. . . is back from being custom quilted, and she is sparkling:
I wanted this one to be quilted entirely with free motion quilting. Karlee Sandell of sewinspired2day was up to the challenge, and I am so delighted with the result.
Karlee quilted free-form feathers in the bright yellow center hexagons and in the triangles that spin around the yellow centers:
Contrasting with the loops and curves in the feathers are the angled lines in the white trapezoids. And if you look very carefully, you can make out the swirls and pebbles that Karlee quilted in the background. Here’s a better look at those designs:
I love how the random swirls and pebbles play against the random white dots sprinkled on the black background.
Did you happen to notice the four small kaleidoscope blocks in Rows 2 and 4? Each one is quilted with a different design, a Karlee touch that pleased me immensely:
The fabric in the kaleido blocks is pretty busy so the quilting is easier to see from the back. Here’s the first block in Row 4 as seen from the back:
Yes, I used a starry fabric on the back of the quilt, too. A couple of them, in fact. Stars play such an important role in this quilt that I actually toyed with the idea of naming it Star Crazy.
Go back to the first photo for a moment. Focus on the middle block (Row 3). See how the white trapezoids form a hexagon and the black triangles around the hexagon form a six-pointed star? Stars everywhere you look!
Measuring 53½” x 73½” before quilting, Stella by Starlight now measures 52″ x 72″. I’m going to bind it in the same fabric used in the background so that all of the blocks continue to float in the night sky. I’ll post more photos when the quilt is bound and labeled. I have something fun planned for the label so I hope you will come back soon to check it out.
After settling on the name Stella by Starlight for my just completed kaleido-spinner quilt (subject of my last post), I made a simple pieced back for it using fabrics from my stash. I decided to stick to black fabrics for the back since the quilt will be quilted primarily with black thread.
A review of my stash yielded two prints that are perfectly in keeping with the theme of the quilt. How serendipitous! One features tiny white stars on a black background, while the other is a geometric print that from a distance looks like star clusters. Here is the completed back, which measures 60″ x 80″:
The strip of floral fabric near the middle is the focus fabric that created the one-of-a-kind kaleido-spinners in the quilt top:
I’m going to have Stella custom quilted by a local longarmer whose work is, well, stellar.
In my last post I showed you my latest kaleido-spinner project, noting that I planned to reverse the two large blocks in the fourth row. That’s been done, and this is what the quilt top looks like now:
The change was made to better balance the distribution of yellow in the quilt. That small hexagon kaleidoscope on the left side of the fourth row has very little yellow in it, so it needed some help from its neighboring blocks.
It’s a subtle but significant change. Here’s a look at the quilt top before and after:
I was concerned about the lack of color in that hexie kaleido block even before I added it to the quilt so I employed a Sharpie Ultra Fine Tip permanent marker to give it a boost:
This is a trick I learned from a quilt teacher, who referred to permanent markers used in this fashion as “quilter’s caulk.”
Here’s the block with the color added all around:
Sadly, much of the yellow on the outside edges disappeared because I had to trim the block before I added the side triangles and then I lost more of the color to the ¼” seam allowance:
I actually toyed with the idea of adding more yellow in the white flowers, practicing on a couple of scraps . . .
. . . before concluding I was taking my obsession with balance too far. And here’s the thing about using permanent markers on fabric: if you make a mistake, it won’t wash out.
So my kaleido-spinner quilt top is done. I have a small piece left of the original floral fabric to put on the back — people always want to see what the fabric looked like before it was cut into little pieces.
Oh, and my quilt now has a name. It’s Stella by Starlight.
Heather’s original design calls for six different fabrics in the triangles surrounding the center hexagon. I used six identical triangles in each Spinners block to get a kaleidoscope effect of sorts, coming up with the name “kaleido-spinner” to describe the effect.
You probably noticed something different in the quilt top pictured above: the four small kaleidoscope blocks in the second and fourth rows. I was originally going to put half-kaleido-spinner blocks there. But then I was perusing Heather’s blog, Trends and Traditions, several days ago and saw something very clever she had done.
