Sunday, September 7, 2014

Liberated Stars - Tutorial

I was on vacation this week.  Actually a staycation..  but none the less anytime at home, without the commute and headaches of work is definitely a VACATION.  So I did quite a bit of sewing (of course - duh!) and some entertaining and some general relaxing.  In fact, right now I am sitting on the deck with a bottle, I mean a glass - LOL, of wine.  My last hurrah before work and reality hits tomorrow.  It is a gorgeous late summer day here.
One of the projects I worked on and finished this week was a table runner from the Liberated Star blocks I have been making.  I grabbed 5 blocks, sewed them together and added a piano key type border to each of the long sides. 
 I machine quilted around each block and then big-stitch hand quilted in black cotton around each star and in the center.  I love the colors and motion that all these fabrics create when they come together.
A couple of people have asked about these blocks... so here we go - a quick (I hope) tutorial on how they are made.
My blocks are 9" finished.  So to start, I need to cut 8) 3 1/2" squares for my background (the blue fabric pictured here), and 4) 4" squares, cut in half to make 8 triangles (the red print fabric).  I also need  1) 3 1/2" square out of the red fabric for the star center.
Now, here is the fun and liberating part.   Put that triangle at an angle across one of the background fabric squares.  Sew with a 1/4" seam allowance from the edge of the triangle.
Trim away the excess fabric from the corner of the square.  Press the triangle toward the seam allowance.

Add the second triangle on the opposite side of the background square, again using a 1/4" seam allowance.  No matching seams, no right or wrong angle or placement.  Liberating!   I usually string piece these and do the blocks "assembly line style".
Star production line!  It goes really fast.

Again, trim and press.
Now I need to trim my blocks down to 3 1/2" square.
With the blocks trimmed, I can now start sewing them into rows with the other 3 1/2" square blocks that I originally cut.
The rows go together easily using a 1/4" seam allowance.  Next, I sew the rows together!
My Liberated Star block is complete!  See how the points of the star vary.
Before I know it, my star block is joined by the other star blocks I was working on!  It's a small constellation! LOL  Can you imagine how fun these would be in pastels or brights for a baby?
You can vary the size - as you can see with the 6" stars I did just for fun!
These were done with 2 1/2" background squares and 3" squares cut diagonally into triangles.
They are addictive!!  Right now I am up to 48 blocks!!  I think I need a quilters intervention!
Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Trip to Lancaster, PA

I'm a little late posting about this short trip to Lancaster, PA that my DH & I took last week for our wedding anniversary.  It is about a 2 1/2 hour trip from our home in Northwestern New Jersey down to the beautiful farmland of Lancaster County, PA.  We have been going there for years and thought it would be a nice get away for a couple of days.  Of course, as anyone who lives in the Eastern PA, New Jersey, Delaware knows, there is an abundance of quilt shops in the area. Yah!!
My first stop was at Zook's Fabrics in Intercourse, PA.  A huge a selection of fabrics, friendly staff, great prices.  Most fabrics are $8.49 or less a yard.  And these are current fabrics.  They even have a large selection of sale fabrics in the back of the quilt fabric section.  
Almost directly across the street is The Old Country Store.  I have been shopping at this store for 25+ years.  Last year the store was closed (much to everyone's disappointment!!!)  It is a beautiful shop in a historic building.  Thankfully someone bought the shop in May and it reopened. 
They also have an awesome online store - great prices and really fast service.  (I don't get a commission - just love promoting great fabric websites!)
You can see a railing in the lower right of this picture where the local Amish hitch their buggys.
If you are in Intercourse, PA you have to stop at this shop - the selection is amazing and again, the prices are mostly under $9.00 a yard.  They graciously allowed me to take a photo of part of the quilt shop.  They also sell finished quilts and wonderful gifts in the front of the store.  The second floor houses a quilt museum with free admission.  A must see!
We also visited Village Quilts, directly across from the Old Country Store in the Kitchen Kettle Village.  While this is not a quilt store, they have beautiful finished quilts and quilted gifts for sale. 
Friday morning we headed down to the Central Market in downtown Lancaster.  This is the oldest continually run farmer's market in the United States.  I wish I could share all the delightful aromas and wonderful sights that this market had to offer.
The produce, spices, teas, cheeses and meats were wonderful!  Another must see!
So of course you are asking, "Where's the Fabric???" LOL  I got mostly half yard cuts of some great contemporary fabrics.... and a few reproductions. :-)  My DH was so patient - 4 quilt shops in total over 2 days.  What a guy!!  He really knows how it indulge my passion for fabric!
We had a great time!  Greetings from Kitchen Kettle Village!!
Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Design Wall Wednesday

Just a quick update on what is happening on my design wall lately.  I feel like I have really been neglecting my blog lately.
 I have been working on the Liberated Star blocks.  Some new additions to the design wall.  I am not sure when I am going to stop... I just love making these fun and colorful stars.  I currently have about 30 blocks done.  They measure 9 inches finished.
No longer on the design wall, but I did finish the table topper from 4 of these blocks.  I big stitched with black perle cotton around each star and inside the center square. 
Looks great on our coffee table.
And... a table runner for a gal at work who just bought her first house.  Her kitchen cabinets are painted that teal color, the walls are the avocado green and tan.  Nice!
And last, but not least, some funky houses on an antique cutter quilt background,
Tomorrow is our 32nd wedding anniversary.
Happy Anniversary, Sweetie!

Friday, August 15, 2014

RSC - August is Bright & Light Green!

The color of the month for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is bright and light green.  I love green! It is the color of nature, Spring, and the color that I seem to have the most of in my stash!  Remember this is the Rainbow STASH Challenge for me!  So it was great to dig out any light greens that were fresh, modern and bright.
Here are my green blocks for this month.  Just love the fabrics in these blocks!  Green can be both vibrant and soothing. 
Close ups of the individual blocks
Our master bedroom is painted a soothing light green.  So pretty - I never get tired of it.
For those of you who may have noticed that I didn't post my July red blocks - here they are!
Have a great weekend!  We are having company - my brother, my sister-in-law, my cousin & his girlfriend are coming for a visit.  So I won't be stitching much, spending more time in the kitchen and relaxing on the deck with them!
Happy Stitching!


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