Thursday, September 21, 2017

O, Star!

I am currently 36,858 feet over New Mexico, traveling at 610 mph from California back to Charleston, and blogging on the Internet. Isn't technology amazing?

My mother had surgery last week, so I flew out to be with her. And I know you'll be shocked, SHOCKED I tell you, to know that I made her a quilt. The pattern is Night Sky by Jaybird Quilts. Mom had given me the pattern a couple years ago with a note saying, "The colors on this really caught my eye!" So I knew she'd like the finished piece.

I whipped this one out in less than a week, because I wanted to mail it to her before Hurricane Irma potentially grounded me on the East Coast. I snapped a few glamour shots on the boat before popping it in the mail. Once it was clear I'd be able to make it to California, she agreed to open the box after I arrived. I'm happy to report that she loves her quilt!

Lots of triangle piecing, and my 60 degree ruler really helped. The pattern is well written so I didn't make too many mistakes, although I did end up with four extra stars. If I'd been paying closer attention, I would have noticed several places that said where I could have cut fewer pieces. Oh well; I'll make a table runner or pillow out of the spare blocks.

Two of the edges on the quilt are zig zagged at 120 degree angles. Is that considered scalloped, if it's angular like that? In order to bind around those odd corners, I had to use bias binding, so that was a bit of a challenge. I've done small pieces with bias bindings, but nothing this large.

I did dot-to-dot quilting in the centers of each star, basically echoing the shape of the diamonds. In the smaller, outer star points I did a simple loop-de-loop and travel stitched to the next point, which ended up outlining the whole star. When the stars were finished, I did a stipple in the dark charcoal gray background for some good texture.

The stars were quilted in matching thread colors; dark and light blue; orange and red; purple; forest green and aqua. I was surprised that the aqua worked so well with the lighter green stars. I used three shades of neutral threads for the bobbin, so some of the stars show up with more contrast on the back. 

I named the quilt O, Star! after a lovely piece of choral music called "Choose Something Like a Star" with lyrics by Robert Frost and music by Randall Thompson. The poem has great personal meaning to me and I found it very comforting to sing it to myself as I sewed the quilt. I was worried about Mom's surgery and needed a star "to stay my mind on and be staid." Mom and I have been in a number of choirs together over the years, and we learned this piece under the direction of our dear friend Alva. I was able to visit Alva and his wonderful husband Bear on this visit, and their love and support also helped me be staid.

My Mom's surgery went amazingly well, and was completely successful. She was only in the hospital for three days, then four days in skilled nursing care. This photo shows the quilt in the nursing center. It really brightened up her room and sparked lots of nice conversations. 

Her retirement community is quite lovely, with lots of nice garden spaces. We were able to take a few more glamour shots there.

The doe statue amused me, so I gave her a quilty saddle.

Here we are together. I love you, Mom, and am so glad you're recovering so well!  And to my quilty friends, I'm looking forward to catching up on all your blogs in the next few days.

O Star (the fairest one in sight), 
We grant your loftiness the right 
To some obscurity of cloud- 
It will not do to say of night, 
Since dark is what brings out your light. 
Some mystery becomes the proud. 
But to the wholly taciturn 
In your reserve is not allowed. 
Say something to us we can learn 
By heart and when alone repeat. 
Say something! And it says, 'I burn.' 
But say with what degree of heat. 
Talk Fahrenheit, talk Centigrade. 
Use Language we can comprehend. 
Tell us what elements you blend. 
It gives us strangely little aid, 
But does tell something in the end 
And steadfast as Keats' Eremite, 
Not even stooping from its sphere, 
It asks a little of us here. 
It asks of us a certain height, 
So when at times the mob is swayed 
To carry praise or blame too far, 
We may choose something like a star 
To stay our minds on and be staid.


  1. A lovely quilt and a lovely story. Glad that all went well for your mom. The photo on the doe statue is amusing.

  2. Beautiful quilt! You were Brave to tackle triangles on something that had to be done quickly

  3. Love this striking quilt, no wonder your Mom loved it!! Pleased she is recovering well and that's a lovely photo of you both together.

