Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Midnight Sewing: Snowball Stars - you will LOVE this EASY pattern (& "Snowballs" Recipe) - Perfect Points & Curves with No Curved Piecing!

 "Snowballs" Runner Instructions: Scroll past the following narrative (but if you read it, it might spark a snowball memory from your childhood). 

"Snowballs" Recipe:  Scroll under quilt instructions.

On... Snowballs!

My mind is going crazy with ideas after I read 2 quilt magazines, and 2 quilting books.  Mostly what I was inspired by was that in a was all, "same old, same old" - but, with different layouts and more modern fabrics.  My mind was in a whirl!  I'm rather impulsive, .... out of bed and doing it!

 So.... here is one of the mind-blowing...ha ha, patterns.  A tablerunner from my cookbook, "A Quilter in the Kitchen".   But, I'm using our 4" Quarter Circle instead of our more common smaller one.  This will make the runner fast and modern!  This pattern will be in the upcoming book, "Here are the Instructions" - A companion book to "A Quilter in the Kitchen".  But, you can have the quick version here for FREE!!!!

When I was in 5th grade and outside on a snowy day for recess, up on top of a large pile of bulldozed snow, I turned to the left and ZAP!  I saw stars literally.  Down I went as my legs fell under me and my head and eye were a blur of STARS and pain.  So painful, that no cry was let out.  I could not breathe. I pushed snow on my face.  The kids were yelling, "Are you ok?"  The next thing I remember is being in the nurse's office lying down with an ice pack on my eye. The nurse said, "you're going to have a shiner!"

My shiner was deep in color as days passed, and as massive as the snowball that hit me - though I never saw that coming.  The kid who threw it didn't mean to hit me - we were all throwing snowballs and having a great time.  I certainly got a lot of attention for a few days.

I did partake in future snowball FUN with my friends and family, and my own kids when I was older.  But, I was always wary of those around me.  A shiner it was - and impressive enough to recall 50 years later.  I thought of calling this quilt "Snowball Shiner".... but that might bring "ouch" memories to some. Whatever the name, the pattern forms awesome stars that shine between the snowballs.  You can name yours for your winter memory!

It's January 3, at 2am as I write this, and I wanted to delve into my cozy flannels and perhaps use them up a bit (so I can buy more - yeah!).  The Snowball pattern seams to be perfect for this night, as the wind is howling around the butte (a small mountain to this born midwesterner), and we are getting a dusting of snow.  Bennie is looking at me like, "Really again?  I'm trying to get some sleep here.".


The layout.

My design draft - thinking that I would stop there, but before I knew it I was pulling the fabrics together.   I love to design digitally, but legal paper works, too! 

Fabrics... I still don't know if I will use plain white flannel or the mix of the creams (siding toward that as they would probably show less food spillage).  




Quiltsmart 4" Quarter Circle Interfacing - 2 panels  (makes 56 quarter circles - you will need 40 for this project)

Snowball Fabric:  1/2 yard or scraps (at least 4.5") to total.   Cut 5" strips or 10" squares into (40) 5" squares (4.5" / 9" will work, it is just tight). 

Stars Fabric: I would suggest at least 2 fabrics, so you have contrast.  1/8 yard of 2 fabrics, or scraps to total. Cut (40) 3" squares.  If you use scraps, you might want to make a few extra so you have choices.

HELPFUL TOOLS:  Applique Pressing Sheet, Pointer-Creaser, Rotary Cutter, Mat, Ruler.


1.   4-patches: Sew the squares into (10) 4-patches using a 1/4" seam allowance.




I laid my 4-patches out to get a sense of how they would go together.   I do have a "pattern" with the blocks - I had always used 2 darks and 2 mediums.  I turned them alternatively between the darks & mediums.

2.  Snowballs:  Place interfacing ROUGH side to fabric RIGHT side. Another way to look at it is both will be RIGHT sides up.  See notes below. 

TIP:  Pin interfacing to fabric - OR: fuse outside the shape (see blue marker to the left).  This will be the part you will cut away. 

 If SCRAPPY:  Cut 40 interfacing quarter circles with a rotary cutter and mat.  Don't cut on the curved dashed line - leave about a half inch margin outside the curved dashed line. 

If ONE FABRIC:  Just lay the interfacing panel on the fabric.  

10" SQUARES (left):  For a quick process and a good variety, choose (10) 10" squares (9" will do also) and lay one set of snowball quarter circles on each square. You will then end up with 40 quarter circles in a nice variety of 10 different fabrics.


3.    Stitch on the solid line of the interfacing.  Use a 2.0 stitch length.


4.    Trim on the dashed lines.  I use a ruler for the straight lines and a scissors for the curved lines.  If you have a light color, trim just inside the curved dashed lines so that the printed line won't show through the fabric.  You might want to see first if that will happen, then trim as needed.




5.    Turn gently with your fingers. Using a pointer-creaser or other similar tool, gently stroke BETWEEN the fabric (not the interfacing!) of the seam to smooth the curve. 











  6.    Lay the Pressing Sheet on your ironing surface.  Lay a 4-patch on that.  Place the quarter circles along the edges as shown here.  This is not intuitive.  One might think that the corners should match - but, no ...the curved edge goes over the 4-patch straight edge.  You can mix up the Quarter Circles, or place in any design you wish.



Fold the quarter circles in half and place that crease along the seam of the 4-patch.  the edges of the curve will meet with the corners of the 4-patch - but you may need to tweak it a bit to make the quarter circles form a square.

7.    On each block, zigzag stitch (My fav: 1.5mm width, 2.5mm length, but if you are a beginner, try 2.0mm width and length until you are comfortable with the stitch and then set it to the setting that you want.) along the 4 turned edges of the quarter circles with contrast, decorative, invisible, or blending thread.   



8. Turn blocks over and cut away the interfacing and part of the fabric along the zigzagged curved seam lines.  Leave about 1/4" - 3/8" seam.


9.    Pin two squares together where the quarter circles meet, matching them.  Matching the corners and the pinned spot, stitch the squares together in a 2 x 5 array, using a 1/4" seam allowance.  Stitch one row, then add the next.  Use the marking at the end of the quarter circles as a guide for the quarter inch seam, not an absolute. Press seams open or to one side.

10.    Quilt and bind as you wish.







A vegetarian version of the recipe in "A Quilter in the Kitchen" (available January 2021).

Serves: 2-4 people.   Serve about 6-10 Snowballs per person, depending on how big they are, and if you are serving other tummy warming winter side dishes. 



"Meat"balls:  1 package frozen plant-based "meat" balls (or regular frozen meatballs). 

Yogurt Sauce:

1 cup Greek plain nonfat yogurt - at room temperature (so the yogurt won't curdle).

2 cloves garlic (cut very small & saute in a tiny bit of olive oil or butter)

3 Tablespoons Almond Milk (you could use any kind of milk)

4 Tablespoons Shredded Parmesan Cheese.


1.   Prepare meatballs according to package instructions. 

2.   While meatballs are cooking, mix yogurt, sauteed garlic, and milk together.  

3.   When meatballs are ready, put them in a serving bowl (or individual bowls/plates), and top with room temp yogurt sauce.  

4.   Sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese.  Serve immediately. 

Leftovers:  These are also great served cold for lunch!

Enjoy & Keep Safe!


Quiltsmart Inc.

Founder & President 

Tip:  To decorate on a budget, pull from what you have.  Use little figurines and bowl fillers (wool balls for the dryer!), pine sprigs from the Christmas tree or an outdoor bush, magazines, and though not pictured - little photos of nostalgia winter fun!



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