Thursday, December 5, 2019

The Kelpie's Star - November Island Batik Challenge

I would not make a good boy scout... That bit about being prepared eludes me. I knew I would have Brianne and Brady visiting us over the last weekend of November, so I should have budgeted my time better, but somehow November felt like ten days instead of 30. And then, with one side and a bit to go, I was furiously binding the quilt today, watching the elusive sun play with my 'good quilt photographs' mind, and?

The power suddenly went out. In the daytime??? I quick went on the Hydro One website for power outages and read that a crew was on it, and estimated outage time was ....


I may have said one (or more) very bad words. I gave it one hour, went and had a bite of lunch, did a little browsing on Instagram, paced around a bit, and then suddenly, half an hour later, poof! It was back on. So this was able to happen at the Leamington Marina this afternoon!
Isn't that the most divine spot for a quilt?! And it wasn't very windy today, yay! The vessel in the background, well, there are two, but the large one is one of the Pelee Island ferries that run from either Leamington or Kingsville from April through the first week of December. I was pretty happy to get them in the photo shoot!

All of the fabrics in the quilt were supplied by Island Batik, the batting by Hobbs Batting, and the threads for quilting by Aurifil. This month we were to use tools in our sewing rooms to make a lap size or larger quilt. I used several tools, but the main ones were the Sidekick ruler by Jaybird Quilts, along with her Hex N More ruler.

Mermaid Cove is the line I chose to work with this month. I received a strip pack with two yards of the purple dot and two of the grass-like pastel. The corals, yellows and turquoises in this line are really vibrant.

So, the sun teased me all day long. We haven't seen much of it, let's be honest, pretty much none of it for the past near week. Today, photo-shoot day, water-bound day, I watched it like a hawk, when it did show itself... When the time finally came, I asked MacGyver if he felt like doing three takes:
  • take a run to Leamington marina 
  • to take some quilt photos, and 
  • take advantage of the Leamington Starbuck's BOGO Thursday Happy Hour.
to which he said yes faster than I could throw the quilt down on the dock here.

This particular quilt journey is amazing to me, working on the design wall without a clear idea of the quilt design. It's amazing when I look back and see this from a couple of weeks ago:
where the design suddenly went off in an entirely different direction than the original sort-of-plan, and grew into this, dare I write it, beauty.

The process posts are here and here. I left you with the flimsy at the dancing corner triangles stage. I knew I'd do another border, and my heart said, "Ooh! triangles all the way around!" but my head said, "That's a ton of work, Sandra, and the end of the month is nigh." So we compromised but doing a partial frame, and as soon as I thought of that I knew how I'd quilt that border, and that rarely happens. Usually I get my border ideas once the quilt is loaded or once the border is all sewn on. No, I knew I'd do ghost triangles! They show up pretty good below.

Again, all that white, all that negative space was begging for some custom quilting, and again, the time was a marching on, so I was thinking maybe gently undulating water-like lines could go across the entire quilt...

However. After I quilted the ghost triangles, I could not just do that. I decided to do the water-like lines and threw in little waves here and there in the star. I knew I'd do some kind of dot-to-to design in the inner purple star. I've followed Natalia Bonner's blog, Piece 'n Quilt, for a few years now, and I've been following her 365 Ruler Quilt Along since she started it in June. I am not doing it; I just look at the designs she comes up with, and sometimes watch the videos. The triangle designs weren't too long ago, so I thought I could maybe use one or two of those in this quilt....and I did!
This is her Hexad design, #189. This shot shows you the difference between the quilting in the area inside the inner star and the area outside it, where I did the undulating lines with swirly waves from time to time. By a slight contrast, I did undulating lines with random fish body shapes filled with pebbles, a design of Christina Cameli's. All of the quilt but for the inner purple star was quilted with Aurifil 50 wt in white; the purple triangles were quilted with Aurifil 28 wt. I used a 110 Schmetz longarm needle and The Bottom Line in the bobbin in grey and it stitched up beautifully as you can see here, and will see on the back further on down in the post. For the white I used a 90 Groz-Beckert longarm needle which is great on the batik fabrics.

