Friday, January 17, 2014

It's a binding sort of day!

Last Friday, I layered up this quilt -- it's a new teaching sample for my DVD workshop, Set-in Piecing Simplified. 
 And today it is all quilted and ready to bind!!  That means by the end of the day, it will be ready for next week's entry day on Wednesday for the Lake Metroparks Farmpark Quilt Show -- wahoo!!!
I'm not ready for a full reveal photo today (I'll post that next week) but the stars with the ivory backgrounds form a constellation of sorts through the body of the quilt.   I fiddled every day for the past week experimenting with ways to quilt that area so it would reinforce the appearance of a constellation. 
This is my scribble sample.  It's a "reject" fabric layered with the batting I was using in the quilt. I drew a grid (with pencil) of equilateral triangles (used the 60 degree line on my rotary ruler), and then tried out all my quilting ideas before moving to the actual quilt. 
I've accepted that I'm very visual when piecing a quilt but I'm just coming to understand that I need the same help during the quilting process.  After my friend, Beth Schillig of Columbus, Ohio, shared her quilting experimentation samples with me last fall, I realized I needed to do more of that before launching into the real deal.  (One look at the dozens of prize ribbons adorning her studio convinced me to pay attention!)
In my head, I thought it would be cool to do the popular pebbly/bubble quilting in the background of the stars.  But after experimenting with it, I decided it didn't fit in with the other design work I was doing (and it's a lot of work to stitch out).
A big advantage of the experimenting is stumbling onto ideas and I am grateful when that occurs!!  This time I found a looser design that blends with the rest of my work (and took less time).  As I was doing it, I thought of my students who have joined me in a growing passion for six-pointed stars and so I'm sharing the design.
This is one of the simplest stars in the quilt -- I did more detailed quilting in other stars but everything is based on "continuous curve" quilting as you can see.

The quilting design for the background diamonds builds on this and begins with arcing around the outer edges of the block.  I quickly learned that it's important to start at the point of the star rather than the corner of the block.  (Don't you love to learn from mistakes?)
This is the first round and outlines the outer edge of the block.
The second round "echos" the first round except that I did not go all the way to the corner of each diamond.  The arc is shallower and stops the width of my presser foot from the corner of the diamond as shown in the photo below.
So there will be a point there and the second half of this arc will go back to the sharp point of the ivory diamond.   When the round is finished, it looks like this.
I like this look, but decided to stitch one more round arcing along the inside edges of the ivory diamonds (but not before experimenting on the scribble sample).  I like it even better!!
I also experimented (on the scribble sample) with adding a fourth line which echoed the inner set of arcs but decided the diamonds in this quilt are too small for that.  I will use that design idea with larger diamonds in the future.
And look at the lovely little design that surfaced where three of the background diamonds meet in the constellation -- I think it would be perfect for the quilting on a tumbling block unit!
The binding is ready and waiting for me to finish burying some thread tails, so after my morning walk, I'm heading into the studio to score FINISH #2 for January.  (Must not forget to add a sleeve on the back of the quilt, Mary!!)
Potential Finish #3 surfaced this week during some studio "tidy up" time -- it's a Grandmother's Flower Garden from the 1930's that I use as a sampler of quilting ideas during my Hexagons and Allies Seminars.  It's layered and about 25% quilted making it a very good candidate!!
I like using the month of January to focus on "finishing" instead of starting and have made a note in my 2015 calendar to do the same next year!!
If you are intrigued by "Set-in Piecing Simplified" and would like to "chat" with one of my students about the effect it's had on their piecing, let me know and I'll put you in touch!!
Mary Huey



  1. Beautiful work! I am very visual too......I guess that is why I have so many orphan blocks :)

    1. I think orphan blocks can be very inspiring -- I'll pull together some pics from my charity groups projects with orphan blocks and share them on the blog very soon!

  2. Oh my stars! What beautiful work, Mary. Thank you for the process on your quilting - very helpful for us, hexie lovers. Thanks so much for linking to Hexie Weekend.

    1. Glad you like the design -- hope you can use it on one of your own hexies!