We are currently living in the San Joaquin Valley of Central California. We’ve been here a little over two years and are slated to move on to the next place we’ll call home in 2015. It’s taken this DC Metro girl a while to get used to living out in the country but when I see views like the Sierra Nevada’s at sunrise and the light shining on the agriculture in the area, I have to step back and enjoy it.
Just last weekend I was taking Hubby to the airport for another work trip. It was the 5 am hour and the sun was rising over the mountains and lighting up the valley. That light was magical on the raisin groves along Rte. 43. This was also the weekend of the first “Super Moon” of 2014 and that moon was gloriously big, just hanging out in a deep blue sky. The colors were so eye-catching that I kept looking away from the road and turning my head to the left to remember the colors I was seeing.
When I got home from dropping Hubby off at the airport, and before going back to bed, I pulled fabrics from my stash that represented the colors I had enjoyed so much during that morning’s sunrise.
Later that day I went to work on what to make with the fabric pull I had on my cutting table. I have always loved the “Ohio Star” block and I thought it would be a great block to repeat with these different shades of greens, blues, creams and whites. Originally I had thought I would place the colors in stars of each block but after some more thought I really liked the idea of using the blues and greens as the frame for the stars in each block. I’m glad that idea came to me because I really love how that came to fruition.
Next I decided I would make the blocks nine inches finished and drew out the layout of four across and five down. Soon I was pressing and cutting my fabrics and creating an assembly line of organized fabrics per block.
Over the next couple of days I sewed the blocks together in stages. I always use Aurifil thread when piecing, quilting and whatevering. It’s what the local quilt shop sold and I just love it. I had my bobbins wound and got started on piecing my blocks. When making multiples of one block I prefer an assembly line set up for assembly. I can get bored when working on the same thing over and over again so this process allows for me to accomplish a lot fairly quickly. I’m more likely to stay excited about the project if I see progress sooner than later. Because of this “problem” I have been drawn to Block of the Month programs and samplers because I’m making a different block each time. Variety is the spice of life, they say!
The next set of photos are of the different stages of making the blocks and how I approach things. I love making quarter square triangles, mostly because of the little waste they produce compared to half square triangles. I always keep my work space very tidy and organized. When I’m done cutting my fabrics I refold them and put them away. I’m very mechanical in my sewing process and I am quick. I still measure twice and cut once but in the end its fabric and if I make a mistake I can cut it again, depending on the pattern of course. We all know that the famous “Swoon” pattern doesn’t allow for cutting mistakes when using fat quarters.
Now that all the blocks were made, I squared up the ones that needed it and began designing the layout on my design wall. I wanted the quilt to reflect the scene that inspired it so I placed the darker and more vibrant greens along the bottom of the design wall. I placed the dark blues at the top and then I filled the space in between with the blending blues and greens. I loved I how the white and cream stars popped against the colors and the size was just right. The quilt, including the border measures out at 42″ x 52″. It’s a small throw size and perfect for the couch if I’m not sharing.
I was also strategic with how large, or small, I made this quilt because I wanted to quilt it myself on one of my home machines. Quilting is not my favorite part of the quilt making process but I’m getting better at it and it is becoming less daunting. I used a wonderful Amy Butler print from her “Lark” line that I thought represented the pink colors of the sky during sunrises. Last night I used the Instagram hashtag #fridaynightsewalong and got to work. With the support of my IG friends (Hi guys!!) I got the quilting done in a couple of hours. I just want to get it done and over with so I put the sewing machine’s stitch speed on high and put the pedal to the metal.
I quilted a kind of wave stiple and kept it smaller than I thought I would but I liked how it was turning out. I changed up the quilting design in the borders and made loops. I’m not a great quilter but I’m less and less afraid of how things will turn out.
This morning I pieced the binding with the white and cream fabrics I used in the quilt top and machine stitched it onto the front. I just finished hand stitching the binding on the back this evening. The ultimate tester of my quilts is Rocky, our Cocker Spaniel. I think it passed! I’m pretty thrilled that I got this little quilt from inspiration and conception to completion in eight days. Tomorrow Hubby flies home and before I pick him up at the airport I have to clean the kitchen, dust and vacuum. I’ve been busy this week! LOL!