Crystal Quilters Block of the Month: Sew Many Stars! Block #2: Four Star

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Welcome back for our second block, the Four Star block!  I’m introducing this block early on in the sew along so that you have time to make FIVE of them and not feel rushed.  Make them all at once or make another one with each successive block unveiling; it’s up to you!

Crystal Quilters BOM Christmas Four Star Block

 

Download the block pattern here: Sew Many Stars BOM Pattern_Block 2 Four Star

If you’re posting your block to Instagram, please make sure to tag it with #crystalquiltersbom (if you’re a member of the guild) and #sewmanystarsquilt so we can find your blocks!

Happy Sewing!

CRYSTAL QUILTERS BLOCK OF THE MONTH: SEW MANY STARS! Block #1: Sarah’s Choice

CQ BOM Main

Hello friends, and welcome to the first block of our quilt along!

Our first block is called “Sarah’s Choice”:

Sarah's Choice Block

UPDATE: There was an error in the pattern when first published.  Fabric C square should be 7 3/4″, NOT 7 1/4″.  I apologize for the typo.
Download the updated pattern here: Sew Many Stars BOM Pattern_Block 1 Sarah’s Choice

If you’re posting your block to Instagram, please make sure to tag it with #crystalquiltersbom (if you’re a member of the guild) and #sewmanystarsquilt so we can find your blocks!

Happy Sewing!

Crystal Quilters Block of the Month: Sew Many Stars! Introduction

I’m in charge of my quilt guild’s block of the month for 2020, and then the pandemic happened and we haven’t met to pass out the information, so I’m going to post it on my blog and let it go out into the world.  I put together a somewhat simple quilt for this sew along, mostly because 1.) It’s my first time being in charge of a block of the month and I figure it’s better to go a little simple your first time ’round, and 2.) This block of the month is starting a little late in the year and I wanted it to be able to end by December, so fewer blocks makes for a quicker quilt.

Behold: Sew Many Stars!

Crystal Quilters BOM Christmas

I have a sincere love for the humble Sawtooth Star block; I love its simple beauty and I love that you can practice getting technically better at a lot of piecing skills with it–flying geese, matching seams, and not cutting off your corners.  It also lends itself to a lot of creative uses because you can swap out the center square for another quilt block, which I’ve done throughout this quilt.

Crystal Quilters BOM RW&B

Because we’re getting a later start, we’ll power pack the schedule for the first little bit, which means the schedule is as follows:

End of April: Introduction (this post)
May 1: Block #1
May 15: Block #2
June 5: Block #3
June 19: Block #4
July 3: Block #5
August 7: Block #6
September 4: Block #7
October 2: Block #8
November 6: Block #9
December 4: Finishing Instructions

Crystal Quilters BOM Rainbow

I’ve mocked it up in a few different colorways, because it’s makes me happy to do that, but I’m also including an outline version, in case you want to print it off and do a little coloring of your own:

Crystal Quilters BOM Outline

This quilt will measure approximately 64.5 x 64.5 inches.

I’ll include some yardage estimates, but your particular colorway could change your specifics:

Background fabric: 2 – 2+1/4 yards
Sashing: 7/8 yard
Border and sashing squares: 3/4 – 1 yard
Assortment of prints for individual blocks

I’m looking forward to what everyone sews up!

You can keep up-to-date on the Crystal Quilters Quilt Guild on their blog, Facebook, and Instagram (new!).

 

Florabelle Hexie Stripe Quilt for Blank Quilting

It’s an odd-numbered month (and an odd month, in all honesty…), which meant some fabric headed my way from Blank Quilting.  This month’s fabric collection for me was the absolutely gorgeous Florabelle collection, which is a seven piece (plus panel) collection designed by Color Pop Studio.  I’d had my eye on it since I noticed it’d be going out in March, and I was so pleased when it showed up on my doorstep!

 

Blank Quilting also included one-yard cuts of four colors of their Jot Dot prints, and a couple of weeks later a box arrived from Air-Lite Manufacturing, containing a twin-sized poly-cotton batting and a swatch card for their four different types of batting.  (I really want to give their cotton double-loft a try in the future! It feels ah-mazing.)

