Friday, January 1, 2021

On Point

Here it is! My December challenge for Island Batik, my last challenge as ambassador, is done! I've named it On Point. You know how I love double entendres.

As I said in the process post, this is the first quilt where I've actually designed a portion of it because I want to showcase the quilting I know I'm going to do there. I wanted to do ribbon candy there and thought the strips of aqua and flame would show it off perfectly. The pearls row finishes off this section to perfection (though they are definitely not perfect!) adding to the meaning of the quilt's name. The quilting becomes a part of the piecing. I love it. And wee-ooh wee-ooh, but didn't HandiQuilter talk about this very phenomenon in their newsletter?! This was after I'd  made this section, so imagine my surprise!

All of the fabrics for the front of the quilt were given to me by Island Batik. I used batting supplied by Hobbs Batting, and Super Nonstick needles supplied by Schmetz Needles. All but the grey 2600 of the Aurifil thread used was supplied by Aurifil, and the Corner Pop II was supplied by Studio 180 Designs.

I'd left you wondering what my final decision would be: keep the Frog (green) pops of small triangles? Add another round? Here's the flimsy.
I kept the green, 'Frog' pops and felt that the triangles border was a great final round.

Most annoyingly, it was overcast and then poured all day from about 11 am on, so once we get some sun, or if it at least stops raining and blowing, I will get an outdoor shot to show off the true colours of these beautiful fabrics, and add it here and on Instagram.

This final quilt for Island Batik (I get a bit of sadness typing that, but it's only au revoir, not a final goodbye), got custom quilting, you betcha. It was pieced with the purple Aurifil, and quilted with the other five threads.

The feathered star centre, which took forever to cut and piece, got special treatment. A whirligig in the centre octagon, continuous curve in the eight Amethyst triangles, as well as the 32 Amethyst 'feathers' around the star points, quilted feathers (of course!) in the Jelly (mauve) pointy kite shapes, and outlining all the green (Frog) shapes, with a curvy ray in the green diamonds. More rays, both straight and curvy went in the four corners, with dot to dot and skinny figure eights in the triangle sections around the edges. The star was 15" finished, but I needed an even number in order to makes the 'HSTs forever' first border, so I added 1/2" border around all four sides. Quilting flowed right into that skinny border so you basically lose this first round!

I stitched in the ditch everywhere on this quilt. So, either side of the 'HSTs forever' border and then outlined each triangle, aiming for just outside the Amethyst and Jelly triangles.

In the second border I extended the 'HSTs forever' (84 of the 1" little suckers gems, plus the 32 that are the feathers around the star, for a total of 116), having them frame the corner stars on two sides. This provided a stopping point for those side sections. I first saw the 'HSTs forever' (my name, not hers) idea on a beautifully executed and quilted feathered star on Pinterest, made by Chris of christknitssews and quilted by Sue Daurio not quite one year ago. Chris did HSTs on all four sides of her star blocks, which are different from mine. Funny in that I'd already thought to do these stars in the four corners in a round of the quilt!

Here is a closeup of that planned for, already-knew-what-I-would-quilt border. Let me say that the double ribbon candy was not at first planned, just a single one, but I've always wanted to do the double one on a quilt, and so here it is. I was only slightly concerned about using the beautiful dusky rose Aurifil on the grey. After all it was designed for this quilting, so why not draw some attention to it? You can see how the 2600 grey blends right in where I did the straight and curvy rays and meandering, but this dusky rose makes you sit up and take notice. It's an actual layer, not a support to the piecing.

You can't see, but I did a fancy Natalia Bonner curved design in the dark purple (Amethyst) centre triangles of the final round. I used 40 weight thread there, so it does show up in person. The dusky rose was used in all the other triangles of that final border. Isn't it amazing how it works on all four colours?

Here are the corners. I debated for a while about how to quilt these fabulous layered stars, but in the end I simply outlined them with the dusky rose, and then echoed, about 5/16", so slightly more than 1/4" just to accentuate and fill in the grey background. Curvy rays went in the orange (Flame) and green (Frog) final corners with either SITD or dot to dot on either side.

