by Susan Wells, Project Manager
Our planning started with the idea of scale. Cassie suggested stars of different sizes and found us the Arizona star pattern in Carol Doak’s book 50 Fabulous Paper-Pieced Stars. After putting the pattern in Electric Quilter 7 we were able to produce paper stars in many sizes to develop the design of overlapping stars in a diagonal design. It was challenging to choose fabrics in the MQG color palette but our quilt shop, the Quilt Basket, provided color swatches which we could compare to pattered fabrics and we played with the fabrics until we reached a consensus.
The next step was to get the paper-piecing patterns reproduced to scale. A trip to the local copy shop was required for the largest pieces. The Arizona star pattern we chose is an eight-pointed star and the components are basically diamonds. We all know that paper piecing helps with consistency, especially when there are many folks contributing, so we made patterns for all the diamonds, including the largest that were more than 30 inches long. The smallest star has diamonds that are only 1.5 inches long.
Our first sewing day was full of fun and confusion. There are a few basic paper-piecing rules that must be followed. It’s hard enough to get your fabric in the correct place while sewing on the back side of the paper when you are home alone and in the zone. With eight or ten people cutting fabric and sewing many different sizes of diamonds we were able to make every paper-piecing mistake it is possible to make. And it turns out that trying to steer a 30 by 20-inch piece of paper with fabric pinned to the bottom side is a really hard (and pretty unwise) thing to do. Needless to say, we had a wonderful time and laughed a lot. We may write a book on the 50 ways to mess up when paper piecing.
People brought stars home to work on them. The second sewing day was held at one of Tucson Park Department’s recreation centers, where they have tall work tables that are perfect for laying out a quilt and sturdy enough to stand on to show off our work. Beth took the stars on vacation to applique the two sets of overlapping stars. Dena did couching around the superimposed stars using her Sachiko machine. Once all was assembled, Kristi did her magic with her long-arm quilting machine using an undulating wave pattern. We will donate the quilt to a local charity. The Tucson Guild really enjoys working on group projects, especially the Quilt Con Challenge.
We cannot wait to see what next year’s challenge will bring.