Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Summer Stars

Last summer I participated in a QAL called Sweet Star QAL. It was a sort of DrEAMi, in that I started in almost at the halfway point, and I had no business taking on another project, but it sort of consumed me, as those squirrels do. The best part was that I finally had found a pattern for my Blueberry Park stack of fat quarters that I'd bought a few years ago at Craftsy (who are back, which I'm sure you know, and as Craftsy, and it's "watch whatever you want for the next 45 days" event to celebrate their return). We made four blocks a week, and I had such fun combining various fabrics to make the blocks. I love the blues and greens with a bit of yellow and gold thrown in. Once the top was done, I behaved and got myself back on track with deadlines and commitments.

Couldn't you just snuggle up with a good book in that oasis? Well maybe not; it was rather hot and humid! Still, it evokes the idea, and one could sit on top of the quilt there and read...  Our Sweet Autumn clematis is absolutely stunning and its heavenly scent pervades that entire area, reminds me of jasmine in Florida in looks and scent. It cascades down either side of the fence. There's another small one, but we think it hasn't gotten enough sun since the cannas, mandevilla vine, barberry and elephant ears have filled in all around and above it. Note for next year!

I do not believe I ever got a photo of the finished flimsy, so I was sure to do that before I started quilting it.

Once I had that photo taken, it was back up the stairs and onto Avril for quilting.
Do you often find you stall because of having to find or make a backing? I do. And it's not like I don't have choices in the stash, because I certainly do; one of my stops in every quilt shop, be it online or bricks and mortar, is the clearance section to peruse backing possibilities. I had the perfect backing for this quilt, a beautiful Art Gallery print I'd snagged from somewhere on sale, 'Safari Moon' by Frances Newcombe. However, I didn't have enough, since I hadn't thought backing when I'd bought it, and had just picked up two yards. However, I did have another yard in the same colour family, 'Chattune Floral Medallion' by Fabric Editions, but it was only a yard, so I was still short. Not to worry; I had leftovers of the Blueberry Park fat quarters. However (again a stall) this meant I would need to cobble together a few of those. When I put this on my Q3FAL list, I thought that may be the push I needed, that and the fact that I knew it would look wonderful in our new bedroom upstairs with the 'cotton' (palest of yellow/cream) walls.

I did an all-over design (get 'er done) because I also have two other quilts on the Q3 list that have a fair amount of white negative space, where I will probably do custom quilting. Swirls? Feathers and graffiti-type quilting? Loops and stars? I don't know from whence it came, but I hit upon floppy feathers. Beth of Cooking Up Quilts has a great tutorial on these. They have no spine, and you simply 'flop' from side to side, making a feather as you go. They are fun and almost, but not quite, as mindless and 'watching goldfish'-esque as meandering. I echoed here and there, and even added a couple of curlicues over the quilt top.

I still did a little stitch-in-the-ditch to anchor the quilt and keep it square. So between each of the four rows there is a horizontal line of stitching. Actually it's vertical, ha, because I loaded the quilt sideways due to the long vertical seam in the backing. Quilts will hang straighter if your backing is running so that the grain is lengthwise, where there is less stretch than crosswise. Carry-over knowledge from garment-sewing days!

It's a fairly big quilt because each block is 18" finished, making a 72.5" top. I worked on quilting it over two-three days.

Here's that back:

For the binding I did a scrappy one, machine-stitching it down. A note here, I did consider hand-stitching it down, because I do, well, used to, enjoy that process with a quilt on my lap, working my way around it. However, my eyesight has deteriorated, so that it's easier to stitch with the glasses off rather than on, even though they're progressives. This means that TV watching is not possible as I cannot see the TV!

Also, let's be honest, it's much faster, and I knew the stitching line that shows on the front would sink into the top no problem. Finally, this Blueberry Park fabric has kind of a rubbery feel where the white designs are, which does not make for nice needling. Finally finally, ha, if we were to look down our noses at a machine-stitched binding as opposed to hand-stitched, then we'd also better look down our noses at a machine-quilted quilt, and well, a machine-appliquéd or pieced one, and become a purist like Jinny Beyer!

Another Moda label got used, rather an odd one, not good for a quilt I would be giving away, so I used it on one I'm keeping. Of course, I forgot the satin one, and had to go back in and stitch it in! You'd never know though, so mum's the word.

