Citrus Plus

IMG_0943_editedWhen Sandra of mmmquilts announced a quilt-along for her Plus+ Playtime quilt, I knew I had to quilt along. It is such a fun, clever pattern of a string of pluses on one shadow plus, and looked simple enough to squeeze in between my other work-in-progress projects. Besides, Sandra is a lovely person – the best of quilt blog-land, and she has been such a great cheerleader throughout this QAL. And, she is dangling some carrots for a finish this week!img_0618.jpg

This is a small enough quilt that I could find several possibilities in my stash. I settled on a very simple combo – Kona oasis and Kona coal for the background – I had got a yard each two last year without any specific plan. They have this deep, saturated color and very attractive. I had a chunk of Blueberry Park fabric leftover after my Stalactites quilt (renamed, finished blog post to follow soon) and the Spiral Nova. The bright reds, oranges and yellows pops out over the calm and sedate oasis and coal backgrounds. I name this Citrus Plus – checkout the picture above with our orange tree in the background.

IMG_0934This quilt went so fast. I cut and pieced most of it in two or three sessions. Sandra had some neat ideas for quilting. My initial plan was to just do a simple meander in the background and some straight quilting in the pluses. I used a high loft polyester batting I had from long ago. I loaded it on my frame and the quilt seemed to have a mind of its own. By this point, I’d decided that the quilt will go on the blank wall above the fire place in our bedroom (Yes, we have a fire place in the bedroom in Texas and no, we’ve never used it :-).

Since this was going to be a wall quilt and not meant to cuddle under, I decided to do some heavy quilting – at least heavy by my standards.


I quilted with a ruler outlining each of the pluses and about one inch inside. The background is conveniently separated by the chains of pluses. For the top area, I just went with some tight swirls and pebbles.


For the second area I tried a chain of swirls from left to right and filled the rest of the area with more swirls and echoes. I love how this turned out.



For the third area I tried a large feather but that didn’t go very well and ended up looking like the slush leftover from hurricane Harvey :-). Lesson learned: stick with a plan, don’t just wing it while the machine is running.


I had run out of steam by the time I reached the bottom. I just went with a few wavy lines. Wavy lines,  I’ve found, are the best texture you can get for very little effort and skill. Given that the background and shadow plus are about the same value with not much contrast, I thought it needed a bright binding to define the boundaries. IMG_0946 (1)

Citrus Plus
54″X 54″
Fabric: Kona cotton Coal, Kona cotton Oasis, Blueberry Park by Karen Lewis (warm colors)
Batting: high loft polyester
Thread: Aurifil 2021 for piecing, Isacord Smoke and Isacord White for quilting

Linking up to Sandra’s linky party for Plus+Playtime Finishes.

Needle and Thread Thursday

Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts

A Quilt for Baby Misha



First time using my Storied Quilts label!

I’ve blogged about this quilt here. I used 2.5″ strips from various pink prints to make the hexagons and used a dark grey Kona cotton solid as background. This was the second quilt I quilted on my long-arm (BlockRockIt 15). I’m so happy how this turned out.

My friend is having a get together tomorrow to meet her newest granddaughter, Misha.  I quickly sewed the binding and label, and washed it last night. It’s now ready for baby Misha.


Lovely yard after days of torrential rain and the last few fruit from our peach tree. The local raccoon has discovered the tree and most of the fruit disappeared overnight.

Sew Fresh Quilts

One Monthly Goal

One Spiral Nova


I made another Spiral lone star this month using pink and purple prints from the Blueberry Park collection by Karen Lewis for Robert Kaufman. The pattern and construction for this lone star is very similar to a traditional lone star except for the placement of fabrics. In this post I shall try to do a tutorial in pictures.

What size star? I am usually overwhelmed when I start making a lone star. There are so many things to decide – the width of the strips, the number of colors, the number of diamonds in a row and the final star size. I did some math and came up with this table. This table is for the spiral star, so the number of different fabric is always 8. For a traditional lone star the number of strips of each color varies based on the layout but the strip width and length from this table will work.


Spiral lone star configurations

IMG_0673IMG_0619Materials (for a 40″ finished star – first row in the table):

  • 8 different fabric for the star. Some gradation in the value or hue of the fabrics work very well for this pattern.
  • From each star fabric: 4 strips 2.5″ x 18″. If using a jelly roll, you will need two WOF strips for each color.
  • For the background: 1.25  yards. I used Kona cotton medium grey.


