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

happenings..

Here is a little collection of photos from this month…

couch time

Couch time, tea and Game of Thrones book 3

Finished my Frenchy Bag (Amy Butler)

Experimented with recreating a fav eclair from a local bakery…was so good but a little big 🙂

Made the most amazing chocolate ice-cream to take to a friends for dessert!

(Recipe from sweet creams and sugar cones book)

Went strawberry picking for the first time this season! and yes they all got eaten!

Hanging out in the strawberry patch! + new hair cut 😉

Knitting up a storm on my first jumper!

Year of the finished project continues….Dasiy Chain quilt

Chain piecing while watching Thor 🙂

2 Swoon blocks have been joined by 3 more…only 4 to go!

Love this quilt!

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Pattern: Thimble Blossoms – Wild things
Fabric: Rural Jardin French General for Moda, Linen, Send in the crown – Michael Miller and Woven Quad Stripe – French General.

Woo hoo cross another project off the unfinished list!!!

I began this quilt not too long after I started quilting. It was the first pattern that I had ever ordered online after finding Camille Rosekelly of Simplify. It was a really easy and satisfying pattern to sew. Yet for some reason when I finished the quilt top, I folded it up neatly and put it on the shelf. It has taken me nearly 14 months to get this quilt top back out and finished. As it is ‘the year of the finished project’ this one was high on my list so I got searching for the perfect backing and binding fabrics.

The backing fabric is ‘Send in the Crowns’ by Michael Miller. I loved the little crowns and the colour matched in so well with the front fabric. The quilt has always been intended for use on our couch, as we currently have one quilt that can get a little squishy trying to share. Originally I was planning to back this quilt in red but as we now have red couches I decided to use the cream and blue to break it up a little more.

I started the free motion quilting on my old machine. I was planning on only quilting in the linen coloured sections. Once I had started I was not happy with the way it was turning out and just how difficult it was to try and get the quilt through the machine.

So out came the seam ripper and I spent a good couple of hours pulling out the quilting. Once that was done I went back and FMQ and all over pattern with my new sewing machine!!!! (look at the pretty!!!) So much easier and I am really happy with the result.

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Stripped binding had become a favourite of mine lately. This is the second quilt that I have finished with stripes. The Red Quad Stripe is actually a woven print from French General which I have never used before. It was interesting trying to bind with it as it was a little tougher to pull the needle through but overall I love the way it turned out! And I am really happy that this quilt is finished!

***Do a little happy dance***

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Now there is some debate out there that every quilt should have a label with is particular details. But to be honest I didn’t see the point in making a sewn on label for this one as it isn’t a gift and it will be used by us for many years to come. Instead in my online travels I found a roll of ‘made by me’ labels that I thought were really cute. I think they are intended as clothes labels but instead I stitched one into the binding on the back as a little tag! I love love love how it turned out!

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Into the wash the whole thing went and out to the line…..a few hours later a new quilt to curl up on the couch with! And a well earned coffee!

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Happy creating peeps!

Hexagon madness!!!!

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26 years ago while living in the UK, Mum purchased quite a few packets of precut hexagons from Laura Ashley. They were reduced to a ridiculous price at the time so Mum snapped them up. For as long as I can remember every time we came across them in the fabric stash Mum always said that this would be her retirement project as the process to make the Grandmas flower garden quilt takes quite a bit of time and effort.

Since starting quilting and learning a bit more about paper piecing I began to fully understand why these beautiful fabrics had been hiding away for so long! What a process to tack each one then hands sew them together….

Until recently when I spotted in Vignette a ‘cheats’ way to paper piecing hexagons….using temporary fabric glue!!! Who knew!!!

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Next time I was home visiting, Mum and I pulled out the packets of hexagons and we headed to the local patchwork store to purchase the right sized pre-cut papers and Sewline glue sticks. We could have cut our own papers out but to be honest with the number of hexagons in the packets I was pretty keen for pre-cuts!

Over the Christmas holidays while at home Mum and I worked our way through gluing all of the hexagons. Quite a few movies were watched and only one extra trip to the fabric store to buy more glue was needed (well any excuse to go back to the fabric store).

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The aim this year is to hand sew all the hexagons into the basic flower shape and then we will figure out what layout to finally assemble the quilt top.

This project is now in my pile of ‘evening’ projects. I like to sit after dinner and do some quiet stitching so I rotate through hand projects while sitting on the couch. If I get annoyed or over one I swap to something else for a while.