Meandering with grey filled in behind the triangles nice and quietly. The points are the star. I nearly did a flanged binding, but that beautiful darn flange would have covered the points, so 1/4" deep purple (Amethyst) binding it was. And a single one. I didn't have enough left to do my usual double fold 2 1/4" binding! So that took a little extra time of pressing and very careful sewing. I applied it to the front so I'd not rush covering up any point, and then careful stitched it down from the back, using grey in the bobbin and deep purple in the top. May I say how MUCH I ADORE my Bernina for fanTABulous tension for doing things like this with varying thread weights?!

Here is the label, well both!

The backing is a perfect find in my stash, a leftover yard from the backing I used on Parisville Weave in 2015. Speaking of tension, may I also add how happy I've been on the last several quilts with Avril's tension, and I've switched brands and weights on her several times.

Quilt Stats:
Pattern: Original design; Feathered Star from Marsha McCloskey's Feathered Star Quilt Blocks I
Size: 38" x 38"
Fabric: Island Batik
Backing: as above
Batting: Hobbs Heirloom Natural 100% Cotton batting with scrim 
Quilted: on Avril, 92 777 stitches
Threads: pieced with Aurifil; quilted with Aurifil 50 wt and 40 wt

Linking up

I want to express my sincere gratitude to Island Batik, and to the other programme sponsors, Aurifil, Schmetz Needles, Hobbs Batting, Studio 180 Designs, and By Annie.
The quality of this ambassador programme is top-notch, and I have been honoured to have been an ambassador for the past three years, especially this past year when they programme was narrowed to just 25 of us. I hope you've been visiting some of the other ambassadors. Their work is truly astounding, the creativity, the skill, just so inspirational. We are encouraged to use our own designs, and so the past three years have been a terrific way for me to push myself in that vein, not to mention this past year of pushing myself in new directions like making the backpack, and finally tackling  a feathered star. I will now be an Island Batik alumni, and plan to submit designs for their catalogue, so you will still be seeing these gorgeous fabrics on my blog, though not as often. Here is a collage of the challenge projects I made in 2020. Of the twelve, ten are my own designs; of the two that aren't, Storm at Sea is my own spin on one I saw on Pinterest.


  1. Oh Me, Oh My, what a design, what quilting, and all the write up, go girl , get the Purple Rosette or the Gold Ribbon, I think both, this is outstanding and out of all your quilt designs and projects, a true winner by a quilter's mile. Alumni, well done. Fondest greetings from a wet and probably stormy night down here in New Zealand.

  2. Outstanding design. Outstanding piecing. Outstanding quilting! What a fabulous quilt!

  3. Absolutely stunning!! Your quilting is so special, but not over the top. I know I'm looking forward to your next QAL & seeing so much more on your blog. Raining here too in a muggy Oz & I'm still waiting to get to the quilt shop where I purchased that fabric for Stars Aligned. Take care and huggles.

  4. OMG!! I don't know where to start this is stunning! I love the piecing, the layout and oh the quilting! You have outdone yourself!!!!

  5. What a gorgeous quilt, and the amount of time and work you put into it is quite something. I love pretty much any quilt with pointy things, so I am really liking this! The fabrics are so nice, the quilting is spot on. Well done!

  6. Wow, you really stepped it up on this one. Everything works together to make a lovely quilt that is a delight to look at.

  7. You've definitely done amazing work as an Island Batik ambassador, Sandra. I've enjoyed your posts and gawked over your designs. This quilt is gorgeous - both the design and the quilting!

  8. WOW!! Sandra this is absolutely amazing! The design is gorgeous and the quilting is fantastic. Well done!
    I am sorry to hear you will not be an ambassador after this. Your designs are so beautiful and I have enjoyed seeing every one. I wish you the best for 2021 and look forward to seeing all you do.

  9. This is so lovely, just filled with color, and the quilting is masterful and enhances the piecing. I watched on IG as you made the border and it turned out just awesome. A great first finish for 2021! And now I want to make a feathered star myself. . .

