Sunday, October 14, 2018

Twinkle Sprinkles September Starstruck Challenge

Nearly two weeks late, my quilt for the Island Batik Starstruck Challenge is finally done! Island Batik provided me with these luscious fabrics, Aurifil provided the white thread, and Hobbs Batting the cotton/wool batting. I am a lucky girl indeed.

The September challenge asked us to make a quilt using stars of any kind. My favourite block! The hard part of the challenge for me was narrowing it down to which star block, and what setting, and then, of course, which fabrics to use. Oh the woes of being an Island Batik ambassador.
Isn't that monthly logo just so perfect? I could have happily made a quilt exactly like that. But no, I had bought Cindy's pattern (Stitchin' at Home) which is a wonderful stars pattern, so off I went.

Round about the 16/17 of September, I realized wait a minute.... Cindy's pattern is paper-pieced; isn't October's challenge paper-piecing? Yup. So if I was doing Cindy's pattern for stars, what would I do for paper-piecing? Nothing came immediately to mind, and that was when I looked at my printout of the schedule again.

And read my own notes.  Beside October was 'Cindy's pattern'. No! Yes! (smack myself up side the head and regroup) I had this book out of the library, renewed oh, twice, and then checked in and checked back out again now:

I have loved that cover quilt since I first had the book out, last year I believe. Why not make that quilt for the challenge? So I set out to do that. It's a big one, though, 72" square. Well, I could do nine blocks instead of 16.

So I got started. I realized along the way a couple of things.
1. I started cutting 6" squares, as per the pattern, and made two at a time HSTs. No problem. The problem that did happen though was that they have you square them to 5", so they finish at 4.5" making 18" star blocks. That was wasting a lot of fabric. One thing I do not do, is waste fabric; well, as little as possible. So I squared them to 5.5" having them finish at 5" which would make a 20" block, ergo a 60" square quilt. Gulp. That's pretty big to start more than halfway through the month, and um, wasn't a certain grandson and a certain daughter coming to visit on the 22 for 11 days? Yeah, but this is a pretty easy peasy quilt. That's the story I told myself.
2. In the book they make star blocks, but once putting the blocks together, I could see where two squares, and even four squares came together in several places. Could I eliminate those seams, saving time, thread and fabric? You betcha!

Here it is on the design wall, the first two columns pieced together. I pieced it in columns of pairs or singles. Below you can see how I divided it up. The four central large squares dictated columns of pairs. I used my Book it! method, a method I use all the time in quilting. Below is the quilt in its various columns.
150 Canadian Women had to be rolled up and pinned out of the way!
This further allowed me to cut rectangles where two white squares would normally come together had I done the quilt in blocks as per the pattern. Always look at a pattern and see if there is a way to make it more efficient. Might take a little math, and a little brainpower, so worth it IMHO.
Flimsy finished! That was Oct. 8, and the quilt finish photo shoot was Oct. 13.

I kept the quilting relatively straightforward because I needed this done, and I don't think I will keep it, although now it's done (and finishing drying as I type) I am falling in love with it I'll admit.

I knew I'd take it to the end of the street for a photo shoot since my plan of doing it in Windsor on the Detroit River, didn't work out. This was better.
This is an empty lot that I am as green as the grass with envy, no lusting over, ha. Does lust have a colour? Hmmm. It's owned by a doctor who apparently has the 5-year plan to develop it...for the past 10+ years! You can see it's on a bit of a bluff too. I now have permission from the neighbour who takes care of it, to walk on it and soak up my lake whenever I feel the need. I have a feeling I may be doing more photo shoots here. The ducks greeted me!

There's a video on my Instagram (@mmmquilts) of this. It was wonderful. That's the top of his staircase, in disrepair, that you can see that used to take you down to the beach below.

The sun was at a pretty decent angle to show off the quilting, and also made the colours pretty near perfect as to real life.

I love how your eye sees stars, then sees squares, then sees kind of Pac man shapes, then back to stars. Lots of movement.

