March 14, 2013 - 6:13 pm

Q&A and BOOK GIVEAWAY: ‘A Flock of Feathered Stars’

To celebrate the publication of A Flock of Feathered Stars: Paper Pieced for Perfection, by Carolyn Cullinan McCormick, we are giving a free copy to one lucky PickleDish reader. Everyone who comments on this post will be entered in the giveaway.Flock of Feathered Stars

Carolyn, the inventor of the Add-A-Quarter ruler, has turned 17 difficult Feathered Star patterns into manageable paper-piecing patterns for quilters who have shied away from making these beautiful blocks. The book contains easy, step-by-step diagrams.

We recently talked to Carolyn about inspiration, dreaming about quilting and her desire to keep her “creative power.”


Who taught you to sew, and how did you get interested in quilting?
Mrs. McMullan, my home economics teacher. In my high school, it was mandatory that all girls take home economics. Everything had to be perfect in her class — maybe that is why I like my quilting to be perfect.

I didn’t start to quilt until I moved to Bozeman, Mont.  A very dear friend by the name of Diane Donnelly was the one who got me interested in quilting. We met through our children, who were in the same first-grade class. They liked to get
together and play. I dedicated my last book, A Flock of Feathered Stars, to her.

What do you enjoy most — and least — about quilting?Author_Mug_McCormick
The thing that I enjoy the most is taking the old patterns from The Kansas City Star and making them into paper-pieced patterns. I enjoy that I can take something old and make it new again.

I don’t like to cut my fabric out — I want to sew! That is why I developed the Add-Enough. I figure out how big my pieces need to be, how many pieces I need of each fabric. I can stack my fabrics and start cutting. When paper piecing, the cutting does not need to be precisDSC02875e. You trim as you sew. It doesn’t take me very long to cut out a quilt.

Where do you find inspiration?
All around me.  I can’t tell you how many times I have drawn a design on a napkin. I sometimes dream about quilt designs.

When and where do you quilt? Do you have a schedule?
I am very blessed that I have a wonderful sewing room. I wish that I was disciplined enough to have a schedule. My problem is when I am working on a book, I always like to have things done before my editor Edie (McGinnis) needs the information. Needless to say, I put in some very long days when working on a book, but that is my choice. I want to get everything done so I can move on to the next project.

Why do you make quilts? Do you have other creative interests?
I love to see the design that I have taken from an old Kansas City Star pattern and made into a quilt. Sometimes by the fabrics that I use and the way the quilt is sewn together the design will form a secondary patteDSC02858arn — that is really great when that happens.

I have three grandchildren, and I am always working on the next quilting project. I don’t seem to have time for any other creative interests.

What advice do you have for someone just starting to quilt?
It is a wonderful hobby! There are many different techniques in quilting. Take classes and find what works the best for you. I love to paper piece, but I also know that it is not for everyone. You just will not know what your favorite quilting technique is until you try it.

If you could have one quilting superpower, what would it be?
This is a hard question. At first I thought I would like to just wiggle my nose and have a completed quilt, but that would take all of the fun out of making a quilt. Then I thought to be able to have all of the paper disappear, but I don’t mind ripping paper, either. I would not call it a superpower, but I would just like to keep my creative power. That is what I really enjoy.

How do you keep it fresh? What would you like to try next?
Every time I come up with a new idea, I get really excited. I am always thinking about the next project I would like to do. Sometimes, I have too many projects that I would like to do and not enough time.


Don’t forget to comment on this post for your chance to win a copy of A Flock of Feathered Stars.  Which of these quilts is your favorite?  Is this your first exposure to Carolyn, or are you already a fan? Have you tried her techniques?

Here are some of the projects from her book:

Watch for more giveaways in the coming weeks as we also mark the publication of Portrait of a Lady:Quilts for a Woman’s Journey Through Life, by Christina McCourt;  A Basketful of Taupe: Practical Projects to Decorate your Life, by Kylie Irvine; and Lizzie’s Legacy: More Quilts from a Pioneer Woman’s Journal, by Betsy Chutchian.

