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Sunday, February 23, 2014

PQ 5.4 Lemoyne Star

Lemoyne Star

When I was a kid, there were several ways through the woods to Grandmother's house.  One of them was on the Lemoyne Road and went through the village of Lemoyne.  Like many small towns at the time it had a grain elevator and rough tracks to cross over.  Lemoyne was further blessed with two State highways.  This was not the preferred route.   Crossing the tracks was difficult.  They were raised up a bit and went behind the elevator.  There was also a difficult approach to the expressways.  They came up at an angle, making it very difficult to see on-coming traffic.  There was always a certain level of anxiety approaching the crossings.  Even as kids, we knew it was tricky, if not down right dangerous.

By the time I learned to drive, they had installed crossing guards on the tracks and there was a new by-pass over Lemoyne Road.  The journey was much easier and we were more likely to go that way.

One bonus of squaring your blocks is that the whole quilt comes out square-er (is that a word?)

That is pretty much how I feel about the traditional Lemoyne Star block.  It has always been one of my favorite blocks but going that route meant cutting out trapezoids and learning Y-seams.  Tricky, if not down right dangerous.

Quilting with Perl Cotton

Then along comes the inestimable Jenny Doan of the Missouri Star Quilt Company with her Big Star Tutorial.  All of the sudden the block became easier and now I am much more likely to sew it.

A closer look at the backing fabric. 

Jenny gives you wonderful instructions for making the block.  Having just finished piecing my second quilt using the technique there are a few things I would add to the instructions:
  • If you really want this to look like a traditional Lemoyne Star, you will need to choose solids or small print fabrics that do not have a clear pattern or direction.  

  • Pin.  I'm not usually a pinner but the 10x10 inch blocks can slip around when you are sewing them.  A walking foot will help.  Adjusting the pressure on your pressure foot might help (I haven't quite figured that out yet).  Pinning helps.
  • Anyone who places the ruler and cuts an angle like Jenny must have magic ruler placing, ruler holding and cutting super powers.  No matter how hard I try, I cannot get four perfect 6.75 inch squares every time.  I'm happy if I am close some of the time.  

  • It is better to cut as best you can and then trim the blocks down to 6.5 inches.  You will end up with a final block that finishes at 24 inches.  But you will be more likely to keep your points and match your corners.  

  • Every seam you sew after you make your half square triangles will be on the BIAS.  The good news is that they can be eased stretched to make your corners meet.  The bad news is that they stretch like crazy which can result in some crazy lumps in your top.  Once again, pin and sew with caution. 
That said, go ahead and make this block.  It is fun and it doesn't take many 24 inch blocks to make a huge quilt in short order.  

Another picture of the whole quilt.  It goes wall to wall in the foyer so I can't get a picture without the hats in it.

The Timeline:

Wednesday after dinner:  Start cutting.  Get all of the blue and most of the white cut.  Make and trim HST for one star.

Thursday:  Buy more fabric.  Cut rest of white fabric.  Cut and trim blocks for the rest the stars.  Get the rows stitched for each of the stars.

Friday morning.  Stitch the rows together to make the stars.  Iron everything.  Arrange and re-arrange the blocks.  Stitch the final nine-patch.

Friday afternoon:  Cut and piece the backing.  Iron everything.  Baste.  Buy pearl cotton.

Quilt top spread out and ready to baste. 

Friday evening:  Start quilting.

Saturday Morning:  Keep quilting.

Saturday afternoon:  Take Spud 1 out to buy shoes.  End up having to drive into the city and take all day.

Saturday evening.  Keep quilting.  Cut and prep binding.  Stitch on binding.

Rounded corners, number fabric and pretty backing.
Sunday (after midnight):  Finish!  Take terrible nightime indoor pictures and write blog post.


I love gingham binding!
The details.  This quilt measures 72 x 72 inches.  It is made up of 9 Lemoyne Star blocks.  The fabrics are all quilters cottons.  The white background fabrics are all white on white prints.  It has a poly batting and pieced quilter's cotton backing.  The binding is gingham.  It is hand quilted with No 5 Perl Cotton.  The binding is machine stitched.

Add captionFor some reason, these big star quilts turn the spuds into quilt monsters.  They always throw the quilt over their head and start running around.  I can never really get a clear picture of them because they are moving so fast.
This quilt was created as part of Project Quilting Season 5.  Challenge 4 is "Across the Universe"

 All of the blue fabrics in the quilt are stars or space themed this quilt represents the theme in a number of ways.  Traveling across space and time in memory recalling those trips to Grandma's house and traveling across the vast expanse of the quilt both by hand and machine in the time available also seem fitting to the theme.

Project Quilting is the brain child of Kim Lapacek of Persimon Dreams.  The challenges are dreamed up by Diane Lapacek.  Quilters are given one week to come up with a completed quilted project inspired by the challenge prompt.  Be sure to check out the website, the Project Quilting Flickr group and the Challenge Quilts and Project Quilting Face Book pages for more great quilts.


  1. I've probably said it before...I always love the quilt stories as they bring a quilt to life, give it history and make it feel familiar. It's a beautiful quilt, Charlene!

  2. you are hilarious! i love this quilt and the story behind it as well as all your other blog posts to go with it :) Great job! I am impressed!

  3. I love your fabrics in this - the solids, the backing, and OMG the binding!

    Have you tried Invisigrip on the back of your rulers? I bought some and haven't tried it yet: http://www.joann.com/omnigrid-invisi-grip-12-1-2inx36in/6006803.html

    1. I haven't tried that. I find I do pretty well with my rotary cutter attached to the ruler combo that I have. Unfortunately, I can't line that up on the corner to corner cuts. It is my cutter that strays the more than the ruler.