Heather has a brand new booklet, Starstruck, coming out that features chevron fabrics in hexagon blocks; when sewn together in hexagons made of six 60° triangles, the chevron fabrics form stars. Some of the quilts featured in Heather’s book have half-size hexagons in the places where half-blocks would normally go. When I saw those quilts, I knew the concept would work very well in my quilt. So thank you, Heather, for your wonderful block design as well as the inspiration for the setting of this quilt!
Making the half-size kaleidoscope blocks fit properly turned out to be quite a challenge. The full-size kaleido-spinner blocks in my quilt finish at 15½” x 13½”. That means the half-size kaleidoscope blocks finish at 7¾” x 6¾” . On top of that, I opted to finish all of the setting triangles on the sides of the blocks with Y-seams to extend the width. I added 3″ strips at the top and bottom to float the blocks the same amount. The quilt top now measures about 53″ x 73″.
I hope you can tell from the photo that the black background isn’t a solid. It’s a tiny random white-on-black dot by Cotton + Steel called “Sprinkle” that reinforces the feeling that those kaleido blocks are spinning in a night sky. (Hmmm. Perhaps there’s a quilt name in that image. I’ll have to work on that.)
Now, a confession. I didn’t notice until I was cropping the photo above that I had reversed the two large blocks in the fourth row. I can’t believe I didn’t see that when I was sewing the rows together. Am I going to fix it? Yes, I am. I worked very hard when laying out the blocks to achieve a good balance of color and value. It feels “off” to me now. My obsessive-compulsive self will be much happier when that change has been made.
There’s one more thing I need to do to this quilt top before I can declare it truly done. That will be the subject of my next post.
P.S. Heather Peterson did not ask me to promote her new book. I just felt it was important to acknowledge her designs (block and setting) in the creation of my latest quilt top.
This photo of Hood Canal in Washington State — those are the Olympic Mountains in the background — was taken from the deck of the house I stayed in last week. I was in Union, Washington to teach at a four-day quilt retreat organized by the Pine Needle. The deck of the house I shared with Geri, the owner of the Pine Needle, was built right over the water. I fell asleep to and woke to the sound of water gently lapping at the rocks on the shore.
The retreat itself was held at St Andrews House, a retreat and conference center run by the Episcopal Church of Western Washington:
Isn’t that a serene setting for a retreat? Here are a couple of closer views of the building:
A covered deck runs the entire length of the house on the water side, affording spectacular views of Hood Canal (technically a glacial fjord) and the Olympics.
One of the things I love about teaching is seeing what fabric combinations students bring to the sewing table. Here are the first few blocks:
On our last morning, we had an impromptu show and tell of our projects. Unfortunately, our California girls (Candyce, Jan, and Janice) had to leave very early to catch a flight home, and a couple of other participants had already packed their projects away, so I don’t have photos of those. Still, we have plenty of examples to show you.
Diana came to the retreat planning to make one test block. She liked her first block so well she decided to make an entire quilt! Here are her first six blocks:
Linda completed her quilt top! She fussy cut the center hexagons. The narrow containment border and wider floral border set off her blocks beautifully:
Sophia was very productive! Not only did she complete a Spinners top . . .
. . . she also made another block from Heather’s book, the block called Happy Dance . . .
. . . and this one called Chatter Box:
Donna made a set of placemats using the table topper design from the book — and had enough fabric leftover to make a table runner:
Those placemats will add a lively jolt of color to Donna’s table.
Carol S. also chose the table topper design, using a delightful holiday fabric featuring poinsettias and holly:
She made several, to be given as gifts. Lucky recipients!
Carol D. made kaleido-spinner blocks (my name for the Spinners block made with identically-cut triangles that surround the center hexagon) using a lovely stylized floral fabric:
Did you notice Carol’s Spinners blocks are on point? She is making a runner for a narrow table; her runner will be 13½” wide. If she had turned her blocks horizontally, the runner would measure 15½” wide.
Pam S.’s runner features playful prints spinning around solid gold:
I can’t help it; those fabrics make me smile.
