Night Sky is done!

And my son loves it.

The light isn’t great, as the sun was going down on a cloudy day, but I dragged the kids outside to hold it over the deck edge anyway.

This quilt has been quite a long time in the making.  It started when I made some paper pieced stars that were posted on the Wombat Quilts blog.  Her finished quilt is here.  I loved the scrappy background, but didn’t want more paper piecing, so mine is improv quilting.  I also decided that it needed a moon, and some trees beneath the stars.

You can see my gradual progress herehere, and here.

Today I stitched down the last bit of the binding, after an overnight wait because I inexplicably didn’t have any dark green thread.  Just a couple more thread ends to bury and I can pop it in the washer to get soft and crinkly.  Then it is going on my older son’s bed tonight!


So close to being finished

I put a lot of time in on the Night Sky quilt this weekend.  My son has been standing by my shoulder, urging me on – he wants his quilt!


I’d almost finished quilting the tree portion before wandering off to some shinier project, so I finished that up quickly yesterday.  I used wavy lines and a green ombré thread.  If I was going to do it over, I would probably change both of those decisions.  I think a straighter line and a darker green might have been better so the lines didn’t distract from the angles of the trees. But my son says he likes it, so it will do.


The next step was outlining the stars with a combo of echo and stitch-in-the-ditch quilting.  I love the way the outline shows up in the back, though it is less obvious since I added the background quilting.


I quilted the sky in loops, throwing in a few five pointed stars.  I went through a multitude of bobbins – free motion quilting sucks up a lot of thread.  I had another ombré thread in blues for this part.  I had some trouble seeing where I’d already quilted with the darker thread so there is overlapping in places – my quilting skills never quite live up to the picture in my mind’s eye.


I did the moon last, and tried out a new-to-me free motion pattern of dense circles.  I think it is called pebbles?  I think it looks like moon craters.



I got as far as trimming the quilt before I ran out of steam.  The binding fabric is waiting to be cut and sewn – by the end of the week my son will have his new Night Sky to sleep under.

Oh, and a lot of thread ends to bury!


Starting out right in 2016

A belated happy New Year to everyone!  We were away at our wifi-less cabin for a few days.  We came back today in the midst of both holiday traffic and a sudden unexpected winter blast of snow and freezing rain.  My district has already declared tomorrow a snow day!  To the despair of my sons, their district is so far opening on time.  My joy at the possibility of a childless day at home is deep.  🙂

It has been a smorgasbord of crafts during the beginning of 2016.  I got started in the quilting of my older son’s night sky quilt, warped a scarf on the rigid heddle loom, and dug out the cotton for some kitchen knitting.

My basement floor no longer has room to pin a quilt after my sister dropped off a piano this summer, so we went last week to her school where she organized her classroom and I pinned a couple of quilts.

My knees and fingers were only good for two quilts worth of pins, plus my boys’ patience ran out at that point.  But that gives me a start on the pile of tops.

The kitchen wash cloths were looking pretty grungy, so I pulled out my cones of cotton and made a few more in simple seed stitch patterns.  They are a little uneven but that’s not very important in a cloth destined for scrubbing around oven burners, and they tighten up when they are washed.

I also packed the loom and warped it for a scarf while we were at the cabin.

All went smoothly until I looked for the stick shuttle to start actually weaving and realized I hadn’t packed one.  I made one out of folded cardboard but it wasn’t very stable and bent a lot, making it a very slow process.  But now we are home and the shuttles are at hand so it will move faster.



I used a Crazy Zauberball yarn for the warp – it has long bi-colored color changes creating stripes.  The weft is a green lace weight alpaca yarn (Misti alpaca) doubled.  Still trying to use up stash yarns, though I have to admit the Zauberball is a fairly recent purchase.

So a lot of different crafts to start out the year.  Starting as I mean to go on!

Ironically, spinning wasn’t one of them, though that is on the top of my crafting resolution list – to spin more regularly in 2016.  I love it when I’m doing it, but have just not turned to the wheel very often.

My resolution list is shortish and project based. More spinning.  Doing more home improvement sewing like runners for bureaus, covers for the living room chairs, and wall hangings for a few bare walls.  I’m also going to finally refinish the dining room tabletop and stain the unfinished dresser.  And a biggie – have the kitchen remodeled! The only really personal improvement is to establish a regular walking routine.  I need more movement.

Now that I reread that list, it isn’t very short.  But I have a whole year to accomplish it all, and I think it is doable.

I hope everyone is having a happy, safe, and fiber filled start to the new year.




Finally finished

I finished the night sky quilt top on Sunday.  A couple more blue squares on the bottom edge, a green side strip, and then I was left with just attaching the sky to the hills.
image image image

It is a little bit puckered, curves not being my strength, but I think with careful quilting it is going to be OK.  My son has already called dibs, so it can’t sit in the WIP pile too long.

I needed a simple project after that, so I made a couple of quilt-as-you-go log cabin squares that I’m going to cut into 4s for coaster sets.

QAYG coasters image image

I think I’m going to add more quilting before I cut them.

A green theme

Maybe because briefly the rains came back before the heat deepened again, but I’ve been on a bit of a green kick the last week or two.

The trees for the Night Sky quilt are coming along slowly, with pieces coming together in weird partial seam combinations when I have a minute to add to it.

Night sky trees in progress

The process is a messy one!

Green tree scraps

Green tree scraps

There was also a burst of knitting when I wasn’t somewhere that sewing was possible.  And without intending it, all of it green.

