Touch the Stars

And a giveaway (read to the bottom to see what that is)! Despite the fact that I haven’t sat in front of my sewing machine yet this summer, I found a project that lets me enjoy the creative outlet and relaxation that stitching allows me. I am hand piecing 3.25″ Lemoyne Stars. My goal is 1 per day and I have barely missed a day since I started in late July. Of course, my project requires 299 star blocks so check back with me next summer and see if I am ready to put the top together.

I like the precision I am able to achieve with the hand piecing and it is interesting to fussy cut the pieces and see how they turn out.

I still need to work on getting those even hand stitches. I have the same problem when hand quilting.

The organizing system that mades it easy to take the hand sewing along everywhere I go is something I learned from Jo Morton when I took her workshop (on piecing Lemoyne Stars) back in February. The plastic box is the “Sandwich Keeper” by Tupperware. It is just great because it is all one piece so you can keep everything right in your lap while stitching (no lid to misplace). The boxes come in sets of two so you can have multiple kits or share with a friend (yes, the giveaway is coming). The other part of the kit is the Wool Needle Keeper from Cindy Blackberg. Fill it up with your thread, pins and needle, tuck it into the box with your fabric pieces and scissors and it all fits right into your purse or computer bag.

Finally, the giveaway. I ordered an extra Wool Needle Keeper and box so that I can share this excellent portable hand piecing kit with one of you. Just leave a comment on this post between this evening and Tuesday, August 24. I’ll use the random number generator to draw the winner’s name on the 25th. See below for photos of what might be YOUR hand piecing kit.

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  1. Hello Taryn. Your star blocks are so neat and precise and I love the fabrics. Are they repro early 19th century? I rarely quilt anymore due to the time I spend on my activities and commitments within the quilt history world, but when I used to quilt, I prefered applique. I have never handpieced before but I found a huge collection of 8-pointed star blocks from the 1920s-30s that were very poorly handpieced. I would like to take them apart and re-do them but I need to find a template to use because I want to use the paper piecing method. The blocks range from 5.5 inches to 6 inches square so I figure I need to find a template that will slightly decreaase the finished size of the star so that all the blocks are the same size. Can you recommend a source for paper templates that would do the job? I do not want to have to make the templates myself. Thanks, Karen

  2. I can't believe you've made that many stars! I made five 3" ones and am about done with LeMoyne stars for now. The kit looks cool. I am using a Clinique bag with a little tin to hold my appliques. Works for me…

  3. By the time you have your 299th star done Taryn, you will be a pro at hand piecing. This makes me want to get my Centennial Sampler back out which I am also hand piecing. Humm…think I will today since I just finished another doll quilt. Isn't hand piecing a satisfying thing to do? It brings us back to the roots of sewing and makes this big bad old world slow down. Have fun with yours! What a great needlebook. I never win giveaways and rarely enter them but since I read your blog anyway weekly, I will if you don't mind sending it internationally.

    Hugs from Holland ~

  4. I quietly lurk on your blog – peeking over your shoulder inspired by what you do. I love your stars and would love to find 'the' project to piece by hand. I'd enjoy having a sandwich box and needle keeper. 🙂

  5. What a great way to have a project ready to go with you! Did you buy the needle keep already made or was it a kit? I couldn't find it through the link. Thanks for all of the inspiration that you provide on your blog!

  6. Your Stars are wonderful! The combination of colors and the fabrics are so beautiful!
    I hand piece most of the time. It's more relaxing for me…
    Thanks a lot for the Tupperware box idea and for the giveaway.
    Take care! Hugs from France

  7. What a great way to keep your hand sewing – a sandwich keep. And it's a great color – I tend to loose my sewing things and these are easy to see. Love your stars. Count me in.

    Terry in So. Calif.

  8. I love hand piecing as well. I just started hand piecing some tumbling blocks last week and have been having a blast. Your stars are adorable. I can't wati to see it complete.

  9. I love your Lemoyne Star blocks. That's one of my very favorite quilt patterns. I am working on some hand pieced blocks right now, so would love to win your little hand piecing kit! I enjoy your blog too, lots of lovely pictures and good information. Thanks!

  10. OMG!!! What a good idea! I never would have thought of that. I used to use an eyeglass case but for some reason got away from that. Thank You for the info.

  11. I'm getting ready to leave on a trip next month and the sandwich keeper idea would be great! Your stars are wonderful. I'm a Jo Morton fan too!

  12. You have completly inspired me to complete a quilt I started many moons ago. One block a day.I of to fetch a block now.
    What a joy to see your pics of Africa.Brings back many truly wonderful memories.
    Blessings Barb

  13. Love Love Love your Lemoyne stars. l too learnt piecing them from Jo when she came to Australia and taught several years ago. l still use the tips she taught when hand piecing. l would love to win your little hand piecing kit. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Whowwwww 299 stars and so little!!! And fussy cut ones also!!! You are one brave girl!! You can do it!!!! When they invented Tupperware, what is it euhh 50 years ago (?) the inventors never would have guessed what quilters are using it for hihihi!! Great idea!!! Have lots of fun making the little stars!! Hugs, Daniëlle (another quilter from the Netherlands hihi)

  15. Those stars are 3.25" Wow! They're so cute! I love the fussy cut blue one! Your take along handsewing kit is wonderful! 299 – what are you making?? :0) Whatever it is it will be marvelous with these stars.

