The star quilt!!!

Bliss…pure bliss is the feeling of a finished quilt that has been in various stages of creation during the last three years.

star obsession

I am massively proud of this quilt and have learnt so much along the journey. This quilt was the first time I really stepped away from the safety of pre-cuts and already colour coordinated fabric.

The pattern comes from Material Obsessions 2, which is one of my very favourite books to look through for inspiration. I also have a slight thing for stars… so I think that was part of the reason why I kept coming back to this quilt. The colours were so unlike anything I had ever worked with before and I couldn’t wait to step out of my comfort zone.

Most of the fabric I purchased locally and I am sorry to say that at the time it was my first really bad experience with shopping in a quilt store with staff who were not friendly and helpful. I think my lack of grey hair and a senior’s card may have contributed to this. Since then I have had a few more experiences like this and now tend to pick the stores I go to.

The challenges…

1. Cutting all the diamond shapes took forever and I was very worried about them stretching while I was piecing. I used a heap of starch to try and help with this but there were a few that I think stretched and some of the points didn’t match up as closely as they could have.

2. Y seams…at one stage I thought these were going to be the death of me! I lost count of how many times I had to use the seam ripper but I think they got better as I got the hang of the concept.

so not my normal colours

Once I had finished the quilt top it was folded up and packed away for quite a while until I could find some suitable backing fabric. I am not usually an orange person but I decided to use two of my favourite two prints from the stars. It took me a while to get hold of enough of both prints to complete a simple pieced back for the quilt.

star basting

For the quilting I came close a number of times to sending this one out to a long arm quilter as there was no way I would have managed to get this one through my old machine. It was the biggest quilt I have made to date. But every time I would go to send it I would pack it back up and think one day I might be able to quilt it myself…back in to the cupboard it went.

So once I got my new machine I was determined to quilt this one.  I really like what a long arm quilter can do and the patterns that can be made but there is something I just love about knowing that I have created this quilt from the start to the very finish.

quilting plan #100000000

I spent weeks drawing quilting plans and trying to decide on one. I kept changing my mind until I finally pulled out the top and backing, gave them all a good iron, put on a movie and spend the afternoon basting the quilt. The book that helped me decide which way to quilt this one was ‘Free-Motion Quilting with Angela Walters’. Her designs and tips and tricks are fantastic.

quilting the star quilt

In the end I had to slightly change the quilting plan but I am so happy with the finished result! It now lives on our bed and it has been so satisfying to see it finished and sleep under it.

On a side note, Kathy Dougherty, the pattern designer and one of the authors of the Material Obsessions books has been facing her own challenge at the moment and I wish her all the strength and determination she needs to get through. I have visited the Material Obsessions shop in Sydney and met Kathy as well as seeing her on her recent trip to Adelaide. I enjoy reading her blog and getting an insight in to her thought process with her quilting and thoughts on life in general.

So thank you Kathy for inspiring me to step out of my comfort zone, giving me new skills to learn and I wish you strength and patience for your recovery.

xC

Baby Bug!

Imagine a hot summer’s day; school is out for the holidays. You have managed to get your dad to agree on driving you and your two closest friends to the beach for a few hours so you can all go surfing. A moment captured at the end of the day…

Beach days

One picture….such sweet memories! Fast forward 12 years and the three of us have stayed friends through moving far and wide (3 different states in Australia!) and enjoyed the challenges that have faced us in our chosen paths including new jobs, relationships and living in the crazy grown up world.

Then there was the exciting trip to watch Skye became a Mrs and another photo of sweet memories…

girls

When Skye rang me and told me that her and her husband were expecting their first baby it was exciting!!! And what’s a best friend meant to do?? Get straight on the phone to the other bestie Alissa and organise a quilt for the baby bug from both of us!!

At the time the gender of the baby was remaining a secret so with a little planning and knowing how much the parents are beach people we decided to use the red, white, yellow and blue along with the sea side prints and panels that I had in my stash. We settled on the granny squares tutorial from Blue Elephant Stitches.

So lots of cutting later (and lots of Downtown Abbey) I had a nice little stack of squares and a stack of strips to send to Alissa for her blocks.IMG_0211

It felt fantastic to be able to work on a project with someone so far away. Modern technology is a blessing! There were many a skype date and picture messages flying back and forward to agree on the layout.

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The granny squares were fantastic but I think if I ever decided to do another one there will be more starch involved….all I can say is starch the hell out of the blocks! I had a little bit of trouble with the first few stretching on the bias.


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I quilted it with an all-over wavy pattern and the binding was the red aboriginal dots by Kaffe Fassett that I usually keep in my stash (seriously I have like 8 different colour ways of this print)

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After it was all finished I posted the bundle off to Alissa who added to the card and had a look at the finished quilt before sending it to Skye in Queensland.

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They loved the quilt and little Miss Bug has been using it lots already!

Baby bug

Each and every day I am thankful that I got two such AWESOME friends. Every time we call, text, email, Skype  or catch up in person it feels like we haven’t spent months living in other states, it’s like we have just caught up for coffee and we only saw each other yesterday.

xC