Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Lifetime Quilt Begins

The quilt that I call "Lifetime" sits on my bed as we speak and is a catalog of memories beyond sewing.  I was inspired by the picture of a quilt by Maoko Kamamota in Quilters Newsletter Magazine, November 2003.  I put my own take on her design, using some elements and discarding others.  There was no pattern so I just started in the middle with a mariner's compass and thus began my foray into designing my own quilts.  I find I am an intuitive quilter, meaning that although I have a basic idea of what I want to do,  I tend to start somewhere and decide on the next step as I go along.  I drew it out in Adobe Illustrator as you can see below.

I broke the compass up into the following element that can be paper pieced.  There are many videos on the Internet that teach paper piecing so spend some time and find directions that speak to you.  The foundation must be the reverse of the final star as all the fabric will be on the back when you are done.  With this one it doesn't really matter which way it goes, but with some patterns it is important to remember so you don't end up with work finishing backwards.

Next I reduced the opacity of the color and added numbers telling me the order in which I need to sew. I reduced the opacity so I could see the muted color and don't have to add more text to small spaces reminding me what fabric I should use.  It really helps!!  I also added 1/4 inch seam allowance lines.

Finally, on the computer I placed four of these pieces to fit on 8.5 x 11 inch paper.  You must also prepare a similar triangle with #1 being a square for the corners, assuming you want the compass to end up to be a square as mine will be, and prepare four of these for another piece of paper.  Then print.  Then cut the paper so you have the 8 triangles ready to piece.  Then sew.

I love using Sulky Solvy Water Soluble Paper.  The paper tears away easily or you can leave it to dissolve later.  There are many other products on the market and you can also use plain copy paper.  By reducing stitch length the paper tears away easily on the perforations.

Once the eight triangles are all sewn, all that is left to do is sew them together.  The quilt's center in fabric is below.  It is 22 3/4 inches square with a 1/4 inch pink border.

TIP:  I find that it is sometimes challenging to get the points to go together nicely in the center.  If you try and fail there is always a seam ripper, but those points are delicate and will take only so much punishment.  You can always appliqué a small circle of fabric over the center and then cut away excess fabric on the back.  It looks just as nice.  This one I nailed perfectly with a loud, "Hurray!"  I'll write about methods for star centers at another time.

I am sorry I can't help you eQ7 quilt designers.  I have a Mac and have had to turn to Illustrator as my design software.  No matter, stay tuned and I will carry you through the process of creating an unusual sampler quilt.


  1. Hi, Mardi. Came over from Nina Marie's blog. This is a lovely block and the fabrics you've used are superb.
    best, nadia

    1. Thank you. That is Paula Nadelstern fabric. Her designs are so luscious, colorful, and intricate.

  2. I was going to say that your precision with fussy cutting the fabric reminded me of Paula Nadelstern. Now I see why. :) Great star.

  3. your star block is so beautiful. love your fabric choices!

    Thanks so much for linking up to Needle and Thread Thursday!

    :) Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation

  4. Beautiful block, and your colours are gorgeous!