While it was under construction, a dear friend and collector had expressed an interest in giving Conversations with Saul, II a good home. She loved everything about the piece--the colors, the shape, its vitality--but when adoption day came round, as much as she wanted it to work in her home, it just didn't.
I worked through a couple of ideas and eventually found my way to something that would work perfectly for my friend. On the way, I explored my way through a few pieces that brought me new skills, new insights, and a whole bunch more fun.
Saul in Tranlslation
36" x 18", improvisationally pieced cotton, machine-quilted, on stretched canvas
My Christmas memories and loves come in all shapes and sizes. I'm not a traditionalist. The only real tradition is that my family and I celebrate Christmas every year, but the details, well, they can be as unique as the year they punctuate.
The exceptions to my anything-goes Christmases are limited to two routines: One, I love making Christmas cookies and bars (the old-school musts include fudge, magic-cookie bars, and sand tarts) and two, I love--absolutely feel compelled--to make ornaments for the tree.
Or, um, bottles.
A favorite is this folded fabric star. It's a fun, lovely addition not only to a gifty bottle, but to a gift package or your favorite tree branch. If you're not familiar with it, this star shows up as Scandinavian star, Danish star, origami star, and probably a whole bunch of other names, too. It's a great scrap-buster and once you get the juju of it, a great by-the-fire and/or holiday-movies-on-the-couch kind of project.
What you'll need for each fabric star:
Pro tip: While you're at the cutting and ironing table, go ahead and cut and press a few more sets of strips. Enough random strips to throw onto a platter or tray along with a sample star so that friends or family or pets can play with them and make their own stars or stalk and chase the strips around the house.
Fold each strip on half lengthwise, and press'em nice and flat. See how these, below, are the same length-ish? "-Ish" is totally cool, nothing too exacting here.
Open'em up and you'll see a nice fold line right down the center. Press each raw edge toward that line, just scant of touching it.
Fold'em back again on that first fold line, and press nice and flat. If you've ever made double-fold bias tape you're thinking, "wow, this looks a lot like . . ."
Fold each strip in not-quite half and press the fold. Yippee! All the ironing is done! From here on out, it's just you and your handy fingers.
If nesting your four strips into this configuration, below, comes super-naturally to you, yay you! Just skip right ahead to the Nested frame.
If, like me, when I first made this star, you're feeling a little dizzy, we'll walk it through in the four Nesting Details, two frames down.
Nested! Snuggle up all your folds, nice and cuddly and tight, like this:
Notice how your shorter tails are all on one side, longer on the other? Now flip the piece over so that the longer tails are facing up.
We're gonna start folding each of the longer tails back over the center nest.
Pull that last tail on through, nice and snug.
On to the points!
Pick a pair of tails and fold each away from the the center of the star, folding the tail behind the point and parallel to the the tails on either side. Finger press the angle-fold.
Fold each of those parallel tails, angling back down the sides. Finger press.
Note the resulting not-quite-a-point, right? That's gonna leave us some wiggle room to get a clean fold and nice point in the next step.
Fold each half back toward the center. Finger press.
Note those tails! We're about to tuck'em in!
See? All tucked in behind the nested strips.
Finish the remaining three sides and pairs of points, folding and tucking them just as you did in the previous four photos. Some folks like to use a little heat and/or steam for a final set'n press. Whip-stitch a length of ribbon or twine along a corner, if you like.
I hope your holidays are filled with everything and everyone you love!
Questions? Comments? Ways to improve? Please share!