Crystal Quilters Block of the Month: Sew Many Stars! Block #3: Variable Star

CQ BOM Main

It’s time for our third block, the Variable Star block.

PLEASE NOTE: Because these blocks will be set on-point in the finished quilt, any fussy-cut center fabric will rotate.  I’ve pointed it out in the cutting directions in the pattern, but thought it’d be a good idea to wave a red flag in front of your faces from the beginning: You have to cut the original fussy-cut square on-point.

Crystal Quilters BOM Christmas Variable Star

Download the block pattern here:  Sew Many Stars BOM Pattern_Block 3 Variable Star

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

 

Happy Sewing!

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

CQ BOM Main

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!).

 

Renaissance’s Easter Dress

 

I finished it a while back, but she wore it for our Easter church service at home, and I finally remembered to snap a couple of pictures of her.

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I’ve had this pattern earmarked for a couple of years for her.  I’d purchased some great dresses from Lands End about four years ago for Emily, and then they were handed down to Ren, and now to Rachel, and they are such a great silhouette that I started keeping an eye out for a comparable pattern somewhere out there in Sewing Land.  It appeared one day in the form of Butterick 6450–a bloused bodice with an elastic waist, short sleeves, and a swingy skirt.  It works really great for a growing girl.

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This is View C, sewn up in a cotton lawn from Miss Matatabi.  I underlined the bodice with white cotton voile for modesty, and attached the same fabric as a lining beneath the skirt.  (Note to self: Don’t mix and match underlining the bodice with a lining for the skirt in this pattern in the future–it got messy when it came to attaching the zipper versus the encased elastic waistband.  Pick one method of under/lining and go with it for both the bodice and the skirt.)  I did not do the gathering on the sleeves, and I was surprised that I ended up using the full length of the View C skirt.

The skirt is seamed down the center front and back on the bias, which is something that I’d like to avoid in the future because I want to sew up a couple iterations of this in gingham prints, but that bias seam will cause all sorts of headaches with a gingham. I know it will be easy enough to throw a different skirt onto the bodice in the future, but sigh…more thinking ahead.  It worked well enough with this abstract print, and the skirt has turned out really well and fluttery without the danger of flipping up in a wind gust, à la a circle skirt.

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Construction was easy, with no weird head-scratching moments.  I like bias binding on my edges, so I really love that bound neckline–makes me so pleased everytime I see it!  The instructions on how to hem the skirt were really good and gave a nice finish.  The zipper instructions were a mess and I ended up just hacking the stupid thing in there, but that’s just because I am missing the gene that lets me understand how to put a zipper into anything.  Good enough.

I’m planning to sew up this pattern, with a few design changes, at least two more times this year.  It’s a great dress!

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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?

Thursday, Week #1 of Covid-19 School Closures

I am not very uplifting today.

And I wrote a blog post detailing all the reasons as to why I’m in a terrible mood, but then I decided to delete it all.  You don’t need to read about my bad day or listen to my anxieties.  That’s not going to really help anyone here.

What I think is important about today is granting permission to the bad days to exist.

Which is not the same as granting bad days permission to ruin things later.  And it’s not  granting myself permission to feel like a failure because an unpleasant situation felt unpleasant.  It’s also not granting myself permission to use a bad day to justify being rude or mean to someone else.

Because bad days don’t take time off because a shiny new germ is tap-dancing its way across the globe.

If it’s not acceptable behavior when things are going well, then it’s not acceptable behavior when things are going bad, either.

The bad days are going to still happen, even amongst all this idyllic staying at home and having my family gathered around me all close.

And I still get to decide how I’m going to act and react, in spite of the anxiety I may have or the rudeness I may see other people using and justifying.  Turbulent times do not condone turbulent tempers.

The novelty of the situation is wearing off, as evidenced by the short words people have had with each other today.  As evidenced by the rumors that are going around.  It felt like conversations today, both online and in-person, have the slightest whiff of panic about them.  Which I guess is to be expected…but I’m not going to add to it.  I’m in charge of that decision.

I’m going to finish watching a movie, I’m going to say my prayers, and I’m going to get a good night’s sleep.

And then I’m going to wake up tomorrow and do the things that I know make for a good day.  And hopefully it is a good day.  We shall see…

…I wish you a good night’s sleep and very good day tomorrow. Because tomorrow has the potential to be a very, very good day.

Wednesday, Week #1 of Covid-19 School Closure

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The kids gathered around the dining room table for their first formal day of “online learning” this morning.  The girls were left to their own devices (and I only had to reprimand one of them during the course of the day for goofing off before they were done with their schoolwork) and I had Nathaniel work on his stuff in my craft room so I could keep an eye on him, which was needed a few times.