30 Responses to “Q&A and BOOK GIVEAWAY: ‘A Flock of Feathered Stars’”

  1. Beautiful quilts!!

  2. I can’t wait to get my hands on this book! I LOVE Carolyn’s add a quarter ruler and have several of them, just so I have one everywhere! I use it all the time. And another love of mine is feathered starts – so who wouldn’t want this book. I think my favorite quilt shown is Celtic Stars, although Stars of the Night is a very close 2nd.

  3. this book fascinates me – foundation piecing is my next challenge to learn! I see a Mariner’s Compass in my future.

  4. I love the feathered star block and would love to win this book – Thank you

  5. New book looks awesome would love to learn how

  6. I love paper-piecing and feathered stars.This book is perfect…

  7. I would really like to win this wonderful book.

  8. Tried a feathers star a few weeks back just to see if I would like and loved it am planning a whole quilt king size. Have fabric bought no to get started. Would love to have the book and plan on buying it soon but if I could win it even better.

  9. I love them all, but California Star is especially appealing. I would love to make this in red and white fabrics.

  10. Feathered stars are one block that has always intimidated me. I know you can paper piece them and get beautiful results but still……This book might be the push I need.

  11. This looks like a wonderful book! I have been wanting to make a feathered star for years. Thank you for the chance to win one.

  12. Love the Stars of the Night!! Just getting into paperpiecing, so collecting all I can about it.

    Thanks for the chance to win!!

  13. Stars of the Night is my favorite. Love paper piecing. I am looking forward to making some new projects.

  14. I love Stars of the Night! I’ve used the add a quarter and add an eighth rules and love them. I never attempted a feathered star, so I would love to win a copy of Carolyn’s book. Thanks for the chance!

  15. I love any kind of star quilt, but a feathered star is a dream for me. Would love to win this book–maybe paper piecing would be the answer to the lack of accuracy I seem to have! The samples are breath-taking! I see one in red and white or blue and white………

  16. How did I miss her? I love feathered stars and this looks fascinating.

  17. These are lovely snowflakes… much preferred to our cold Minnesota snow flakes that just keep coming…. makes time for more quilting!.. I would love to try these designs!

  18. I like the Califoria Star pattern the most. I have tried paper piecing before, but would love to have this book to inspire me further! dk

  19. I’ve been using the Add A Quarter Ruler for a while now. Once for a small kitten wall hanging and now for a mariner’s compass quilt for my nephew.

    I’d love to win this book, then I’d make my best friend the Stars of the Night quilt. Of course I’d have to make the California Star for my living room wall. Thanks

  20. I have wanted to make a feathered star quilt for ages but have been intimidated – now with this book, it looks like I may get my dream quilt!

  21. Feather Stars have always been a challenge for me. I love the Stars of the Night quilt. Thanks for the chance to win this book!

  22. I have not tried Carolyn’s techniques but would love to in an attempt to make one of these beautiful designs!

  23. I haven’t met Carolyn before, but I love to make a feathered star using her techniques.

  24. Oh, this book has gotten me so excited. I would love to win a copy, but if not, I am heading out to buy my own copy. I love all the pictures, so it’s hard to pick my favorite.

  25. This is my first glance at Carolyn’s work and book. I love California Star. I will have to give her technique a try.

  26. Those are really attractive quilt designs and make me want to try a feathered star for the first time!

  27. I like the California Star – I’d love to make it in red and white!

  28. I have always wanted to make a feather star quilt and really like the Celtic Stars quilt design.

  29. I once pieced some feathered star blocks as a secret sister block exchange for a friend in my quilt guild. I so did not want to give them away and would love to remake the blocks for myself. I love the Celtic Stars-thanks for the chance to win this book!

  30. In the 2013 movie “An Amish Murder” there was a gray and white quilt on a bed that was outstanding. I am trying to find a pattern for it. Anyone who can help me, please let me know. It had feathered stars in it.

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