Twinkling Stars Progress

The main part of the top is together. Now to make and add the borders and this year’s baseball playoffs quilt will be done. With any luck, it will be finished before the World Series is over.

This is a big milestone for me. While I hybrid pieced some of the blocks and totally hand pieced some others, the majority of the quilt was put together by machine. it’s given me a lot more confidence about machine piecing, which will come in handy for some quilts I want to make.

On Friday evening I got a call from the LQS and, after close to 6 months, the white on white fabric has finally come in. I’m thrilled as it means I can definitely finish off the Feathered Star/Sunflower quilt exactly as I wanted with the pieced border I had envisioned for it.

Baxter is still teething and, on the weekend, he lost (and we found) a baby tooth. Rather than put it in a little pillow for the kitty tooth fairy, Mr. Q.O. tossed it. I think Baxter deserves a new toy and plan to get him one from the kitty tooth fairy.

Little 9-Patch Blocks on Point

The 9-patch blocks are just so much more fun set on point that I couldn’t resist. They’re very quick to stitch, and give me the look I wanted for these little blocks.

Earlier this week, two new Inklingo collections were released with the triangles needed to set 4.5 inch blocks and 6 inch blocks on point, and that helped give me the idea for the 9-patch blocks. I have a little stack of 4.5-inch blocks that were made years ago but which have sat all this time. Now that the math has been taken out of figuring out what size QSTs and HSTs I needed to set them on point, I’ll get them out once the Twinkling Stars top is finished.

I’m still on schedule with this year’s baseball playoffs quilt. Although I’ve had a couple of evenings when I really wanted to work on something else, I have managed to resist and now am really glad I did.  There’s not too much hand piecing left to be done, maybe another 25 or so of the 9-patch blocks and then their setting triangles.  The rest will be done by machine.

Baxter seems to have decided my computer chair is a favourite spot — after walking over the keyboard on his way to the chair, that is. A couple of times he has almost managed to send an e-mail while marching over the various keys and the trackpad, but none have been sent … yet.

Colourful Little 9-Patches

Almost half of the 9-patch blocks i need for the Twinkling Stars quilt are done. With any luck, I’ll have them finished before the end of the weekend and then can get started putting the top together. I’m piecing them by hand, as that’s the perfect thing to stitch while watching baseball games, and they finish at 3 inches.

There were quite a few good ideas in the comments yesterday and I’ve followed up on all them. So far, no luck but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that one of the avenues I’m exploring will result in a find of the fabric.

Baxter was insistent on getting in the picture of the 9-patch blocks. He climbs up beneath the board on which the background fabric and blocks are laid out. We think he’s curled up under there, but then all of a sudden his head appears.

Later on, he had to go rest in the hallway.

Stars, Stars and More Stars

All 80 of the Twinkling Stars are made and ready to be stitched into the larger 15″ 9-patch blocks. My goal was to finish them before our long Thanksgiving weekend was over and I got it done!

Hybrid piecing worked out really well for me once I worked out this method of pinning the skinny triangles to the half tumblers. My previous attempts at machine stitching have usually resulted in seams that seem slightly distorted by the pinning.  So rather than pinning through matching points or crosshairs, I used a fine pin as though I was using a needle and thread. Checked the front and back of the seam and as long as my pin was right on the stitching line, I was off to the races. That’s how I reached my goal of finishing the stars. I don’t know how well that pinning idea would work on long seams, but for these skinny tris it worked like a charm for me.

Our Thanksgiving weekend was perfect – warm and sunny. The weather felt more like Labour Day weekend than Thanksgiving. So much so that people were out on the roof garden sunbathing. I’m hoping this is a sign that we’ll have a mild winter.

A few leaves have been dancing by the window and Baxter has been busy watching. Here he was resting up after a long afternoon of leaf chasing and bird and squirrel watching.

More and More Twinkling Stars

Much as I’ve wanted to steal time away from making the Twinkling Stars and work on something else, I’ve managed to stay on course and now have slightly under half the stars done. I’m hoping to finish them off by the end of this long weekend and then will only have the little 9-patches left to make before I can start putting the top together.

