What is your name?
My name is Em Komiskey. I blog at Sewing by Moonlight, and if I haven't found you on Instagram yet, please say hello (@moonlightsewing). I'm always looking for new inspiration over there.
Where do you live?
I have lived in St. Charles, Missouri since August. Before that, we were in Virginia for five years, and Connecticut for the four years prior to that. I do not plan on moving again. Ever.
Tell us about your family.
My husband, Jason, and I will celebrate our 11th anniversary this spring. We have three little girls: Sierra (5), Kaia (3), and Aurora (10 months). My husband and I have an affinity for the natural world and we both studied biology, and that inspired our daughters' names. Sierra means mountain in Spanish; Kaia is the female derivative of the Hawaiian word for ocean, kai; and Aurora is named for the aurora borealis (though those are the most famous, there are actually many auroras that happen).
In addition to the human member of our family, there are also two dogs: Casey and Molly, two cats: Thomas and Sophie, and a partridge in a pear tree. Just kidding. There's no pear tree. They don't grow well in this climate.
Tell us about how you got interested in quilting.
My mother taught me how to sew when I was a child, but for a long time, I didn't do much more than sew the straight lines required to make a curtain or hem a pair of pants. Like so many others, becoming a parent inspired me to become more involved in sewing. I made a few baby dresses and a lot of mei tais (say MAY tie, not MY tie: the former is a baby carrier, the latter is rum drink). You can see most of them in this album.
After awhile, I began to accumulate an abundance of scraps, but didn't really know what to do with them, so I thought, "Why not make a quilt?". So I did.
From there, I discovered the vast creativity and talent found in the online quilting community, and it was easy to be inspired to do more quilting.
How do you organize your fabric stash?
When it's organized, my quilting fabrics are arranged by similar color in plastic baskets in the closet of my sewing room. It's almost never all organized, though, as there will be various piles here and there on the surfaces in my sewing room.
Who is/are your favorite fabric designers?
I always find this question difficult to answer because I'm attracted more to an aesthetic than to any one designer. I tend to gravitate toward saturated color palettes with a nature or organic theme. Designers that fall into this category are Tula Pink, Joel Dewberry, Valori Wells, Amy Schimler, Patty Sloniger, Riley Blake, and many others. I love flowers and animals, but I'm trying to add more blenders to my fabric stash.
What is one thing you have learned that you wish you knew when you first started quilting?
Most of the time, no one will see your mistakes except you. Don't point them out, but accept the small ones as part of the journey. I'm still learning this myself, but a finished project can be "perfect" without every seam and point matching exactly.
What is your favorite sewing/quilting tool and why should we all go out and buy it?
It's my walking foot. I bought it for sewing the straps of mei tais, but it is obviously awesome for straight line quilting, and I've even found that my piecing is more accurate when I use the walking foot.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why?
It's Jess, from New Girl. She's quirky and weird and yet still somehow manages to be hilarious and awesome.
And now - our February block:
ANY star block to finish at 8-inches, 12-inches, or 16-inches. So, the block you send to me will be 8.5, 12.5 or 16.5 inches.
I plan to arrange them in a semi-random pattern after I see what I receive and fill in what I need to make. If you're not sure what size to make, choose the smaller sizes. I will need more of those for the design, which will be something similar to this:
Colors: Blue, green, aqua
Background: "not white" - natural/oatmeal/light tan/off-white or low volume or text prints in the tan family (not black or gray)
The fabric in the background of the photo below is my living room curtains, just to give you an idea. The string pieces are some examples of the colors I'm looking for. Go ahead and use solids if you'd like as well, even though there aren't many in the photo, but please do not use black, white and gray.
Some options for star blocks:
As I mentioned, any star block will do, so if you have a favorite, or one you've been wanting to try, go ahead and make that one, but if you need ideas, here are some options:
Option A: Simple paper pieced star (12-inch)
Materials needed: Various scraps 9x3 inches and smaller to cover the sections of the template
Fabrics 1, 2, + 3: 4 pieces, each
Background fabric: 8 pieces
I am going to show you how I like to paper piece. It involves tracing the pattern onto freezer paper and then folding the paper back along the paper lines. It eliminates the step where you rip the paper out after you've sewn the block. If you use that method, though, and you're comfortable with it, go ahead and do it.
