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Posted December, 2011

Many thanks to all who participated in this project! It was a big one to swing, but everybody pitched in amazingly in so many ways, and it was a joy to be a part of. So, thank-you to everyone!

Secondly, I'm finally getting these pictures up where you all can see the finished product. Several of you have already seen it in person when Katie and Amos were visiting family in October. But those of you who didn't... here are the pics I took. Wish they were better, but the weather did not cooperate at the crucial moment... the few days we had between "Finish" and mailing were dull, gray ones. So we had to use indoor lights. (But those days did give us some nice handquilting hours; Below.)

But it all started back in July/August. After sending out the call for blocks Abi and I hurriedly got started on ours... and this was the projected idea: below. (We later changed the border color, which turned out better.) Anyway, since it didn't have the required 'sixteen-or-up' points for a Mariner's Compass; we called it the 'Compass Star' and called it good.

We were shooting for 4 Ohio Stars and 4 Texas Stars for the corners, representing the couple's "home states". The Felland ladies graciously agreed to take on the Ohio Star blocks, so that left us with the Texas Stars to wrangle up. Because we thought the available 'Texas Star'-type patterns didn't look as much like a true Texas Star as we'd like, we drafted a pattern we liked better. (This turned out to have its own little difficulties, but we got'er done.)

And we sewed them up. (August was so-o hot! Just looking at these photos reminds me.)
This summer was a really busy one for us, but since this was a 'free-time project', we spent Sabbaths on it. And got all four of them done in time!

By this time we were receiving lots of packages in the mail, and it was so fun to open them up and see what everybody had sent! All the different styles and fabric choices... and it was particularly interesting to notice that blocks from the same state often shared fabrics!

So, the next Sabbath, we got right down to business, and laid out a flannel sheet on the living room floor. (We didn't have much floor left over!) Arranging the blocks was tough, (especially with four differing opinions!) But we finally got a start hammered out, and started squaring up the blocks (and sometimes sewing a few 'certains' together) as we waited for the last few to arrive.

This stage took a few weeks, and then we were into Sept.
After that the next step was to get the backing, batting and the fully pieced top lined up. Then we pinned it all together in preparation for quilting. (After that high heat of summer, September seemed chilly!)
It was hard to take pictures at this stage, since the quilt nearly filled up the dining room, so there wasn't much distance available to get good perspective with!

After this step I knew I needed to be coming up with the designs for the center, so I started on them while Abi and Mom began quilting the block-to-block areas with the Singer. I left that part to them, and they did a great job!

Since we were trying to go for a thematic/symbolic feel with the whole, we decided to put North America, (where Amos was born, naturally!) on the upper left corner, and Africa, (where Katie was born!) on the lower right. Sort of ancient-mariner-map like. Going with this theme, it seemed appropriate that the upper-right and lower-left have sailing ships, (representing several things, whichever way the viewer wants to see it; as in a life-journey, as in keeping your heading by the compass, etc.) but mostly, to me, as a paraphrase of a song by the Boatwrights... "Life is an ocean, Love is a boat. In troubled waters, It keeps us afloat."

I liked 'Faith' in place of 'Love', and we embroidered the first sentence in two parts along with the ships.
So, we got the middle part quilted in, and then we appliqued a yellow circle behind the star. I really thought it neeed that circle to make it look more 'compass-y'.
Machine quilting with the Singer enabled us to be fast enough to get it done by our deadline, but we did add little touches of hand quilting here and there where it worked best with the pattern of the block. Here we put a heart to hold the wide middle of this block from the Minnesota branch of the Elseths.
Lastly, there was the border. We went with a dark border, so that if it should drag the floor or something it won't show dust as much.

And, so, after that it was finished!

At a little over 7'x9' my photo helpers had to stand on the couch and hold it up as far as they could to keep the bottom off the floor. All in all it seemed like the color scheme worked out really well, with the different hues finding company in some other block every time. Many thanks to those who sent multiple blocks, those really worked wonders at bringing the whole composition into harmony.

The seamstresses are: (Letters descending, Numbers from left to right: on the above photo of the quilt.)

