Saturday, March 18, 2017


Here we go with Prairie Star 2.0! I've changed the colour scheme on this sooo many times, but this week I put a freeze on the changes, and cut the fabric.

The new, and final, version of the centre star.

It's been a long road. Prairie Star is a Judy Niemeyer pattern that I bought in 2012. This is another quilt that suffered in the doldrums of family apathy that I described in the recent Hen Party post. And now, I think it will really benefit from the fresh energy I got from that finish!

The original plan was to make it for my dad, who wanted it in red and gold. I struggled with the colour placement:

In hindsight, I can see that a lot of my "design" problems were actually caused by conflicting requirements from my dad. And then, I didn't like that red and dark cream floral background in my first attempt at the centre star:

The floral was too brown, and washed out the lemon yellow. The lemon yellow was going to be a big feature in the square blocks around the star, and I had a lot of it, so that was a big problem for me. Still, I kept going, and the next two sections turned out well:

Then I started to have doubts about that red spiky border. From a feng shui perspective, a bunch of red spikes pointed in toward the centre of the bed is not good. My dad is elderly, and it just seemed undesirable. I tried to involve him in a redesign, but he had come to the point where anything new, even a quilt, was simply too stressful. He didn't want it any more.

What to do? I packed it away, and every so often I'd get out the coloured pencils and try another variation.

Goofy, but appealing too.

In the baking heat last summer, I thought the quilt would be nice in cool aqua and fresh green. If those spikes around the edge were green, that would solve my feng shui dilemma. And they'd be like prairie grass! Light bulb!

I bought yards of a pretty aqua and red floral, and some coordinates. Plus, I wanted to save something from the first version. Since the arcs of red flying geese were the most work, and they seemed to match, I decided to use them. But, this kind of large scale foundation paper piecing requires the iron at every step, so I planned to restart it when the weather cooled off...

Last week I finally opened the boxes and looked at it again. Gosh, were those red flying geese really going to work with the aqua? Hmmm. Where are those coloured pencils? Maybe I need to think outside the box. What about something totally different?


No, that would be terrifying on the bed! Like a hippie tie dye.

What if I just carry the red of the flying geese through the star, I thought? With lots more white. And that lemon yellow fabric I originally planned for the squares is already cut. So how would that look? Hey, I like it! Now, what about fabrics?

No more shopping, I said, let's see what else I can find in my stash. Well, that turned out to be no problem at all. So, I have scrappy greens for the "grass," the original geese and melon spike units that I made in 2013, the original lemon yellow print for the squares, and a range of fun stash prints for the Lone Star. Freeze the plan! I cut the fabrics, and now I'm committed. :D

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Pi Day

So, it's Pi Day (3.14), and I think I will take the opportunity to do a little catch up. First, here's a photo of new progress on an old, old UFO -- with circles -- that I've been working on again this winter:

This was the first project that I shared on my blog, back in 2011. I am amused to see that I also thought it would be my first quilt finish! One of the best things about blogging is that we can look back and see how we ourselves have changed over time.

It was a lot of fun to make the yoyos, and it was even pretty fun to applique them all to the batik strips. But, sewing those strips together with all the lumpy yoyos is quite a stinker, and I was completely stumped about how to quilt the big bulky thing. I think it may be the most impractical quilt ever! How will I wash it?

But the instructions are excellent -- the designer Terry Atkinson must have spent days doing math to get the yoyos all spaced so evenly. So that is a good fit for Pi Day! And as it comes together, I can see that it will be gorgeous, even if it only spends its time folded on the edge of a couch somewhere.

I'm halfway, and I've decided that two rows a day will be manageable. Right now, though, I am putting the borders on Allietare. And it's looking good too!

After I sewed the last seams and spread the centre out on the bed, I got out the tape measure. The moment of truth! The length and width of this square quilt were exactly the same, so that is the quilting equivalent of a "drop the mike" moment. I immediately put the tape measure away again!

And hey, aren't these cherries a good fit for Pi Day?

They are one of the easier blocks in the 150 Canadian Women quilt along, in honour of Canada's 150th birthday in 2017. I've been relaxed about this project, because so far it's been easy to sew two weeks' worth of blocks in one sitting. But I've noticed that the blocks are getting harder! So I want to get a little more caught up.

I've really been enjoying this project, and learning so much about significant women in Canadian history, who were never mentioned when I took history in school.

This maple leaf, with the light sky blue background and two kinds of stars, is for Roberta Bondar, the first Canadian woman in space.

Mostly I am sticking to the red & white colour scheme of the quilt, with just a few exceptions. These light grey and red floral fabrics just happened to be piled together in the cupboard. I liked how they looked, so now they are together in a block!

At the end of the day, another seven are done:

Pi Day will be a Sew Day here, in the deep freeze with some superfine, cold blowing snow. Not bad for us, since the worst of the snow is south and east of here. A Snow Day for many, so stay warm and stay safe, wherever you may be. :D
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