I did a paisley all-over fill in the white areas around the star. I remembered right at the end, to squeeze in my initials! You can see the e's or l's fill in alternating ghost triangles. The coloured ones just got a stitch close to the ditch line on all three sides. Pressing those seams open meant for less bulk, but no ditch in which to stick. I don't mind the look here though.

I tried for a 'quilt in a tree at the marina' shot, but it didn't quite work...
Looks like a person is under it, doesn't it? It was too funny of a shot, and a lovely setting sun triangle glow above the break wall a waaaay out there, that I had to include this one. And it's a good segue into the name of the quilt, The Kelpie's Star.

A kelpie is a shape-shifting water spirit who lives in the lochs of Scotland.
Loch Ness, Scotland this past August
I'd been pondering over a week for a name for this quilt. I wanted it to have a nod to mermaids and to water. I'd thought of sandbar. Sandbar Star. Na, that sounded too kitschy. Many other water, beach, ocean, mermaid-related thoughts percolated, and then a couple of days ago, I hit upon Ariel's Star, and it stuck. Until I was half finished quilting it, and the word 'kelpie' came to mind. I knew it was a water spirit, and had a vague idea of horses, so I looked it up. Shape-shifting?! Well it was perfect then, better than Ariel (get that reference?). I'd started with making shapes within triangles. I'd gotten totally hooked on and immersed in, making these shape patterns with the confines of an equilateral triangle, destined to become a triangle quilt.
This is a very 'true colours' shot.

And then the triangles shifted, eventually becoming the six-pointed star, well, a star within a star even! Perfect. Now, kelpies can be malevolent, luring humans to their death in the water by taking on the form of a lovely maiden, or a pretty pony... Not such a pleasant image! Still, I love the mystical aspect of them and I suspect the danger associated with them was a warning to children to stay well away from bodies of water.
Just above my mmm quilts watermark is a small dark oblong spot. A small turtle was most interested in watching me! And I in him/her. We often see them here, such funny little periscope heads.

I got the idea of quilting something behind the star once I had done the ghost triangles in the top border and decided upon the undulating lines in the star. I love layers in quilts, as you know. The idea of an arc came to me, so I pulled out my Quilted Pineapple rulers and found one, the 20, that would work quite nicely. The shot below shows a couple of the arcs off quite well. That darn setting sun which is so lovely for glowing quilt photos, apparently, was still hidden by some thin clouds, so I didn't get as good texture shots as I'd hoped. The arcs are echoed, and have a 1.5" band in which I did ribbon candy. The 'fan' part of it I divided in four sections and did a squiggly line between the straight ones.

You can see I did a scrappy binding, stitching it down to the front of the quilt, pressing it and glue-basting it to the back and then stitching in the ditch to catch it.
Another shot of the ghost triangles, the arcs, and oh yeah, check out Avril's tension, especially on the purple where I used 28 wt thread.

I still missed a few spots, had to go back and catch them...oh yeah, and I forgot again to insert my satin label, so I had to rip out a small section of the binding, insert it, and stitch it back down...I could write another entire post (I may just do that) on all the mistakes in this quilt.

Here is the back!! I didn't want to lay the white front face down at the marina where lots of seagulls and ducks abound.
I made the backing wider by inserting a strip of the purple once I cut apart the pastel fabulous fabric. I had just enough for the length!

You may recall I'd mentioned I had a couple of leftover triangle blocks I'd maybe use for my label? Well I did!
And yay, this photo also shows another of Natalia's triangle designs from her 365 series, a lotus! I did one in each of the four dancing triangle corners.

Here is one last attempt to get a good texture shot:

Quilt Stats:
Pattern: Original design based on Jaybird Quilts Gravity triangles
Size: 52 X 56"
Fabric: Island Batik
Backing: Island Batik
Batting: Hobbs 80/20 bleached cotton/polyester
Quilted: on Avril;  116 213 stitches
Threads: pieced on my Bernina with Aurifil and Gütermann cotton; quilted with Aurifil 50 wt white and Aurifil 28 wt dusty mauve, The Bottom Line in the bobbin

Tools I used:
Sidekick ruler
Hex N More ruler
Quilted Pineapple curves rulers, 20 and 8
Slim ruler by Angela Walters
Olfa cutters
Omnigrid rulers: 24" rectangle, 15" square, 12" rectangle, 9.5" square
Blue line marker
Elmer's school glue
I could go on.... (but it's way past my bedtime)

Linking up
Confessions of a Fabric Addict
The Madd Quilter
Quilt Fabrication
Alycia Quilts-Quilty Girl
TGIFF at Madame Tailor
Clever Chameleon
My Quilt Infatuation
Quilting & Learning - What a Combo!
Dizzy Quilts for the Q4FAL


  1. Beautiful quilt, and I love the different types of quilting you did on it. I'm looking forward to using these fabrics in my quilt for December!