Robyn, Lydia & Rochelle Felland: A1, B6, H2, I7
The Minn. Elseths; A2, D2, I2
The Texas Elseths / Wilsons; A3, C2, D1, E2, E6, F7, G6, H5

Cathy Guise; A4

Sharon Christopher; A5, I6

Pete Berry; A6

Kaiser Girls; A7, B2, H6, I1
The Odell's: B1

Wendy Chiapparo; B3, I4,

Sue Stolz; B4
Erin York; B5, I3
Caren Dearyan; B7, C7

The McCarthys; C1, G7

Merribeth Christopher: C6, G2
Elaine Cale; D6, F2
BLK & Rebecca Knappick; D7, H1

Jane Buttermilk; E1, E7

Mercy Chiaparro; F1

Linda Moorehead: F6

Lewis Family; G1

Debbie Eaton; H3

Laura Abbott; H4
Marissa Simmons; H5
Betty Titsworth; H7

Thank-you everybody!


At the very end somebody decided the center wasn't tacked down enough, so we put in some major, guiding constellations for each hemisphere. Then, needing one thing more, (the Southern Cross doesn't come in two parts like the Dippers do!) we put in an old fashioned spyglass.

We bundled it all up and put it in a box and shipped it off to Katie's mom.

Mission Accomplished!



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Posted August, 2011


The Main Plan for the Secret Quilt

This is a SECRET. So don't breath a word to Katie, or Amos.

Katie's mom, Jane, is in on it, and will be helping with a few blocks, so feel free to talk to her about it if you want to!

  Amos' folks will probably be too, (as soon as I hear from them!) so that's good too.

Okay. Here are the nitty-gritty details.

We're going for a unified, cohesive impression, which will be an ultimate challenge! {Can we can do it?? Of course!}
 To get this look please go with these guidelines:
The 3 Main Colors are Dark Blue, Medium Blue, and White. (The blues may be prints, if you like!) {Katie loves flowers, so floral prints are suggested.}
Let's stick with straight White for this... no Ivories, Creams etc. there are so many shades there!
  White should be universally easy to come by, and that will add to the unity of the finished product.{A white-on-white pattern is fine.}
 As an accent, a nice pale-ish yellow will work well. Please use sparingly! It's only for a very slight spark when your pattern calls for a small amount of something other than the First 3 colors.

We are looking for matching pairs, (or even better, groups of 4!) using the exact same fabrics, and (especially nice,) the same pattern. This will help pull together the entire design and make it look less 'scrap-quilt'-y and more "yes, we planned it that way!"


Be sure to sign your blocks before sending; use embroidery, machine stitch, one of those quilt signing pens or a Permanent Sharpie marker. (Do be CERTAIN that it's a PERMANENT one... we don't want your signature coming out in the wash!) Just sign anywhere on a light piece. 


If two or more of you live close together you could plan to get together one afternoon, sew up a matching pair of blocks and get them off to me! Have each person sign each block... and then send!

Specs for the Blocks

Each square needs to be a total of thirteen (13) inches across and (13)down. This will give a half-inch seam allowance, and result in a 12' finish size.

 Katie loves the meanings behind quilt patterns, so we're trying to select ones with special import to her, and the couple's new life together. {If you could write up a note/letter talking about why you chose to make the pattern that you did, we would be able to put these in a file to include with the quilt as a package. I'm sure that Katie would love that!} (If not, that's okay.)

We'll be making a medallion piece for the center; a version of the Mariner's Compass. 12" blocks will line this all around, with the corner blocks being Ohio Stars, and Lone Stars, representing the couple's home states. (See above.) We're hoping to be able to co-ordinate the remaining blocks in sort of a mirror effect, a similar one set in opposite sides of the 'ring' to bring the design together.

If we get lots of people wanting to participate we can place blocks into the "second tier", if not, that can be unpeiced fabric and simply quilted.

 For any of you who want to get fancy there are lots of interesting blocks to choose from at Quilter's as well as the free downloadable patterns for them.
 There are links to a whole slew of them... (right clicking will open in a new window!)
I liked this one... Friend's Star but there are lots to look at!



Baby goats... and spring is in the air!