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May 4, 2021
Shadow Stars Quilted and Bound from Fret Not Yourself

The wise response to intolerance is not more intolerance or self-righteousness; it is a coming together across the ideological spectrum of people who want to make democracies more effective. 
We should remember that the heroes we cherish 
- Lincoln, King, Gandhi, Mandela - spoke to the best within us.
~Madeleine Albright


A few years ago it seemed time to make something with a white background for our summer bed. I recalled the Shadow Star quilt my great-aunt made and found the newspaper clipping my cousin sent. The first step was to redraft the pattern, an eight-pointed star variation. Next I wanted ...

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February 16, 2021
Circling the Shadow Star Quilt from Fret Not Yourself

(Fascism develops) not just through the terror of police intimidation, but by denying and distorting information, by undermining systems of justice, by paralyzing the education system, and by spreading in a myriad subtle ways nostalgia for a world where order reigned.
~Primo Levi


The border of Shadow Stars caused me lots of trouble. My great-aunt's quilt didn't have any border but adding one would update the design. Over the years I've seen many beautiful borders. For example, this gorgeous Weeping Willow tree border from an antique quilt in the American Folk Art Museum has long been ...

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February 9, 2021
Sewing Borders on the Shadow Star Quilt from Fret Not Yourself

Sisters are the perfect best friend.


Unraveling on the edges of the completed borders drove me to attach the first three before finishing the fourth side. Here's the first side sewn.

First border sewn on Shadow Stars quilt top
First Vase and Vine border on Shadow Stars quilt

The next step was to sew the opposite side then to sew the third side, longer to accommodate the width of those border sides. An additional vine helps fill the space. 

Adding third Vase and Vine border to Shadow Stars quilt

But there's a small problem. Someone stretched this side when creating the sketch. {I wonder who ...

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February 2, 2021
Finally Adding Flowers from Fret Not Yourself

People overestimate what they can do in a single day and 
underestimate what they can do in their whole lives.
~unknown but possibly Bill Gates


With the vines and leaves finally sewn, it's time to sew the flowers. There have been several iterations as you can see by the "cut and paste" of the template under this border. After recopying the entire swag once, I wore out and simply cut the old flower out and taped a new version in. Why? Because the petals extended too far and ended at the edges of the border fabric. 

The flower ...

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January 19, 2021
More Leaves and my Light Table from Fret Not Yourself

Whoever is careless with truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.
~Albert Einstein


String Tulip QAL will start the first Tuesday in February. Thanks for responding so enthusiastically. Like our usual prompts, I will post steps in successive months. 

February 2 - ESS string blocks
March 2 - Tulip petals
April 6 - Center details
May 4 - Putting it all together

The instructions are not a mystery; they will recreate the three quilts I made with this design. The mystery is what you make of them. Everyone is encouraged to alter the instructions to suit their own plans. I ...

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Never Ending Leaves and a Few Bud Bases from Fret Not Yourself

It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America.
~Molly Ivins

The US turns to healing our bodies and souls with the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris tomorrow. I will be but early to watch. Let's commit to more than watching though. Let's become involved, especially in local matters and primaries, so horrors like these last few years don't happen again.

Both the 2016 and 2020 elections showed that the majority of Americans did not support ...

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November 24, 2020
Figuring Out the Best Appliqué Prep from Fret Not Yourself

Do what you feel in your heart to be right for you'll be criticized anyway.

~Eleanor Roosevelt


Whenever I appliqué it seems to need different methods. There are two older but excellent machine appliqué books in my personal library: Mastering Machine Appliqué by Harriet Hargrave and Traditional Quilts Today's Techniques by Debra Wagner. 

Two books on a green cutting board
Machine appliqué instruction books

I drafted my patterns on graph paper then looked for something to reinforce it. The plastic on hand is either too thin or too small. But... there's a whole bunch of file folders from my shredding summer. Woo hoo ...

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November 17, 2020
Cutting Leaves for the Shadow Stars Border from Fret Not Yourself

What is the use of living, if it be not to strive for noble causes and to make this muddled world a better place for those who will live in it after we are gone? I avow my faith that we are marching towards better days. Humanity will not be cast down. We are going on swinging bravely forward along the grand high road and already behind the distant mountains is the promise of the sun.
~Winston Churchill


With so many colors in the Shadow Stars already, more green vines and fewer flowers seems like a better idea. I ...