  • Before cutting, iron and starch all fabric. We will be cutting and sewing on the bias a lot. Starching helps keep the shape.
  • From each star fabric:
    • Cut 4 strips 2.5″ x 18″
    • Label the fabric strips 1-8 after you decide their order.
  • From the background fabric,
    • Cut 4 13″ x 13″ square
    • Cut 4 9.5″ x 9.5″ squares
    • Cut each square once along the diagonal. You should have 8 small triangles and 8 large triangles.

Construction: I am using numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 for the 8 fabric strips. Letters A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H for the 8 strip sets and Roman numerals I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII for the large diamonds or arms of the star.


Mapping strips to strip sets and strip sets to diamonds


  1. Strip sets: Use the table above for reference to sew 8 strip sets. Each set has 4 fabric strips in order. Offset each strip by about 2 1/4″ over the previous one. See picture for details. Press seams open. This will make matching seams a lot easier in later steps. StripSets
  2. Trim strip sets:

    Trim edge of strip set

    First trim off the jagged edges of each strip set. Line up the 45 degree line on your ruler along the top edge and cut across the strip set.

  3. Cut slanted strips:

    Cut slanted strips

    Cut slanted strips 2.5″ wide parallel to the previous cut. Line up the 45 deg line on your ruler with the bottom edge of the strip set and the 2.5″ line on your ruler with the slanted edge of the strip set. If both lines don’t match exactly, re-trim the slanted edge to match exactly. This gives perfect strips you can join put together without tugging and pulling to match seams. Repeat for all strip sets.

  4.   Layout: After all the strips are cut, lay them out and play with the layout. IMG_0613You cannot change the order of the strips at this point but you can make the spiral go clockwise or counter-clockwise, etc. This will also help you make sure you are consistent the order of strips in each strip set.
  5. IMG_0615Joining the slanted strips: We now join the slanted strips to make the large diamonds or arms of the star.
    • Place adjacent strips right sides together and pin at the seams. See picture below. Pin the two sides at exactly 1/4″ from the edges along the seams.
    • Repeat for all eight large diamonds. You may use my table above but it is better to layout the strips first and sew them together as laid.
  6. Layout the finished diamonds and the background triangles. Each diamond will be next to one small and one large triangle.
  7. First sew the small background triangle and then the large triangle to each diamond. Trim excess fabric from both background triangles.
  8. IMG_0625Sew together the diagonal sections in each quadrant. Carefully pin the two sections such that the seams match exactly 1/4″ from the edge – similar to step  5.
  9. When all the quadrants are done, join them together like a four-patch, taking care to match the seams as before.
  10. Optional: Cut 4 2.5″ strips from the background and add a border all around if desired.IMG_0652

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.

I entered this in the Tips and Tutorials festival jointly hosted by Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl and Cheryl of Meadow Mist designs in June 2018 and it won 1st place under Block and Pattern tutorials! Please visit the festival page and checkout all the great tips and tutorials.


One Monthly Goal

Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts

Spiraling Lone star


Many years ago I made this spiraling lone-star quilt. It hung over our kitchen table for a couple of years and I never took a single picture of it. Then a couple of years ago, I got to meet my college friend Poonam in New York City. Poonam had gone though some difficult times and I wanted to give her a quilt. I didn’t have time to make one for her at that time, so I decided to give her this bright quilt to cheer her up. My friend Indu took this picture in a hotel room in NYC with no natural light. It looks a lot better in person.

Digging through my old pictures from 2013, I found a few pictures I took when I was making the quilt (and not a single one after it was complete)! I’m still looking for that piece of paper in the first picture with calculations using the Pythagoras theorem. Then again, wouldn’t this be a good math assignment for my 8th grader?image (6)

All fabric from my stash – mostly batik, except the red and the fuchsia. The background is also a lovely batik with cream, tan and a bit of grey. Very simple quilting with a walking foot – this is from my pre-free motion days. I can’t even remember what I used for the backing.

image (7)

This is my Throwback Thursday blog entry. Thank you Sandra , for the encouragement. I’m officially bitten by the spiral lone-star bug and I feel an inexplicable urge to make one using a Kona cotton jelly roll I got recently. This is therefore also my One monthly goal for May – to recreate the spiral lone star.

One Monthly Goal