QDS Challenge 2 – Making The Owls


The design of the owls was completely dependent upon the challenge fabric. Off to the printer to copy the circles that I wanted to use onto paper. These are my original drawings for the owls.

Original Owl Designs

Although I love hand applique, there just wasn’t time for that! So, I went with my favorite fusible – Steam a Seam. After many years of reversing the design and tracing it on to the paper side of fusible, I wised up a while ago and now¬†trace it directly to the fusible … that way I don’t have to reverse the pattern. Another bonus is that the design is on the fusible. So, once I have it ironed to the fabric I can peel off the paper and the image is left behind. No need to find the paper scissors! The only time I use the paper method is if I am using a dark fabric … then I need the paper so I can see the outline.

First Layer

These owls are a little bland. So I cut out a bunch of 1/2″ circles from the challenge fabric to dress them up. I happened upon a Sizzix PaddlePunch years ago and bought it just in case I ever would need such a thing. It pretty much a handheld diecut. I position it over the circle I want to cut, take a hammer to it, and voila … a little circle. It works best if the paper is still on the fusible. I have managed to use this on three projects to date!


Sizzix Paddle Punch

Here are some of the tiny circles.

Punched Circles

Here are the scraps!

Fabric Scraps – after using the paddle punch

And, finally, the owls all dressed up!

All Dressed Up

End the end, I thought the beaks didn’t photograph well. Since this contest is all about the photograph, I used ink to darken the beaks – but that didn’t happen until the quilt top was completed.

Coming up … designing the quilt top.



Design Star Challenge 2

About a week or so before the voting for the first McCall’s Quilt Design Star challenge closed, I recieved a small package. In the package was a piece of fabric with a note saying it was just in case I made it to the second challenge. Obviously, the next challenge was going to be a fabric challenge.


Fabric for Challenge

Challenge 2 Fabric

It is a very busy fabric, but the circles are what stood out to me. I could see them being terrific owl eyes!

Once I found out that I was moving on to the second challenge, I got out my graph paper. This is my original sketch.


Owl Quilt Sketch

Original Sketch

To be continued …..


McCall’s Design Star 2012 – The Quilt Top

My entry for the McCall’s Design Star competition is due by mid-night tonight. I actually sent mine in last week – miracles never cease. It’s has been really nice to enjoy these last few days knowing that I didn’t have to stress over a deadline. I need work ahead more often!

This is the sample of the Amish Star Block that I made after I finished the top. I did this to show how the block translates to the final design.

Amish Star Block

Amish Star Block

In making this quilt, I discovered just how dense the Shades of Grey fabric is. I used one to make the circle in the background of the quilt. I made the bias strip and realized it would be very difficult to make it conform to the shape I needed. Starch to the rescue! I just lightly sprayed the strip with starch and pressed it directly on my full scale pattern to get it to conform to the arc. It worked very well! I used the same method to shape the applique in the center of the quilt – it is also fabric from the Shades of Grey line.

This is also the first time I used a Frixion pen on a quilt top. I used it to transfer my design on to the background. Then I was easily able to place the applique pieces on; sew them down; and iron to remove the marking. I think I’m sold. I definitely try it again.

Voting begins Tuesday, June 19th. I’ll add a button to vote once the quilts are available for voting. In the meantime, here’s my entry.

Design Star - Challenge 1: "Solar Flare"

Design Star - Challenge 1: "Solar Flare"


McCall’s Design Star 2012 – Design

The designers that entered the amateur contest were given the Amish Star block to use as the basis for this first challenge. As usual, my first step was to pull out my graph paper. I have software for this, but I still prefer pencil and paper! This is my first sketch.

Amish Star Sketch - Changing Lines

Amish Star Sketch - Changing Lines

I knew that I wanted to try changing some of the straight lines to curves. I started overlaying my sketch with curves lines. From there, it really didn’t take long to come up with my basic design.

Solar Flare - Original Sketch

Solar Flare - Original Sketch

A few changes have been made from that original sketch.

I knew I didn’t have time to hand applique or piece this, so I went with machine applique. I basically used the method I learned in a workshop by Sharon Schamber. Luckily, I have a friend that had some of Sharon’s Applique Stabilizer that she was happy to share!



McCall’s Design Star 2012

So, one of my sisters suggested that I enter the McCall’s Design Star challenge a few months ago. I had a quilt that I could easily enter, so I thought “why not”. I uploaded the photo and entered the amateur category along with 140+ other quilters. This is the quilt that I entered.

Design Star Entry Quilt

Design Star Initial Entry Quilt

The entries were cut to 15. Those fifteen remaining quilters now have to make a quilt top based on the Amish Star block. The entries are due in a couple of days. I submitted mine last night … amazing! I am usually down to the wire on projects like this. Even if I finish early, I’m usually submitting it right before the deadline!¬† After I finished the top, I made the traditional Amish Star block using the fabrics that I used in the challenge piece. That way, when I show it people can see how the pieces translate from the traditional to the new design. This the my version of the traditional block.

Amish Star Block - Traditional

Traditional Amish Star Block