Camera Star Block for Sampler Quilt

I have a love-hate relationship with paper piecing.

I love how it turns out. I love much of the process of piecing these blocks.

I hate the fabric waste. The inevitable seam ripping, as I realize that I didn’t cut a large enough piece of fabric for a specific section.

This star pattern first came on my radar a few years ago when a group of bloggers were putting on a Summer Sampler Series. I wanted to make every block that they showcased! This one especially caught my eye.


Faith from Fresh Lemons wrote the tutorial for this one. I did not follow her tutorial but it seems pretty  legit, and I may not have had such issues with this block had I followed her advice.

I assembled it at my friend Katherine’s house. She is a new quilter and was curious about what the heck I thought I was doing. She noted how I’m usually very methodical with my sewing and have everything measured just so. This paper piecing thing looked like a crazy cat-lady’s mess, if you ask me (minus the countless bowls of cat food laying about).

And on top of it, I ripped seams half the time, and then after finally successfully piecing my first block (which took an hour), realized that I had sewn the wrong fabric to one section. Even though I had written on the pattern which fabric to use. Two hours later I had it mostly pieced and could show her what the point was. While she admired what I had created, I’m still not sure she will ever want to paper piece for herself!

I finished piecing the next morning. (This block took about 3 hours to make…)


I call it my Camera Star block, which is a symbol of my love of photography.

The camera fabric was from my old roommate Rebecca. Back in college she, I and two other friends became a sort of paparazzi on Michigan State’s campus. We photographed everything. All the time, it seemed. This was back when we captured our images on film, so it wasn’t a cheap hobby.

We had names for our cameras. There was Chotchee Canon and Monica Konica. I think we all had inherited our SLR’s from our fathers, except for me. My Dad had been into photography when he was young but his camera did not live long into my childhood. Here’s one of the few surviving photos of his from that era, a self-portrait he took when he was 19 or so, serving in Vietnam.

Mirrors (5)


I ended up buying my camera at a pawn shop. I’m sure the dealer saw me coming from a mile away. I’m guessing I could have gotten it my Canon AE-1 cheaper had I bartered with him and not looked 20 years old, but I didn’t know any better.

Here are my partners in crime when we were first starting out. This was taken outside of Campbell Hall. The girls had climbed onto some stone walls and were messing around. So I took a picture. Because we took pictures of EVERYTHING.

0908 (24) edit

I found this gem from back then, too. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the young man (at the tender age of 19) who I later wed.

1104 (14)


I take photos because I like to make my memories permanent. My mind doesn’t have the recall that other people’s minds do. Or maybe it does, but I wish it was more exact. I have always worried that I would develop Alzheimer’s or dementia one day, like my grandmother. So I furiously take photos of people and things so that if that happens, I won’t have lost it all.

Like photos, I appreciate the longevity that quilts have. This sampler quilt should last until my really-old-lady days. And if I do get that dreaded memory disease, maybe the quilt, too, will help me to remember.


  • I love your writing. It always makes me laugh. Love the quilt block too. Can’t wait to see the finished quilt.