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Traveling Stars

by Jen

Traveling Stars<br><br>Click on each thumbnail below for a larger image<br><br>

Traveling Stars

Click on each thumbnail below for a larger image

This is my first ever quilting project. I have been sewing for over a decade but thought quilting was out of my reach.

I am legally blind so sewing perfect seams is near impossible for me.

Nevertheless, I've never been one to use my handicap as an excuse to not try something I am interested in. I read many tutorials including this site (thank you) and watched a ton of youtube videos to find tips and tricks for each step in this process.

I began this adventure with the intent of making a quilt for my husband and I. We lost a son to cancer six years ago and I wanted to make a quilt that incorporated things he loved as well as colors we love today.

I had a working plan for this quilt which will be an oversized king when finished but decided to do a smaller project to work out the issues I would need to overcome due to reduced vision so that our quilt could be as nice as it could be.

Our quilt will incorporate stars so I began by making one star block. Then another, and another and another. I didn't want to do the same star over and over so tried to make many different combinations using the same three fabrics. I ended up with 15 stars, each a little better than the last.

What was once simply going to be a table runner became a full-size bed quilt because I loved making the stars and became very personally attached to the project. As a result, I even gave each star a particular name. Some of the include: Sun Star, Chevron Star, Wonky Star, Diamond Star, Angry Star, Band-aid Star, Stained Glass Star etc.

Probably more info than you wanted to know but I really loved each one no matter how many imperfections.

Perfection wasn't what I was going for.

I knew I'd be making lots of mistakes and planned to learn from each one of them. My husband of twenty years has been great at finding unique ways for me to "see better" in order to accomplish my goals. A lot of my seeing is done by fingertip sight so he helped me make many personal adjustments to my sewing machine and table so that I could not only see where seams were feeding through but also feel them.

At any rate, by the 15th star, I was ready to do something with them.

My husband suggested using this quilt in our travel trailer (hence the name "Traveling Stars") so I had a surface by which to lay them out and measure the remaining fabric pieces needed to tie it all together.

Most of my star blocks did not measure close enough to each other to simply sew them together "as is" so I ended up sewing each to a large sashing, then trimmed them down to match.

I arranged them to look like the mismatches were purposeful and in the end, I love the look. A couple more fabrics were added for the border and then I set out to quilt it.

Sadly, because there were wonky stars and some odd seams, the quilt top did not lay flat on the sandwich. I hoped to be able to ease some of this out in the quilting process. Some I did, some I did not. And that's okay. I learned...and that is what was important.

I quilted this with both a walking foot and a darning foot. I cannot stitch in the ditch so went just to the side in all the major seams. I used the darning foot for some of the stars with lots of joints and for the entire outer border.

The invisible thread was a great idea in that any odd shapes did not stick out like a sore thumb. Unfortunately the invisible thread was totally invisible to me so the whole process was done by feel.

I cannot say I am sad about this because when I turned the quilt over to the back where I did not use invisible thread, I found I had quilted in some things my son would have loved. There were what my entire family agreed were several dinosaurs and even a decorated Christmas tree.

I could have never done these intentionally so I was pretty thrilled and amazed.

I really love this quilt and still can hardly believe "I" made it. My king size quilt top is underway and is much improved over the "Traveling Stars." I included a preview pic of it too.

Thanks for letting me share.

UPDATE December 19, 2014: I am happy to report that Jen is on a roll and has finished her third quilt. Click here to learn about "Daniel's Quilt". I can't wait to see what you do next, Jen! ~ Julie Baird

UPDATE November 10, 2014: We are lucky! Jen has just shared her second finished quilt with us. Please click here to see and read about "Interlude".

Comments for Traveling Stars

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Oct 25, 2016
I love your quilt, and the touching story that goes with it.
by: Pookah

I am so sorry for your losses, but you and your husband are making the most of life and I am delighted that you are so loving and supportive of each other.

Blessed be. Your story is so inspirational. I am sending you loving thoughts, and hope you realize that many people will not comment but are touched by your experiences. Thank you for being an inspiration to me and others

Jan 01, 2015
Wow! Beautiful!
by: Debbie Elliott

I just read your story. I am so sorry for your loss of son and vision but you have encouraged me. At the age of 61, this last summer, I was moaning about how my vision has been changing and making it more difficult to quilt by hand, which I love.

Now I realize I have NOTHING to complain about!
Your Traveling Stars quilt is beautiful and you have given me some ideas on how to contend with quilt blocks that are not the same size.

I have made many quilt blocks, just to practice, but there they sit, in my boxes, languishing to be finished and put on display.

Thank you.

Dec 14, 2014
smiles from Texas
by: Shirley B.

Jen, I am also legally blind but still quilting. Hand quilt most projects and appreciate the frustrations and limitations. Keep on sewing!!

Sep 22, 2014
Perseverance pays off
by: Anonymous

I love the way you persevered regardless of your visual limitations! I can tell that you're a gal that never gives up.

Keep that great attitude and you can accomplish anything!

Sep 11, 2014
Thanks so much!
by: Jen

Thanks, all, for the very kind comments and encouragement. Your kindness is much appreciated.

Sep 10, 2014
Great job!!
by: Elaine S.

You have done an amazing job on your first quilt. The fabrics are lovely and I love all the stars. The block you posted of your next project is lovely.

Keep going and don't let anyone curb your joy of creating.

Sep 10, 2014
Love and determination
by: Sue H

Your quilt is beautiful! I admire your determination to do the things you love and must say you really "quilt from your heart".

Sep 10, 2014
by: Susan Fryman

First of all, you did a great job.

I was diagnosed legally blind a year ago last August and haven't quilted since due to other circumstances. I'm moving into an apartment soon and will be able to set my quilting area up.

I'm so excited.

Thank you for sharing.

It has given me hope, next to reading this is my favorite hobby.

God bless you.

Sep 10, 2014
by: Anonymous

How wonderful that you accomplished this lovely quilt. Many, many pats on the back.....keep going!

Sep 10, 2014
Well Done!
by: Nancy B

Thank you for sharing your story and your talent with us--you are an inspiration. :)

Continue to enjoy your quilts.

Sep 09, 2014
Traveling Stars Quilt
by: Elaine DeFoor

Your quilt is beautiful but your story much more remarkable. What courage you must have!!!

Thank you for sharing and welcome to the wonderful world of quilters.

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