Monday, September 29, 2014

Ohio Stars in Autumn

Gorgeous fall weather in my part of Texas has inspired me to make a quilt in the colors of the season.  This one is for my daughter and son-in-law.  When they lived in Warrenville, Illinois, it was a great pleasure to visit them this time of year.  Illinois puts on a splendid Fall display.  The trees are glorious; shops display Autumn decorations; pumpkin patches and apple orchards open for kids of all ages; and everyone goes all out for Halloween. I hope this quilt will remind them of their happy years there.

The first quilt I made for my daughter, when she was just a toddler, was an Ohio Star, pieced from the fabrics of tiny dresses that I sewed for her.  So years later for this quilt -- a gift for her and her husband -- I chose Ohio Star again. 

The fabric is Studio E's Peppered Cottons.  The background color is "Coffee Bean," which I think sets off the oranges, yellows and greens nicely.  

I prewash all of my fabric before cutting.  Washing and pressing Peppered Cottons changes the hand of this fabric -- It becomes exquisitely soft and just feels warm!  Because it's a shot cotton, it can ravel a bit and so requires careful handling.  It also tends to show press marks, but I always wash my quilts when they are finished and hopefully the press marks will recede into the quilting.  

For a really good tutorial on this quilt block, go to this site: .  The tutorial contains an excellent chart which works out all math for you, making it very easy to size your blocks.  The only tip I would add to the tutorial is this:  When you construct the quarter-square triangle blocks (the ones that look like hour glasses), you really must match the points as closely as possible.  To do that, when you stack the half-square triangles in preparation for sewing the quarter-square triangles, fold back one corner to match the seams in the center and pin in place.  Doing that will give you perfectly matched points in the center of the block.

I didn't do that for the first block, thinking that if the ends match, of course the center must match.  But not so!  

The above may be confusing if you have never sewed an Ohio Star block, but I urge you to go to the tutorial.  It is a super easy block to make.  I promise you will like the results -- Binx the Cat approves!  

(If there's a camera in sight, he's always ready to pose.)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Zapp Hall, Y'all!


If you've never been to Central Texas in springtime, you must come visit us at this time of the year, before the sun gets so hot that even the rattlesnakes wish they were in Alaska. Seriously, Texas is most gorgeous at this time of the year, when the trees are greening, the bluebonnets are washing the hillsides in shades of cobalt and heaven, and newborn calves are cavorting in the fields. I love living here -- can you tell? This is also the time of year when antique vendors dust off their wares and descend on Texas. So, for our somewhat annual trip to the region this past Easter weekend, Mr. Slipper Moon and I slipped on our cowboy boots and headed to Warrenton, site of the Zapp Hall Antique Show.

Zapp Hall is the preview to the huge semi-annual show in Round Top (which is going on now, as I sit here and type). This was my first visit and I could not believe the acres of antiques and just generally good junk to be discovered!

There were bathtubs for little cowpokes (I can see flowers planted in one of these, placed in my garden!)

and bathtubs for taller cowboys

all kinds of transportation, from this cute little airplane pedal car in perfect condition

to a bicycle riksha

to Mr. Slipper Moon's dream yellow street rod

and this hot pink "Junk Gypsy" set of wheels

to MY dream -- a Gypsy vardo (I want one of these someday!)

That terrific Gypsy vardo lured me into the adjoining tent which held terrific wares

especially this pink floral trunk. I have one similar -- Wonder if I can make mine look this cute?

On the quirkier side, we found this armadillo made from tin roofing material

and this gorgeous copper art

and more letters galore.

By that time, we were feeling as disheveled as that pile of letters and our boot soles were wearing thin, so we headed to Fayetteville for a bite to eat and then made my pilgrimage to the Texas Quilt Museum in La Grange,

a town made famous by the play and movie Best Little Whore House in Texas ("Lord have mercy on our souls!")

and a drive through pretty bluebonnet-covered hillsides.

Y'all come see us, you hear? And if you head to Warrenton and Round Top for the miles of antiques, wear comfortable shoes and not cowboy boots, or better yet, bring a golf cart. My feet still haven't recovered!