  16. The stars are beautiful. I avoid making Lemoyne stars, because of the seams. I think hand piecing is the way to go based on how nicely yours are turning out!

  17. I first began quilting by hand piecing, but I was awful at it. Not sure why I enjoy hand quilting, but not hand piecing. Anyway, your quilt is coming along beautifully! Hand work is important to me during my fall travels, so your giveaway is not only timely for me, but perfect. My fingers are crossed!

  18. I love your LeMoyne stars! Lately, I seem to be on an eight-pointed star jag myself, although I'm certainly not able to keep to a one-a-day schedule!

    I'm always on the look out for a good container for portable sewing projects. I'd love to win the little needle keeper!

  19. This is such a great idea to use this simple container for your hand piecing projects. Your stars are beautiful and I like how you fussy cut the shooting stars. Simply beautiful!

  20. Love your Lemoyne stars! Your fussy-cutting is great; I'll have to try to remember that for the next project I'll be starting soon. Would love to win the hand-piecing kit; I've wanted a needle-keeper for quite some time. Thank you!

  21. I've been saying for two years that I'd prep something to work on in the summers, but haven't done it yet! The sewing room gets so hot and I can't bear to let the sun shine without me in it…our summers are so short here in northern Maine. This might be just the thing to get my butt in gear! I have a yoyo project I want to make that would be a good hand project, and also, I did buy a book for an applique quilt I really liked…
    freeindeed at myfairpoint dot net

  22. Thank you-you have so inspired me! I'm just about to leave for vacation tomorrow + after reading your blog,I am going to prepare some stars to take with me to sew–yours are lovely!

  23. Oh that is so cute and would just come in handy as I am doing applique at the moment.
    Love your stars.


  24. Ooo, love your Lemoyne stars and LOVE handpiecing! Did most of my first AND second (not yet complete) DJ that way. Hope I win..thanks for the great giveaway!

  25. I love your LeMoyne Stars and you make hand piecing look so easy! I'd love to win your giveaway – that needle keeper is delightful and what a great way to keep a small projet organized!

  26. I just can't believe what I am seeing! I absolutely adore your stars and wouldn't you know it, I was just talking to my Tupperware lady last night and explaining how the sandwich sized containers they have are awesome for so many things (not just food)! I said they were the Ziploc baggie of the Tupper-world! The fussy cutting on your stars is fabulous and I JUST ordered the attic shirtings that you used as a background in the blue one! Now I am even more excited for it to arrive! I didn't get to take the La Moyne class from Jo when she was at my LQS, but a friend did, so now I REALLY want her to show me how! Thank you for the great photos and inspiration and thank you also for the giveaway. I already know what I will be putting in that little sandwich keeper if I win! You should offer up one of those divine little stars too – what a coveted treasure!

  27. I haven't worked up my nerve on the Lemoyne stars — in spite of loving Jo Morton and Cindy Blackburg, I'm just a big chicken about them. Can't seem to get 'em just right. Yours look wonderful! Thanks for the lovely give-away! It's the coolest I've seen!
    Mary Lou

  28. Taryn, I love your LeMoyne stars ,they are my favorite, and I don't mind piecing them on the machine, mind you I don't go smaller than 6". What a neat idea of making one a day. Did you use Cindy Blackberg's stamps for the stars? I am looking forward to seeing your progress.

  29. Your stars look great. I am making the same blocks right now, I have not put them on my blog yet. I think your stitches look good. I find the thread makes a difference in my stitch size.

  30. Handpiecing is a wonderful thing, for me it's all about enjoyment of the process. Beautiful fabric selections and fussy cut stars. This is going to be a gorgeous quilt. Thanks for sharing your progress.

  31. Your Lemoyne Stars look farbulous! One per day so far? That sounds wonderful!! I especially love the one with pink and brown combination. And giveaway!! Another excitment!!

  32. I LOVE your stars! I'm going to make some one of these days, I have all of the sashing/borders for the one in Jo's book. Just wondering if you are using the stamps to make them?

    I would love to win your giveaway, the little sandwich keeper and needle holder is a great idea. I working on a bunch of little basket blocks so it would work for that, too. Thanks for the idea.

  33. Oh, Taryn!! Your stars are just magnificent! So small and precious. I love seeing the back of blocks. Your stitches look just fine, and the center is beautiful in itself. Good thing you have documented it, as the centers will be concealed when the top is put together;) I cannot wait to see how you will put them together – 299, huh! Cheers, U ps: I would not mind being put "in the hat" for the sewing kit – what a good idea! ds

  34. How sweet of you Taryn! Besides the giveaway, I love your LeMoyne Stars. The star burst fabric from J. Rothermel is one of my DD's favorites. It is funny how much you can achieve if you set a goal of one a day!

  35. Oh my word your lemoyne star quilt will be wonderful!!! Such small blocks!! I would love to win this lovely hand sewing kit! I'm going to be starting a lengthy handstitching project myself, and this would come in very handy! Thanks so much for the giveaway!

  36. Hi Taryn
    Your tiny stars are delightful! I adore hand piecing and store my little projects in ziplock bags but your sandwich keeper is a wonderful idea. Thanks so much for sharing. Look forward to seeing your galaxy of stars grow! Kate

  37. Taryn
    I just love it
    Your stars are just gorgeous and I will be keeping a close watch on progress. The litte needlekeeper is such a cutie.
    Would love to win 🙂
    Have a great sewing weekend

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