So, quilting. It was HARD to NOT go nuts in all the negative space. I did a swirl and hook all-over and knew I'd do a custom design in the four central squares. I had had the thought to do some ghost stars somewhere and thought why not here? So I drew the same star block in the four central squares, echoed, did a jazzy lines 'rays' outer design and filled the centre square on point with a different fill in each one:

Here's a close-up of one of them on Avril:

When it came to the on point star centres, I had to do something special in those nine blocks too. The top row got a dot to dot starburst design of Angela Walters that she is doing this past week, Week 2 of her FMQ Challenge. It picks up on the star theme I think. (Sidenote: you'll notice how there is only about 3/4" inch batting showing around the top and side edges of the quilt in the photo below. The package Hobbs gave us is 60". This quilt was 60.5". I wanted so badly to try the cotton/wool! What were the chances there was a little bit of overage? There was. This much only around all four sides. I figured well, no, can't do that on a longarm; I could on a domestic, but I don't have time nor desire to quilt it on my Bernina... However, I could use a domestic technique: basting spray! That would hold the top to the batting and I could make this work. Not much room for tension testing, but Aurifil on top, The Bottom Line on the bottom, two excellent quality threads, and my Avril who is a trooper, meant for very little fussing with tension. Score!)

I thought why do that nine times when you can do a different design in the centre three? FMQ is just so much fun! So I did a little bit different dot to dot design, one of the motifs from her Dot to Dot Quilting class (affiliate link) I took twice, once on Craftsy, and once in person (cue the choir!). That's my own design to fill it in, mirrored e's or l's, something that both Judi Madsen and Christina Cameli do, but not in this diamond.
I was a bit worried about the Aurifil 2600 blending in on the off-white batik, but once washed it has sunk in beautifully. I picked up a cone of 2600 at Sew Sisters Quilt Shop on one of their monthly sales (no affiliate but watch for it, a great deal!)
Sun glinting on my mmm! quilts label, but I remembered, yay.
Making two at a time HSTs meant I would have a couple odd ones left, four to be exact. They became my label.
Why Twinkle Sprinkles? For most of the time making this quilt it was hot, as in high 30s, low 40s Celsius (aka upper 90s, low 100s Fahrenheit) with the humidity factored in. The colours made me think of ice cream, and sprinkles, and with stars, well, this whimsical name kind of popped into my brain. And stuck.

A quick shot at the back, which is an older fabric from my stash in a soft tan colour that went with the colour palette.... Okay and makes me think of a waffle cone!
Delicious texture!
You may have noticed I did a multi-coloured binding.
There are eight batiks in the star points, five from the Check it Out! line debuting this month (love!) and three from the basics we were given, Surf, Bubbles in raspberry, and greyish purple. I used those three basics, two strips of each, to make the binding, thinking it would carry on the whimsical theme. I machine-stitched it to the back and top-stitched it down on the front. Fast and secure!

It was such a glorious day yesterday!

And again today, so I could get a shot of it after laundering.
As per all my Island Batik projects, there were no running issues. I put a colour catcher in, and washed it on short cycle with cold water, followed by a 15-minute tumble on delicate in the dryer and then laid it flat to finish drying on the floor (well, I laid it carefully on the back lawn first to get this photo! Red face of shame, dunce cap on head: I should have read the instructions on the back of the package label which highly recommend drying flat; if drying in the dryer, air dry only. Wool, Sandra, 20% wool! Sigh. It is so soft though! Light and airy, it drapes so well, much like a quilt that has been used and laundered multiple times instead of never used and laundered once.

Quilt Stats: GIFTED
Pattern: Half-Square Triangle Quilt by Liz and Elizabeth Evans
Size: 59 7/8" square after quilting; 57 1/4 X 58 1/4 after washing (wow! I should have dried it flat; I will definitely recommend and do that in future.)
Fabric: Island Batiks 'Check it Out' and three basics; off-white is
Backing: 'Petites' by mdd studio for Troy Corporation Riverwoods Collection
Batting: Hobbs 80/20 Cotton/Wool blend (love love this batting)
Quilted: on Avril, FMQ and dot to dot
Threads:  pieced on my Bernina with Aurifil cotton white; quilted with Aurifil cotton 2600, The Bottom Line polyester in the bobbin.
Stitch Count: 132 633

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  1. Love this quilt from the first Instagram photos to the lovely finish photos. The quilting is stunning as usual! At least you have October's project started.

