Saturday, June 1, 2019

Luminous Layers

Well, I missed the deadline by hours, missed the sunshine we had this morning, but I am still very happy to have a finish to share. A deadline I did not miss is the Q2FAL, as this is one of the quilts on my list. This is the May challenge for Island Batik, who supplied all the gorgeous fabrics; 'Twilight Chic" is the line I used. This month is also focusing on Hobbs Batting, who supplied several packages of batting for us.
You may have read the finished flimsy post, which is here, but I will tell you again that this is a quilt I designed during the 30 Quilt Designs Challenge that I hosted again this year, (three years running now!). I will also tell you, though most of my readers know by now, that I love star quilts. I started to design this from the outside, working my way in towards the centre.
Black is always hard to get the light on the right angle to show the quilting, but despite the lack of sun this afternoon, and literally a half hour before severe thunderstorms hit, I managed to get a few shots that show the quilting. This one also shows the colours very well!Here are the fabrics I used for this month's challenge, 'Twilight Chic' by Kathy Engle.
I was just going to do straight lines through the entire quilt, partly because that is often what is done in modern quilts, but let's be honest, intricate quilting takes a lot of time, and I did not have that.
I've learned from past experience to make some registration marks on the quilt when doing straight lines because it's very easy to get a little bit off. This Rohin fine point chalk marker is fantastic for marking on dark fabric. I wish I had an Amazon affiliation to give you the link, but sadly I did not make any qualifying sales, even though I know my daughter Brianne used my link for purchasing at least one item... Ah well. Another tip, though no affiliation, is that 12" ruler which I bought from Linda's Electric Quilters, and is one recommended by Angela Walters, though I suspect she now recommends her own!
Yay! Down to the bottom section of the quilt. This was last night about 10 pm and I ran out of gas.
The lines went very well. The thread did not. I first used Exquisite, which I've had great success with in the past, but not this time. So I switched to a Sulky rayon (of questionable age) which I also have had great success with in the past, but again, not this time. So I went to one of my favourite threads, Gütermann cotton 50 wt and it went from there like a dream. Thank goodness you cannot tell any difference between those three threads.
Of course, I couldn't 'just' do straight lines. That is, sorry to say it, don't mean any offence, rather boring.
So I put in a 2" high row of ribbon candy to weave behind the giant star points. Love. In keeping with modern quilts, I only did it across the top section. Besides there is no bottom section, right? The lower star points are non-existent.
You may notice that although I did 'just' straight lines in the star points, I did a pattern.😎 
I love the effect.
In the next-sized star with the various purples and turquoise star points, I did wavy flowing lines.
Yeah... I couldn't just do wavy lines; I threw in Christina Cameli's pods and put in beads in the top and bottom sections, and e's in the side sections. I used green Aurifil 2890??, supplied by Aurifil, one of the ones they sent us last year, and it's a great blending green. It's in the purples and turquoises too.
I was planning on leaving the black in the centre stars section unquilted, but as per usual, the quilt gave me an idea, to do the 1/2" spaced straight lines there too. Yup. A bit of a pita, but worth it.
I stitched in the ditch along the star points of all twelve stars. Because many of the very small ones (4") in the centre have seams pressed open, I stitched about 1/16" on the inside of most of those. Otherwise, the SITD disappears between the pressed-open seams.
The five smallest stars asked for some dot to dot treatment. So they got it. Gold Aurifil thread here, again supplied by Aurifil in last year's box. 
I like the effect of this centre grouping of stars on the back of the quilt:
You may be thinking, 'hmm, that's a rather weird-looking back; what did she do?'
This is what I did!
I suddenly had the totally awesome idea to 'fold' the missing star points of the huge star onto the backing!
Yesssss! I had less than 48 hours to finish the quilt by the deadline when this inspiration hit... Oh well, just go for it, right? So I did. Cut and sewed enough squares and HSTs to make the missing four points. The only problem? When you fold the four back, the two in the corner will fold on top of each other... So I spent some more time figuring out if I could make it work:
  • move the bottom two over? Nope, lost the effect.
  • just have one? Hmm, now I have an almost square in a square... that bugged me as it detracted from the star points.
As you can see from the above photo, I elected to simply have the two side ones 'folded' back onto the backing. You can find the four points on the front because of the different straight line quilting motif. 😉 I love this hidden aspect on the backing of one of my quilts! I also think I did a pretty awesome job of lining the two layers atop each other. Had I quilted this on a DSM, it would've been very easy to line them up, but with a longarm, you need about a 2" space minimum around the edges of the quilt because of the way you load it.

