This quilt is both a thing of beauty and a thing of shame. Beauty, which of course, I don't need to describe to you. The wonky stars of this quilt were made by the beautiful ladies of the Love Circle of do. Good Stitches, and they are indeed glorious, are they not?
If you're just catching up, do. Good Stitches is a group of virtual quilting bees and the good work and creative offspring of Rachel Hauser of StitchedInColor. I believe there are around 25 bees altogether now. Wot wot wot? Amazing, right? Each Circle is ten women, sewing up a storm of quilts. At ten quilts per bee a year, that's 250 quilts for charitable causes.
[Pause for effect.]
I very much love being part of the Love Circle of do. Good Stitches. Let me count the ways: making beautiful quilts, making them with such super talented women, connecting with women all over the country, who I might not otherwise ever meet, and of course, the fact that the beautiful quilts made by the talented and far-flung women end up going to children who need a bit of a special quilty cuddle. Win, times a thousand, right?
When it was my first time to lead a quilt for the Love Circle, I was pretty new to the quilting game, and even newer to the concept of improvisation in quilt-making. We can all thank Gwen Marston for the last part. (Never miss an oppo to thank Gwen.) As a result, for my quilt I chose to have us all make liberated eight-point stars. My bee mates made some beautiful blocks for me.
[The shame! Oh, the shame!]
And then... nothing. Oh you know, we bought and renovated a house, I helped form a new quilt guild and set up a non-profit organization, built a website, joined the board of a quilt show, ran my business, got sick, looked after sick people, watched TV, made dinner.... liberated stars remained unliberated in a box.
At first I thought I would just piece all of the blocks together, adding some fabric "filler" to work the many different sized blocks into a grid or design of some sort. I had some fabric failure (bought fabric, dye fault, return & replace) but I settled on the Hot Springs print from Sarah Watts' Honeymoon collection. The deep blue skies, pink moon crescents and leafy treetops seemed a perfect setting for our stars.
I really wanted to achieve a scattered effect, as opposed to a grid. I started improvisationally piecing sections together and soon found myself going up the partial seams cul de sac. Partial seams are great, once you've mastered them, but I was driving with a learner's permit. The quilt kept growing and growing... and growing. Eventually it was hovering somewhere between a queen size and a king. But at last, it was finished.
[Exit, stage left]
What stalled me? A few things... overcommitment, for one. But that is another blog post. Fear of large quilts. Obsession with perfection. Those two, together, are zingers. And so very, very wimpy of me.
Okay, so I have a domestic machine... but it's a Juki 2010Q, with a pretty big harp space and it chews through layers of fabric like a kid in a doughnut shop. And yes, I do want every quilt I make to be utterly perfect and gorgeous.
[Enter, woman screaming, stage right]
That right there. That perfection thing. We all laugh and say "finished is better than perfect", but do we really believe it? Do we let ourselves act accordingly? Not in my case. My head knows it, but it's time for my hands to get on board.
Her backing is Carolyn Friedlander Architextures crosshatch wide-back in grey. I inserted one super big star that I received in a strip in the middle to break it up. She is quilted with straight-ish vertical lines, about every two to three inches. I started with navy blue thread every four inches or so, and then went back and filled in more lines in five other colors: pale orange, deep pink, lime green, pale pink, and yellow-gold. I used dove grey in the bobbin throughout. The binding is scraps (extra binding left over from other projects) plus some jelly roll strips that were in the scrap box. I attached the binding by machine, first sewing it onto the back, and then doing the front with straight lines.
I named her Stars Are Never Sleeping, which is a line from the David Bowie song "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)". The video for the song is an amazing short story featuring David and Tilda Swinton (watch below).
Thanks to the Love Circle for their patience while I completed this quilt.
- Name: Stars Are Never Sleeping
- Size: 67 x 86 inches
- Started: April 2015
- Finished: February 2017
- My favorite part: I love the way the machine binding looks on the front, with a line of top stitching.
- Donated to Wrap Them In Love.