Speaking of keeping it to yourself, here's a laugh at my expense. So I cut a 5" square of each of the fabrics, thinking with some white they could sew up into a cute baby quilt for my Etsy shop (I sold a QUILT last week, woot! woot! more another time, but also with the intent of keeping my scraps a little more in control). I only had 23 squares. That did not seem right; no one releases a line with a weird number of fabrics like that. I went back through the leftovers but couldn't find more than 23. Even went so far as to match the 5" squares to the stars and coordinating bits on the quilt, trying to figure out what was missing. A gold stripey one! Bottom right star! Turned the sewing area upside down, scraps boxes, plastic drawers, strips boxes, nada. 😫 Things got even weirder when I found a 1.5" strip of it in the little pile of strips waiting to be sorted into their colour families. What did I do with the rest of the fabric? I had no clue, and it gave me a creepy feeling (am I actually getting up in the night and sewing stuff? organizing stuff? lol) Until writing this post, it was a mystery. And yes, I'd already taken the photos, and hadn't clued in. Do you see where the gold fabric is? 

It's one of the cobbles in my cobbled together backing section! Drat. And there's the 25th fabric, the navy, beside it, both all gone now. Bahaha! Ah well, I can just repeat two of the fabrics to make a 5x5 block baby quilt.

The quilt washed up beautifully and we slept under it last night! There are one or two of the fabrics that still feel slightly rubbery, the ones that have a fair amount of white. It feels good to have another item checked off the Q3 list, another flimsy all grown up into a real quilt, and this was also on my To Do Tuesday list! Double duty!

Quilt Stats:
Pattern: Sweet Star QAL by Jessica Dayon
Size: 72.5" square; after quilting and laundering 70.5" x 71.5"
Fabric: Blueberry Park by Karen Lewis for Robert Kaufmann
Backing: Art Gallery, Fabric Editions, and Blueberry Park scraps
Batting: Nature's Touch by Pellon 100% cotton (absolutely love the soft drape this batting has)
Quilted: on Avril: 167 681 stitches
Threads: pieced on my Bernina; quilted with Superior So Fine 402, The Bottom Line in the bobbin

Also on the To Do Tuesday list was finishing the purple 9-patches which I did.

Getting to the halfway point of my bag for the Island Batik It's in the Bag! hop was another item. No, more like barely a quarter of the way into it, but said fabric is on the longarm as I type half-quilted. You'll get a sneak peek of that @mmmquilts on Instagram. No cat mat post #3 got written either. I'm auditing a course at the University of Alberta and finding that I'm letting some blogging duties go. There are only so many hours in the day! The only item I will consider putting on my list for next Tuesday as finishing the bag for the hop! So I guess I am going to link up this finish post at Roseanne's linky, Home Sewn by Us.


  1. Oh, it's lovely, Sandra. I alternate between hand stitching binding and machine binding. The good thing for me is that we don't own a TV, so podcasts, audiobooks, or music are what accompany me (so I can keep my glasses off!). That said, I know what you mean about the prints on the Blueberry Park line and probably would have machine finished it as well. It looks perfect on your bed!

  2. Oh it is so lovely. I totally get the desire to hand bind, but you are so right about that fabric. The eye thing is no fun either....I have a prescription change that I haven't gotten filled and am hoping to remedy that at any moment!

  3. Wonderful to have it for yourselves, and on your bed, machine binding finishes make very good sense when your eyes are not the 20/20 vision we all once had. The fabric colours are great together, and never ming that small snippet of gold was lost for a while, on the back it fits in so well.

  4. Lovely Sandra & I thought the colours reminded of the seaside. I do like the first photo in your garden & I don't mind handstitching my binding. I always need to keep m hands busy of a night whilst relaxing before retiring & although I've been wearing glasses for 54 years I can still see pretty much OK, but wouldn't manage the quilting you do freehand on Avril due to a lazy eye condition which makes me feel seasick with that type of movement when concentrating. Your pieced backs remind me of my second last post of "making" backings due to lack of shops we can't visit at the moment. Making do & using the stash is my goal for now. Take care, stay safe & huggles from down under.

  5. That is a gorgeous quilt, Sandra - so glad you got it quilted and finished! It never matters to me if bindings are machine or hand stitched - it should just be the creator's preference! Looking forward to the bag reveal and blog hop. That will be a fun one!

  6. A beautiful star quilt! Stars are one of my favourite blocks, this one looks so good on the bed. As for hand stitching that binding down they make sewing machines for a reason... to be used and a stitched down binding is an excellent way to use it.

  7. Hi Sandra! This is one beautiful quilt and I'm so glad that you have it finished and are able to enjoy it already. I just love stars and the secondary patterns that are created when sewn together. I also LOVE the floppy feathers. I haven't tried quilting them for quite a while but it sure is a forgiving pattern, isn't it?! I look forward to seeing your bag for IB. That will be coming up before you know it. Thanks for linking up this week. ~smile~ Roseanne

  8. I always loved the blueberry park line, the colors are just so pretty! Nice work Sandra.

  9. I love your "Summer Stars" quilt. I am laughing with you about the "lost" fabric. I completely understand.

    I have used the Craftsy "free 45 days" to watch a video on using the Air Fryer. I learned a couple of tricks to add to my cooking arsenal.

