Friday, April 26, 2019

Rocket Star Quilt Along

Kimberly is at the ready to walk you through the process.

I completed a 14" block using the free pattern, but the full pattern includes instructions for multiple sizes including Tablerunner, Lap, Twin and Queen.

You may want to treat yourself to the Creative Grids Starburst 30 Degree Triangle Ruler and Rocket Star Quilt Pattern or Kit featuring Nova fabrics by BasicGrey for Moda. The kit includes the pattern and fabric for the 66.5" x 84" top and binding for $104.98.

A backing set ($56.43) is available as well. If you are unfamiliar with the ruler, Kimberly of Fat Quarter Shop has a video outlining the process. It can be put to use on the Compass Rose, Starfruit, and Cosmos quilts too!

I aspire to make a gold, black and cream quilt from different star blocks, including the Rocket Star. I chose to use black fabrics with metallic gold patterns for the background: one for the inside star (a 4 1/2" square and four stitch and flip 3 1/2" squares) and a floral for the outside pieces.

A text print was used for the diamond sections. I cut two 4 1/2" x 5 1/2" and two 5 1/2" x 4 1/2" to keep the text upright throughout the block. A Bohin White Mechanical Pencil was used to mark my diagonal lines with since I had dark fabric.

The stitch and flip technique is used to create the diamond units, which is so much easier and more exact than cutting odd shapes.

Because I added an additional fabric, half of the background triangles for each of my diamonds needed to be the second fabric. This is how the orientation worked.

Fussy cutting was a bear on this one (terrible pun intended), as I contemplated which direction I should align the bears: heads to middle or toes to the center. At least, I decided to do half and half all bears are upright when the block is upright.

This left enough spare parts to make a star block. There was an unintended conjoining, so I'm calling this peculiar block Bear Crossing. It's a bit bizarre (or bear-zarre), right?

Each corner unit is composed of two identical Background Wedges and one Rocket Star Wedge. 

To account for any innconsistent seam allowances, cutting bobbles, or pressing irregularities the corner units are oversized, and then squared to precisely the intended 5.5" unfinished size.

I love when a pattern accounts for my margin of human error.

The units form a 9-Patch that becomes a star. The points are offset, so there's no aggravating seam-matching of points to drive you to the brink.

Check out the inspirational versions of the Rocket Star Quilt block and quilt on the Fat Quarter Shop blog and social media using the hashtags #fqsquiltalong, #RocketStarQuilt and #classicandvintage. If you make your own rendition, share on Facebook and Instagram with the aforementioned hashtags.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Vibrant Celebration Complete

My Vibrant Celebration quilt is like my children. While I’ve dedicated countless hours to it, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve enjoyed how it has challenged me to learn and improve. I’ve cherished tending to all the little details that make it special. When I step back and look at all its beautiful traits, I am so proud. 

I’d like to thank Amanda for the detailed instruction and wonderful video tutorials, as well as Bernina for hosting an incredible Quilt Along. It has been a pleasure. I’ve loved making Jubilee my own!

My binding is two-toned: pink on the front and teal on the back. This was accomplished by attaching a 1" pink strip to a 1 3/4" teal strip. The seam allowance was pressed and trimmed to minimize bulk before being folded in half as you would for a traditional double fold binding. I sewed the binding, pink side facing the top, to the front with my machine. Then I pressed it outward, folded it to the back, ran a thin line of glue along the line of stitching on the back, working in sections. I pressed the binding over and set it in place, as the glued dried with the heat of the dry iron. This is how I assure that my binding will remain even as I hand stitch it to the back, along with the bottom half of the quilt sleeve I stitched into the binding.

Here are some of my favorite gratuitous photos for the visually ininhibited.

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Vibrant Celebration Quilting

I have the same philosophy about quilting as I do chocolate: If some is good, more is better. My quilts and waistline attest to my commitment to this theory. 

My version of the Bernina 125th Anniversary Quilt Along pattern illustrates my maximalist quilting style. See the official quilt along post with quilting suggestions on the Bernina blog.

The quilting was accomplished using hand-guided free-motion and ruler work on my domestic Bernina. I took my cue from the fabrics when selecting free-motion and ruler work designs to highlight the piecing and prints. 

I contemplated which areas to quilt more densely, and which to emphasize with loftier texture. 

Using the Bernina walking foot, I outlined the outer edge of the framework, as it feeds the layers evenly and maintains a straight line. 

For the interior seams, I stabilized using a ruler foot and ruler on my domestic machine. 

I chose a bracket design filled with 1″ diagonal gridwork for the outer section. The bracket was topped with feathers, and then echoed. Alternate diamonds were filled with ribbon candy. I used Aurifil 12 weight thread to highlight the bracket and feather echo. I recommend increasing the stitch length, using 50 weight in the bobbin in a hue that matches the backing fabric, taking a slow pace, hanging tight to the thread ends when starting a new section, and pulling just the thread ends into the batting rather than the knot when tying off. I marked 3/4″ vertical lines in the remaining space. 

Using a bobbin and air erasable marker, I marked pebbles in randomly selected columns. 

I quilted these by going over the top half of one circle and then the bottom of another, repeating this sequence while forming a serpentine line, until I came to the end of the column. Then I completed the other half of the pebbles in the second pass. This allowed me to travel in the ditch of the framework from one column to the next without knotting and burying my thread. I filled the interior background with S-curves, echoing curves, and swirls to compliment the snails. 

The cornerstones were quilted by outlining the fabric designs.

As I like to highlight the texture of the quilting, I matching 50 wt Aurifil thread colors to the fabrics. It proved very helpful to have a plentiful assortment, given the ample amount of colors in the Tula Pink fabrics. I used every single spool shown below!

Vibrant Celebration Finishing Touches

Some of my finishing details are utilitarian, such as my quilt label and the quilt sleeve I sewed into the binding. Others are more sentimental. 

This quilt is special; I sought to grace it with meaningful treasures — no longer tucked away, but serving as a reward and a reminder for those who look a little closer, who graze their fingertips over the supple, comforting surface of my beloved creation. 

The swan print cornerstone was embellished by trimming a dyed feather to size and machine stitching a tiny zig-zag over the spine. 

I inherited buttons from my grandmother, who always encouraged my quilting. She was a talented seamstress, but never made me feel lesser regardless of my inexperience. I remember the Bernina Record in the corner of her living room, and the one she gave my mother as a wedding present. 

Grandma was passionate and enthusiastic, always curious and observant — one to notice the most positive nuances of people and other beautiful things. 

I reflected on how her life impacted the woman I’ve become as I grasped each type of button, neatly bound together with a loop of thread. 

I carefully selected favorite buttons, from my collection and hers, that complimented themes within my chosen fabrics, replacing printed berries and bubbles with baubles. 

While embedded with memory, Vibrant Celebration is as much about cherishing the present and anticipating the future, as it is about reminiscing, much like Bernina 125th Anniversary

As I set tiny specks of sparkle in the form of hot fix crystals into my quilt, I contemplate my aspiration for my daughter, who has already claimed this quilt as her own, to show the same unabashed audacity to shine. 

I hope she sees how using my hands to create fulfills an unspoken longing in my soul, and she finds a way to creatively express her own talents as she grows into a vivacious, independent young lady.

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