Evelyn also made kaleido-spinner blocks. She’s making a quilt and is showing us the fabric she chose for the border. It’s going to look terrific next to the subtly textured aqua batik that surrounds the spinning triangles:
I can think of only one word to describe Tamara’s Spinners runner: elegant. Take a look:
The touches of metallic in the triangles and light background fabric, contrasting with that rich burgundy, contribute to the rich effect. Tamara fussy cut her triangles from a fabric I wouldn’t have thought of for a kaleido-spinner quilt:
Tamara will incorporate that fabric on the back of her runner.
Sharon fussy cut flowers for the center of her blocks from a beautiful fabric that looks like a watercolor painting. Here’s one of those blocks . . .
. . . and another:
She’s using a different colored batik in each of the triangles.
Debbie H. chose fabrics for her runner that match the décor of her dining room:
That creamy jacquard background fabric sets off her Spinners blocks so well. And her Y-seams are perfect!
Debbie S. pieced a king-size bed runner using lively tropical fabrics. She also made kaleido-spinner blocks:
Debbie put her own spin on the design by incorporating two fabrics in the top and bottom blocks (that stripe!), omitting the sashing strips, and adding an accent strip around the blocks. Debbie is a professional longarm quilter (AllQuilted LLC). I will be very interested to see how she quilts this vibrant runner.
While the retreat featured the Spinners pattern, the participants were free to work on whatever they wanted. Helen was finishing the binding on two spectacular small projects . . .
. . . and she was also working on her version of Shadowbox (pattern by Mountainpeek Creations):
That block on the far right has over 50 pieces in it. I can only imagine how many pieces the finished quilt will contain.
Thank you, Geri, for organizing a fabulous retreat filled with laughter, games, good food, and some very productive and creative sewing. Thank you, participants; you made teaching a pleasure. I hope to see you all again when we convene at the Pine Needle in October to show off our finished creations.
Oh, joy! It meant Coleen, an award-winning longarm quilter (the Quilted Thistle), was working on my quilt WanderLust, made from Heather Peterson’s Spinners pattern (from the book On the Run Again).
Later in the day Coleen let me know she was finished, and off I rushed to claim the quilt. It’s actually a king-size bed runner (measuring 20″ x 88″ after quilting) so it was a bit difficult to photograph. Here are a few shots taken on my back lawn yesterday afternoon:
I liked the floral fabric so much (it’s from Joel Dewberry’s Wander line, which is how this quilt got its name) that I made the bed runner reversible. Because of that I won’t put a label on it — but I may write some information on the back in very tiny letters.
Coleen’s free motion quilting is spectacular! Here are a few closeups:
Coleen and I chose a pale khaki thread with sheen. Because the quilt is reversible, I asked her to use the same thread on the back:
The fern-y batik I used on the front of the quilt is all but gone from my stash. Fortunately, I have enough of the dotted batik from the back to use for the binding:
Getting this bed runner bound is top priority, as I am teaching the Spinners pattern at the Pine Needle retreat this weekend, and I want to show a finished quilt. After that, I am sending WanderLust off to my sister Reigh, as it will look perfect at the foot of her king-size bed.
“Ho hum,” you must be thinking. “That’s old news.” Yes indeed, but since bringing that beautiful floral fabric home earlier this month I have been fixated on using it in Heather’s pattern in a different way. I hinted as much in an earlier post about this fabric.
You already know that I am, to put it mildly, fond of kaleidoscope quilts. I’ve finished at least 10 quilts containing kaleidoscope blocks. All of them were made of eight 45° triangles forming an octagon. Until today I had never made a kaleidoscope block composed of six 60° triangles forming a hexagon.
In case you hadn’t noticed, the Spinners block contains six 60° triangles. Instead of meeting in the middle to form a kaleidoscopic image, however, the triangles “spin” around a center hexagon. That didn’t stop me from testing my idea that six identical triangles placed in a Spinners block would produce an interesting effect.
Before I show you my Spinners block, take a look at the kaleidoscope blocks I could have made. Because the triangles are equilateral, any of the three points can go in the center, providing three different outcomes.
Here’s the first one:
The second one:
And the third one:
I like them all but am partial to the first one. A quilt made of these blocks and more would be very striking, to be sure. The floral print lends itself beautifully to kaleidoscope blocks. But we’re headed in a different direction this time. Take a look:
A new spin, both literally and figuratively. I’m calling it a “kaleido-spinner” block.