I also love the extra golden star created by changing two points in each of the four purple and blue stars to a gold with blue berries batik! Wax on, wax off. Hey, I'm going to name one of my next quilts that!

I just LOVE LOVE this Hobbs black batting! It's 80/20 cotton/polyester, and the first time I've worked with it. It is so light! Lovely! Yet it gives great texture, right? And I haven't even washed the quilt yet, but I for sure will and will update this post, or put it in a future one, or both...

I used a black Hobbs that I had bought (I've liked them since before they sent us ambassadors free batting 😚) in Maple Leaf Rag, which I made last August for an Island Batik challenge, and I really like it too. It was 100% cotton. Maybe it's the bit of polyester that helps give some more definition? Yet the batting is very very thin, quite surprising to me. Thinner than Warm 'n Natural!

When it came to binding, I nearly went with the black, but I had been also considering the green. I lined up the green along the edges, folding it in at about the 1/4 - 3/8" width, and decided, yep, let's do the unexpected here too.
When you can't hang a quilt in a tree because yet another thunderstorm is brewing (note drops of rain on the quilt) you set the quilt on top of your rhododendron...

Remember the little gold star that was originally going to float in the very centre, make that off-centre of the quilt but I changed it for the more intense gold? I'd said in the flimsy post I'd use it as the label, and those of you observant types may have noticed it in the photo of the entire backing. It ended up in the top right of the backing, as opposed to the lower right where I usually have my write-on labels. This is because I had all the gold on the back and I couldn't float it there; I wanted it on green so it literally floated (on a sea of green lol). I'd not written on it when I did the photo shoot; those severe thunderstorms were on their way: there was that stillness, and greenness in the air and not-far-off thunder booming, so time was of the essence for outdoor shots!

Not long after I got in, the skies opened up and we got yet another Florida-deluge-style downpour. Not good when you have no shingles, and there are inevitable gaps between dormers and roof, and, yeah, we have one pesky leak that is pretty much impossible to 100% block, so towels and a plastic bowl in the front porch to the rescue, again.

We have two dormers, and two windows!

In order to pass inspection, our contractor/builder has to show that the weight of the dormer is supported down to the concrete basement, so guess what? Yesterday the entire front of half our house had to be carefully dismantled....
Note the new lumber triple 2X4s support beams on the right and between the sill and the roof on the left of the window.
MacGyver got in there and took out the 70-year-old batting insulation that was in the wall cavities, and replaced it with new batting. They also replaced some of the pink styrofoam insulation that got wrecked when they dismantled the siding. We aren't sure of the date that the original owners put the vinyl siding on, but the entire house was wrapped with in pink below it.

I admit I freaked when I saw the above. But I calmed down when I saw this:
It's like repairing an old quilt! Dan, the builder/contractor, laid out the pieces so they'd know exactly where they go back. Hopefully next week we will get shingles, soffits, gutters, etc. The abnormally wet weather is a constant worry; we are significantly above rainfall amounts. Wish I could send some out west to Alberta to douse the fires.

It does make for wonderfully green lawns,
and that green binding pops pretty nicely doesn't it?!

