Thursday, June 16, 2022

Crystal Constellations

I am really pleased to share my finished throw, which I made during this year's Pop Star Quilt Along. From the title of this post, you know I named it Crystal Constellations.
A beautiful evening by the Leamington Marina for a glamour photo

The fabric line I used, supplied by Benartex Designer Fabrics, is Amanda Murphy's newest, out in stores this month, 'Holiday & Winter Jewels'. That's a link to the lookbook. The fabric has a little bit of bling in the form of silver sparkle throughout. Subtle, just how I like it.

These are the colours I chose. The grey one at the top is Malabar, a wideback that is wonderful. I've used it before in turquoise.

You've seen the in-progress and flimsy shots. Some of the quilting progress shots were on Instagram but here they are in case you missed them, and also for my own record.
My quilt inspector perusing the progress
It's worth noting here how I turned the corners with ribbon candy, a technique of Angela Walters'. I make a diagonal line with my Hera marker, effectively creating a mitred corner and then 'fade' the ribbon candy into the corner, quilting them smaller and smaller, and then fade them out, getting bigger as I go down the next side.

I absolutely love this pale green Aurifil 2908 for blending beautifully into the white with tiny blue dots background, the turquoise and the lavender. It's more visible on the pop star bursts I quilted but not annoying.

You can see what I mean here. The points of the star are popped apart; hence the name of the design. When I quilted this, I wanted to connect them somehow with the quilting, so I hit upon the burst design, ignoring the piecing and quilting a square shape in which to quilt the rays. I actually really like the pinprick of 'light' created by coming back 32 times to the centre! I did use the navy Aurifil for the dot-to-dot work in the star points.

This next in-progress quilting shot shows what I mean about creating the square shape in which I quilted the 'burst'. You can see the top left one done, and the bottom right one has the lines quilted where I will put in the rays.

This also is a good shot to show how I did the vertical echoed lines. For most lines, I quilted until I hit either a seam, as in one of the navy pop star points, or a stitched line where the rays for the burst would end. This allowed me to travel along the seam or stitched line to then quilt another vertical line going back up. There are several lines in the large star that run the entire length, which is 30". I can quilt 15" vertically on my Avanté 18, so for some of those I stopped and did several tiny stitches to secure the threads. For others I rolled the quilt back and forth for a fairly long stretch, but none run the entire 30". I stopped in various places so that the stop/start points would not be all lined up. As it is, I have to put my nose right on the quilt to find any of the spots! Full disclosure: when I learned to quilt on my DSM way back in the 90s, I was taught to do several minuscule stitches back and forth, begin quilting, stop, clip threads. and then off you go. The HandiQuilter instructional videos I watched to teach myself how to quilt did the same, as does Angela I do not bury threads, except for once in a blue moon. I've never had a problem with stitches coming undone.

This shows you the pale green on the lavender fabric, as well as the Judi Madsen quilting motif I did in it. It's one I've used several times in stars.
All three colours of Aurifil used, two for quilting and the third, a medium blue to sew on the binding.

Always a good feeling: making the last pass of the ribbon candy at the bottom of the quilt!

Another wonderful feeling: blocking it on my design wall and taking the flat shot. The Hobbs Batting 80/20 cotton/wool is my current love. It's slightly lighter than 100% cotton, and has lovely definition.

The next morning, in 'just peeking over the fence' sun, I took a few shots showing that lovely texture.

Here is the back, which looks like a solid, but that is just how subtle the grey design is. Still, it has a whole cloth quilt appearance. (That's long been on my bucket list.)

The cloth label, always applied to the backing first before quilting. This makes it that much harder to remove if your quilt is ever, god forbid, stolen. I use Micron Pigma pens to write on my labels.

You can see how well the back works with Amanda's fabrics.
Gosh I love a nicely blocked quilt, even when it's laid down on the grass! Spot my initials, always quilted in near the bottom edge.

As luck would have it (or not) my phone died at the marina. I hadn't realized it was so low on power. My husband had dropped me at the beach, where I enjoyed a half hour or so stroll, making my way east to the marina where we were meeting up after he ran his errand.
Always and forever my happy place

So, we had to take the marina glamour shots with his phone, which isn't as good as my camera. Ah well. All good! I am grateful for a patient husband, despite not realizing my feet were visible in this one!