  10. Beautiful quilt, Sandra!!! I love all the colors and quilting!!! And of course, the feathered star!!!

  11. You did an outstanding job on that quilt. Thanks for sharing all of your steps and thoughts along the way.

  12. Wow, Sandra! That feathered star and the special quilting border quilt is FANTASTIC!! I've always wanted to do one, but haven't made that yet. The quilting is a perfect finish to those beautiful IB colors!

  13. Congratulations on your time with Island Batik. They were fortunate to have you. I thought I'd pick a favorite, but there are elements from several that I love.. The heart that you don't notice until you do... the way the middle blue square radiates right off the plane of the rest of the quilt... the deeper meaning behind the trees in their seasons... the colors of the plus... the newest on that I can't stop going back for another look but can't figure out why...
    Lovely... all.
    Can't wait to see what's next for mmmquilts!

  14. Breath taking! What a way to exit the program. I've enjoyed all your Island Batik projects because your quilts not only present their fabric but they are made from a deep passion for a cause or from something that sparks that creative streak in you. Although you are retiring I know you will still be quilting and speaking with those quilts to all of us. Congratulations on a beautiful quilt.

  15. Stunning. Can't wait to see what you come up with next year. You always put so much thought into each of your quilts.

  16. Your medallion quilt is fantastic! ... the design ... the quilting ... just everything ... I LOVE it!
    Best wishes with whatever 2021 has for you on the quilting front ... I will be following!
    Happy Quilting! :-)

  17. Going out in a blaze of glory, are we? This may the best one yet, although there is a lot of competition in your three years of participating with IB. You pour your heart and soul into all your work and it shows. The amount of time and effort you put into the process of making and quilting these projects is awe inspiring. And now you are free to explore other designs and techniques and we shall all learn a lot more from you.

  18. Happy New Year Sandra!
    It is a beautiful quilt, the colours and the quilting - makes me feel happy looking at it - the colour combo just speaks to me - well done! And the weather seems to have be dull and dismal for days - I don't think I remember going so long with out seeing our beautiful blue skies, it is so nice to see your quilt, at least it has brightened the day. Yours enjoying the Ontario lock-down . . . not. Take care, and stay safe and healthy.

  19. The colors in this are perfect as is the quilting. I love the extra space around the center, emphasizing that great feathered star. Congratulations on going out with a bang!

  20. Way to go out on a stunner, Sandra!!! I love, love, love your feathered star, and the twisty blocks, and the triangle (looks like mountains to me) borders, and the quilting, and... all of it!!! Your quilting is breathtaking. Amazing finish!

  21. I was going to say everything that Emily just said, lol! Well done, and best wishes for all your future endeavors!

  22. Oh my GOSH, Sandra -- this is magnificent! I love everything about it -- the piecing design, your use of color, and the quilting. What a fantastic quilt to usher in the new year!

  23. Amazing design an d quilting. Great way to finish up as an Ambassador.

  24. Wow Sandra this is an absolutely stunning quilt to end your tenure as an Island Batik Ambassador. The quilting is not just a part of the quilt but a specific design element as you planned. I’ll miss your IB posts but can’t wait to see what you do in this next year. 😉 Carol

  25. This posts gives us a beautiful summary and collage of you Island Batik designs for 2020. It really is so much work to design yet so rewarding.

    1. Not sure you'll see this, and I have no way of contacting you since you are a 'no-reply'but you've left many kind comments, so I want to say thank you for taking the time to do so; and I do read each one. (and usually hit reply to the email but then see I cannot) :-)

  26. What a stunning challenge quilt! On point is amazing!

  27. Sandra, I am in awe of all the planning and work that went into this quilt. It is truly your crowning achievement as an ambassador. I did not realize the size of the feathered star as you were making it, so now I’m even more impressed. It is not an easy pattern, but so satisfying. There is so much I could say about all the details, but one thing I especially like is how you extended those HST borders up to the final border. Brava on this finish!

  28. This one is amazing, Sandra! What a way to finish your time as an ambassador! Your quilting, especially, is just stunning.