  2. It is a beautiful quilt. Did the slight delicate tumble time in the dryer cause any issues at all? The crinkle looks wonderful.

  3. Wow, this is fantastic, Sandra! I enjoy reading through your thought process as you work on each project. Those photos are beautiful!

  4. I really enjoy reading about your process! I too use the Book It technique with a twist. I am going to try your column method! The quilt is wonderful, the quilting just spectacular! Thanks for sharing!

  5. LOVE this one! Yes, "movement" is the word! I don't even know where to begin with a favorite part... the stitching! ... the colors! ... the negative spaces... the dance between the light squares and the colored shapes... Mmmmmm... a good one, Sandra!

  6. Sandra, I am in awe of your quilting! Thank you for all the yummy textural eye candy. This is a gorgeous quilt. Great pics too. :) Is the Hobbs 80/20 your go to batting for most quilts?

  7. Such a beautiful quilt with lots of great explanation on your techniques. Your quilting continues to amaze me. I see such great progression in your expertise and think you are a professional through and through! I love that you have found the perfect place to photograph your quilts. Looking forward to the next project. You make a great ambassador for Island Batiks.

  8. Wowzer -- that is one beautiful quilt. I like the look of the cotton/wool bat. I may have to find some of that to use myself. Your quilting ideas are wonderful as is the actual quilting. Thanks for sharing your thought process on it too.

  9. I almost spewed my coffee (well I would have if I was a coffee drinker) when I read that your quilting was “relatively straight forward” and then saw what you actually did. Magnificent! This is a good lesson on changing a construction technique to suit yourself. I think the quilting pops even more with your revisions. I am envious of your ability/permission to walk along the lake. It’s a beautiful place for quilt glamour shots. Let’s hope the owner takes even more time to do something with the lot. Ok, now I’m going to look up how to do Book It.

  10. Lovely quilt! “Straight forward” OM gosh! I wish I could quilt like you!
    I really enjoyed reading about your gorgeous quilt, and enjoyed the view of the lake on the video too!
    Amazing place for a photo shoot.
    Barbara x

  11. Sandra, I love your quilt and your "straight forward" ahhemmm quilting LOL!!Beautiful job on both!

  12. This is another beautiful quilt Sandra and those batiks are just wild with the checks and things. You quilting is so stunning...I just love it.

  13. Oh my lordy..... if that's straight forward quilting the rest of us should stay home! Beautiful quilt and amazing setting. So glad you and the ducks get to enjoy it while it is undeveloped.

  14. What a gorgeous, gorgeous quilt, Sandra! Amazing what you can do with squares and triangles! (Of course the beautiful fabric and quilting has a lot to do with it, too!)

  15. What a great save for your September project. It's gorgeous! The quilting is pretty spectacular too. Congrats on a beautiful finish.

  16. Oh, Sandra! This quilt is absolutely gorgeous! You kept the quilting simple for a quick finish? Yeah, right! I loved all the photos.

  17. So lovely, and what beautiful quilting too. A wonderful finish.

  18. Gorgeous pattern, Sandra. Completely awestruck by your quilting. You've picked the perfect motifs for every aspect of the pattern. It shows off the lovely batiks.

  19. This is head turning beautiful! I'm in love with those fabrics and of course the quilting! Those ghost stars just leave me breathless.

  20. Wow - I love how you quilted this! So very pretty.

  21. Wow! I love the colors on this quilt and the quilting is stunning!!

  22. Your quilting is it.

  23. You are green with envy about the spot, I'm green with envy about your quilting.

  24. Another beautiful quilt - the fabrics, the quilting - just lovely! And nice to see In the Shadow of the Plus at the top of the page. I just revisited that quilt in the Modern Patchwork magazine yesterday. And I'm bummed the magazine is folding - that's makes two that I recently subscribed to that are done. :(
    What is happening in the quilting world???

  25. Beautiful quilt Sandra and as always.....your quilting is spectacular! Thanks for sharing.

  26. It's beautiful, Sandra, and that property is wonderful for quilty pictures. How wonderful that you have permission to use it :) I love the custom quilting in each of the squares. That really takes it to a whole different level.