 1/2 inch square

And here is a pic with the two together so that you can see how the size is determined by the number and width of the diamonds. The grey star is 11 fabrics at 2 inch widths and the red and blue star is 7 fabrics cut at 2 1/2 inch widths but they are similar in size.

For another example of sizing- this star was done with 7 fabrics and cut at 1 1/2 inch widths and ended up being a 23 in square

What I am working on this week...

This is the Raffle Quilt for La Tierra Montessori. After the strips were pieced and sitting around the sewing room for months, I finally cut and pieced the diamonds and did the Y seams this morning. I went around about the background and used a dark grey that wound up looking beautiful!

This is what it looked like for months when the strips were just hanging around.

This little Lone Star quilt is for the raffle at the Gathering for Mother Earth this year for the Doula Program. Both these raffle lovelies are getting basted today.

I also cannot get enough of making these adorable bags. This is my long arm supplies bag that I bring with me when I rent the long arm in Albuquerque. (except for the bag with the clips, those are for doing binding at home)

And these are the lunchbags that I made for the kids this year

I also chose the colors for the Baby lone star that I am making for Oren and Vanessa who are 31 weeks pregnant so I better keep moving on this one. I chose super saturated rainbow colors just like she asked for! 

And lastly, Nilah's Flower Fairy Quilt went out the door (without a pic sadly cause the kids were late for the bus)  this morning for Nilah's 6th birthday!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Jose's Giveaway

This is a little show and tell of a couple of the gifts I created for Ze's birthday meeting. Ze asked to have a tipi meeting for his 8th birthday. His Uncle Victor ran the meeting for him and this is Victor's Morning Star Quilt:

This is Carrie's cushion.

The stack of giveaway piling up the this week. I ended up not being able to go in so Malaya did the giveaway for me which was really sweet.

It was a super beautiful meeting and Jose got a super special birthday prayer. Thank you everyone who supported us!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

For a Very Loved Baby

It has been a long while since I have even logged on to this blog. My life has been filled with work and kids and summertime fun and I am happy to say that it is winding down. School clothes and shoes are gotten, Bus routes are figured out, and haircuts are the last thing left to do before the kids are ready to go again.

This summer, my dear old friend became a mom. I have known my fiend Sarah Jane for over twenty years. We have lived and traveled together, walked across the country together, and joined the circus together. Now we are moms together. Even though she lives only 30 minutes, we don't see each other much and I don't expect that to change even with the kids. But regardless, my heart is so warmed knowing how much she wanted to be a mother. After losing pregnancies and partners and all the ups and downs of queer pregnancy and adoption, her little one is in her arms finally at 42 years old. Single mom by choice and I have never seen her happier. This was one of the most gratifying quilts I have gotten to make yet.

Joaquin's Morning Star

Joaquin's peace crane on the back (Number 48)

Joaquin's monring star getting basted

Mama Sarah Jane and sweet Joaquin. Match made in heaven!