I decided to sew this all up with the Hexie Stripes pattern by Suzy Quilts, adding two borders of Jot Dot to increase its size.  I’d not used a quilting ruler that wasn’t squared-edged before, and I ended up slicing off the tip of one of my fingers just a few cuts into using my awesome new triangle ruler!  Goodness.  It wasn’t a horrific injury, but it did take about a week before I could do anything without aggravating the gauze-wrapped injury.  I re-embarked upon the quilt’s construction and made slow, but steady, progress just as news broke of a confirmed case of COVID-19 in Washington State.  I upped my efforts just in case we ended up with some sort of government lockdown order, and got it into the mail to the quilter as fast as I could.

Ashley of Hen House Quilting got it quilted up and back into the mail right before the Stay Home – Stay Healthy Proclamation was put into effect, so yay, it got back to me in its quilted glory in time to finish it up before the end of the month! THIS QUILT HAS SUCH GREAT STORIES ALREADY.

And because we’re on lockdown I was rather limited with my photography locations, so these photos were taken by my daughter’s high school because it was pretty enough and there were no people around.  (We all have to make sacrifices, my friends.)

The quilt itself is a nice, warm quilt, thanks to that poly-cotton batting.  My cat, Quesnel, has deemed it a good quilt and spent the afternoon in my lap.  Many memes were created as a result, which I’m sharing because they make me laugh:

Thank you, Blank Quilting, for the opportunity to work with such a pretty collection!  It’s made such a pretty quilt!  (I do have plans to turn the panel into a wall hanging for my craft room, but it got pushed to the side with all the craziness that was March!)

At the End of Week #2 of COVID-19 School Closures

We are now 1/3 of the way through the initial school closures here in Washington State, and are now enjoying the escalated “Stay Home” measures that were announced this week by the governor, dictating that we not leave our houses unless there’s an essential need (groceries, medical, etc.).

The kids are doing really great with their online learning, and I actually learned that their school district is one of TWO that made the immediate jump to online learning for the school closures.  Cue the “I’m so glad we moved into this particular house” gratitude.  We get to walk down to the bus stop each morning to pick up the school lunch deliveries (practicing safe social distancing of course), and I get to have a quick chat with some of my neighborhood mom friends, so we don’t feel completely socially isolated.  It’s not that bad, actually.

Crafting-wise, I basically just sewed up medical masks this week.  Not exciting at all, and a little anger-inducing because all I can think about while I’m sewing these up is how frustrating it is that we don’t have enough medical supplies on-hand for something of this nature, despite the fact that scientists have been warning us for years that we were historically due for a pandemic of some sort.  And then my thoughts wander down more angry roads, and I just end up steaming mad about lots of things.  So…no, I don’t like making medical masks AT ALL.  BUT, I have friends who work in the medical field and one of them texted yesterday asking if I had made any because her hospital really needs some, so I drove the twenty I’d made over to her house and left them on her doorstep.  I guess I’ll need to make more, but I need a break before I go back to them.

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I’m going to use my “break from the masks” to attach the binding to my March Blank Quilting project, which just arrived back from the quilter this week; and I’m starting to work with the “Best Friends Farm” fabric that Jaftex/Henry Glass Fabrics sent me as a bonus for April; and I did my part to support a small business by buying up some yardage of an absolutely gorgeous floral print from Style Maker Fabrics that I’m hoping to turn into a dress by Easter.

 

So, because goals are my self-love love language, I’ll end this with a “Goals for the Next Week” list:

  • Finish the Florabelle Hexie Stripes quilt.  Photograph it and share it online.
  • Finish piecing the individual blocks for the Best Friends Farm quilt.
  • Finish the muslin for my Blue Floral Easter dress.
  • Photograph and share the dress I finished for Renaissance a couple of weeks ago.
  • Move forward in some meaningful way with my sewing pattern database/spreadsheet.  The plan, pre-COVID-19, was to have it completed by the end of the next week or so, but things got way too crazy to keep up with it, so it’s a minor project that’s limping along at the moment.  I’ll worry about it more once things calm down in the future.
The week after next is Spring Break, which means there will be no online learning and schoolwork to keep the kids entertained throughout the day, AND we’ll still be mandated to stay home, so…I guess I should come up with some ideas for that as well.  Any suggestions?

My Farm Girl Vintage quilt is FINALLY FINISHED!