One could do a lot of boat ogling for sure here!

Thank you to Benartex Designer Fabrics for the gorgeous fabrics, and to Hobbs Batting for the batting!

If you'd like to make Pop Star, the pattern is available in my Etsy shop, SandraJaneQuilts.

For fun, here is a collage of the design from back in March, when I was playing with solids and then with Amanda's fabrics. She also has reds, pinks, and lime green in this line as well!

You can get lost in EQ8! I love the colours I settled upon in the end. This throw will go on our sectional in January. It's been another great quilt along run and I am so happy with how well this design has been received! If you'd like to see the parade of those who quilted along with me, go here.

Quilt Stats:
Pattern: Pop Star by SandraJaneQuilts
Size: 60.5" square
Fabric: Holiday & Winter Jewels by Amanda Murphy for Benartex Designer Fabrics
Backing: 'Malabar' widleback by Benartex Designer Fabrics
Batting: Hobbs Batting 80/20 cotton/wool
Quilted: on Avril 148 549 stitches
Threads: pieced and quilted with Aurifil 50 wt cotton


  1. Love your quilting! The quilt looks delish! Enjoyed reading your explanation of the quilting process.

  2. It's such a beautiful quilt Sandra! Your quilting is stunning !

  3. Outstanding! Anne-Marie from Stories from the Sewing Room

  4. Beautiful quilt and wonderful quilting! I am wondering what thread you used in your bobbin for the back. It looks amazing. Thank you for the pattern. Mine is still in pieces but I hope to complete it by end of summer ... :) Pat

  5. A lovely design and your quilting is gorgeous. I've tried doing ribbon candy, but can't seem to keep the loops even and straight. Guess that means I need more practice, huh?

  6. The quilting,, the close up details, the inspector, I guess she knows to keep her paws out of the way, This is another beauty.

  7. I adore the quilting on Crystal Constellations, Sandra. The idea of the burst quilting design connecting the popping stars is fantastic, and I always love seeing ideas for turning corners like you show in detail with the ribbon candy. I can just imagine the wonderful texture that you'll get to enjoy when this quilt is added to your sectional in January!

  8. That is a beautiful line of fabric, and looks like it worked really well in the PopStar design! Your quilting is so thoughtful and really gives amazing results, too. Beautiful finish!

  9. Loving that name & as I've mentioned before, the quilting is awesome. Maybe I should do something better on the one awaiting quilting......mmmmmmmmm? Take care & hugs.

  10. Beautiful design and quilt, Sandra! But your quilting!!! Wow!!! Fabulous!!!

  11. The quit is just fabulous. The quilting is equisite and you, of course, took lovely photos of it. Congrats on another gorgeous quilt.

  12. Beautiful quilt. And the quilting is amazing!

  13. Hi Sandra, another beautiful quilt! I really love that star pop - it's very effective and proves that you don't have to follow the piecing. Thanks so much for linking up to Free Motion Mavericks.

  14. Oh Sandra, the quilting!!! Drool worthy quilting, such wonderful texture. You outdid yourself on this one my friend!

  15. Beautiful quilting! You have so much artistic vision-- and patience! Beautiful fabric selection also. It sparkles, like a star should!

  16. Sandra, oh my oh my! Your quilting is stunning! Extraordinary! Such patience. I love, love this finish! And of course your “helper”.

  17. Hi again! Bella approved quilting is always important. These fabrics - the little sparkle - are just divine. I thought your last post was fab with quilting shots - little did I know to just wait a minute and turn the page! That ribbon candy - I'm always drawn to it, and have tried it a few times when I was brave in a small area. Practice and I'll get as good as you, maybe. LOVE everything about this post, but especially your feet peeking out. And the Lake - ahh. I can just feel the calmness and stress floating away, and I know it's even more so in person. {{Hugs}} ~smile~ Roseanne

  18. love your design and you quilting!!!

    1. It's my comment! great job, hugs from France!