Gathering Threads

A Beginning on “Oh My Tangled Stars”

Posted by on Oct 14 2014, in Quilting, WIP

As the year begins to wind to a close, I am trying to keep my New Year’s Resolution on track: completing all of my UFOs (quilted, smocked and sewn) by Dec. 31.

Oh My Tangled Stars” is a quilt that I haven’t mentioned in ages, so it definitely qualifies for UFO status.

tangled stars quilt wip (1)

OMTS has been sitting in its rubbermaid box, without any progress for over a year, because I was stymied by the colours.  Here’s a small image of the completed quilt; the pattern is by Border Creek Station.

In order to make the woven blocks work properly, I needed a solid or lightly patterned blue fabric that would coordinate with the Moda Winter Berries fabric line I had chosen.  I should know better than to use one fabric line for this exact reason – if you try and colour outside the box, getting fabric to match is darn near impossible.   It’s a very pale blue-aqua.  It’s not baby blue, it’s not light teal.  It’s right in between and for the life of me, I couldn’t seem to find a match.  Online shopping is great for many things but getting the perfect match for something like this was not easy.  I ordered three different fabrics before I finally found the right one.  And now of course, the matching fabric has also been discontinued, so if I had needed any more, I wouldn’t have been able to get it, either.

tangled stars quilt wip (2)

Yesterday was Canadian Thanksgiving and happily, it rained all day, freeing me from any guilt I might have felt about working outside to clean up the garden or go for a hike with the boylets. I spent the morning working away in my sewing room, working on the red and white harlequin bands on this block.

Don’t be fooled by this pretty completed block – I’ve still got to finish sewing half a dozen side pieces to the red and white centres, and I have barely begun on the top and bottom bands.  I was just impatient to see what the finished block would look like, so I hurried this one along.  It is nice though, isn’t it?

This quilt has a very wintery theme to it, with the pale blues and cardinal reds. I’ve made a conscious effort to pay attention to detail on this quilt and I’ve worked really hard to match points and corners and keep everything as square and flat as possible.  I’ve even kept the directional fabrics consistent.

tangled stars quilt wip (3)

See how the lines on the inside blue triangles run up and down on the side blocks, and then continue in the same direction across the top.  All of the fabric is aligned like this and I really like how unified it looks.

But for every success, there is an equal and opposite failure.   Here is the centre of the woven block.  Looks good right?  Nice and flat, and the blue striped fabric is the correct orientation.  What on earth could be wrong with this block? Nothing, except that I assembled it backwards….


tangled stars quilt wip (4)

I’ve got the blocks running clockwise around the white centre square.  Never even occurred to me to double check the pattern, I just sailed on in.  It was all fun and games until I started assembling the woven blocks and then the confusion started.  I tried tracing the woven pattern.  Over, over, under…no…try again….over….over…under….What the???

Here’s what it’s suppose to look like!  If only correcting a mistake like this was a simple as it is in photoshop.  Click ‘mirror image’ and you’re done.  Not only did I have to disassemble nine woven blocks, I’ve got to recut and resew the centres so they’re correctly oriented before I can reassemble them.  It’s not a fatal mistake but it still made me feel pretty foolish.

tangled stars quilt wip (5)

Boo-boos not withstanding, finding a few minutes escape in my sewing keeps me sane and gets me out of my head, which is a fairly crowded place to be at the moment.  I’ve got people like Emily Carr, Charlotte Bronte, Mary Wollstonecraft and Judith Butler all clamouring in there.   I’m not crazy (yet!) just busy preparing for my Comprehensive Area Exams, which are coming up in mid-December.  I’m on track to complete my reading list, because I was very diligent over the summer, but it’s still an intense couple of months until I write, because I’ve got about 30 texts still to tackle, and they’re all theory texts at this point (eco-feminism and indigenous subjectivity, anyone??).   I’m averaging between 800 and 1000 pages a week and between my PhD reading and teaching and family responsibilities, it’s a busy but exciting time.

I’ll be turning my attention to Halloween costumes next: Edward Gorey and Hiccup the Dragonrider will be sallying forth in search of candy all too soon!


  • I am always in awe of the amount of work that you can accomplish. You have an iron discipline 🙂

  • Claire

    You didn’t see me wading through the 900 pages of Middlemarch, Esther – my supposedly iron will was plenty rusty then 🙂

  • Iron nevertheless 🙂
    When you get your grade, we are going to smock with beads, right?