Under the Maple Canopy

Singing Union Songs Since 2009

Shelburne Falling Star


A few weeks ago I saw an announcement on Stitched in Color for a Shelburne Falls contest. I wasn’t going to participate, but then, while shopping for fabric to finish the picnic blanket, a couple of half yards of fabric found their way into my basket.

Buying fabric? Easy.

Figuring out what to make with the fabric? That’s an entirely different puzzle altogether. My mom asked me how I came up with the idea. Honestly? I have no idea. I read quite a few blogs (by which I mean I skim through them while focusing on the ones that most catch my eye) so it’s more than likely that someone made something with stars. From there it’s a Google image search for quilted stars, barn stars, free stars, paper pieced stars. I looked at patterns (free, Etsy, Craftsy), but none of them really seemed like the thing.

Carol Doak’s “50 Fabulous Paper-Pieced Stars” made its way home from the library, mostly for the Colorado star, but when it arrived I fell in love with her Wisconsin star. Heh, I live in Wisconsin, is that too kitschy?

A week ago today we had our local quilt guild’s sew day and seeing as the husband was off, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to work on this quilt. While brushing my teeth it dawned on me – stars…falling stars….Shelburne Falls….Shelburne Falling Star. This, dear reader, is how inspiration is born.

I could have done the traditional thing. Four stars matched up with a neat little square of HSTs in the middle. Yeah. I never follow a recipe as written and likely couldn’t even if I tried, why would I follow a pattern as written?

One week, two Shelburne Falls fabrics, four Kona solids, a full Saturday, some Diet Coke, just about the entire third season of NCIS, and countless hours later my kitchen is a mess, the children have had pizza for dinner more than once. Oh, and the quilt is finished.

It’s perfect, yes? I can’t say that it’s exactly how I thought it would turn out because to be honest my vision before beginning was fuzzy. I love the way things evolve. Mistakes become focal points. Pieces are shuffled. While I enjoy the finished project, I think I prefer the process a great deal more than the finishing. Wrestling this quilt through my domestic machine was no picnic not to mention how I feel about hand stitching binding, but there is a certain satisfaction with having arrived even if it’s a little bittersweet.

Speaking of binding…I will now bind all of my quilts in stripes. I just love the way the stripes look marching all in a row down the edge of the quilt. Perfect.


I’m off to link up with Stitched in Color. Fingers crossed, dear reader. We’ll know on Monday (I think) whether or not I made it to the next round.

12 thoughts on “Shelburne Falling Star

  1. I love, love, love it! Absolutely wonderful!! A real winner!

    • Oh, thanks! I can’t wait to show it to you in person. Thanks for the encouragement along the way – it was a huge help when the task seemed so huge.

  2. Such a clever idea 🙂 tons of work in that but well worth it! Beautiful 🙂

  3. Oh how fabulous! Definitely a winner!

  4. WOW, it is so much more awesome than I imagined when you described it to me. A-Maz-Ing! You really have a gift.

  5. I love the pieces fluttering down, and I especially like the one that looks like a pie with one piece cut. Great design. Nice quilting in the negative space too.

    • The one with the one piece missing turned out really well, didn’t it? Thank you so much for the compliments – this is my first quilt like this one so it’s especially nice to hear!

  6. Love, love your deconstructed stars. Carol Doak’s patterns are great for paper piecing. And striped binding is a fabulous final touch. Sometimes you can find diagonally printed striped fabric that really adds zip. And I feel for your wrestling bout with your machine and all those long rows of machine quilting.

    • Thanks! I like Carol’s patterns with their ample room for seam allowances. My only complaint is that the disc that came with this book didn’t contain printable patterns, but a video. I’d still like to get a copy of my own, but I think I’d get the computer disc version she sells instead.

      I did think about cutting the strips on the bias to get a diagonal look that way, but decided to go this way instead. That plus a good starching really made the binding a pleasure to work with. I’m definitely going to keep the vertical in the back of my mind for next time. As for the long lines of quilting….I don’t think I really appreciated just exactly how much work it would be!

  7. Girl, it is fantastic.
    What a real beauty.

  8. Love your quilt. I especially enjoyed reading about your creative process. How big is the finished quilt? I also love the star with the missing piece.