My friends all know that I make quilt “tops”….and have quite a few hanging around waiting to be quilted. (I refuse to count them). I confess…..I just love the aspect of quilting that is the “making” of the blocks and the assembly of the blocks. Then….something distracts me and the top ends up on a hanger and I am on to the next half dozen projects. This month, however, I did a small quilt, start to finish! I did have a purpose, so in an effort to ensure it didn’t miss a deadline, I plowed straight through.
While I was doing some “sorting” earlier in the summer, I realized I have about 4 different collections of “train” fabric. My grandkids have “aged out” of the kid prints, so I offered to make a quilt for my husband’s club. My husband belongs to the DelMarVa Model Railroad Club, and they have their annual OPEN HOUSE season coming up. They have raffles rather than charge admission as a fund raiser and I offered the idea of a “train themed” quilt as one of the raffle prizes. When someone buys a string of raffle tickets, they drop them in the various boxes for different prizes, so they have a chance to win something they have chosen. The chairman of the Open House thought that would be something different and might draw the interest of those that don’t necessarily want to win a train set or tickets to a tourist railroad.
I chose the Pat Sloan pattern called OH MY STARS . This is a free pattern on Pat’s website – https://www.ilovetomakequilts.com/oh-my-stars-free-quilt-pattern-by-pat-sloan.html
My friend Nancy has made this pattern in varying sizes and said it goes together very quickly, and that helped with my decision. I deviated a bit from the pattern by adding an extra row to gain some width, and by making a simple mistake when I was laying out the stars. I miscounted and placed the bottom star one row UP. If you are familiar with the pattern, you will see my error, but I am hoping that it looks like a design “choice” and the average person would not know.
The bottom edge of the quilt is to the right in this photo.
I realized after I got all the rows sewn together that I was missing a row, and it was “too late” to move the star down one row. (The star points on 3 stars are supposed to extend into the border). Well…l fixed the missing row issue by adding the 10th row ….and then I decided to add a 9th row on the side (which is at the top of this photo). BIGGER is better, right? It is still rectangular, just a bit wider.
I’ve seen a lot of quilts made with this pattern, and have come to understand that the fabric choice for the stars is critical. If you pick the wrong fabric, the stars might not pop. I almost did that and when I second guessed my choice, I went back to the fabric bins and pulled out that yellow dot fabric. It isn’t from the same line, but it did have all the “right” colors and I am happy with the choice.
Funny thing about this fabric….I purchased an entire bolt of that railroad track fabric in 2015 or 2016 at Burkholders in Denver PA while on a guild bus trip. Later in the year I found the coordinating prints and bought 1 yard bundles of the set. I’ve used quite a bit of the track fabric on various projects, but was glad I had so much. It’s nice to clear a bit of it out of my stash too! Of course, I will still have some left in the form of 5″ squares, because I “over cut”, and that bolt is not gone yet! One of the pieces in the collection just begged me not to “cut it”, so I used it on the back.
Of course, it was only 1 yard, width of fabric, and not enough so I added those extra blocks around the perimeter and more of that black railroad track fabric.
I quilted the quilt on my Janome 11000, use the serpentine quilting stitch.
I “stretched” the stitch out to it’s maximum width and also increased the stitch length. I take photo when I alter the automatic stitch settings so I remember what I used. When my machine is restarted it remembers, but if I switch stitches, and then come back the machine will default to the standard setting. The post it note is the ‘date of needle change’, to remind me of when I put a new needle in. (Gotta leave myself reminders for everything it seems!)
Got the quilt trimmed and bound and it just needs a label, which I will make on my embroidery machine.
I bound the quilt with the same railroad track fabric, and used the turquoise dot for the flange. My favorite method to bind is called Susie’s Magic Binding, which is all done by machine and results in that little extra pop of color along the edge. That link will take you to a tutorial.
The last job to do is to hand stitch the label on the back of the quilt. I had the club logo digitized by Apex Embroidery and merged my dates and name into the design on my Janome 11000.
When I make a label, I use a method I learned from Pat Sloan for making circles for applique. I use a piece of light weight fusible interfacing (Pellon 911FF), and I lay the glue side (bumpy side) against the pretty side of the embroidery, then stitch all around. Once I have trimmed it to1/4″ of the stitching, I slit the Pellon carefully and turn it out, so the embroidery is facing up, the Pellon with the glue side is on the back. I run a rounded tool around the edges, and roll the edges in my fingers so that I get a nice smooth seam, and all the fusible Pellon is to the back of the label. Then I carefully press it to the back of the quilt. I use a pressing cloth and leave the iron sit in place for quite a bit of time, making sure the heat gets through the various layers of the label (yellow fabric, batting, stabilizer) and the fusible Pellon adhears to the quilt . Then I let it cool for a bit and hand stitch all around. IF I have the label finished before the binding goes on, I try to encase 2 edges in the binding. Pros and cons to that though are something to thing about. PROS – only 2 edges to hand stitch. CONS – Additional layers for your machine going thru all the binding, quilt and label. I always put a heavy duty needle in when doing binding, so it works. This time though I didn’t have the embroidery ready, so I’ll be stitching all around!
I figure I can count out 5 yards of fabric from the stash for this project. I’ve been keeping track with my fabric out of the stash for a challenge from Carole – on her blog FROM MY CAROLINA HOME. Hey, by the way, it’s almost time for AUTUMN JUBILEE on Carole’s blog. She does this every October and I have a link on my sidebar. The projects are in a wide range, everything from card making, table decor, working with wool applique to quilting. Be sure to click on the link on my sidebar and go check out Carole’s blog.
What’s happening in your sewing room? Has the Autumn weather arrived in your area yet? We are having a real cool down with a high of just 66 today and a low tonight of 46! WOW!! From air conditioning to heating in just a matter of days. Going to hold out and bundle up for a little bit. I pre-paid for some home heating oil this week, and it was $4.99/gallon. SOCKS & SWEATERS are going to be the rule of thumb this winter as I roll the temperature on the furnace way down!
Where ever you are, hopefully you are safe & sound and out of harms way from storms, as hurricanes roar towards Nova Scotia and the Maritimes, and are starting to build up in the Gulf.