April 4, 2015…almost five years ago.  That was the day I sewed up my first Farm Girl Vintage quilt block. I was three and a half weeks post-op from my back surgery; still in A LOT of pain, but knowing that I needed to get my butt out of bed somehow so I could regain strength and avoid any additional atrophy.  I decided to hold out the carrot of sewing, something I generally didn’t have a lot of time for in my pre-back injury days, to entice me to work through the pain.  Farm Girl Vintage had just been published, the sew along announced, and I wanted to tag along.  I didn’t have a whole lot of experience with making actual quilt blocks—I’d done a lot of English Paper Piecing, some string quilting, and some basic square patchwork up to that point—but I told myself I’d figure it out as I went along.

When I first looked at the specs for making the Wooly Sheep block that day, I almost shelved the book and walked away.  There were twenty-three separate pieces to cut to make that one block, an astronomical number to my newbie quilter mind.  I actually don’t know why I decided to go forward; it spooked me so bad, and I know what my usual response to that kind of shock was at that time…and it was NOT to go forward with it!  However, for whatever forgotten reason, I decided to give it a try.

It took about three hours to make that block, and I remember pinning it on my corkboard and sitting back to look at it and thinking, “I made that, and it looks like the picture in the book!”  I was absolutely chuffed. And, because I had made that one block, I knew I could continue and make all the other blocks in the book.  It was my reason to get out of bed during those months of physical therapy and non-stop pain: If I got through my exercises, I could make a quilt block that day.  Each block also carried the bonus of being able to post its finish on Instagram and then reading through nice comments from my friends.

I didn’t complete the sew along on time because I ended up getting a stress fracture in my foot from being too gung-ho about my physical therapy walks, and then I joined a year-long sewing bee and it was the Year of All the Baby Quilts, so I didn’t actually come back to finish the Farm Girl Vintage blocks until two years later. I finished up the remaining blocks by August of 2017, and then I have no notes about it at all until an Instagram post in March 2018 where I said it only needed its binding. But, my husband was looking for work and we ended up moving a few states away that year, so it sat in a box until just a little while ago when I went on a mad UFO-finishing spree and rediscovered it.  So here we are, two (in total, five) years later, and it is finally complete!

Knowing what I know now about quilting, I was so not ready for this quilt…and yet, it worked out.  There’s a couple of blocks in there that are quite bad (namely, the House and the Canning Jars), but I learned the necessary lessons from them and didn’t make those mistakes again, so the rest of the blocks are fine.  When I come across those particular blocks while I’m sitting under it, I smile and pat them, remembering how frustrated I was with them—and then I’m grateful I pushed on despite my imperfect results.

Don’t wait to make the quilts you want to make!  I had to re-do a number of these seams because they came out insane on the first try, but that’s the awesome thing about sewing: You can almost always rip out a seam and give it another try.  You don’t have to start over (usually), and even if you do, you can usually use the first “failure” block in a different project.  Really, the only true setback is if you run out of a particular fabric, and most of the time you can just buy some more.  Annoyed with yourself that you might be about having to do that, it’s not the end of the world.  (And trust me, just about EVERYONE who makes quilts has had to do that at some point!)

 

I watch new quilters fret about making mistakes, and place limits on themselves and deny themselves the projects that their hearts truly want to make, but you don’t have to do that!  Google tutorials about that kind of pattern, watch YouTube videos about it, read blog posts about beginner quilting tips, but above all, start sewing! And start sewing something you’re going to love!  Who cares if some of the seams are jaggedy?  Who cares if your color choices make you cringe later on?  Guess what?  You’ll learn the lesson and do better on the next one…because there’s always a “next” quilt.

It sits on the big red chair in my craft room and I snuggle underneath it as I read or do some hand sewing.  I’ve banned everyone in this house from ever using it on their beds because this quilt is MINE.  I cut my baby quilter teeth on this quilt.  I will be buried with this quilt.

Narumi Glam Clam Quilt for Blank Quilting

I mentioned a little while ago that I was chosen to be a brand ambassador for Blank Quilting Corporation, and that, from time to time, I’d be sharing some projects made with a new Blank Quilting fabric collection.  I’m excited to share my first such project with you today!


I was provided with the Narumi fabric collection, designed by Nathalie Runghen.  It’s an eleven piece collection, along with a panel, featuring Japanese designs in a palette of red, gray, black, and cream.

As luck would have it, my best friend spent a large amount of her childhood living in Japan, and red and black are amongst her favorite colors.  I decided it was time to make her a quilt!  After a little bit of mulling, I decided to make Latifah Saafir’s 8-inch Glam Clam quilt because the fan print made think that this collection would work well in a clamshell quilt…and now I need to also make a 12-, 10-, and 6-inch Glam Clam quilt, too.  Excellent pattern!

