Friday, October 1, 2021

The Opposite of Procrastination

Do you ever wonder why you've been putting off doing something?  

I do every time I finish another top off that shelf in the sewing room!  This feather star has had me "paralyzed" because complicated (looking) patchwork needs complicate quilting . . . . . right?

It's important to realize that is not necessarily true.   I think we live with that impression because we are constantly comparing our work to that of professional machine quilters.  They do amazing work but they also have an advantage over us in that they don't have to move the quilt through the machine.
So "come on down" and quilt some of that pile!!
The chances of your quilts being cherished by friends and family are a lot greater if they are finished!
This quilt top was a teaching sample I made using one of Marti Michell wonderful Feathered Star templates sets to illustrate fabric placement options.  I loved teaching this workshop because as a rule every student was successful -- there was one exception but I'm not telling you that story.
In this close-up, you can see the simple strategy I took -- curves in the triangle points and a series of interlocking straight lines to "quilt down" the center of the block successfully.
My goal was not to ruin the quilt top with my quilting.
I'm still adding some straight lines in the background pieces to "frame" up each block but decided to do that with a walking foot on my Bernina -- straighter lines!
I've also finished adding the pieced borders to the Courthouse Stars quilt -- lots of strips there so I didn't have to leave the house to shop for lavender fabric!!
This pattern is available in my Etsy shop -- MaryHueyQuilts.
I sent it off yesterday to a professional quilter so that is almost as good as crossing it off the list!!
Someone asked me how I calculate number of strips needed and the strip size for a border like this.  
Keep it simple -- I ballpark it.  
I these strips the same width as the strips used for the courthouse step blocks to maintain visual continuity.  Then I did an estimate of how many to cut but you know it's part luck to get that perfect.  So I cheat just a little bit -- the last strip on each border is wider so that I can adjust things easily at the end. Sometimes the last strip is wider and sometime it's narrower.  If you saw this quilt in person, you wouldn't notice that skinny strip!

The star blocks in the corners are the same stars used in the body of the quilt -- same size, same fabrics, continuity.
Now all there is to do is wait!
I've decided to quilt another one of the 21 tops by hand so this past weekend.  The "top" is this set of twelve large English paper pieced blocks I made in 2018?
Each block is about 21" square and I'm still debating two quilts or one quilt???
I created a placement map for the blocks (that was a challenge) and numbered each of them.  They are sewn together in pairs at this point. 
So this weekend, I made the backing for it. I'll be working in six sections using pearl cotton "big stitch" quilting which I enjoy.  That and working in sections rather than the entire quilt top will help me stay engaged as this is another top I'm a bit paranoid about "ruining" with my machine quilting.
(And you thought you were the only one who felt that way.) 
I'll layer each pair with one of these big 4-patch sections you see in the photo below making them easier to handle.
Making the backing turned into an enjoyable and spontaneous experience.  Each of the blocks began with a fabric from Kaffe Fassett and my goal was to use as many non-Kaffe fabrics with each one as I could (from my stash, I might add) to illustrate to my students that those fabrics are more flexible than they think.  So it was just fitting that the backing be all Kaffe fabric.  
I had four one yard cuts and lots of fat quarters and fat eighths.  
Plan A was to cut forty-eight 12" squares and pieced them together to make the backing units.  
After cutting all the fat quarters, there were just sixteen 12" squares. 

As I unfolded the one yard cuts, I realized someone had fussy cut around one of them -- hmmm??
Not surprisingly, a bit of math revealed the one yard cuts would not yield the balance of 12" squares needed.

Plan B started to evolve out of "necessity" (a major factor in many of my creative decisions).
In the end, I cut forty-eight 6 1/2" squares and pieced them into sixteen more 12" units.
To finish up, I cut four large squares from the one-yard cuts and I was ready to arrange!
It occupied the living room floor for about 12 hours being rearranged anytime I walked through the room until something in my head said "stop and sew them together".

With the plan for that quilt moving forward, I have just four tops left to machine quilt myself and that shelf will be empty!!

As I reward, I let myself start an EPP mystery being led by an Aussie shop owner on Instagram.  
I'm already engaged with the second part so just one part behind but I'll catch up. If you want to be behind with me, you can find the first three clues at @jemimas_creative_quilting via Instagram or her blog at   Part four is still two weeks off so there is time!!
And how about these grandkids?!?
The four of us enjoy being silly together and looking at goat reels on Instagram -- yes, I'm sitting cross-legged on asphalt with three 2 year olds on my lap.  
And I was able to stand up . . . . very slowly.
Happy October!!


  1. You have made fantastic progress! I am trying to move my quilt tops forward too. I just can't see adding to the pile of unfinished tops. Your projects are all beautiful and it will be wonderful to see them finished!
    LOVE the pic of you with your grand babies. I get to go see mine in a couple of days and I can't wait. :-)

  2. Lots of lovely projects underway here! I especially love your EPP blocks, great colour combos. And I also like the way you have made piecing a back a happy process!