Quilt Stats:
Pattern: Original design
Size: 48.5" square (even after quilting but it's not too dense)
Fabric: Island Batik
Backing: Island Batik
Batting: Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 Cotton/polyester
Quilted: on Avril; 84 316 stitches
Threads: Pieced with Gütermann black polyester; quilted with Gütermann cotton 50 wt, Sulky rayon 40 wt, Essential polyester, Aurifil cotton 40 wt; The Bottom Line and Aurifil in the bobbin.

Linking up
The Madd Quilter
Quilt Fabrication
My Quilt Infatuation
Confessions of a Fabric Addict
TGIFF at mmm! quilts
Dizzy Quilts for the Q2FAL


  1. Such a gorgeous quilt, and I absolutely love the quilting you did! I am especially fond of straight lines and wavy lines in quilting. Oh, and lucky you to have an vintage home to remodel! It looks like it is going to be well worth all the work and worry. I enjoy your blog very much. :o)

  2. What a gorgeous quilt! I can't wait to have my quilts bossing me around like yours do you! You are a champ getting this done during a renovation. My small space is smaller, so again, we'll be reconfiguring once DH comes. He said, I think you need 2 rooms....yes a small frame long arm is still large! Anyway, love the label that decided to be in a different spot than normal. There are always so many wonderful surprises with your quilts!

  3. The quilt is lovely, even if you do have to hunt for a few of the star legs (makes it more interesting, actually). Thanks for sharing the breakdown of the quilting; it is inspiring. I love the motifs hidden in the straight lines, and the idea of stitching just outside the ditch for seams pressed open. I'd been wondering how best to handle that, and your idea works. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Love the stars and the exquisite quilting! I like the variation in the wavy lines and that ribbon candy yum.

  5. This quilt is quintessentially "you," Sandra! The transparency, the stars, the rich colors, the playful design elements, and of course the way it chose its own quilting. Congratulations on another fabulous finish. Beautiful, beautiful! :)

  6. It's turned out so gorgeously! Well don. Love the alignment on the back. That's terrific!!!

  7. Boy, your creative mind has been fairly exploding lately -- I love this quilt! Those fabrics are gorgeous; I just want to sit and look at the photo of them. They work really well with this design. Folding that star point is very cool! This is just such fun to see, Sandra! Your house is coming along too. Can't wait for you to get tucked in to that space!

  8. Holy moly Sandra. I thought the quilt top was fabulous but then you shared the backing. WOWEE! That is SO cool and clever and fabulous continuing the star points on the back. Never in a million years would I have thought of that. Ever. But it is marvelous. I think menopause serves you well if this is how your mind works now. Just saying - were you always this creative or has it just escalated into the stratosphere recently? Anyway, I'm just thankful to know you and read your blog to enjoy all of this goodness. Happy Sunday! ~smile~ Roseanne

  9. I love everything about this quilt, Sandra! It's so beautiful with all those fabulous stars and the gorgeous, rich colours. I can't imagine how odd it feels to see the innards of your walls like that, lol. I hope everything has been going back together nicely and at least it gave you the opportunity to update the insulation :) I bet you're really looking forward to getting into your sewing room again!

  10. Well done!! You outdid yourself with both the design and the quilting. Of course, we knew you couldn't just do straight-line quilting. LOL

  11. What a gorgeous quilt Sandra! 'Love it so much.

  12. This is beautiful! And lovely to see one of the quilts from the design challenge come to life. The quilting is amazing.

  13. 11 out of 10 for this quilt Sandra! Great design, entertaining post, love the back with the wrap around star points and all the hidden beauties in the quilting. You are a very clever girl indeed. Would love to relieve you of some rain, commiserations on the leaks, but how exciting that the reno is coming along so well. Thanks for linking up. xx

  14. I heartily approve of the green binding, the design, the fabrics and of course the quilting. Well done on another fabulous finish!! It's gorgeous. Oh I feel for you with the wet weather/renovation combination. Here's hoping for dry skies and productive building.