I finished one home spun cowl –

Handspun cowl - green

Started another –

Handspun cowl 2 a green

And then when I left that cowl in progress at school, I started a third.

Green cowl with combined lace

The first two are knit from the same fiber spun two different ways.  Cowl #1 is a two ply.  I had planned on making it very wide, but it turned out that what I thought were additional skeins were the same hand dyed fiber, but I’d spun it into a three ply yarn.  So those two skeins became a new cowl.

The third cowl I’m combining yarn.  I have a lot of lace and light fingering weight yarns from my obsessive lace knitting days, so I’ve decided that I’ll combine various skeins to make the bulkier knitting projects I’m in the mood for now.

After all these are finished I’ll need a burst of fuchsia or lemon yellow to recover from all the green!


Yesterday I took a break from the blues of the night sky and started the trees that will be at the bottom of the quilt.  Lots and lots of flying geese are going to make up the bulk of this dark forest.

Night sky quilt - greens

I’m using my EZ Flying Geese ruler, cutting 2″ and 2 1/2″ strips.  The geese/trees are all going to be solids with mixed fabric backgrounds.  I’ll fill in all the holes with patchwork, and then curve the forested hills into the night sky.

Green flying geese trees

Green flying geese trees

Green saying geese trees

Green flying geese trees

I’m about half way done with the trees.  I used leftover Kaffe shot cottons and some almost solids for the trees and all the darker greens that I had in my stash and bought last week for the backgrounds.  A couple of the lighter acid greens didn’t make the cut as I want to keep the tones dark and subdued for the most part.  It is a night forest after all.

The slight variation in tree sizes also gives it a little more depth, and it will make more patchwork to even up the block widths when I’m sewing it all together.  I also varied the height of the trees from three to five triangles high.

A bit of progress

My new job started this week, which dramatically cut back on the amount of sewing time.  But well worth it for the upcoming paycheck!  It has been almost two years since I had a full time job, other than a couple of months subbing last spring, so getting up in the morning is taking some real adjustment.

But there has been some progress on the Night Sky quilt background.

Night Sky Stars in progress

I put in a secret star to amuse myself, and also had a lot of fun with the wonky flying geese row.

Night sky background detail image

And I dug through my stash and made a trip to the fabric store and have collected a lot of greens for the upcoming hills and forest parts.

Night sky quilt - greens

Actually, I’ve added a lot to the stash in the last few days.  Yesterday my sister and I went to the bulk fabric sale at Scrap.  I ended up with several grab bags of fabric, plus a big bag of upholstery fabric samples that are going to get added on to a long-in-progress patchwork project I’ve been working on.

The upholstery scraps dredged from the store’s giant bins:

Upholstery scraps

Scrap fabric grab bags

Above are two of the three grab bags.  Not everything will be loved, but I got a lot of great pieces to add to my scrap bin, some larger yardage to work with, and a bunch of great black and whites to add to my mini projects for the bedroom wall collection.

Black and white scraps from grab bag

And now back to making a little more progress on getting that sky finished.

Night sky

A while back my attention was caught by a project on the Wombat Quilts blog.  I was exploring paper pieced blocks and she has great patterns for lots of different stars.  She was making orange and blue star blocks at the time. I followed along with some of them, making pretty similar stars, though mine were gray and yellow rather than orange because I love gray and yellow. I kept the dark blue background idea because what other color would a night sky be?

Night sky stars fabric

I used the blocks as foundation sewing practice and also as an excuse to buy lots of different fabrics. (Didn’t really NEED an excuse, but it is handy when rationalizing buying yet more stuff to squeeze into the craft room.)Night sky stars quilt in progress image

And then, as is typical, some other shiny project caught my eye and I moved on.  The stack of stars sat on my UFO shelf and waited, gradually moving towards the bottom of the pile.

Then I came across this Starry Night quilt on Pinterest, which reminded me of those neglected stars and also solved the problem of not having made enough of them for a full quilt.  I just needed hills!  And a moon!

The moon was a bit of a trial and error process, emphasis on the error part.  First, with my limited curve skills and a patchwork of printer paper I drew a crescent moon outline to use as a piecing pattern, I made this moon.

Night Sky stars - moon image

Night Sky Stars - moon in progress image

Then I stared at it for a couple days, pretty much hating it more and more.  The center circle was too small, the points curved in too much, and then there were the puckered seams.  Some slicing was definitely called for.

Night Sky Stars quilt - fixing the moon image image

Not perfect, but much improved!

Now I’m at the fun stage where I’m just filling in the gaps.  Lots of slashing and random switching of directions.  If you look at the original inspiration quilt, she did a lot of paper pieced blocks and has a huge variety of squares.  That was never going to happen with mine.  So much precision!  I never would have finished.  I’m taking a more improv, crazy quilt approach, which is fun, messy, and leads to the occasional weirdly skinny bits of fabric, but it fits the picture in my mind, and I am liking the results.

image imageI cut a bunch of strips that vary between 1 1/2 and 3 inches wide, dumped them in a pile to rummage through. and now I just sit at the machine, sewing and trimming and turning and ironing, and gradually the night sky is turning dark blue.  As are my floor, sewing and cutting tables, but hey, creativity can be messy!

Night Sky Stars quilt - strips

The hills are going to take a bit of shopping.  I don’t have a lot of dark greens.  Luckily, I know a few fabric stores in the neighborhood.