Deep in the way-back drawers, I have a pile of these LeMoyne stars. They're many years old, tucked away after I made several quilts in the same color range and eventually tired of it. If you're a long-time quilter, you'll probably recognize some fabrics from those early days of the quilting revival ~ Jinny Beyers' prints, Roberta Horton's plaids, several from Judie Rothermel's first groups. I moved on, but I always thought I'd return to these and although that's not what this post is about, I may yet. There's quite a stack of them.
I brought these out to show the backs, actually. I think this may have been my first hand-piecing project and I learned quite a bit from them ~ making window templates, seaming nice tight joins. And pinwheel pressing, which has garnered some comments both here and on the Trip Around the World Challenge page after I showed the back of my early start on that project.
This is the back of one of the star blocks. Is it weird to feel a little thrill at the neat way the seams fall in a LeMoyne star block? I think the backs of these are almost as pretty as the fronts!
I loved working on these blocks so when, this spring, I came across a photo of antique quilt that featured a variation of the Peony block (which is based on a LeMoyne star), I took note. The quilt grabbed me as none have for a while and although it's been a busy few months ~ travel, guests, my TAW challenge ~ it sat in the back of my mind as a block I wanted to try to work out.
This week, awaiting the next set of instructions for the challenge, I pulled out my paper & pencil, ruler, compass and protractor and got to work. Acknowledging my inner nerd, I'll admit that I might find this as much fun as the stitching. After some careful measuring, checking of proportions and finally, making the templates, it was time to put them to the test.
Whenever I try to replicate an old block, I generally don't give the fabric choices much thought as I've found that often, the first version ends up needing some tweaking if I'm going to make more of them for a larger project. So once I was ready to go, I grabbed some scraps of a neutral Moda Bella for the background and pulled out a red and green which were near the top of the repro stacks.
A day and a half later ~ voila!
I've never seen this block variation before and I can imagine one reason is because it's a bit of work. It took me some time to figure out the piecing sequence. And because of pre-piecing applique, there's some thickness in the seams. Cutting away, something I often avoid, may be the solution. I'm afraid the pressing doesn't fall quite as easily in this block as in the LeMoyne star either, but I'll keep working on it. A fun summer diversion.
Here's a summer diversion we didn't need. Our beautiful honey locust tree, which towers over our two-story house, got hit by lightning one night last week. (Incidentally, throwing us out of bed with the ear-splitting crack of what we thought was thunder at 1:30 a.m.) Big chunks of bark peeled down and around, exposing large raw areas on the trunk, but with no obvious splits in the wood. The arborist's opinion is that we'll know in a few weeks if it will survive ~ we're watching for dying leaves.
So, what's happening in your neighborhood?
*** A question for those of you who work with repro fabrics ~ the background fabric for my peony block is Moda Bella Snow, which is more yellow-y than I want for future blocks. Any suggestions for a lighter yet 'not white' background choice?