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.


Tuesday Inspiration

I currently find myself in the yawning gap between idea and ability.  I’m apparently unable to sew or cut a straight line to save my own life.  If I square up a block, and then another follows after me, it is sadly not actually square.  Great lines, crisp points, construction that doesn’t appear as if the constructor were drunk (which, for the record, I’m not)?  Apparently not within my skill set at this time.  None of which even addresses large quilts and why I should probably re-work all of my current projects into wall hangings.  Wall hangings I think can handle.  Or maybe I should swear it off altogether and stick with improv.

Picnic blanket?  What about picnic sit-upons (and, yes, I was once a Girl Scout)?

So, in the interests of focusing on the things that aren’t currently frustrating, I thought instead that I would focus on the things I do find inspiring.  Seeing as looking at someone else’s work does not require any appreciable skills on my part, this, dear reader, is completely within the realm of my abilities.

Advanced Style – I found a link to this over on a post at Derfwad Manor and I have to say, I *love* this.  Real people and not skinny, young, stick-ish things?  Oh, yes, please.  I am not fashionable unless jeans and a v-neck t-shirt counts as stylish, but someday maybe I might be and if I do, please let me be more like the folks pictured there.

A chevron quilt with ah-mah-zing quilting – As in the sorts of transformational things that happen with machine and thread.  Most definitely.

Beth Copeland’s “Lucky” and Susan Strong’s “STELLA” as pictured over at See How We Sew – Such wonderfully bright fabrics, a good dose of neutral, and more fantastic quilting.  *sigh*

So there you have it, the things I find inspiring today (although honestly, the first title I came up with for this post was “things that don’t suck”).  What about you?  What do you find most inspiring when you…aren’t?