Thursday, August 25, 2011


A few years ago, my friend pieced a quilt from Karen Stone's "Yardbirds Circling the Cat" pattern.  I quilted it, and then she put it in the guild auction.  She hoped to purchased it back, but the price got too high.  I thought I would make one for her in miniature.  It only took two or three years for me to actually do that.  It turned out to be an experiment in trying different ways to do it. 
I needed to draft the block, and although I had Karen Stone's EQ program, it only prints out the full size pattern.  So what I did was print out an 8 pointed star block from EQ and then I had to draw the pattern in by hand.
 It worked out okay, except that in my diligence in getting the paper piecing pattern correct, I forgot to flip the design so that when I was finished, it would go in the correct direction.
I have never tried this paper before, it really does dissolve when it is wet.  It just was not good for this project.  I makes a difference when it comes down to actually piecing the star.  I would have had to immerse the diamond in water to get the paper off.  Spraying worked somewhat, but left a kind of a mess. 
Anyway, to make the checked border, I resorted to using graph paper, which was perfect.  The center square was 8.5 inches unfinished.

 I pieced it to the center block
 And I just free pieced the outer border.  The original pattern had a plan, but I didn't want to make one, so I just pieced it.

You know how you can look at things and like them, but then you notice all of the things about it that aren't good?  The thing about miniature quilts is that if there is something not right, it is right in your face.  One of the things I would change, is the pieces in the very center.  They should have been closer to the background of each diamond.  Because of the water soluble paper that I couldn't remove, it was difficult to cleanly piece the center, and the setting squares/triangles.  
The thing that always escapes me when I decide to piece a miniature with lot's of tiny spires, is when they all come together in that one spot, it is going to be in a 1/4" area, and leave a big lump.  And if you have the added thickness of a foundation that is still there, it complicates everything even more.  You would think I would learn.
It all kind of nagged at me, so I re-drafted the pattern with the spires going in the correct direction.  
This time, I used Vellum for the foundation.  I used Cherrywoods hand dyes, adjusted the background so that the spires would show up.  I decided to use my "add and eighth" ruler this time and trim every seam to 1/8" as I pieced on the foundation. 
And the best tool of all;
This DVD.  
I took a class with Jan Krentz so I could learn how to piece a lone star, but this DVD is invaluable for your library.  I have her book, but it is great to be able to actually SEE how she pieces the whole thing together.  She has a trick for piecing the star and setting blocks. 
This one came together much easier, and closer to perfect.  I'm not sure if I will even finish this up.  I just needed to know if there would be a better way to do it. I have it up on my design wall, and I will think about it for a while.

Oh, and another thing that I love for making scrappy miniature quilts;
Those 5" charm packs.  They are a great way to make a miniature quilt out of one line of fabric.  It would have been a real pain to drag down all of my fabric and cut out little pieces.  Okay, I almost did.. then I remembered my box of 5" squares.  Whenever I go to the quilt shop I purchase a couple more. 

I do have some plans for this fall and winter.  I am going to slowly work my way through my miniature quilt books and try to learn from the masters.  I still have a lot to learn.
Have a good weekend!!


  1. I love Foundation Paper Piecing to get the fine detail you have created in your Star block! Your second attempt is just lovely, although your first mini star quilt is also lovely!
    I generaly use Carol Doak's Fdtn Paper, it tears off the fabric very easily! I have to agree with you about using Charms for mini blocks, they are a definite winner!!!!

  2. when I made that Yardbirds quilt top, I'd never before pieced a LeMoyne Star together. It was a trial for me.
    For paper piecing, I have bought Gilbert Gilclear 17 lb. vellum. Bought a ream of it and it'll last me forever (I think) Goes thru the inkjet printer quite nicely.
    I like your mini-Yardbirds, Teri! I can't imagine making it the size you I said, it was a trial for me at the *regular* size! Good job!

  3. What an ambitious project -- and they're so pretty!

  4. Great quilt - I've never attempted paper piecing one so small! It's beautiful. I think you should finish the second one! Thanks for your kind comments on my blog