Wonky Stars

Gray comma wonky star

Lately, I’ve had a lot of small projects to check off my list: mug rugs, single quilt blocks, craft sale items. So I was looking for a simple, easy pattern that would work for all these things. Enter the wonky star.

I’ve seen this pattern around for a long time but never had a chance to try it. So I did a quick search online for a tutorial and came up with this one from The Silly BooDilly and combined it with another tutorial to get a block that is about 9 inches square.

The first wonky star I made was for the Cincinnati Modern Quilt Guild’s Quilts of Valor quilt. We were all asked to make a red, white and blue block that measured between 8 and 12 inches and featured some sort of star.

Quilt of Valor block wonky star

I ended up re-doing several of the pieces of this block for two reasons: 1. I was having a hard time keeping all the background pieces going in the same direction (darn my visual spatial issues) and 2. I made some of the wonkiness too wonky and the points would get cut off when the block was pieced with other ones. Also, as an aside, it turns out I have very little red and white fabric and only some blue—it made making a patriot block a bit tough.

Next, I decided to go a little less challenging. This time, in a mug rug that I’ll include in a craft sale for the CMQG, I went with a solid background, solid center and some Kaffe Fassett fabric for the punch. Because the center is solid and needed something a little extra, I tried my hand at quilting a square spiral design.

Orange wonky star

The final mug rug I wanted to make was for my sister Carrie for an auction to benefit a library organization she is a member of. Having some nice success with the solids, I decided to try a patterned background again, using the comma fabric I had used in the first mug rug I made for her. I think this one is my favorite. I really like the subtle colors and then the pop of orange in the binding.

Gray comma wonky star


Museum Inspiration

WCHCOn a lark, Greg and I drove up to Lebanon, Ohio, this past Saturday to go to the Warren County History Center. I had read that there was an exhibit of Kings Island (the local amusement park) memorabilia there, so we went to check it out.

Once we got into the museum, we found it to be quite large. The volunteer gave us an overview of what we’d find there and then left us to wander. One of the special exhibits going on was inspired by Downton Abbey. It was a collection of 1900-1920s clothing, accessories and shoes from a prominent local family. Yay! I love clothing exhibits!

WCHC black dressI love the lace sleeves on this beaded gown.

WCHC velvet hatThis velvet hat is something I totally would have worn.

WCHC loud dressThe written description of this dress said it was made of loud fabric for the time. I couldn’t help but think of my Mom and her “loud” fabric choices.

WCHC WWI uniformGreg liked the bag that was a part of the WWI uniform. I took lots of photos—we’ll see if I can make one for him.

WCHC Kings IslandThe Kings Island exhibit was a bit underwhelming. There were several collectible plates, some pamphlets and tickets, and short write-ups on long-gone rides. And this poster, which I thought was great.

The museum also included a lot old household items, donated by families around the county.

WCHC embroideryI love the texture of this embroidered piece, and the mix of French knots and scribbled lines.

WCHC hair wreathAny small museum worth its salt is going to have some hair wreaths, and this museum had several. The detail on this one was outstanding. There was also some really nice hair jewelry.

WCHC velvet pillowMore velvet here. I couldn’t touch this pillow, so I’m not entirely sure how it was constructed. But it looks like velvet pieces were puffed and gathered and then sewn together.

WCHC plateNot a great shot here, either, but I really like the mix of alphabet and birds on this plate. The blue band separating the two was beautiful. I could see making a quilt kind of like this.

WCHC WrightThe museum had a fairly large collection of Russel Wright pieces. A Lebanon native, Wright was an industrial designer from the 1920s to the 1960s with a distinctly modern style. He designed dinner ware, like these pieces, and furniture, too.

In addition to all these items, there was a large section on Shaker history and an exhibit on the county’s involvement in the Underground Railroad (because I’m still on that kick).

I think the Warren County History Center is really a great little museum. We were there for over an hour and a half, and that’s with me only looking at the Shaker items, not reading anything. A fun way to spend an afternoon and a great place to find inspiration!

Quilt Show and Mug Rugs

This past weekend, I went with Heather Jones to spend the day manning the Cincinnati Modern Quilt Guild booth at a quilt show in Louisville. The show asked the guild to contribute some quilts as well as, so between the booth and show, we were very well represented. (Here’s a link to the CMQG blog post about the event with lots of photos of our quilts.)

I contributed my good ol’ String Quilt #2 that I had made last year. And as luck would have it, I was able to show it off to one of the two ladies who inspired the quilt! Virginia Baker, co-author of String Quilt Revival, the book from which I got the pattern for the quilt, just happened to have a booth at the show, too.

Virginia Baker in Louisville

Me and Virginia Baker, co-author of String Quilt Revival.

She spotted me walking the show, and I was so glad she did! It’s always great to catch up with my former authors and see what they’re working on now. In the case of Ginger and her co-author and sister Bobbie, it’s seven new patterns. I love this new one titled Wedged. I just can’t seem to get enough of string quilts.


While at the booth, I had some time to do a little handwork, so I finished up the binding on two mug rugs I have been working on.

The first one is for my sister Carrie, a librarian, to donate to a library association fundraiser. I found a few fabrics I liked that evoked “library” or at least “words,” and the pattern is one from the book Modern Blocks by Susanne Woods. It measures 11.5″ square.

Comma star mug rug

The second one is an improv block I made after fussy-cutting some teapot fabric. This one measures 8.5″ x 10″. It’ll either be the second mug rug Carrie donates to the fundraiser, or it will be the one I bring to the September CMQG mug rug swap.

teapot mug rug

I’ve got one more mug rug to go by next week, then I’ll need to figure out my next project!