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Welcome to My Stars Quilts

We at Kansas City Star Quilts are pleased to announce our newest book-publishing imprint, My Stars. We’ll be bringing you beautiful and inspiring modern quilting books by top authors, with top-notch photography and compelling designs.

Our first book under the new imprint is a compilation effort that will come out in September. We’re leading up to the publication of this book by running Q&As with the authors every week on this site.

From here you can visit our bookstore, go to our other blog site and learn how you can submit a book proposal (buttons on the top menu).  Also, read some fun blog posts and get to know our authors. Enjoy!

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10 ways you know you’re a quilting addict

Quilt Shop Billboard1. Your kids know the difference between a flying geese unit and a half-square triangle.

2. Your husband points out billboards for quilt shops when you are on the road and suggests you stop.

3. You accidently go to the grocery store with your thimble on.

4. You consider threads on your clothes a fashion accessory.

5. You don’t mind spending hours washing and pressing fabric, but nobody better ask you to iron a shirt!

6. Hemming shorts scares you to death, but a block with 64 pieces makes your heart sing.

7. Your kids know who the quilting celebrities are by name.

8. You post your progress online as you make a quilt.

9. You plan your next quilt while making your current quilt.

10. You need a sticky note on your sewing machine to remember to pick up your kids from school.

‘Optical Illusions’ blog party winners!

optical illusions blog partyThanks to all who entered the giveaways during our recent blog party for Optical Illusions: Innovative Designs for the Modern Quilter! We had 20 winners, including one especially lucky person – Anita Skjellanger  – who won twice. If you didn’t win a copy of Optical Illusions, you can still get it by ordering it by clicking here.

Congratulations to all our winners:

Diane Beavers, who won on the My Stars blog site
Tabitha Keener, Deb Rowden’s Thrift Shop Quilts
Kim White and Frances Quigley, Quilting Is My Therapy
Anne Deister, Sew Take a Hike
Barb Neiwert, Happy Quilting
Anita Skjellanger, Lily’s Quilts
Dawn Jones and Chris Scheffel, My Stars
Anita Skjellanger, My Stars
Patty Altier, Patchwork Architect
Joyce Carter, Tia Curtis Quilts
Mary Davis, And Pins Handmade
D. Reeves, Crafty Tammie
Lisa Estrada, The Crafting Shell
Debby Visser, 42 Quilts
Linda Webster, Hadley Street Quilts
Jane Emerson, Jessica Toye Quilts
Anya Tyson, Tall Grass Prairie Studio
Michele Breault, Empty Bobbin Sewing

Acquiring (and destashing) a fabric collection

By Tammie Schaffer

Tammie Schaffer

Tammie Schaffer

When I first started sewing regularly, I didn’t have a fabric stash. I looked for scraps at garage sales and thrift shops. I bought fabric in small doses, one project at a time.

I still remember my first “big” fabric purchase, at a Hobby Lobby, where I bought several yards of quilting fabrics. (Gasp!) At the time, I didn’t have a designated sewing area, and I quickly outgrew the dining room. So I set up residence in the upstairs corner, bought some yard sale shelves, added a free table from Craigslist, and began creating my sewing nook.

I quickly learned about good quality fabrics and threads, and discovered which designers I adored, which led to more fabric purchases and more shelves.

Around that time, my grandmother Kay moved into a nursing home. Kay was a quilter, and when the family was deciding what to do with all of her things, Mom asked me if I’d like to have her fabrics. They were random, mostly scraps left over from baby quilts.

Then my husband’s grandma Marie died. I was given several large boxes of fabric and unfinished quilt tops, as well as a big box of crochet thread, half finished doilies and pearl cotton. A friend’s mother died, and they gave me all of her knitting supplies, which were abundant. And I found that I was unable to resist the allure of the question, “Could you use some more fabric?” Who knew what might be in those boxes?

Do you see where this is going? I “inherited” a guest room full of supplies and unfinished projects. Add that to my own stash and UFOs, and someone might have to call the TV show “Hoarders”! It was time to be brutally honest and only keep what I would really use.  The tubs of yarn went first, because I rarely knit or crochet anymore.

When my Nana passed her fabric stash to me, it was perhaps the hardest one to go through, because we’d always been close. Nana owned a seamstress shop, and she made beautiful clothes for me growing up. It can be emotional sorting through someone’s creative supplies.

familyfabric1I was brought to happy tears when I found the vintage pattern Nana had used to make my daughter a dress. It has Emma’s 8-month measurements written on the cover, in Nana’s shaky handwriting, and I am so glad that I found it. I still remember her calling me for those measurements. I no longer have the dress (I gave it to my niece when she was born, so she could wear it, too), but now I have a keepsake that will always bring a smile to my face.

