Dashing Stars is a quilt designed by Viv Poon, owner of my local quilt shop, Purple Stitches. We used the pattern to teach the recent Beginners Course at the shop. It provided a great introduction to rotary cutting and piecing – building from making simple squares to four-at-a-time flying geese. Last Saturday, in the last session of the course, we made and added binding to our quilts.
Here is a slightly bashful Beginners Course participant with her first ever patchwork quilt – a very satisfying moment for pupil and teacher alike 🙂
I usually make a quilt alongside the classes I teach. I find this the easiest way to have samples at the ready, also working on the quilt at the same pace as the class helps me to give tips and deal with snags in a timely fashion. Here are some photos of my finished Dashing Stars quilt. (Thanks to my long-suffering Husband for being the quilt stand!)
The quilt is named ‘Dashing Stars (2)’ as it is the second version of the quilt I have made – the first is the sample kept in the shop. I decided to use some strips of the extra wide backing fabric for the binding. I machine stitched the binding to the back of the quilt and then machine stitched it down on the front. The backing, the 100% cotton wadding and all the feature fabrics were purchased at Purple Stitches.
You can read more about the zig-zag quilting design I stitched across the quilt here.
The next Beginners Course starts on 1st June. The week before, on 25th May I’ll be teaching the Scrap Buster workshop. More details in the Workshop section of this blog (button on the bar at the top of this page).
At last Saturday’s Beginners Course we reached the quilting stage of constructing our quilts. I demonstrated a few ideas for quilting using a walking foot eg. in-the-ditch, echoing, wavy lines… I’d had a think about how to quilt my version of the Dashing Stars quilt. In-the-ditch would work but I favoured stitching a quilting design over the patchwork to add ‘movement’, helping to take the eye roaming around the patchwork design. I considered a diagonal hatch across the quilt and considered curves, maybe echoing arcs or a swirl. Eventually I came up with stitching a large zig-zag down the centre of the quilt and then echoing the shape to either side.
Last week I was so determined to finish the I-Spy Shadow quilt that I didn’t have time to properly share some of the ins and outs and ups and downs of making this quilt. I’m taking an hour to catch my breath and to properly acquaint you with this quilt that popped up as a ‘finish’ in my previous blog post.
I hope you can see from the photo why this quilt is a ‘shadow quilt’? The regular positioning of the light and dark background fabrics gives the impression that the feature fabric squares are floating above the quilt and casting shadows. The forty-two feature fabric squares are novelty prints with images that could be used in a game of I-Spy.
I completed the top with a week to spare to my deadline but then had a bit of a hiatus, waiting to purchase some backing fabric from a local shop and a longer wait for some Quilters Dream Poly wadding to be delivered by post. I tried to make good use of this waiting time by first making a label for the quilt; secondly (once I’d been shopping) piecing the backing and attaching the label; and also making the binding.
This is how I generally make and attach quilt labels:
I use a computer to compose the label wording and print this onto plain paper. I then make use of a lightbox or a window to trace the wording onto a piece of fabric. I use a Micron fine tipped permanent marker pen.
I usually make a border for the label using some left over fabrics from the quilt top. Then I press a quarter inch seam under all around the edge and pin the label into place onto the backing fabric. I use a machine stitch – zig-zag or blanket stitch usually – and applique the label to the fabric.
I find placing a piece of Stitch ‘n Tear on the wrong side of the backing, helps prevent the applique stitches bunching up the fabric. The Stitch ‘n Tear can be removed very easily once the applique stitching is complete.
The wadding arrived with three days to spare so I set-to immediately: Trimming the wadding to size and then pin basting the patchwork top, wadding and backing together. I decided to use my sewing machines walking foot to add a simple design of echoing arcs starting from the top left of the quilt. My thinking being that the arcs would be radiating out from the imaginary light source that was casting the shadows across the quilt. If you see what I mean?
I used a Drunkards Path template and a Chaco marker to draw an arc on the quilt and then used the metal stitch guide with the walking foot to keep the spacing between the arcs at 2 inches.
All was going well until the arcs reached the middle of the quilt. Then the quilt top started to pucker and puff away from the layers beneath it.
I took a deep breath, put the quilt back on the basting table, removed the remaining basting pins *SIGH*, re-positioned the layers, smoothing out the excess fabric and re-pinned *DOUBLE SIGH*. Tedious but worth the bother. When I resumed quilting the fabric lay much flatter and I’m happy with the final result.
I suspect the top layer puckered partly because I was quilting from one corner of the quilt right across to the other and partly because I was in a rush and didn’t position the basting pins as closely together as I would do usually. I can hear my Mum saying, ‘More haste, less speed!’
In that hiatus of waiting for backing and wadding I made a book pillow to accompany the quilt, using novelty prints and fabrics left over from making the patchwork.
So that’s the story of the I-Spy Shadow Quilt 🙂 It is listed in my ETSY shop along with the book pillow and I hope to publish the pattern very soon….
Linking with Connie at Free Motion by the River for the last Linky Tuesday – Connie has been hosting this friendly link-up since 2012!
PS. I’ve just come home from a meeting of Roundabout Quilters. In the show and tell slot one member shared her I-Spy quilt! 😀
‘Autumn Leaves’, my patchwork wall hanging is completed – a Happy Dance has been performed! At the start of January this project was a quilt sandwich that I’d put to one side when back in November the pressure to move onto projects with Christmas deadlines became too strong to ignore.