Stars for Stephanie

Stars for Stephanie 2 Stars for Stephanie 1

The Knoxville Modern Quilt Guild recently put out a call to help them honor one of their founding members, Stephanie Hicks, who had passed away in February from cancer. They named the project Stars for Stephanie and asked that people from all over make Stephanie’s favorite block, the wonky star, in solids of all her favorite colors. This post on their blog lays out all the details and even includes color swatches to help you pick your fabrics. They’ll take all the blocks they receive and make them into quilts to donate to cancer patients.

So this weekend, I made up two blocks to contribute. Stephanie’s favorite colors are mine, too, so I had plenty of solids in my stash to choose from. The only color I didn’t have was cream, which I must have run out of somewhere along the line.

The tutorial they recommend using is super easy to follow, and it makes wonky squares large enough that I was able to trim them down to size with no problem.

All the wonky star blocks are due to the Knoxville guild on April 18, 2015, so there’s still time to make up a few if you’re interested in participating. And if you’re a member of the Cincinnati Modern Quilt Guild, we’ll be collecting the blocks at the April meeting so that we can send them all at one time.

Good luck to the KMQG on this project—what a wonderful way to honor a quilting friend.

 

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I Finally Tried Pieced Curves!

Blue and gray curved piecingI started making quilts more than twenty years ago, and I’ve been making them with passion for about ten of those years. For that entire time, I’ve skillfully avoided pieced curves. It always seemed like sewing a straight seam and getting everything to match was challenging enough. But last month at the Cincinnati Modern Quilt Guild meeting, our education chairperson, Brooke, gave a talk on pieced curves (and reverse applique, both as ways to sew circles). More than just show us how, she issued a challenge for us to try either or both of the techniques and bring our work to the March meeting.

So this past weekend, I pieced my heart out. Brooke demonstrated the technique with templates and pieces that were probably about 5 and 6 inches wide. Once home, I decided to just pull a template from one of my books and found some that were 2.5 and 3.5 inches wide. That’s quite a bit smaller, it turns out.

I cut the pieces in blues and grays thinking that, if the piece turned out, I could make it into a pillow for our front room.

Curved piecing 1

Next came the pinning. Just like every tutorial I’ve read, Brooke stressed the importance of pinning the pieces. With the concave (larger) piece on top, I placed seven pins around each tiny, tiny arc. I started in the center, pinned the sides, and then filled in the rest.

Curved piecing 2Curved piecing 3

The little guys didn’t come close to laying flat. Which made them extra scary to sew. But like Brooke and all the written tutorials suggested, I sewed slowly around each one. And then I pressed the seam allowance to the concave side.

Curved piecing 4

Watching the pieces flatten out as I was pressing them was like witnessing a miracle. Who would have thought that misshapen mass of pins and fabric would ever lay flat?

Blue and gray curved piecing

Obviously I have some perfecting to do—I’ve got some tucks in the concave pieces and my circles aren’t exactly round. But I’m pretty happy for it being my first try. And I do believe I’ll try it again, probably with larger pieces, just to see if that truly makes it easier, as I suspect it would.

Click here to read the minutes from the February CMQG meeting that include Brooke’s demonstrations, with step-by-step photos.