  2. This is beautiful! The quilting is insane! And I love the photo location and totally get your struggle for light: it's been grey here for about 5 weeks now.

  3. Awesome photos, Sandra!!! Love the compass shot. Great job on the quilting. Great job all around!!!

  4. Love, love the quilting and the photo shoot. Just WOW all around on this beautiful quilt!

  5. That quilt is absolutely stunning. I love everything about it, Sandra.

  6. Your quilts definitely talk with you and take you in so many fun directions. Beautiful finish, Sandra. Well done! The colors are so pretty! Great name too ;-)

  7. Absolutely gorgeous. That quilting would take me forever. Actually, since my 30 year old Bernina doesn't have a ruler foot, I couldn't do it at all. Impressive.

  8. Perfect photography location for a quilt made using fabric from a line called Mermaid Cove! I love how it came together and am glad your power wasn't out for long.

  9. It's so beautiful, from the colours, through the design, the quilting (I've been following Natalie's posts, and have some of Christina's classes) - love the arcs and ghost triangles, the triangles in the border, and finally a perfect choice for the name. I saw a move a few years back on Kelpies. And mistakes - I'm sure I don't care - way too much to love, and they just give it a personality. Well done, and thanks for sharing.

  10. Sandra: This quilt is just stunning. Given how much work you put into it it's not a surprise that it is a bit late. The design is lovely and of course the quilting is amazing. You did such a great job of photography as well. Well done my friend. I'm glad I came by to see it!

  11. You know I love these waterside photos! And Kelpie's Star is the *perfect* name for such a shapeshifting beauty! The ghost triangles were the first thing I saw, and then each detail revealed itself, one more lovely than the last. Gorgeous!!

  12. Oooh, those Marina shots really highlight the quilt! Love it all and the quilting texture shots too. Really like that ribbon candy circular border around the star -- great contrast with the central shape. This one was clearly a joyous process that unfolded beautifully!

  13. OMG!! The flimsy was a work of art. Now the quilting takes it to a whole other level. That background with the arcs is just awesome. Being as "behind" as you say you were, you still didn't rush it and skimp on the quilting. Every element is just so fitting for this quilt. And the photography is great.

  14. What a fabulous quilt! Once again, you've designed and made an amazing quilt. It's been fun watching it evolve into a masterpiece, poised in the marina, ready to lure an unsuspecting soul into the water. Just as well it wasn't a windy day, or that soul would have been you. Keplie's star is perfect.

  15. Such a beautiful quilt and that quilting is just gorgeous and intricate...nice work hugs, Julierose

  16. Great photography for a great quilt. Kelpie is a perfect name and now I am totally intrigued and will look up more on this. I love the "person" under the quilt shot. You did a fabulous job and as usual your quilting really is outstanding!

  17. Oh I especially love that photo on the dock! what texture!!

  18. What a perfect setting for a Kelpie quilt!! Look at those wavelets in the water at the marina--just like the waves in your quilting. I just keep going back and forth between looking at the triangle sections (because I have a real thing for triangles) and the background with the delicious paisley. Your texture shows plenty even though the sunlight was playing with you, and I am really glad that I decided to drag out the clunky laptop today because the better to see and drool. Just the list of tools alone is a testament to your mad quilting skills, but I know it's much more than that--I love how your mind works with the development of the patterns--both in the piecing and quilting.

  19. Congratulations Sandra. You have made an amazing quilt. I love the colours, the design and the quilting! Thanks for linking up to Free Motion Mavericks. The next link up starts tomorrow and will be open for 2 weeks. You can link up as often as you like. See you soon!