In addition to the Narumi fabric collection, Blank Quilting sent me some yardage of a couple of their basics: a gray shade of Urban Legends, their mottled solid line, which I used in the design, and “Red” from their Eclipse Solids collection, which I used for binding.  I also fussy-cut a little of the panel for a couple of clamshells.  The quilt was skewing too dark, so I added in some white to elevate it.

Ashley of Hen House Quilting quilted it up for me, and I love the design she picked.  I’m a little sad to let this go live at my bestie’s house!  I really, really like how this all turned out.  I adore that wisteria print, and I’m looking forward to what I’m going to make from the cherry blossom and geisha girls prints.  This is a fun collection!

I think it turned out really great! Thank you, Blank Quilting, for granting me this opportunity to work with this gorgeous collection!  Narumi is available in quilt shops now!  I hope you enjoy working with it as much as I have!

Jelly Belly Bars Quilt

That Crafty Cara's Jelly Belly Bars QuiltI just finished sewing up a lovely new pattern from Fat Quarter Shop called the Jelly Belly Bars Quilt.  It’s made from a jolly bar precut and a jelly roll precut, but I went rogue and made mine from a layer cake and, because the fabric I wanted to use for my frames didn’t come in a jelly roll, I hand-cut my frame strips.

Back in October, I posted on Instagram that I really wanted to make a low-volume quilt.  When I started brainstorming about what fabrics to use in my version of the Jelly Belly Bars Quilt, I thankfully remembered that desire and decided to move forward with that look in mind.

Cara Brooke's Jelly Belly Bars QuiltI used Modern Background Colorbox by Zen Chic for my prints, and the frames are Bella Solids in the “Ruby Ice” color (SKU# 9900-169).

My quilt looks a little different from the others you’ll see today because I added an outside border onto mine because the quilt as written finishes at 54.5 x 60″, and I’m just a little taller than average, so I knew it would be just a little too short for me to use it comfortably. I actually had a layer cake of the Modern Background Colorbox, so I just cut it in half and used the second set to piece a border.  Finished size with added border = 63.5 x 69″, which makes for an awesome-sized throw that will cover my toes.

That Crafty Cara's Jelly Belly Bar Quilt

For the backing, I used the “Sky Blue Picnic Basket” print (SKU# 24075-15) from April Rosenthal’s “Orchard” fabric collection.  I then bound the quilt with some more Bella Solids “Ruby Ice”.

That Crafty Cara's Jelly Belly Bar Quilt

The quilting was done by Ashley of Hen House Quilting.  I said that I wanted something modern, but not sharp; rounded if possible.  She picked out this quilting design and I couldn’t be more pleased.  It’s turned out exactly like I wanted.  Sweet, while still managing to be modern.  I absolutely love it.

Cara Brooke's Jelly Belly Bars Quilt

I mocked up a number of brainstormed ideas for this particular quilt, and I’d hate for them to go to waste, so I thought I’d share them with you, just in case they inspire you to go make a Jelly Belly Bars quilt of your own!

Cara Brooke Jelly Belly Bar vs.4reversed_white98

Mock up of Jelly Belly Bars Quilt with Modern Background Colorbox frames, and Bella Solids Bleached White centers.

Cara Brooke Jelly Belly Bar vs.2

Mock up of Jelly Belly Bars Quilt with Bella Solids Peacock (SKU 9900-216) frames and Modern Background Colorbox centers.

Thank you, Fat Quarter Shop, for inviting me to sew along with you!  You can visit their post about this new Jelly Belly Bars quilt pattern on their blog by clicking here.

Or, you can just jump on over to Fat Quarter Shop and download a copy of the Jelly Belly Bars quilt pattern for yourself! You can also buy a Jelly Belly Bars quilt kit, and backing kit! Happy sewing!

Sleighbell Sampler Quilt

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Four and a half years ago, I began working on it.  I was just getting started in quilt-making, and absolutely fell in love with both this quilt and Farm Girl Vintage, so I threw caution to the wind and decided to join both of their quilt alongs.  I did great on sewing up the blocks, but when it came time to put the sashing and borders on them, I FROZE.  It took me years to finally break through that block, but I eventually did it and now I get to bask in the delight of a freshly-completed Christmas quilt draped across my favorite couch.  I love this quilt so much.

