Showing posts with label Prairie Star. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Prairie Star. Show all posts

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Made by a Human

Moving forward with my new colourway for Judy Niemeyer's Prairie Star, the next step is the RS units, or "large corner spikes." I planned out my own cutting instructions, concentrated, and the first one turned out great. Here is the new yellow and white section, laid out with the flying geese and melon spike units that I made a few years ago:

It was a little tricky to manoeuvre the big paper section through the machine, but doable.

The whole project is very well designed, and the instructions are detailed. But, they do frequently say things like "After you pin the papers onto the fabric strips, take the strips and the papers to your machine," as if your cutting table and sewing table are different places. It is all the same table here! It really felt like you need a large, dedicated studio to follow the instructions, and I decided it would be easier to simplify the cutting and strip piece it, instead of using all the cutting templates. Strip piecing is also easier with prints. I measured off the pattern, and rough cut everything without even ironing the fabric:

I iron the strip just before I sew it on, since the iron is right beside me anyway. And then I iron the seam open. The advantage of the strip is that you can sew along either side, and you don't have to worry about the right side triangle or the left side triangle. Everything always fits.

Well...everything always fits as long as you stay focused! You still have to take care pinning the strip.

This is the one segment where the strip has to extend well past the end of the seam, and I forgot. Those are very tight, small stitches, and I didn't want to unpick it. So I cut off the far end of the strip, which was now too long, and sewed it to the short end, not through the paper. I think it did the job:

If I hadn't fixed it, there would have been just a tiny quarter-inch hole there. You can see the seam allowances through the white fabric, but to me that was better than the damage I would have done unpicking the seam.

Made by a human! Two done, six of these sections to go. I'm going to do my best to stick with it, because it's not an easy thing to set aside and come back to later. And the warm weather is coming, so I want to finish the top before it is too hot to sit next to the iron. Fingers crossed!

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

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Tinkering with Riviera Star

One of the problems with the Judy Niemeyer newsprint foundations is that there are really no "do-overs." Once they're sewn, there's no going back. That is doubly the case for me, because the limited-edition fabric I'm using sold out months ago, so I have to use what I've got.

Looking back at the Compass Star that will be in the centre of Riviera Star, you can see that the fabric around the edge has a greenish undertone:

The green tablecloth underneath makes it look better than it is. It was not the best choice to go with those yellow fabrics. Here was my original colourway:

There would have been more yellow beside that greenish fabric, and it would have been bad. Plus, Sue Garman posted a photo of another Prairie Star variation this month, which got me thinking again. Out came the coloured pencils:

Using a red fabric next to the greenish fabric will make it work again, and of these three variations, I think I'll go with the one on the left. I don't think I have enough red fabric to make the one on the right. The middle one is striking, and closest to my original plan, but now I worry that it will be a little boring close up and on the bed. The left one will have a bigger variety of fabrics, so there will be more to look at.

The final decision may be affected by how much fabric is left after I piece all the outer edges. But right now that's the direction I'm going. Lots to do!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Flying Geese

I am trying something new for me this month. I've decided to just work on one thing at a time! LOL. My quilt guild will have their next show in April, and I've decided that Riviera Star, which is based on Judy Niemeyer's Prairie Star foundations, will be my main entry. So I made a plan, and if I stick to it I'll have the top done by August.

Today I finished the eight Flying Geese units. Here they are laid out with the Melon Spike units I made previously:

I think it's looking promising. It certainly meets my dad's requirement to be "lively!" It's fun to play around with the pieces, too:

I've given myself two and a half weeks to sew the next group, which will combine with these units into square blocks. I've also changed my colourway a bit, which I'll tell you about tomorrow. Onwards!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Melon Spikes

Here are the next pieces of the puzzle for my Riviera Star, using the foundations from Judy Neimeyer's Prairie Star. She calls them the "melon spike" units. There are eight in all, but I thought just the six made a nice arrangement too!

One really great thing about Judy's design is that none of the points go all the way out to the seams, so there will be no danger of cutting them off when I sew the pieces together. What an excellent idea!

So far this project has been surprisingly easy and fun, considering how dramatic it looks. Next up will be the "circling geese" units.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Compass Centre

Look what happens when I manage to avoid turning on the computer in the morning!

I managed the whole thing today. Didn't get the laundry done though!

I haven't shown this project since last May, when I bought all the fabrics. The pattern is Judy Niemeyer's Prairie Star, which is the same pattern as her Hawaiian Star, only a different colourway. I have decided to call it Riviera Star, since many of the fabrics are from the Riviera II collection from Connecting Threads. It's almost sold out now.

Here's my colourway again:

The background cream fabric with the red flowers is darker overall than I expected, but I think it still looks ok.

The foundations are printed on newsprint. This worried me when I first opened the box, because it feels very fragile and easy to tear. So far, though, working with the smaller centre sections at least, it has been pretty good. It's easy to fold accurately, and it does tear away easily. I suspect, though, that those large outer sections are going to be a challenge!

But anyway, it was a fun day today. I love paper piecing, and it's always interesting to try out a new pattern!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Fabrics for Prairie Star

You know, just as I wrote that heading, I realized that this will be another quilt with "Star" in the title!  Oh well!

It is only a couple of weeks since I received the pattern for Judy Niemeyer's Prairie Star quilt.  I think it took me less than 24 hours to come up with the colour scheme!  For me, that is by far the funnest part.  Although, the fabrics arrived today, and that has been pretty fun too:

This quilt will be for my dad, who loves bright colours, and fortunately is ok with flowers.  He has been very clear that he wants a "lively" quilt!

You may recall that the original pattern looks like this:

Judy's design is done with batiks, but I knew that my dad wanted red and yellow, and I didn't like my options for batiks in those colours.  Once I decided on prints I went to the Collecting Threads website just to see if they had anything I could use, and they had just posted their new Riviera II collection.  I knew it would be absolutely perfect.  Talk about synchronicity!  So most of the fabrics above are from that collection, with a few from their older Folk Heart collection, which I'm glad to include because I loved it too.  And there are a couple of lights from eQuilter to round it off.

Judy very kindly included a blank layout of the quilt so we could do our own colourway.  I LOVE it when designers do that!  So here's the plan:

You can see I have gone back to a more traditional Lone Star colour layout.  I think it is going to be pretty amazing!  Fortunately my dad likes the fabrics, so I'm off to a good start.  But not right away, hopefully!
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