1. Print out the template for one quadrant of the star and trace it onto the paper side of the freezer paper (I've been told that you can cut freezer paper to fit in your printer and print directly on the freezer paper, but I haven't tried that. Do not do this if you have laser printer.).
2. Place your template, waxy side down, on the wrong side of your fabric for section 1 and iron with a dry iron.
3. Fold back the freezer paper on the line between section 1 and section 2 of the template. Trim the fabric off 1/4 inch past the fold of the paper.
4. Place your fabric for section 2 right sides together with the fabric for section 1 and line up the edge with the edge you just trimmed.
5. Sew the two pieces together along the fold, getting the needle as close to the paper as you can without sewing through it.
6. Unfold the paper. Flip the piece so that the right sides of the fabric are up. Iron the piece you just finished sewing open (the seam allowance will be under the fabric for section 2.
7. Repeat for each section of the template. Trim the quadrant to the correct size.
8. Paper piece four quadrants in total. After you remove the freezer paper from your first quadrant, you should be able to use the same piece to paper piece the remaining sections. The freezer paper will re-stick.
Option B: Wonky Star
8.5-inch (this will actually make a 8.75 unfinished block. Don't extend the points to the edge and you can trim to 8.5 inches when you're finished):
(8) 3.25-inch squares for the background of the star
(1) 3.25 inch square for the middle of the star
(4) 3.25-inch squares for the star points, cut in half on the diagonal to make (8) triangles
(8) 4.5-inch squares for the background of the star
(1) 4.5 inch square for the middle of the star
(4) 4.5-inch squares for the star points, cut in half on the diagonal to make (8) triangles
1. Place one of the triangles along a corner of one of the background pieces with the longest edge facing the corner of the square.
2. Sew 1/4 inch from the long edge of the triangle.
3. Trim the extra fabric from the background square and iron the triangle open.
4. Align another triangle in the same manner with the longest edge facing the adjacent corner of the square.
5. Again, sew 1/4 inch from the long edge of the triangle, trim the extra fabric from the background square and iron the triangle open.
6. You now have a piece with 2 star points. Trim the square back to the original size.
7. Repeat three times
8. Arrange the blocks so the points radiate out from the center of the star.
9. Sew the patches into a block.
Option C: Half Square Triangle Star
There are a few different arrangements to make a star shape from half square triangles. Here two examples. Depending on the arrangement, you will need HSTs in different arrangements.
For the star on the left, you need 6 HSTs that are fabric 1 + background, 6 HSTs that are fabric 2 + background and 4 background squares.
For the star on the right, you will need 4 HSTs that are green + blue, 4 HSTs that are green + background, 4 HSTs that are blue + background and 4 background squares.
The size of the patches will depend on the size of the finished block:
HST squares: 3-inches, trim HSTs to 2.5 inches
Corner background squares: 2.5 inches
HST squares: 4-inches, trim HSTs to 3.5 inches
Corner background squares: 3.5 inches
Option D: Virginia Star
I love this star because it comes together VERY quickly.
You need one set of fast flying geese, like we made for Alison last month, one center square, and four corner squares.
Fast flying geese: (1) 5.25-inch square, (4) 2-7/8 squares (I actually prefer to cut these at 3-inches and then trim the goose to 4.5x2.5)
Center: 4.5 inch square
Corners: (4) 2.5 inch squares
Fast flying geese: (1) 7.25-inch square, (4) 3-7/8 squares (I actually prefer to cut these at 4-inches and then trim the goose to 6.5x3.5)
Center: 6.5 inch square
Corners: (4) 3.5 inch squares
Option E: Any other star you feel like making
Here are some other tutorials I've written that would work. They are 12-inch finished blocks, but most of them could be easily re-sized.