April's challenge was to create a new, modern version of a vintage quilt or quilt block. I love stars; it's no secret they are my favourite block along with the schoolhouse one. So I knew I wanted to do something with stars. The gorgeous rich batiks were provided to me by Island Batik, the threads by Aurifil and the batting by Hobbs. I just love working with these fibres!
Why the delay? I knew I was going to work with these fabrics at the beginning of April. Well, a few things altered the supposedly smooth course of April: a quilt along that rather exploded in a lovely way, Postcard from Sweden, a rather major life happening, an upcoming magazine publication (eeeee!) with a rather tight deadline, and then a rather waffling brain in the design department. However, all the waffling means I do now have four new designs, all starry ones, just so you know...
I settled on this one, with a little input from my good friends, Tish and Judy. Not Punch and Judy, although sometimes it feels that zany when we get texting or emailing, FaceTiming or Skyping back and forth! LOL
The challenge was to make a 36" minimum quilt, and so I'd planned that each graph paper square would be 3". Great plan, 48" finished quilt. Only problem? Island Strips. It's their name for a jelly roll, so they are 2.5".... No red Alpine Jingle yardage. All right, well we have 32" here, guess I can add a border. This is why these are challenges, right?
But I need 2.5" not finished HSTs. How does one do that when one starts with a 2.5" strip? 'Oh ye of little faith,' and no knowledge of the wondrous Pam & Nicky Lintott books.... or rulers that do this magically with the little dog ears, no, I don't like that term, with the little points cut off, that's better. I made a template because I couldn't find the one I'd previously made, in the previous house... (I've since found it, after the graph paper drawing became a flimsy, yup.)
All I did was sew two 3" squares together on the diagonal, cut apart, press, trim to 2.5" then press them flat again, RST so I had my perfectly trimmed 2.5" triangle. Off to the races! (After I picked out my four red strips of course.
In no time at all I had the design starting to take shape on a section of the design wall in the guest room:
How did I hit upon this design? Well, I was playing with taking star blocks apart, rotating them and putting them back together, meh, not so much, and then thought to partially explode, or pop them apart, leaving one set of points attached, and then thought that I could float a few on a big star, and then what if I had one intact star in the centre... I think not having all four geese windblown is a bit of a surprise, and having a giant star in the centre, ergo lots of negative space, is one of the components of modern quilts. Also, lots of modern quilts do have just one big block as the entire quilt.
I did have a minor mishap before that photo:
It stalled again for a good day and a half, probably more all told, while I thought about quilting. Emphasize the popped apart stars? Connect them? Do flow quilting (modern) in the gold? Do straight line quilting (modern)?
The green quilting is loosely based on the quilting on Quilting Land's version Jellied Lone Star. I like the look of 2-3 lines together, then a 1/2 - 3/4" gap, so I went with that. I also like quilting designs that appear to weave under the piecing, like I did in my Rainbow Kitty Rows.
So, armed with Aurifil thread, perfect colours:
I really thought it would be so cool to do largish pebbles in the large gold star...but I was already late with this quilt, and we all know pebbles take a while... I also knew I wanted to do two or three ghost stars in that gold. Tish said maybe swirls, and I nearly did, and then almost did large pebbles echoed 3-4 times, a design that both Angela and Christina have in those books! Finally, one of Christina's spoke to me, 'Lithe', the perfect combination of pebbles and lines!
|The light angle here is a very true representation of the colours.|
Even in real life it is extremely hard to see since the thread and the design blend into the dotted batik so well. I did a dot-to-dot design in the centre green star to emphasize the diamond shapes and fool the eye a bit.
Here's a ghost star closeup:
|I echoed it, as well as the centre green star, three times.|
|It's amazing how much warmer the gold is, isn't it? The echoes show up, but the lines with beads, not so much. Oh well.|
The cedars provided a bit of a Christmassy feel to this Christmas quilt.
|It even smelled all Christmassy as I was clothes-pegging the quilt in there!|
I'd hoped to have a full 2" at the bottom but I guess I snugged the quilt up against the top rollers more than anticipated, so I just have an inch, almost half of which is covered with binding!
|Here's a three-for: the label, 'Popstar', a closeup of the flanged binding, where I used the four reds, and my mmm! quilts label.|
May's challenge is creating a pillow aka cushion, and I have a gazillion ideas in my head for it! Maybe I'll be early this time?? Thanks so much to Island Batik for this challenge; it feels so good to play within parameters like this, and fuel the creativity!
Pattern: Original design by me
Fabric: top: Alpine Jingle by Island Batik
Batting: Hobbs 80/20 cotton/polyester
Backing: Alpine Jingle by Island Batik
Quilted: on Avril, free-motion and ruler work
Threads: pieced with Gütermann and Aurifil; quilted with Aurifil 100% cotton
Stitch Count: 81 557 stitches
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