They’re hybrid pieced. I’m joining parts of the blocks by machine and then finishing it by hand piecing. I know the blocks can be totally made by machine, but I enjoy putting them together by hand and they’re relatively quick to stitch. For those who have asked, I’m using shapes from the Inklingo Tumbler Collection. It’s easy to get the long skinny tris perfect when one has the stitching lines and matching points.

This is our Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada and our weather sounds like it’s going to be much more like summer than fall, with humidex readings in the 30C range on Saturday and Sunday. Makes me wonder how many people will have barbecues for Thanksgiving rather than heat up their homes cooking turkeys.

Over the last few days, Baxter has spent more time on the windowsill than anywhere else. He has a tendency to wave one paw in the air, which we’ve dubbed his royal wave. Here I’m not sure what he waving at — perhaps a squirrel or bird.

Colourful 9-Patches

These 3-inch blocks will be incorporated in the design of the Twinkling Stars quilt as well. There are still quite a few of the stars to be made, but I couldn’t resist making a couple of the little 9-patches just because they’re so much fun to put together and they’re easy to stitch by hand when one is watching an exciting baseball game!

On Monday, after successfully adding the star points by machine to some of the half tumbler/square combination, I decided to try making one of the star blocks entirely by machine. Can you tell which block is machine-made and which by hand?

What has inspired me to try stitching more by machine? It’s the fact that I really want to get started on putting the Pickled Ladies quilt together.

Baxter spent a lot of time on the windowsill on Monday, watching the birds and squirrels. His tail was swishing and he was extremely intent on watching the activity. It’s going to be interesting when the leaves start to fall and are flying by the window.

Twinkling Star

There are a few of these twinkling stars already made that have been sitting for ages and which will be made into a small quilt. I decided to make one more last night just for fun, and because I’m playing with a design idea that would use this block, among others, in a starry quilt. The block is made using shapes from the Inklingo Tumbler collection and it finishes at 5″.

It’s simple to stitch and quick to press.

A comment was left the other day and a few follow-up e-mails exchanged that have led me down a fun path, reading about treadle sewing machines. I’ve often thought that would be a great way to machine quilt. The more I read, the more I think that it’s a great solution for me. Of course, it’s much easier said than done — finding one that’s in working condition and affordable and then sorting out how to get it here, as I think they are very heavy. I plan to do a lot more reading and research on the weekend.

We finally got some video of Baxter drinking. This is how he drinks all the time. He walks up to the water bowls, turns around, lies down and then reaches over his shoulder to drink. When he’s done one side of his face and neck are usually sopping wet. If we’re not in the kitchen, he meows to let us know he’s about to drink and then looks to make sure we’re paying attention. A friend who has seen this little video wrote and shared her theory, “I think Smudge told Baxter that drinking water is a performance art form.  Baxter had to develop his own art, but it couldn’t be something mundane like standing in front of the bowl of water and lapping – it had to be unique.” I think she’s on to something!

Twinkling Stars

This isn’t a new project.  It’s something I’ve been playing with for ages using some of the shapes in the Tumbler collection.  Stitching arcs for the Pickled Ladies quilt didn’t really appeal last night as I was battling a migraine, so I started organizing some of the things I have in varying stages of progress.  That long skinny triangle from the Tumbler collection is something I love working with.  I’ve made about a dozen of these blocks that finish at 5″ and am now pondering some setting ideas.  I think I’ll probably make another dozen or so of them and then come up with a setting for a little quilt.

The back:

While I was going through some of the projects, I was able to identify a couple that require only another block or two or a setting plan in order to finish them.  I may spend a little time on one of them this weekend and see if I can come up with a plan and finish it off rather quickly.  Then again, I may just put it away and concentrate on more arcs for the Pickled Ladies.  I also want to get another of the clamshell diamonds done and have picked out the clamshells for that.

Lester is continuing to improve.  We’re thrilled with how quickly the antibiotics have started to do their job.  He was playing with toys today, up on the windowsill for a while and, of course, resting.

Smudge was sleeping on the couch with one paw on the little “Quilts, A Beautiful History” book I like to look through frequently.