After mulling for ages over what to do in the centre square panel of my Dreamcatcher quilt, I finally made up my mind. Some of you may remember my original plan was to do the Endless Love whole cloth quilt pattern by Geta Grama. However, that is such a beautiful and intricate pattern, that it would have become the centre (literally!) of attraction, taking away attention from the pieced quilt blocks.
I then had a brainwave; I wanted, what else, a dreamcatcher in the centre! So that it did not draw attention away from the blocks, I would place it off centre, instead of bang in the centre of the quilt. Pinterest came to my rescue and what do you know, I found a moon dreamcatcher mandala which was off centre. I knew this was it! To balance it, I added a smaller dreamcatcher hoop on one side, just like the dreamcatchers of old, which had two hoops. (Says Wikipedia)
I love this design, but getting here has been a nightmare! First, it took me 7 drafts and nearly 15 hours spread over 3 days to get it like this. Then there was a problem with the drafted pattern and it wouldn’t print! You do know I draft my patterns on the free Quilt Assistant software, don’t you? Arnout Cosman, the designer of the software, was so very kind and offered to look into the problem when I wrote him. Well, after trying out various things, I managed to get a print out after another 2 days and was ready to trace it on to the fabric. That is when it was discovered that the fabric had frayed a bit, and the original 18.5″ square was no longer so.
No problem, I had some of the Fossil Fern fabric lying around. To be on the safe side, I folded the fabric and cut a 19″ square from it. Would you believe it, I had cut it wrong??? It was 17″ x 19″! The first time in my life I make such a mistake and that with my last length of fabric in that colour!? I debated joining a strip of fabric; had it not been the centre I would have not thought twice before doing it. The only solution was to tell my son in the US of A to send me more of the fabric. It would arrive only in December. This was yesterday.
“The Ojibwe people have an ancient legend about the origin of the dreamcatcher. Storytellers speak of the Spider Woman, known as Asibikaashi; she took care of the children and the people on the land. Eventually, the Ojibwe Nation spread to the corners of North America and it became difficult for Asibikaashi to reach all the children. So the mothers and grandmothers would weave magical webs for the children, using willow hoops and sinew, or cordage made from plants. The dreamcatchers would filter out all bad dreams and only allow good thoughts to enter our mind. Once the sun rises, all bad dreams just disappear. ” ( Wikipedia)
Today morning I took out the less-than-18.5″-square, starched and ironed it stiff as paper, tugging it to stretch it. Pure delight – I ended up with a 18.6″ square. The pattern was traced, the batting and backing cut. You can be sure I measured a dozen times before I cut either!
And so here we are. The Goddess of All Things Quilty ( or was it Asibikaashi?) has finally smiled and I hope She will continue to do so when I start putting the QAYG panels together. Just in case you are wondering what is so nightmarish about the panels, let me show you a diagram.
Yes indeed – just what was I thinking? Nested seams in quilt-as-you-go panels which will be joined without a sashing? Oh, just what was I thinking? Well, tomorrow is another day.
While I sit down to pray, please admire what I think may be my best design so far…
Goddess on the mountain top Burning like a silver flame The summit of beauty and love And Venus was her name…
( Lyrics from a popular song from the 70s, when I was a teenager!)
I find the folded star so very pretty and you see it everywhere these days! The reason that I could never get around to making it is that … as much as I may hate to admit it… I am a fabric miser! Therefore, I designed this paper pieced block, inspired by the folded star and named it Evening Star. There is already a quilt block with that name, so I thought of calling it `Morning Star’, but in Hindu mythology the Morning Star is the North Star, not to forget that this quilt is called “Dusk’!
I also wanted to dedicate this October Star, Venus, to my husband and son, whose birthdays fall this month. And then, Indian scientists decided it for me by sending a mission to Mars; if men now have a place to head to, we women need our very own Venus!
So…introducing Venus, Block 5 of the Block of the Month quilt ” Round the Year”, designed in two colourways, Dusk and Rainbow. I used Quilt Assistant free software to design this block. This colour design shows the ‘Dusk’ Colourway in four shades of the main colour (blue here) and four shades ranging from yellow to deep orange in the contrast colour. My contrast colours are not symmetrical, because I liked the idea of a twinkling star, please make necessary adjustments in the fabric requirement if you want a `steadier’ star.
Fabric Requirement – Venus at Dusk
Print all templates in portrait mode at actual size. Also print the first two pages of the Instructions file and keep at hand. If you want to refer to the step by step piecing and assembly instructions, print the whole file! The links are at the end of this post.
Number and label each fabric colour. You can use the master template given below for trying out colour combinations.
I like to cut out all the pieces of one colour and pin them to the respective templates before I move to the next colour fabric. This helps me avoid a lot of confusion and heartburn later!
I suggest you piece the 8 templates A to H like log cabins. Align the straight edge of the strip with the printed seam line at each stage. It saves time if you work on all the templates at the same time. Complete the piecing at each step, trim the seams and press, before moving to the next step.
For more tips on paper piecing the blocks of this quilt, refer to this blogpost!
