Tuesday, September 13, 2016

I need a new Forever Project™

A "Forever Project™" is a handwork one, that I can do while I am away from home.  When I'm home, I'm using my sewing machine.  So, when I'm away from home .. appointments, road trips, whatever .. I want to still be productive and creative.  I get antsy and feel as though I am wasting my time if my hands aren't busy with some sort of handwork.  My Forever Projects™ sometimes really DO feel as though they are going to last "forever" but eventually they become completed. On the other hand, if it gets put aside and never gets done, that's OK with me also.  After all, it *is* a "Forever Project™"!

I've just finished a Forever Project™ and need a new one.  I have discovered that I absolutely adore English Paper Piecing (EPP).  It was in 2013 that I first began my tentative exploration of EPP and hexagons.  My first hexies were HUGE .. like 2" on a side huge!  When I realized that I really did like this procedure, I dropped the size of my hexies .. although I've never gone to the extreme of making 1/4" hexies. :-)

All the while, almost the only shape I did was hexies.  Three years and many projects later, even I will admit that hexies are getting a little stale.   Although, having said that, I have a zip pouch of fabric squares, hexie templates and supplies as my "grab bag" for working on something in the car .... hexies are absolutely mindless creativity for me these days.

I have been thinking that it would be nice to work on OTHER shapes for EPP projects.  So, it was rather fortuitous that I read Esther Aliu's blog of September 5, 2016 where she launched her newest pattern, "Stash Busting Stars".  Eventually, I succumbed to it's siren call and purchased the pattern.

Let me preface this next part by saying that I *DID* read the pattern before making the templates.  Apparently, I glossed over the fact that a full star block is 21".  Let me repeat that .. TWENTY-ONE INCHES square.  It just didn't register ... at the time!

From my stash, I pulled out a lovely piece of black background with hot pink polka dots.  This would be *perfect* for the center star.

But .. hmmm ...  I only had enough to cut 3 star pieces (out of a total of 6 needed).  Not to worry; I'm certain that more of the fabric is in my scrap box.

Only, I don't.  I up-ended my scrapbox and there was simply no scrap of this fabric in sight.  And neither did this fabric exist in my yardage inventory.  Oy vey!

So .. hmmm ... what to do.   Well, the pattern DOES call for a certain number of half-blocks and with only 3 star pieces that is exactly what I could make!  Continuing onwards, I pulled out some compatible fabrics for the other block pieces and happily stitched away.

Do you know ... really KNOW ... how BIG a 21" block is???  Good LORD .. it's HUGE!!   (insert picture of my hitting my head on the wall).  After working with the small hexies, these pieces felt incredibly awkward in my hands but I'm sure with repeated use, they will feel less so.

The round star block is designed to be inset into a square block .. or alternatively, you could applique onto a background square.  But, I am worlds away from making a decision on what the background fabric should be.  So, what I did was to simply baste, with big, galloping stitches, the folded under edges of my half-star block onto a piece of muslin ... just to keep those pesky seam allowances in check!

I am really, *really*, REALLY pleased with the way this (half) block came out!  I can see why this pattern is perfect for scrap busting ... you really only need a little bit of four fabrics to make the block.   Sure, you'll need a whole bunch of yardage for the background .... but you can defer that decision for a LONG time ... as you continue to make bunches of round stars.  :-)

Thank you to Esther for coming up with this pattern.  I'm looking forward to this being my next Forever Project™!!  :-)


  1. Love the colours of your first start! Good luck with the rest of them. It does feel odd when you change the scale of your typical project, doesn't it?

  2. Hey, Plum .... you have hit the nail on the head! Although, the advantage of such a large scale project is that I won't need as many total blocks to make a "useful" size. :-)

  3. I am the same way and so enjoyed reading your post!! Annnndddd you motivated me to get out my own forever projects of 2"inch hexi flowers already sewn together...alls I need to do now is sew them together into the quilt top. hey now sit next to my evening sewing chair! Thanks for the inspiration Shel.

  4. Hiya, Valerie! Those 2" hexies were my VERY first hexie project and were included in their own Forever Project™ :-) *They* seemed huge at the time and especially so when I downsized to 3/4" hexies (which now seem such a "reasonable" size!).

    I really, really do love EPP. Of course, I haven't done anything rigorous like La Passacaglia. I'm not sure if I ever will .. there are SO MANY UFOs in my sewing room left to do!

  5. I bought the pattern as well, I am still rereading the pattern and you are busy seeing progress - great job