  10. Ooo, all my favorite colors and stars — wonderful! I hope you had sweet dreams beneath it. It’s definitely quilt weather here. Brrr! Frost advisory tonight ... too soon :-)

  11. How fun that you could tuck in and sleep under that lovely last night! As to backings, I'm the worst at prepping them. No idea why - I mean, one seam (usually)? I should plan a day of prepping backings - the thought of it makes me shudder. LOL.

  12. This is gorgeous, Sandra! I can't believe you did the feather meander completely freehand. It looks so balanced and even across the quilt, I would have sworn you were following a pantograph. And I agree, the cool blues and greens DO make it seem like it's maybe not a million degrees outside.

    Remember that old song about killing me softly with the song, telling my whole life in his words? That's how I felt as I was reading about your backing dilemma because that is exactly what derailed ME this week! Baby clam shell top finally finished, and realizing that the backing fabric I bought specifically for this quilt when I bought all the other fabrics is not big enough for loading it on the long arm. Dug through the stash, but it's 98% FQs and half yards. Almost wasted an entire day traveling to my not-so-local quilt shop for a new backing fabric, but stopped myself at the VERY last minute. Went back to my stash and started digging through in search of the long leftover backing strips that I've trimmed away from other quilts after taking them off the long arm frame, and found one that I think can work with the original backing fabric. I should really store those long backing scrap strips separately for future use, because it's such a bummer to need two lengths of backing yardage instead of one, when the width is only off by 5"! Congratulations on your gorgeous finished quilt that I love so much, I'm tempted to hunt down the pattern and start a newFO of my own. And thanks for linking up with Long Arm Learning!

  13. Gorgeous!!! Love the colours. It looks very inviting on your bed. Feels good to finish something for your self.

  14. This is so pretty, Sandra! I love the colors and the quilting design. And it's always nice to finish one you keep! So glad you've slept under it already. Your misadventures looking for the missing 5" square sound like me searching for pretty much anything in my sewing space.

  15. Summer Stars does for my eyes for the first showers do for the parched earth in the desert. Very soothing, lovely beautiful finish!!!

  16. A beautiful Starry Quilt. I wonder if the new Craftsy will bring back the store with fabric and stuff. I love the quilting on this quilt and think it's great you already have it on your bed! The nights are cooler this week but only for a little and then the "dog days" of summer return!

  17. Such a beautiful quilt. I think stars are just perfect for blueberry park. I'm with you on machine binding. All my quilts are machine bound except the ones I plan to enter in a show. I also bought two FQ bundles of Blueberry park from Craftsy years ago. After multiple projects I still have fairly large scraps left over for another project.

  18. Sandra that is one beautiful finish. The fabrics really were made for this pattern. Love the floppy feathers. I’ll have to try that one sometime. Your purple blocks are so eye catching! Love them, but then I’m a sucker for anything purple or teal 😉

  19. Beautiful big stars in those world-famous Sandra colors! Am I surprised that these beach glass fabrics are on your own bed? I am not. Love the texture from the floppy feathers. It's a great motif and I don't use it enough. With the right flop angle, they are almost heart-shaped, aren't they?

    It's too bad the white printing on the Blueberry Park line was a bit rubbery, especially when ironing it. The pure colors and interesting white scribbly designs had a lot of promise. I know many folks (myself included) bought and used the line once, and then were done with it. Fortunately, the finished quilts don't feel weird!

  20. Your new quilt is SEW fresh and lovely, Sandra! (I spy a RED basket for the RSC in the background of the shot with Avril.)

  21. Love this quilt Sandra. Also love the tale about the missing bits of your bundle. Jeez I can so easily relate to that. I do that sort of thing all the time.
    I have no issue with machine stitched binding. I do love sitting and stitching the binding on - in cooler weather but this is not the season for that (at least not in Nor California). So the last couple (four actually) quilts I have made have machine stitched bindings. No big deal there. It is funny how some quilters feel a bit shamed or embarrassed by this?
    Love that clematis. I wonder how it would do in our climate?

  22. I absolutely love the fabric and color palette, and those giant blocks! That must have been so satisfying to make. The floppy feathers look like a challenge to me, so I’m impressed that they are easy for you. Now that we have cooler temperatures, this will be a joy in your pretty new bedroom.

  23. Wow, I love the quilt. Beautiful colors and quilting. I didn't realize Craftsy was back up, good to know. Enjoyed reading your post.

  24. This is a gorgeous quilt! and those 9 patch blocks... LOVE them!!

  25. What a lovely quilt! It looks so fresh in those colours - like a cool dip in a pool on a sunny day :-) I like your use of the floppy feathers. I always get lost about where to go next with designs like that!


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