KTAA Annual Exhibition

There were some totally fabulous entries, and the grand winner – who could argue! Shyamala Rao just knocked the socks off everyone with her fabulous quilt.

Mine were much more modest.

Ursa Major was the most fun. I don’t normally like mysteries, but this one gave me a lot of control. Every step had suggestions, and measurements, but you had a lot of latitude within the instructions. Mine shows the great North Star in the center of the quilt, and the Big Bear, endlessly circling the North Star.

Kathi Ewan’s instructions were just fun! I felt so free! I knew the fabrics I wanted to use, and the quilt kind of made itself. Normally, I start out knowing where a quilt is going, but this one, with each step, I rested and reflected before making the next round, and I got more and more excited about the quilt with each step, ending with the silvery little salmon circling on the penultimate border – a bear’s gotta eat!


At one point in the quilt, I tried some low-contrast piecing, the star has two kinds of white. I wasn’t happy, and was going to change to higher contrast when LeAnn Aldulrahim said no, to go with the white on white and try the quilting technique Paramjeet taught us two years ago with the zig-zag stitch. “Hmmm,” I thought, and went home and did it in silver, and oh – what fun. The bear tracks circling the quilt, the 45°angled borders around the center medallion and again at the last border – just fun. I had a great time with this quilt. It’s icing on the cake that it won the Children’s Choice award. I made it for the child within!

Another joyful, childish quilt – The Stars that Dance in Southern France (in their underpants) was started to use up some of the provincial French fabrics I gathered so lovingly for so many years, but found myself thinking I was turning into Gollum with his precious, if all I did was look at them now and then and say “someday . . . ”

My husband added the part about the underpants, and I just let it stand. I thought it was a hoot.
Stars that Dance

It took third in the Traditional Pieced category. It makes me smile when I look at it.

Last but not least, KaleidoStars is a baby quilt for a new baby on the way, sex unknown, but I loved these Indian batik fabrics we found down in the souks, and couldn’t wait to get my hands going on something that would show them off and let the lines and dots sing and move around the quilt. It’s all about the motion:


They’re all packed away now, except for KaleidoStars, which I need to mail soon, very soon. We are moving back to Qatar at the end of the month, and just today I finished packing up (AAARRGHHH!) the quilt room.

Mystery Quilt Mayhem (Part 1)

I admit it. I am a control freak. I did a couple mystery quilts early on in my quilting life and found myself looking at those quilts critically ever after, wishing I had used a darker color here, a lighter color there, etc. I am choosy. I like making choices, and I like enough contrast in just the right places to make a quilt work.

So when our Q8 Quilters announced a mystery quilt, for me it was all like “Ho Hum” until she started telling us about it. 

Our first month, we have to make a 20 inch block (20 1/2 inches unfinished) that can be turned on point. We will need about 4 yards of one fabric for the background. We choose our own colors, our own theme – Hey! This sounds interesting, and as challenging as we want it to be. In spite of myself, I was already planning my 20″ block.

I did all the math. I drew it out on my squared paper. I gathered my fabrics and carefully decided where I wanted them to fall in the pattern. I chose a Lone Star Center, because I have all these beautiful snowflake patterns in blue and silver, and I am dying to use them in a very wintery quilt.

It went together fine, and then I placed the insets by machine. Hmmm. Not so good. I did a Lone Star as my second ever quilt (I know, I know, fools rush in) which was in Seminole Colors as a graduation quilt for my son and I remember piecing and repiecing to get all the diamonds to line up. I did all the inset squares and triangles by hand. Now I remember why.

When I finish, my heart sinks. No matter how careful I was, no matter how I planned and measured – the square is more like 24 inches than 20. I don’t know how that happened.

As I am looking at it, and it looks all wonky, I see that I scorched a section as I was ironing. I quickly call my friend who knows everything about home things, and she gave me several suggestions. I tried the baking soda suggestion, and then, as I was rinsing the baking powder out, further disaster struck – my focus fabric, an Alaska-at-midnight blue with silver stars ran all over the crystal pristine white and silver that was to work as a snowflake. Horrors!

It was late in the day. I know there is too much wrong here to salvage, and, thankfully, I have a lot of the fabric; I can do it again.

The next day I started again, using a half inche less in every diamond measurement. I changed a couple fabrics, and I think I like the result. I also set in the setting triangles and squares by hand. Piece of cake.

I had to add a frame to bring it to 20 inches, but I was pleased to come as close as I did, working with so many seams, diagonals and a fixed block size. If anyone knows where there is a chart to tell you what size diamonds to use to get size X Lone Star block, please let me know.

Here are the results:

The one on the top is the one I will use as the Mystery Quilt center. The one on the bottom . . . it needs a little work. I don’t think I will trash it, but I need to think about it for a while.