Friday, June 12, 2020

My Paper Stars Are Shining

The world has become very unsettled 
and I have found myself retreating
to the solace of simply sewing.

I've needed a quiet time
 to settle my mind,
 calm the emotions
ease the stress.

My sewing has lead me to 
string piecing once again.
Do you still have a phone book
tucked away in a drawer?

This paper is perfect for a foundation.
It's easy to sew through
and better yet, easy to tear away.

I had recently seen a pattern 
in this book.

There's a foundation 8 pointed diamond star pattern  
made with strip scraps.

As much as I love scrappy
I wasn't in the mood for
a collage of colors or
 a barrage of pattern.

Instead I pulled 
a variety of neutrals
or low volume prints.
I know, you might be thinking:
no energy or movement,
but upon a closer look,
there is a lot going on.

There's a variety of colors,
and sizes, 
all working together
speaking in whispers and still  making
themselves heard.

I needed 128 diamond units.
Once they were trimmed,
I left the paper in place to keep the
bias edges from losing control and
getting out of shape.

Then randomly selected  two diamond units
and sewed them together.

I stopped stitching a 1/4" from the edge
to later easily add the triangles and squares 
around the star.

Then two quarters were sewn together to make the half.

At this point,
 knowing my machine piecing skills,
I knew I would hand stitch the 
two halves together starting and ending
about an inch on either side of the center.

It didn't take nearly as long as it would 
have if I had machine pieced with all
the ripping and unsewing I would have 
done to get a good center.

Then it was easy to finish the center seam
and have it all come out perfectly.

I got the blocks together using a variety
of dark blues and indigo blues.

It was at this point that
I finally removed the paper.

One of my favorite stories
from working in the quilt shop was
the day a woman came in and inquired 
about a pattern that said to 
paper piece.
She wasn't sure how that was going to work
because it would definitely make the
quilt way too crinkly!!

With the blocks finished I
added a few simple borders.

After getting it together
I realized I had seen something similar 
a long time ago on Pinterest,
a quilt done by Helen Wentzlaff.
I guess subconsciously,
we tuck away good ideas.

 There's something comforting to me
seeing white stars on a blue background.

Working with this pattern,
this technique,
this particular color combo

has been a productive and positive
solution for me and
has kept the world from spinning out of control.

Until Next Time-


  1. Bravo ..... your quilt is perfect! Another blue/white quilt to add to your collection.

  2. Wow, what a stunning quilt. Those scrappy stars are not dull...they are interesting! Might have to try to make one of these quilts. I have lots of scraps.

  3. This turned out so beautifully--i love sewing on phone book papers...your choice of neutrals is super
    pretty--nice work on this hugs Julierose

  4. I love it. What a brilliant idea for the stars. Highly textural, yet calming.

  5. Oh so beautiful! And, I could not agree more about the calming effect of simply stitching away the tension. These are truly calming stars. I am amazed at the variety of lights in your stash. They cam together beautifully!

  6. I have used some kind of paper for foundation for the same reasons !!
    Your quilt is beautiful with that blue !! The stars simply sparkle !!
    Congratulations !

  7. What a wonderful star quilt! I love your low volume stars!! There is great variety in your neutrals and I really like the subtle differences in the blues as well. This one really shines ⭐️

  8. I find that kind of strip piecing very relaxing too, and your quilt came out great. Thanks for the tip on how to handle the centers of the stars; I know mine would never match up done by machine either.

  9. That is a gorgeous quilt, Kyle. Your skills never cease to amaze!!

  10. As I read and watched those beautiful stars being made from all those different neutrals, I was thinking this will be a very peaceful quilt. Then when I scrolled down to the finished top, my eyes popped and I said WOW! What a beautiful quilt! It definitely has a voice of its own! ---"Love"

  11. The string piecing gives the stars depth and "twinkle". A very lovely top.
    And I have to say--it is soothing just reading your post.

  12. Blue and white tends to be soothing and your stars are also really interesting with the variety of light fabrics. Very nice finish and even better that the process of making it provided some peace. xo

  13. Gorgeous! I've tried paper-piecing that shape before and it doesn't work for me. But you did a fabulous job! I currently have a couple of paper-piecing projects in the works.

  14. Lovely and oh-so soothing! I have been thinking about scrappy diamonds as well, but haven't had the mojo to get started. Thanks for the inspiration!

  15. You are right - the neutrals work together so well - calming, but pulling the eye in for a closer look. They sparkle on that wonderful blue background. I love paper piecing but removing all that stuff can be a chore. I would think the telephone book tissue like paper would be much easier and cleaner with no little bits left in the seams. Well done!!

  16. I think you are right, working with the whites must have been so much better than with bright colorful fabrics that seem to short out. I love how it turned out and I admire how you can make a quilt so fast.

  17. Such a lovely stash of low volume lights. Lots of stitching. Blue and beige are always a good color combination. Eight-pointed stars meeting in the center is gotta be one of the most challenging skills to accomplish in the quilt world. I’d rather hand stitch centers also. More relaxing than fussing with the machine.

  18. The stars are gorgeous! And what a great technique, haven't seen that for a while, so nice to see such a technique being used again. And you did that so quickly too, it seems. Congratulations on this beautiful quilt.

  19. Recently I heard a discussion at a local eatery about phone books. A younger woman asking her mom if they were still being made. A whole new world. We used to get four phone books a year delivered to our door. They kept getting smaller and smaller and finally, we are down to one being delivered. And that last one still sits in the garage where I brought it in the house that far.

  20. This has worked really well. The neutrals are soft and subtle and the blues are a lovely contrast without being harsh. I am pleased your quilting is helping to keep you calm.

  21. Neutral string piecing is calming and pretty. clever to use the phone book paper and hand stitch the last seam.
    Great setting with the blue.
    I found string piecing very relaxing too

  22. I think a lot of us subconsciously tuck away good ideas if we're honest with ourselves! Our brains definitely remember more than we realize and the seeds to inspiration are many and varied. I too love to work with low volume prints in a very subtle colorway. So peaceful! Your quilt is beautiful and so you. Great work.:)

  23. Beautifully said! Those low volume strips are so calming and they really do sparkle set against those wonderful blues. Enjoyed reading how you manage the center when sewing two halves together. That's always been a trouble spot for me. Nice job!

  24. I love this quilt so much--just beautiful! I've only pieced on paper for a couple of Bonnie Hunter string quilts and didn't enjoy it too much, but it's a great way to use up those strips!

  25. Beautiful quilt, I love the strippy stars! Great use of neutral scraps, gorgeous!

  26. These stars are fabulous on that wonderful blue background. The low volume fabrics do add a lot of energy to the quilt.