After months of hard work and preparation, I'm so excited that the Medallion Quilt, Girt by Sea, Sew Along starts tomorrow! Girt by Sea (named after a line in our national anthem, meaning encircled by sea) is an all Australian collaboration organised by Modern Makers Retreat and features unique rounds by Keera Job, Sedef Imer, Alyce Blyth, Emma Jean Jansen, Peta Peace, and a centre star by me! We used Emma's beautiful Eureka Fabric for the quilt.
Where I live in country New South Wales is one of the best spots in the world to see the stars. It's breathtaking, and almost unbelievable, just how many there are in our night sky, and how incredibly beautiful it is. Lately in the evening, after the kids go to bed, I've been trying to remember to take a moment out there, just to look and breathe. I've been reflecting on the lost art of navigating by the stars, on some of the old stories of announcement and direction (like the Wise Men in the Bible being led to the King), and pondering my own life. Tim and I are in an incredibly unsettling time of Limbo this year, planning to probably move back to suburbia next year, or even earlier, waiting for some kind of way forward. So this centre block is my tribute to our southern stars, seen so beautifully in this lonely place, and also a compass, my longing for direction and home. There's something about a compass that looks so strong and comforting, wouldn't you agree?
My Compass Star is, of course, English Paper Pieced. The Girt by Sea pattern includes a printable template, or you can purchase the papers here. If you haven't EPP'd before, I'll show you a few tips and tricks here, and you can read complete tutorials in my EPP.101 series.
I've started another compass for today's launch. Unfortunately, I haven't finished the whole block because an Easter Flu has me desperately behind on a big hand-stitched deadline for Quilt Market! Ah! But it's a pretty start, don't you think? I began with scrappy in mind, and have become more controlled as I progress. This is where making the most of the Colouring Page included in the pattern would have been a great idea! I wish now I'd fussy cut the centre star.
I generally fussy cut without acrylic templates, instead picking out markers in the design to line up my papers each time. For this print, I placed the top of the triangle in the corner of the hexie design, and made sure my two bottom corners were equally under and touching the pink circle. Then I used my rotary cutter to make an approximate 3/8" seam allowance. Remember, EPP doesn't need exact allowances! The papers keep the shapes exact for you.
I use ordinary craft glue stick to glue my fabric to the papers. I love these little ones from Woolworths that come in a pack of 4, and work out at around 60c each! You just need a single swipe down each side of the shape before folding the fabric over and fixing it in place. Gluing a couple of millimetres (1/8") away from the edge will make the fabric sit slightly off the card, which is easier to stitch through.
To sew any two shapes together, place the right sides together, and start your stitching at the widest angle. (Those skinny angles at the ends of the triangle are harder to hold.) Stitch through both folds twice, and then the third time, put your needle through the little loop made by the thread to make a knot. Then whipstitch along the seam and finish the seam like you started.
Even though my yellow Anna Maria Horner print is very subtle, I like how it's fussy cut, don't you? I think bigger prints suit fussy cutting into small shapes. This lovely reprint of Social Climber, from Anna's upcoming Floral Retrospective is part of my Quilt Market stitching, but I'm glad there'll be plenty left for me. It will make a lovely background print, maybe with that Loominous dot in the corners? I've longed for this rose print in my stash since I began quilting 6 years ago, just a little too late for the original Garden Party. I think turning this centre compass into a pillow for my lounge room will be a great way to keep it, don't you? A colourful compass, reminding me that the way ahead will clear soon, and that there is much beauty to enjoy while waiting.
Be sure to head to Modern Makers for more info on how you can join in this beautiful sew along, and win some fun and pretty prizes along the way!