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November 10, 2020
Fiddling with Flowers on the Shadow Stars from Fret Not Yourself

The cure for the ills of democracy is more democracy.
~Jane Addams

The US election results are in with joy for many of us but also sorrow that the vote was anywhere close. Much work remains to help minority communities, to reestablish science and belief in its research, and to rebuild faith with our democratic partners internationally. Hopefully we can all commit to considering the words we use and the meanings and intentions behind every word and policy.


My head aches from all the ideas running around it. First, I thought I could sew the four main pieces of ...

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November 3, 2020
Vases on the Shadow Stars Border from Fret Not Yourself

Fairy tales are more than true: 
not because they tell us that dragons exist, 
but because they tell us dragons can be beaten.
~C. K. Chesterton

Today is finally Election Day in the U.S. unless you voted early. And I hope you did since the lines will be long today.

Even though the rabbit print seemed a bit light I wanted to try it. The vase is too short to include the whole image. I chose to put the face in rather than the ears. Then I asked QS and several friends whether it needed a foot. Of course ...

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October 27, 2020
Return to Shadow Stars from Fret Not Yourself

This present moment used to be the unimaginable future.
~Stewart Brand


Did you think I'd forgotten about the Shadow Stars? I've been researching different border ideas. DH didn't like white for the border and I've come to agree with him. I don't want a reproduction although this has traditional roots.

Without enough fabric on hand I spent several weeks looking at online choices. That's a difficult way to make a decision when looking for a specific color. The background needed to be white rather than cream. But the whole thing needed to be ...

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April 8, 2020
A Fail and a Few Finishes from Fret Not Yourself

'Home is the place where, when you have to go there,
They have to take you in.'
                                    'I should have called it
Something you somehow haven't to deserve.'

My mother used to quote the first two lines to us but I didn't know the author although I'd read many of Frost's poems. I'm fortunate to have a large family that gets along. We write; we call; we visit. What a blessing to just belong to this group; people who have known you all your life. {Although ...

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March 10, 2020
Pi Day 2020 from Fret Not Yourself

"Hope is the choice we make to see the light, 
even while recognizing the inevitable presence of darkness." 
~Rabbi Nancy Kasten

Wonders never cease. Pi Day is Saturday and I'm currently working on a circle quilt as it approaches. In fact, the top is sewn. Sort of. Maybe I'm moving forward; maybe I'm standing on quicksand. I'm not sure. But I have sewn plain white sashing and posts to the Shadow Stars. While it's not as visually appealing as the green compasses, it's not lumpy and twisted either.

Shadow Star quilt with plain white ...

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March 3, 2020
Restart from Fret Not Yourself

"Progress is not created by contented people."
~Frank Tyger

Frank may be correct but taking this top apart is a funny sort of progress. And that's what I'm doing. Fortunately not all the seams are sewn but it's still a lot. Why? Because I'm very unhappy with the result.

It's not visible in this photo but there is no way to press the compass seams flat. They must twist or create a gigantic lump at the post or the point. If they twist, there's a dimple in the seam, especially because of the solid ...

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February 25, 2020
This is Going to Take a While from Fret Not Yourself

Wise people learn when they can; fools learn when they must.
~Duke of Wellington

I rarely copy a quilt although I pick bits and pieces from many quilts. Even now, I'm not trying to copy my great-aunt's quilt; I am inspired by the memory of it. Thanks to my cousin, this is the same Star block. The way the points fade to nothing always attracted me. That's the focus of this quilt for me.

My other inspiration is the wealth of antique appliqué quilts with circular motifs. I wrote about one of them here. The corner designs ...

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February 18, 2020
Returning to the Shadows from Fret Not Yourself

"Don't think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It's self-conscious and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can't try to do things; you simply must do things."
~Ray Bradbury

While I disagree with Ray's statement as far as thinking goes, the last sentence is a reminder that was even echoed by Yoda, "Do or do not. There is no try." We see that in our own lives as the things we 'do not' pile around us physically or mentally. Hopefully we tackle some of them each day. Speaking of which...

Who remembers the Shadow Star blocks? Who ...

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  • shadow star
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