Friday, April 17, 2015

Extreme Quilting

I recently had the opportunity to quilt a 6 pointed star quilt made from Kaffe Fassett fabrics. The quilt top was wall hanging size and had been created lovingly by a NJMQG member named Judy Josephson. When Judy brought the quilt to me to quilt it for her, she just wanted it finished. She told me she had struggled with the pattern and finishing the quilt top. It wasn't until after she had made the quilt that she re-read the pattern and saw an accuracy disclaimer in the book. I saw such beauty in this quilt, I set out to make it something that she absolutely loved when she got it back. We discussed how to quilt it and because it had a black background and was made almost entirely from Diamond shapes, it made sense to use some straight line quilting in the black area. The quilt wasn't flat, there were some minor problem areas because of the issues with the pattern directions and all those point intersections commonly found in 6 point stars. I love a good challenge.

We drew up some ideas on how to quilt the printed stars and background. Judy always does a fun pieced backing and had given me specific instructions on where to place the piecing and that it needed to be centered near the top. Because it was a wall hanging quilt, I made sure that the back piecing would fall well below the top of the quilt, allowing for placement of a sleeve to hang it and still be visible.

Initially, I set out to quilt the black background with black thread top and bottom. I used a ruler to start off quilting on the inside edges of the black diamonds and then did a free-hand greek key design to fill them in. To finish I added a diagonal stop in the center of each diamond. I liked the effect.

Once all of the black diamonds were done, I then did a curved quilting line inside all of the outer border printed squares. This is fairly easy a technique to do, you just bounce corner to corner down the squares and then around and up the other side. Then I decided that these needed more quilting into the outer most black border. So I quilted additional curves in a rainbow type of effect. It really turned out nicely.

Next I set off to quilt the floral fabric stars. I changed the threads to match the background color of each star. Because the stars merge with 6 seams set into the center, I decided that I needed to quilt from the center of the star and used a swirl. This morphed into a squiggly swirl to form the center of a flower like pattern. It also served the purpose of ensuring that the star centers laid perfect flat. Then I quilted around the outside of each of the 6 pointed star sections creating a free form leaf pattern with flowing veins in each leaf. I quilted all of the like colors at the same time before changing to the next color thread.

The little squares themselves spoke to me and told me that I needed to quilt something inside each one. As I finished up the lightest color stars, I decided to quilt a little tiny sprout, a 3 leaf shape into each one. I set them so most of them pointed up around the perimeter. Then just for fun and whimsy I quilted several of them in different directions.

Finally, the outermost border needed some quilting. I decided to quilt it in all black thread. I used rules and my channel locks to quilt straight line sections in each piece. I broke them up to give it a more modern look, by ending the stitching in different places and taking a few stitches across the section before reversing in the other direction.

The best surprise of this finished quilt was how well the back turned out with my quilting choices. Judy had provided a mostly solid black background. The leaf and flower patterns with colored threads offset by the black greek key sections made for an amazing back. I am extremely proud of this quilt and Judy was very happy with the end result. She plans on entering it to be judged in a few weeks in a local show.


The quilt still needs binding, a name, label and sleeve, but I think its a real winner.

#6pointstars #extremequilting #kaffefassettfabrics #beautifulquilt

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