Join the 8 wedges A to H to respective background pieces using the colour design and the Master template on Page 1 as a guide. Join in pairs to make the ¼ squares. Assemble these to make up the full block.
Here is the Master template – this is a mirror image of the colour design and shows the block from the printed paper side.
Step by Step Piecing and Assembly Instructions
Anuradha Bahuguna of anumrinal.wordpress.com was sweet enough to test the block for me! All these pictures were taken by her. Would you believe this was her first attempt at paper piecing?
Like I said, the block templates A to H are pieced like individual log cabins, beginning from the centre ( yellow to oranges here).
1.I would recommend you sort out all the pieces template-wise and pin them to the far end of your template ( near the piece # 10-11) in the order of stitching – the longest piece at the bottom of the pile and the shortest on top.
For convenience, I am giving the piece number, size of the piece and fabric number here.
2. So we start with the 1.5″x2.75″ piece and pin it on the unprinted side of A1. The wrong side of the fabric should touch the paper at all times.
Note that the fabric extends at least ¼” beyond both seam lines, adjoining A2 as well as A3. Align the long edge of the fabric to the seam to be stitched – in this case between A1 and A2. Do this for all pieces to come. (Note – In the picture below, one can afford to move the fabric piece a bit upward, toward A3, so that the corner between A1 and A2-A3 is better covered.)
What I am going to show you now is incorrect, because the ¼” margin is not available toward A2.
Now place the 3″ x1.25″ fabric #3 on the just pinned piece, right sides together, and long edges aligned at seam A1-A2.
Anuradha has pinned it on the seam allowance to check that fabric for area A2 completely covers it when opened. In the next picture she shows us how it looks from the flip side.
That looks good.
Set the sewing machine to a stitch length between 1 and 1.5 so that it is easy to tear away the paper. Sew on the seam line A1-A2, extending the stitching line about ¼” on to A3.
Similarly stitch the first two pieces on all the templates, before heading to your ironing table and pressing the seams to set them. Then trim the seams to ¼” and open the piece #2 on all templates.
3. Pin piece#3, which is fabric#3 and 3.5″ long, right side down, aligning the long edge to ¼” beyond the printed seam line between A1 –A2 and A3, the way you would in a log cabin. Do this for all the templates and then do the stitching of piece #3 to pieces #1 and #2.
Press seam to set. Fold away the paper template after stitching the seam and trim the seam to ¼” before pressing open piece #3.
This is how your templates should look after this stage…
4. Similarly attach pieces 4 and 5…
5. Sew pieces # 6 and 7 to each of the templates.
Aren’t they pretty?
6. Here comes Piece#8. It will be followed by piece #9.
…the final blue pieces# 8 and 9 attached!
7. Turn of the golds! Anuradha was a bit confused here, so she coloured the pieces 9 and 10 with pencils! Remember – the master template is a mirror inage?
Not for long though! She attached the yellow to orange pieces at Areas # 10 and 11.
7. Here are her eight wedges, that will make up the 15″ circle, all pieced!
The pattern suggests that you join each of these eight large pieced wedges to a corresponding background piece.
While I suggest a diagonal kind of dark/ bright background, Anuradha wanted to experiment with other `looks’. Time then, for some more confusion, while Anuradha tried out various settings for her circle! This..hmmm…I quite like this..
…this(which is also delicious)…
…and this! I am not so sure about this one…
Anuradha, I think, liked this! She joined the wedges to the backgrounds…
but changed her mind! She joined these wedges into pairs to make four squares. The squares were joined ( like a four patch) to make up the final block. Here it is from the wrong side, withe paper removed!
Anuradha does not care much for the centre of her block from the back. It refuses to lie flat.
I promised to show her how to make those seams meet in a swirl and lie perfectly flat. For that she needs firstly to ensure that her seams are pressed in one direction. I tried looking for a good tutorial that teaches you how to do it , in vain. It is very similar to the what you would do in a pinwheel block. She has not got back to me on this, so perhaps she has found a solution?
When I make my block, I will share with you (and Anuradha) how to make the wrong side of your block look like this.
The front is perfect, all points matched, just so. Here it is, Anuradha’s gorgeous Venus Block, flipped over, from the right side.
Now is that not absolutely gorgeous?
Anuradha’s block is ready, waiting to see yours ! Meanwhile, the Venus song is stuck in my head.
She’s got it Yeah, baby, she’s got it I’m your Venus, I’m your fire At your desire Well, I’m your Venus, I’m your fire At your desire
(Do go listen to the full song, it is `awesome’!)
Before I log off, here is a look at the Rainbow Venus, in its original avatar.
And finally the Instructions and templates in pdf format. Remember, print at actual size! You need Adobe Reader to be able to read these files, Adobe Reader is downloadable for free.
Instructions file – Venus, Block 5 of the Round the Year Quilt. The step by step piecing instructions and pics are included in this file, page 3 onwards. If you do not want them, print only the first 2 pages.
While all my Dreamcatcher patterns are free and will continue to remain so, may I suggest you visit the webpage of my favourite not-for-profit organization Samarpan Foundation and donate whatever you deem fit towards the wonderful work they are doing to spread joy, peace and happiness through the world? Thank you!