I placed the block on a piece of dark blue fabric so the block would stand out and I like the effect so well I’m going to use that fabric. I’ll make a couple more blocks before deciding whether to make a wall hanging or keep going to make a quilt.
The three-block table runner I made several days ago (and wrote about here) has expanded to a five-block bed runner:
It now measures 20″ x 90″ — long enough for a king size bed. I was going to size it for a queen bed but I had just enough of the batik background fabric to make it longer. Someone very dear to me loves this color combo, and I have a feeling this bed runner will look wonderful on her king size bed.
When I say I had “just enough” fabric, I wasn’t kidding. This is what was left over:
I would have liked to bind the bed runner in the same batik fabric. It’s been in my stash for a while so I doubt I could find more of it now. Oh well. I’m just glad I had enough to complete the top.
Next up: I need to make a backing and get the bed runner quilted. Before it is sent to its new home, it will be used as a class sample for a retreat I’m teaching at in June.
The hexagonal block in this bed runner is called Spinners. Designed by Heather Mulder Peterson of Anka’s Treasures, it appears in her book On the Run Again (Anka’s Treasures, 2014). Heather shows Spinners as a one-block table topper and a three-block table runner or wall hanging. I converted it to a bed runner and have been also playing around with some settings for quilts.
Measuring 15½” x 13½”, the Spinners block is the perfect size for a placemat. Another idea for my retreat students to consider. Or me!
In my last post I showed you a floral from Joel Dewberry’s Wander line for Free Spirit Fabrics and mentioned I would be using it in a new project. Here is the first block from that project:
Isn’t that pretty? The pattern, called Spinners, is from Heather Mulder Peterson’s book On the Run Again (Anka’s Treasures, 2014), a collection of 15 runners and table toppers. (I made a table topper from this design back in June 2014 and wrote about it here.)
You may be wondering why I have embarked on a new project. After all, my list of WIPs and UFOs is long enough without adding another to the mix. I actually have a very good reason, and I’m excited about it: In June I am going to teach at a retreat for the Pine Needle Quilt Shop.
Spinners is the pattern I have chosen for the 24 students coming along with me. They signed up for the retreat before they knew what the pattern would be! The “big reveal” was held last night at a special meeting for the retreat participants, which is why I had to wait till today to share these photos.
Here is the runner I made using three blocks:
The spinning hexagons include two other fabrics from the Wander line along with fabrics from other lines that work well with the floral. The batik for the sashing and setting triangles came from my stash. I extended the setting triangles so the blocks would float.
Right now the runner measures 20½” x 49½” — but I’m not done yet. I’m going to add two more blocks to make it a bed runner. It will be about 81″ or so in length, the perfect length for a queen size bed. With wider strips at the ends, it could be sized for a king size bed.
Look again at the photo above. Don’t those hexagon blocks look great on point? They would be beautiful arranged this way in a quilt, an option I have presented to my students. They can choose to make a table topper from a single block, a table runner or wall hanging from three blocks, a bed runner from five blocks, or a quilt with 12 blocks.
I have one more idea to bring to the table. (My students got a preview last night.) I will let you know very soon what that idea is. Here’s a hint: it involves using that fabulous floral print in the Spinners block in a much more prominent way.
I’ll post a picture as soon as I carve out some time to make another block.
My little Spinners table topper (from Heather Mulder Peterson’s new book On the Run Again) was a breeze to make. What took me a while was cutting out the pieces. The pattern calls for a 60° triangle ruler, which I don’t have (note to self: buy one!), so I cut out each triangle separately using the 60º marking on my favorite 4″ x 14″ acrylic ruler and the lines on my cutting mat.
Here is my top with the six triangles sewn to the hexagon in the middle:
So far so good! Here it is with the outer border:
The more I work with these Kate Spain fabrics (from her Sunnyside line for Moda Fabrics), the more I like them. Happily, I have quite a bit left of the fat quarter packet I started out with, so I may use the fabrics for another project in Heather’s book. I’m not sure what company makes the aqua solid, since the fat quarter didn’t have any selvage information, but I have enough of it to bind the topper.