So how do you decide what to keep and what to let go? For me, I have a few prints that melt my heart. Gingham, ticking, polka dots and tiny animals and flowers. One treasure of Marie’s was a large box of gingham, in pink, aqua, lime green and yellow. They were cut into rather large rectangles, and I wish I could ask her what her plan had been for them.  I used strips of them to make this fun fabric wreath and didn’t even put a dent in the box.  familyfabric2

Blue and white ticking was another staple of her collection, which I used for the binding on my son’s baby blanket and the backing for a few pillows. I love being able to add in something passed down from their grannies. There was also a bunch of double-knit polyester in her stash, because she made really heavy, warm quilts out of them. Those were quickly given away, because I don’t like working with that kind of fabric.

It can be difficult to say no to a fabric offer, especially when it belonged to someone you love. It is important, though, to not let yourself be buried underneath all of that free fabric.

Here are some questions to help you determine whether it should take up space in your life.

• Would I buy this fabric or make this quilt on my own?

If the answer is no, just let it go. My local thrift shop has a fabric section, and takes donations. In the Kansas City area, we have two stores called Fabric Recycles, where you can bring your unwanted fabric to sell or trade. Also consider preschools, Girl Scout troops, your local extension office, or your church as possible donation places. It’s OK not to love the crazy polyester quilt top someone gave you! Don’t make it your burden. If it’s something special or unique, you could try listing it on eBay or Etsy, or contact dealers from either site to see whether they would be interested in the item.

If you would buy this fabric or make this quilt, the next question is:

• Do I have the fabrics needed to complete this UFO?

If you don’t have the background fabric for a quilt that is only half finished, will you be able to match it? For example, this nine patch quilt that my Nana was making has a pale yellow fabric for the sashings. It’s thin, and all that’s left are some small scraps. There’s only three extra nine patch blocks, so I would need to make lots more. I’m not in love with this top, but I do enjoy the fact that some of the fabrics in this quilt top make appearances in some of her other quilts that I own.

familyfabric3Here’s another one of those situations. While I like the pattern of this top, she obviously was creating from her stash and had used at least two shades of green to set the smaller four patches. I don’t know if I’m up to the challenge of this one!

• Do I have the time to sort, wash and store these fabrics?

fabricfamily4Vintage fabrics tend to come with their own special musty odor. You should also remember that older fabrics may not have stable dyes. It’s usually a good idea to test them first, to avoid any post-project bleeding. You want to be careful not to damage the fabrics with harsh cleaners. I like to soak them in a bath with OxiClean.

Sometimes, vintage pieces will have rust spots from pins, so be sure to look it over carefully to see whether it’s worth your time. There’s a dark spot on one of these cool triangle blocks in Marie’s top. (I’ve marked it in the photo with with a red circle.) I don’t know if I can get the dark spot out, but I sure hope so.

familyfabric5

• By working on this project, will I be taking away from a project I really want to make?

This is a tough one. The answer is probably yes. Unless the piece has special meaning, it’s probably not a priority. But if you feel as though you might regret not holding on to it, keep it for a while. You can probably store it without it being a burden, and you can reevaluate in a few months.

• How much time or money do I want to put into this project?

Let’s face it, most of those unfinished quilt tops are very scrappy and not that aesthetically pleasing. Nana made this Snake Trail top, and it just doesn’t appeal to me. But it’s large, and the top is complete, so I will finish it for her. It has fabric in it that she used on my own baby dress, 40 years ago. I don’t really want to spend much money on it, so I might tie it or do some simple machine quilting. And it will be a perfectly functional quilt the kids can use for forts and picnics, and I won’t cry if they spill something on it.familyfabric6
In short, if the free fabrics and supplies stifle your creativity or take time away from your current projects, pass them off to a charity or sewing group.

Tammie Schaffer is a freelance writer who lives in Richmond, Kansas. Visit her at craftytammie

‘Optical Illusions’ Blog Party, Day 10

Welcome to the last day of our blog party for Optical Illusions: Innovative Designs for the Modern Quilter!  Thanks for hanging out with us for the last two weeks.

Jessica Toye

Jessica Toye

We hope you learned a little about the book and were inspired to create your own illusion quilt. Be sure to send us images on our Facebook page if you do!

Today we leave you with Jessica Toye, of Jessica Toye Quilts. Her guests are Jacquie Gering, of Tallgrass Prairie Studio, and Shea Henderson, of Empty Bobbin Sewing.

