Sunday, September 19, 2021

A Gift of Comfort

 One of the Sunday Sew and Sews is dealing with breast cancer, again, after having beaten it twenty years ago. We wanted to make a quilt for her, to wrap her in love and comfort. We knew it could NOT be pink--she told us a few years back that pink was her least favorite color because it reminded her she had had breast cancer. 

So, what about red white and blue? I remembered she owned a couple antique family log cabin quilts that were red, white and blue. And that color combination always works, so that was the plan. 

The finished quilt: 

The top: 

Simple diagonal line quilting: 

When making a group quilt, it is best to use an easy block and a design that does not have blocks set side-by-side. This block is perfect--it FLOATS, meaning the star points are well inside the block edges, and perfection is not required. 

I have written about this block several times. Use the Search box in the upper left for Tiny Stars. Here is the post with the instructions: Tiny Stars Block Swap

This block can be made in just about any size, these stars are 4.5" Finished. Fifteen of us made the blocks. I had each person make 10 Tiny Stars AND assemble them in rows, alternating a Star/Blue Square/Star/Red Square, etc. All I had to do was open a seam or two to create the diagonal set. Much faster for me than if I had had to sew all the stars/squares together myself. I also asked each person to sign one of their stars, adding a message if they wished. 

The back and binding fabrics were donated by one of our group--it was fabric she had gotten from Janet, our Sunday Sew and Sew who passed away last year. So even Janet was able to contribute to this gift.

These quilters are all great piecers who have successfully completed some challenging quilts since we began this group in January 2017. Still, there are some tips I can share about piecing that might help improve all our piecing skills. I am NOT picking on anyone here--we ALL can improve, myself included. 

1. Use a fairly small stitch for piecing, especially small blocks. I recommend no larger than 2.0. If your machine default is 2.5, and many are, lower it before you begin. Here's why;

Discovered while quilting--this is tough to fix on a basted quilt--it is a star on the outside edge of the quilt. I had to hand-sew it closed with white thread: 

2. If seam allowances are important for construction, indicate which way to press them. Because the stars don't touch other pieced blocks, I told the group they could press the seams on the stars however they preferred. The seams joining stars to fabric squares, need to be pressed toward the squares--not everyone did that. It was a simple matter to repress those rows before assembling the quilt:

3. Double check your piecing. I do this all the time, and regret it if I skip this step. As you join a star to a fabric square, check to be sure your seam allowance is accurate. Two 4.5" finished blocks should be 9.5" when sewn together, including seam allowances. Two pair should be 18.5" when sewn together, with seam allowances. It is very easy when chain piecing a lot of blocks to get off just a little. And a "little" off, can add up. When joining the rows I occasionally found the intersections didn't always align--this is simply due to the seam allowance being off just a bit. 

Off just a tiny bit: 

Spot-on, 9" finished for two blocks: 

4. BE SURE THE BACK IS BIG ENOUGH: this last tip is for ME. I pieced the back from Janet's fabric, and knew it would be "close" to big enough. After spray basting the back, adding the batt and then adding the spray basted top, I was irritated at myself to see the back was about 1" too narrow. What a mess! To try to sew additional fabric on the spray basted back would have been really messy. 

My plan was to just cut off half the stars on both sides, not a great solution, just the easiest one. Once I started the quilting, I determined I didn't want to cut the stars off so I added more back fabric to both sides, sewing through all 3 layers. Now there is a visible seam on the top, very close to the edge. But, when completely done, those lines are not really visible unless you look for them. No picture to show you. All in all, it worked out.

The label is the last, important step for finishing any quilt. I named this "Stuff Happens", because it does, in life and in quilting. It tells the who, what, why, when and where of the quilt. Read more about labels here: Quilt Labels  For speed, this one was hand written with a permanent pen, on a folded triangle of white fabric, then included in the binding seam.  The only part of the label that needed hand stitching was the long diagonal folded edge.

After washing and drying the quilt, it was ready to be presented to our friend. She seemed pleased with it.  Speed was of the essence here, treatment is ongoing. I received the blocks September 5 and presented the quilt September 17.  

We hope it will help our friend feel the warmth of our love and concern for her during this trying time. 

Let's quilt.



  1. What a beautiful, thoughtful gift. Love all the tips -- they're great for personal quilt-making too although especially for group projects.

  2. I was very pleased with the quilt. No one had every mad me quilt and I am very pleased with it. The Sunday Sew and Ses re wonderful group of ladies.

    1. They really are a special team of friends. So glad you like it.

  3. You had some great tips--and I appreciated the reminder of this star block. It really is a great one for swaps, since there are no points to cut off.
    What a thoughtful thing to do for your group member. Looks like she really appreciates it!

  4. Sew thoughtful of the group. Tips are always appreciated, especially that check size as you piece together.