  4. Oh your mom has great taste in quilts! And that quilt is gorgeous Louise! I'm glad things turned out well after the surgery. I bet you're looking forward to getting back into your regular routine!

  5. what a beautiful quilt. thank you for sharing the music too.

  6. Gorgeous quilt and great quilting. Love the shot with you and your mom, a picture to treasure!

  7. So fun to hear from you after all the hurricane concerns! The quilt is stunning, I can't imagine whipping that out in less than a week! So glad to hear your mom is recovering well. Keep her around as long as you can; I miss mine very much.

  8. You and your mom look so much alike. I am so glad that all went well for her. Of course she would love that beautiful could she not?

  9. Wonderful to hear your Mum is doing so well and what a lovely picture of the two of you.. that quilt is just amazing... and in a week!!! didn't you sleep? It's beautiful

  10. A really fabulous quilt! And you made it so fast. Great job quilting, too! Your mom is blessed to receive your love through that quilt.

  11. Thank you for your wonderful post! As my mom is also many miles away, I can understand the long distances. I am so glad you were able to be there for her and share her opening of your quilt, which is fabulous. I can't believe you pieced it so quickly.

    Also thanks for the video: it brought back wonderful memories of my beloved choir director and singinng the song many decades ago.

  12. Wow, you knocked that out in a hurry! It is gorgeous and your mother looks so happy! I really like that you left the "scallops" on just two sides. I would never have thought of that. And, once again, great photos. Such fun!

  13. Wow, that was super fast, especially for a design that can be challenging, and to think you did this while anticipating a hurricane. I bet your mom is over the moon! I like how you put the personal meaning in it. It's wonderful that your trip worked out for you and that your mom's surgery went well. I've made one quilt with that edge. The binding was a bit fiddly, but kind of a fun challenge. Yours looks great.

  14. Alva and I are so happy and relieved that everything went so well with your Mom’s surgery. It was good for my soul to be with you again, albeit too briefly.
    You create such gorgeous quilts, each radiating your bright spirit. Love from ��

  15. Lovely quilt, lovely poem, lovely song, and lovely news that your mom came through surgery so well. I am sure from the smiles on your faces that you are relieved and that she is thrilled with the gift.

  16. I'm so amazed that you were able to make that completely in such a short amount of time! It's absolutely gorgeous! Obviously she loves it. I am so glad to learn everything went well with her surgery and recovery. I'm sure it's such a worry living so far away. Enjoyed the song. Thank you for including it! XO

  17. What a beautiful post, in every way! I'm glad your Mom is doing well, and that your plan to visit worked out after all. Your smiles say it all! :-)

  18. I'm glad your Mum is recovering well. The quilt is gorgeous and the stars really do shine out. I feel the quilt is full of that beautiful song and it's a perfect gift for her. I'm also glad you managed to keep clear of the hurricane :)

  19. LOVE your quilt Louise!!! I have Gravity to of these days! Love how you quilted it (I want more pics so I can drool more please!) and my favourite is the sunset shot on your boat, although seeing it on your mom's lap made me grin! So glad you got there okay and ya, writing way up in the air, how cool right? Thanks for the lyrics and the Youtube which I shall listen to after I publish this!

  20. So special and so full of meaning for both you and your mom. Glad her surgery went well.

  21. Louise, your quilt is stunning, and your mom looks so happy to receive such a lovely gift and have you visit her. We love the vibrant, cheerful colors, and your workmanship with the triangles is lovely ! So is the inspiring poem and wonderful choral video. Blessings to you and your mother, from Marina and Daryl Lynn

  22. I am so happy your Mom's surgery went went well and were able to be there to support her. I am amazed you could make such a wonderful quilt in only a week, it just goes to show the level of your skills, its wonderful, I love it. So vibrant, the stars shine out of the dark background. The retirement home looks lovely, and I love the pic with the statue. Beautiful words.

  23. I'd missed this post with your gorgeous quilt, your Mum and that remarkable poem/song. Thanks for sharing it all.


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