Jessica’s quilt, Water Ripples, is a fabulous quilt to feature on the last day of our blog tour. Of all the illusions featured in the book, this one is probably the most “illusiony.” By simple color placement of two blues, black and white, the illusion reverberates across the quilt. You have to stand back to see the movement, just like water rippling across the ocean surface.

Go to Jessica’s blog to see the entire quilt. You’ll want to make your own. She’s also giving away a copy of the book. Then head to Jacquie’s blog to enter to win a Kona Color Card and to Shea’s to enter to win a large and small Kaleido-Ruler set by Marti Michell. optical illusions cover

If you missed any of the stops on the tour, check them out:

Nov. 3
My Stars – Kickoff, www.mystarsblog.com
Deb Rowden, http://www.debrowden.blogspot.com

Nov. 4
Angela Walters, http://www.quiltingismytherapy.com

Nov. 5
Penny Layman, http://www.sewtakeahike.typepad.com

Nov. 6
Melissa Corry, http://www.happyquiltingmelissa.com
Lily’s Quilts, http://www.lilysquilts.blogspot.com
Fat Quarter Shop, http://www.fatquartershop.blogspot.com

Nov. 7
My Stars on behalf of Mary Kay Fosnacht and Karen Hansen, www.mystarsblog.com

Nov. 10
Jamie David, http://www.patchworkarchitect.blogspot.com

Nov. 11
Tia Curtis, http://www.tiacurtisquilts.blogspot.com
Elizabeth Timmons, http://www.andpins.wordpress.com
Tammie Schaffer, http://www.craftytammie.com

Nov. 12
Katie Larson, http://www.thecraftingshell.blogspot.com

Nov. 13
Jenifer Dick, http://www.42quilts.com
Trisch Price, http://www.hadleystreetquilts.com

Nov. 14
Jessica Toye, http://www.jesstoyequilts.wordpress.com/blog-2/
Jacquie Gering, http://www.tallgrassprairiestudio.blogspot.com
Shea Henderson, http://www.emptybobbinsewing.com

‘Optical Illusions’ Blog Party, Day 9

Today, two guests help us celebrate the launch of Optical Illusions: Innovative Designs for the Modern Quilter! They are Jenifer Dick and Trisch Price.

Jenifer Dick

Jenifer Dick

Victor Vasarely, widely regarded as the father of op art, was the inspiration for Jenifer’s quilt, 3-D Diamonds. She saw the traditional tumbling block in one of his posters, and 3-D Diamonds was born.

Head to Jenifer’s blog to see the quilt and to enter to win a copy of the book. Then go to Trisch’s blog  to read her take on the book and to enter win a Kona Color Card.

We have chosen winners in our Day 5 giveaway. Springleafstudios won a copy of the book, and Chris won a Kona Color Card.

Here’s the lineup for the rest of the party. Check out any stops you’ve missed, and be sure to join us for the last day tomorrow!

Nov. 3
My Stars – Kickoff, www.mystarsblog.com
Deb Rowden, http://www.debrowden.blogspot.com

Nov. 4
Angela Walters, http://www.quiltingismytherapy.com optical illusions cover

Nov. 5
Penny Layman, http://www.sewtakeahike.typepad.com

Nov. 6
Melissa Corry, http://www.happyquiltingmelissa.com
Lily’s Quilts, http://www.lilysquilts.blogspot.com
Fat Quarter Shop, http://www.fatquartershop.blogspot.com

Nov. 7
My Stars on behalf of Mary Kay Fosnacht and Karen Hansen, www.mystarsblog.com

Nov. 10
Jamie David, http://www.patchworkarchitect.blogspot.com

Nov. 11
Tia Curtis, http://www.tiacurtisquilts.blogspot.com
Elizabeth Timmons, http://www.andpins.wordpress.com
Tammie Schaffer, http://www.craftytammie.com

Nov. 12
Katie Larson, http://www.thecraftingshell.blogspot.com

Nov. 13
Jenifer Dick, http://www.42quilts.com
Trisch Price, http://www.hadleystreetquilts.com

Nov. 14
Jessica Toye, http://www.jesstoyequilts.wordpress.com/blog-2/
Jacquie Gering, http://www.tallgrassprairiestudio.blogspot.com
Shea Henderson, http://www.emptybobbinsewing.com

‘Optical Illusions’ Blog Party, Day 8

We continue to celebrate the launch of Optical Illusions: Innovative Designs for the Modern Quilter  with today’s guest, Katie Larson of The Crafting Shell,

Katie’s quilt, Curvilinear, is a most fantastic illusion. By using a variety of triangles, Katie made curved lines appear. And depending on where you look, different patterns come into focus.