Pattern: Sleighbell Sampler, by Sherri Falls, from her “Winter Wonderland” pattern book.

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Fabric: “Holly’s Tree Farm,” by Sweetwater, “Jingle,” by Kate Spain, and a few scraps from the stash. The backing is flannel from Bonnie & Camille’s “Vintage Holiday” collection, and I cannot remember exactly what collection the binding came from, but there’s plenty of bias candy cane-striped fabrics out there to choose from these days, so you’ll be ok to find some if you need some.
(Also, can we start a petition to #bringbackhollystreefarm in the future, please?  Love that collection.)

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Quilting: I tried out a new quilter this time ’round, Ashley of Hen House Quilting, because she’s more local than my usual go-to.  I’ll definitely be using her again; she’s really sweet and very professional, and I only have good things to say about the experience of working with her.  She helped me pick out a beautiful snowflake quilting pattern that just goes beautifully with the quilt, and I love it so much!  Thank you, Ashley!

Modifications: None.

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Yay!  I have a goal of a Christmas quilt or blanket for every bed, couch, and armchair in our house, and this guy puts us at a total of five…only six more to go!  Ha ha.  (Hey, we all need goals to work towards, don’t be afraid of how big they are!)

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Unicorn Star Party Quilt

Unicorn Star Party Quilt, sewn by That Crafty Cara/Cara Brooke

My first big finish to come out of the new craft room is this Star Party quilt for my Rachel-girl for her eleventh birthday.  I started it last year, and it only needed its binding, but binding is hard to do when you’re being yanked back and forth between “Yay, he got a job and we need to get packing!” and “Well, shoot, the job offer fell through at the last possible second…should I unpack the craft room?”  Ugh.  2018 was rough, folks.

But I digress.  We are where we need to be now, and the craft room is unpacked, and I’m never moving again (she said as she chuckled anxiously), and so we can get back to our regularly-scheduled crafting program ’round these parts.  Boo-yah!

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Excuse the dark/blue lighting–it’s winter…

When I saw the “Happy Little Unicorns” fabric collection pop up on the “Coming Soon” page over at Fat Quarter Shop, I immediately subscribed to be notified when it became available because I KNEW it was perfect for my unicorn/glitter/rainbows-loving girl.  I had a completely different pattern picked out to use it with, but found myself browsing the Robert Kaufman website last year to look at the free quilt patterns that they released for their Kona Color of the Year announcement, and lo and behold, they have patterns listed for almost everything they release, INCLUDING a quilt pattern for the Happy Little Unicorns fat quarter bundle, appropriately named “Star Party.”

It’s nine big blocks, which was fantastic and fast; and the only modification I made to it was to substitute some polka dot lavender fabric in for some of the solid lavender (I think it was Corsage) around the middle block because I…probably cut something wrong?  I don’t remember, actually.  (Never did I insinuate that I was perfect.  NEVER.)  I used Robert Kaufman flannel in lilac for the quilt backing.

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The quilting was done by Utah Valley Quilting, and Kerri found a unicorn motif and we used lavender thread on the front and RAINBOW VARIEGATED on the back.  I mean, could it be anymore perfect than that?

SONY DSCBut then we finally got a job offer that actually stuck, and moving sucks and unpacking sucks even more, which brings us to this year, and me frantically attaching the binding earlier this week so that I could give it to her for her birthday.

I really thought she’d figured it out that I was working on finishing the quilt for her birthday, but she hadn’t, so she was pleasantly surprised when she opened it.  Win!

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The Details:

Fabric: “Happy Little Unicorns” fat quarter bundle by Sea Urchin Studio for Robert Kaufman.
2.25 yards of white solid for background
0.5 yards of Kona Cotton “Surf” for binding
3.5 yards Robert Kaufman flannel “Lilac” for backing

Pattern: Star Party

Quilting: I can’t find it on the Utah Valley Quilting site, but it definitely was in one of the design books at the shop.  It’s been so long since I had it done that I can’t remember what the design was called, sorry.  But I’m sure Kerri could help you figure it out if you wanted to use it.

I might actually end up using this pattern again because I really liked making it.  And I rarely use a pattern twice, so that’s a big compliment.  Love the big blocks, and super loved the adorable fabric collection.

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But, most of all, I loved making my girl happy!