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00100sportrait_00100_burst20200318095105345_coverBecause I was waiting to see if I’d get a package from Jaftex today, I didn’t want to start cutting out a dress or anything big, so I whipped up a couple of hair scarves from a pattern I bought when I went to Sew Expo a couple of weeks ago.  (And I have no idea why my hair looks so short in that photo, but it’s definitely making me think that a chop-off would look super cute!)

The kids were all pretty much done with their work by the time the “school bus lunch” alarm went off at 10:35am.  Our district is making sure all the kids eat during this break by delivering breakfasts and lunches via the bus routes, so we headed over to the bus stop and the kids were happy to say hi to their bus driver when she came ’round.

While we were waiting for the lunches to arrive, the FedEx truck rolled on up to my house and I had to wait a whole ten minutes before the bus came and I was able to retrieve my package from the front porch!  The agony!

 

Because, yep, that package contained fabric.  Adorable farm animal fabric that will work spectacularly well for a baby gift for a friend and her impending arrival:

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So. cute.  I love those little sheep, and that green print that just begs for some fussy cutting.  I think I’ve settled on a pattern, which won’t be as involved as I would like; but, I wasn’t planning on making a quilt in the next six weeks, so it’s got to be a bit of a quick sew so I can still fit in all my spring clothing sewing.  Whew!  Busy hands leave little time for wandering thoughts, so I’m thankful for the plethora of projects at this anxiety-provoking time!  It’s going to be a cute little quilt.  Plus, this collection–“Best Friends Farm”–has both a quilt panel and a soft book panel to sew up, too.  Lots of cute little projects to share with you over the next little while!

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Well, good night, dear readers.  I hope this is a peaceful time for you; a time to reconnect with family and a time to spend in a little bit of self-reflection.

And if it can’t be that, then I wish you wonderful success with whatever it is you choose to use to diffuse your stress.  Lucky me, I’ve got a kid who stress bakes, and she made some absolutely delicious soft pretzels this afternoon.  I wish you the kind of happiness that comes from eating a soft pretzel on a sunny day with your family.  Whatever that is for you, I hope it’s happening.  Stay healthy and safe!

 

Tuesday, Week #1 of Covid-19 School Closure

Last week, the State of Washington announced that it would be shutting down the schools in Snohomish, King, and Pierce Counties for six weeks.  Guess where we live?  😉

Our school district has been absolutely awesome though–all students in grades 2-12 have a Chromebook to use at home, AND the district will be delivering breakfasts and lunches for free via the school bus routes.  How amazing is all that?!?!  I’m so, so happy for everyone who depends on school breakfasts and lunches for their kids.  One less thing to worry about during a time where there’s lots about which to worry.

Online learning begins in earnest tomorrow morning, so we’ll start getting an idea of what to expect in our daily lives pretty quick.  With my kids being on the older side, I’m really hoping that it will be painless.  It’d be great if I could just weather this whole thing out with just a lot of sewing, but schoolwork help is the top priority if I truly do have to make a decision about how to spend my time.  (Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that…)

I might also receive a package from Blank Quilting/Jaftex tomorrow–they sent out an email today saying that, because they’re releasing so many new collections in the month of April, they’re sending fabric to everyone, even if it’s not your month to receive fabric.  I’m scheduled for odd months, and I actually just sent off my March quilt to the quilter, so this is an appreciated surprise for me.  It looks like April is *the* month for their Halloween collections, so the odds are in favor of Halloween fabric.

But I might not receive a package?  I cut off the tip of my finger a couple of weeks ago, and had to send an email saying that I might fall behind on my March quilt, so there’s also a chance that they don’t send me anything because of that?  I don’t know.  There are many questions in my life at the moment and I’m doing my best to just roll with the punches.  (Finger is almost all healed up, thank you for your concern.)

I’m hoping to get a lot of spring clothing sewing done in the next few weeks as well.  I just finished up a dress for Ren, but still need to photograph it.  She was supposed to wear it when she sang with the youth choir for stake conference, but that was cancelled.  So I said she should wear it when she played a flute solo in church this coming Sunday, but then all church was cancelled.  So she wore it last Sunday for our first “church at home.”  I’d like to sew up two more dresses for her, plus a dress or two or three for me, a skirt for Emily, some Easter ties for my guys, and a hoodie or t-shirt for Rachel.  Truthfully, I’ll be lucky to get more than one of those things done, but I like big to-do-lists, so there you go.

Perhaps I’ll try to blog a little more during all this craziness–I find that I’m checking in online a whole lot more than usual these days, and it’s nice when a new post or the like pops up.  I assume it’s the same for you, dear readers, and that you especially appreciate posts that aren’t politically-divisive, religiously overbearing, or some obviously-not-true “cure” for Coronavirus.  (Spoiler alert: Gargling saltwater will not kill the virus…)

I wish you all a good evening, and hope that you’re finding uplifting ways to fill your days.  I also wish you good health, peace, and full bobbins.  Good night!