This week I decided to talk about a quilt with a lot of colours because the combination of colours and fabric always manages to cheer me up. When I was writing this post I was feeling a bit under the weather because I had the joyous combination of a deadline, the monthly reminded how awesome it is to be a lady plus newfound knowledge of what happens when you eat bad bread, so I was feeling a bit fragile. It is not a finished quilt yet but finished enough to show you people! The pattern I used has more elements, but I am not sure whether to add them or not. The eagle-eyed among you probably have already spotted this week’s quilt is the current banner photo of the home page.
This quilt was an exercise in miniature work, being in total about as big as a sheet of printer paper. Each piece was 1 x 1 centimeter (0.4 x 0.4 inches). Me being the masochistic quilter I am, I wanted to REALLY challenge myself. I love the fiddly work and the journey of almost going insane sewing tiny pieces together (probably why the Dear Jane works so well for me).
What would you suggest me to do with it? Lately, I’ve felt the urge to hang everything on the wall that has taken me a long time. Unfortunately, I haven’t got so many walls. Then I thought: stick the design on a bag, but I’m afraid I won’t appreciate all the work in that way. Suggestions? Input is always nice and extremely helpful! Here is the finished quilt block:
What quilt pattern is this magic?
This pattern is the ‘spiral lone star’ quilt by Jan P. Krentz and is sewn by hand with the patchwork technique. I am sure there are many variations of it, but I used her interpretation. For example, there are many different fabric options. You can choose a colour per point, go from light to dark to the edges or some other delightful way (google it and you won’t be disappointed). The hypnotizing spiralling movement of the pattern is what caught my eye, so I did that. Most lone starts I’ve seen had 4 colours in 2 shades, so I decided to go for that as well. My colours and fabrics are chosen for availability. Initially, I wanted to use orange or yellow, but I didn’t have the fabrics. The red, brown, green and blue work very good together as well. When I make complex quilt blocks with a lot of different fabrics I like to draw the patterns out:
The green line is the rest of the pattern I was not sure about yet. Also, there are some personal notes of placements of the fabric (to the right) and amounts of pieces (16 for every fabric). The paper is graph paper of 0.5 by 0.5 centimetre (0.2 x 0.2 inch), which works best for me to draw out quilt patterns. They are all for a large part a combination of geometric shapes, so the lines help. It is always interesting to see how a neat drawing slowly turns into chaos when I make more and more notes.
The sewing madness
Somehow working with diamond shaped pieces really confuses me. I sewed so many of those tiny pieces wrong the first time, that this project has been abandoned many times. I think that is because the shape looks straightforward, tricking my brain into being a bit careless and not checking the pieces before I sew. Once they are attached and ready to be finger pressed my brain discovered it does matter how you sew the pieces together. Finger pressing is ironing the pieces for people who do not like to have an iron or have none nearby. A lot of this piece is made in the train. For hand sewing, I find that finger pressing is often sufficient because you are guiding the fabric while you sew anyway.
The order of working for this pattern is first the individual pieces, where most things went wrong. After that, you sew the rows together to form the eight partitions. After that, you sew those together. First four to create two halves of the pattern, which are sewn together as the last step. In this way, you avoid the Y-seam. Avoiding the Y-seam can be a relief when a piece has already lots of seams on the back to deal with. See the picture below as proof of the multitude of seams. I also cross-stitch, and often people are very self-conscious about the back of their work, but I think it is great to show that a messy back doesn’t mean a messy front!
See my DeviantArt or Instagram (username: bella.g.bear.art) for more artwork and WIPs. You can also follow my blog by clicking on the button on the left or by filling in your email address. There will be a monthly update at the end of every month and a new blogpost every Sunday or Monday.