Katie Larson

Katie Larson

This dizzying illusion is quite effective – and fun.

Head to Katie’s blog  to read more about the quilt and to enter to win a copy of the book.

Here’s the lineup for the party. Check out any stops you’ve missed, and be sure to join us for the rest of the tour!

Nov. 3
My Stars – Kickoff, http://mystarsblog.com/2014/11/03/welcome-to-the-party-come-on-in/
Deb Rowden, http://www.debrowden.blogspot.com

Nov. 4
Angela Walters, http://www.quiltingismytherapy.com

Nov. 5
Penny Layman, http://www.sewtakeahike.typepad.comoptical illusions cover

Nov. 6
Melissa Corry, http://www.happyquiltingmelissa.com
Lily’s Quilts, http://www.lilysquilts.blogspot.com
Fat Quarter Shop, http://www.fatquartershop.blogspot.com

Nov. 7
My Stars on behalf of Mary Kay Fosnacht and Karen Hansen, http://mystarsblog.com/2014/11/07/%EF%BB%BF%EF%BB%BFoptical-illusions-blog-party-day-5/

Nov. 10
Jamie David, http://www.patchworkarchitect.blogspot.com

Nov. 11
Tia Curtis, http://www.tiacurtisquilts.blogspot.com
Elizabeth Timmons,www.andpins.wordpress.com
Tammie Schaffer, http://www.craftytammie.com

Nov. 12
Katie Larson, http://www.thecraftingshell.blogspot.com

Nov. 13
Jenifer Dick, http://www.42quilts.com
Trisch Price, http://www.hadleystreetquilts.com

Nov. 14
Jessica Toye, http://www.jesstoyequilts.wordpress.com/blog-2/
Jacquie Gering, http://www.tallgrassprairiestudio.blogspot.com
Shea Henderson, http://www.emptybobbinsewing.com

‘Optical Illusions’ Blog Party, Day 7

Welcome to the seventh day of the blog party to celebrate the launch of Optical Illusions: Innovative Designs for the Modern Quilter!

Today’s guests are designer Tia Curtis of Tia Curtis Quilts and her friends, Elizabeth Timmons of And Pins Handmade  and Tammie Schaffer of Crafty Tammie.

Tia Curtis

Tia Curtis

Tia’s quilt, Tropical Storm, proves that an optical illusion doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective. Her quilt couldn’t be easier to piece – it’s made completely of half-square triangles.

But it’s the overall placement of the triangles and the colors used that gives it the illusion of moving ocean waves. The blues and sea greens paired with cream are placed in quadrants by color. But one quadrant has a surprise pop of color.

Head to her blog  to see Tropical Storm. Then go to her guests’ blogs – Elizabeth and Tammie – to see what they have to say about Tia’s quilt and the book. They have some great prizes to give away, too. Tia and Tammie will give away a copy of the book, and Elizabeth has a three-pack of skinny rolls from Robert Kaufman.optical illusions cover

Here’s the lineup for the party. Check out any stops you’ve missed, and be sure to join us for the rest of the tour!

Nov. 3
My Stars – Kickoff, http://www.mystarsblog.com
Deb Rowden, http://www.debrowden.blogspot.com

Nov. 4
Angela Walters, http://www.quiltingismytherapy.com

Nov. 5
Penny Layman, http://www.sewtakeahike.typepad.com

Nov. 6
Melissa Corry, http://www.happyquiltingmelissa.com
Lily’s Quilts, http://www.lilysquilts.blogspot.com
Fat Quarter Shop, http://www.fatquartershop.blogspot.com

Nov. 7
My Stars on behalf of Mary Kay Fosnacht and Karen Hansen, http://www.mystarsblog.com

Nov. 10
Jamie David, http://www.patchworkarchitect.blogspot.com

Nov. 11
Tia Curtis, http://www.tiacurtisquilts.blogspot.com
Elizabeth Timmons, http://www.andpins.wordpress.com
Tammie Schaffer, http://www.craftytammie.com

Nov. 12
Katie Larson, http://www.thecraftingshell.blogspot.com

Nov. 13
Jenifer Dick, http://www.42quilts.com
Trisch Price, http://www.hadleystreetquilts.com

Nov. 14
Jessica Toye, http://www.jesstoyequilts.wordpress.com/blog-2/
Jacquie Gering, http://www.tallgrassprairiestudio.blogspot.com
Shea Henderson, http://www.emptybobbinsewing.com