Here is the completed Night Sky quilt. I finished quilting it yesterday – it wasn’t a simple job because I’d decided to quilt on the diagonal within the flow of the strips which meant I had to keep pinning fabric strips to the edges so I could hoop the pinned layers.
I set up a swirl embroidery in two columns, used a variegated thread which blended with the various colours of the strips. I started at the strip end, changing to navy thread when I reached the dark fabric (often in the middle of a quilting run). A fiddly job, to say the least. However, I didn’t want the light thread to interfere with the speckled effect of the navy background. In some sections I had no choice but to carry the light thread into the navy but I hauled out my handy permanent navy marker and darkened the stitching. That worked well.
This was an edge-to-edge design which actually matched up very nicely – I could successfully place the next design and have it line up with the ends of the previous one. The joins are barely noticeable – I can pick out a few but most are perfect alignments.
I widened the backing by creating a panel from scraps leftover from the Poppy Field quilt inserting a long batik strip of a rather wild palm leaf batik. In the photo it looks black but it’s much more colourful than that with purples, pale greens, pinks which blend with the other small batik samples.
My goal with this quilt was to showcase the beautiful fabrics in the curated set from the jellyroll. In the end I did have to add a few other strips on order to have enough to make the quilt long enough. Finished size: 47″ x 60″ – a good lap size; great for a wall hanging on a large wall!
I was suddenly awake at 7:00 this morning (I normally wake at 8:00). Got out of bed and went to work (before going to the pool at 8:45 as always on a Friday morning).
First, I removed the narrow pumpkin sashing from the two “straight” sides. Then I carefully unstitched the three navy bits in the bottom right corner and replaced each with fabric that blended with the main strip in each location. Now there is no jarring bits of navy in that corner.
So, from “Poppy Field 2”, I can name this piece “Night Sky” which brings out the golden speckle in the navy fabric and implies a city scape below.
I think I’m happier with that. Next on to coming up with an idea for piecing the back.
This afternoon I went through my fabric stash looking for 1/2 metre cuts which I could use for narrow sashing. I came up with five possibilities. I gathered up the panel and the fabric pieces and marched down to Deb to ask for her 2¢.
We started with the panel on her dining room table – after auditioning the five fabrics at the edge of the panel against the remaining Ruby Star Society navy Speckled we settled on a light beige Stonehenge with soft blue in it.
We moved the panel to the floor to better judge the fabrics – that’s when I had the idea to offset the panel and instead of sashing and a border, to “sash” with large triangles on the outside.
To visualize the rotated panel better, we taped the new outer dimensions with masking tape. The mitres are less jarring at this angle – now I needed to do something with the straight sides. I thought about opening seams and inserting several more navy Speckled elements at the straight edge – that would break up the flow of the piece, however.
The idea I think I’ve settled on is to sash the two straight edges using the pumpkin Grunge – that will create a finished look on those two sides; then join the filling triangles directly onto the other two sides. Rotating the panel 10°/15° changes the impact of the “ragged” edge of the strips – those joins become much less jarring; their 45° angles fight less with the new outer edge of the panel. I have just enough fabric to make this happen if I cut my triangles from the length-of-fabric!
I still plan on quilting on the diagonal – 3-4 strips at a time. I now need to spend some time thinking about what kind of embroidery/quilting will give me the continuing flow from the colour into the navy I’m seeing in my head!
I don’t know what to do with the quilt back yet – I will incorporate whatever navy Speckled remnants I have but there won’t be much. And I don’t have many scraps remaining from the jelly roll strips I started with. It’s too soon to worry about it – the “problem” will percolate and something will pop into my head when need an idea.
The strip piecing is finally finished. I have called the quilt “Poppy Field 2” because that was the name on the batch of strips. I will have to come up with another name for this effort.
Looking at the image, seeing the top on the floor, I can see immediately what I have to attempt next – a similar piecing but with the strips coming from a single point in one corner. That will involve grading each and every strip in order to generate the quarter circle full of radiating strips! I have more jelly roll collections in my stash so I could certainly use one to try out the idea.
Back to this quilt top. The current size is 47″ x 60″. I think I want to add a narrow 1/2″ sashing in some contrasting colour then complete the top with a 3″-3 1/2″ border which will make the quilt top something like 53/54″ wide and 66/67″ long. Colour and fabric for the sashing is a decision for another day when I get back to this. For now, I have to say I’m reasonably happy with how the piecing has turned out.
One aspect of the piecing I’m not completely happy with is the mitred joins – when you see the quilt from the corner the angles are interesting:
straight on I think the mitred joins are awkward. My intention is to quilt along the strips (on the diagonal) 4 rows at a time using variegated thread and bringing the design and colour across the dark blue background. If I come up with a suitable design those mitres will be overstitched and I may be able to create the illusion of a starburst.
Now to start exploring designs to use for quilting the project.
For now I have the finished “Fish” pieces 4 & 3 hanging on the closet door. That’s it, I don’t plan on doing any more of these. They’ll go in the closet along with the other “skinny quilts” – I may take them to Parrsboro for the summer exhibit there, we’ll see when I start pulling work from the closet closer to the end of July.
One friend commented she’d put small bubbles coming to the surface – I did think about that for a moment as I was finishing the stitching on Fish 4 – but in the end I left the fish swimming peacefully among the seaweed.
I had a second set of Bali Poppies strips – Poppy Field – which I held back from the previous quilt. With this quilt top I’ve started laying out strips – the plan is to have the strips on an angle across the width of the quilt top. I started with a long strip – at the moment I’m working my way into the top right corner, then I’ll pick up and work my way to the bottom left. I want the quilt to be about 46″ wide by whatever length it turns out to be.
I’ve elected to do mitre joins (rather than blunt ones) – that may not have been the best decision in this situation. I’m also alternating the direction of the joins – which means some are almost vertical and the next horizontal. I’m not sure the visual effect I was hoping for is going to materialize – I won’t be able to tell until then top is nearly assembled.
I’m having to piece this project one strip at a time, making sure I get the join direction correct and the join position somewhat interesting.
As I get further along I’m planning on inserting “diamonds” into the dark blue background. I may have to appliqué them in order for them to look like diamonds. I have a hunch that if I piece them into the background with mitre joins they’re going to look quite odd!
Once I got rolling again on piecing the quilt back, the quilt went reasonably quickly. I’d already set up an embroidery (320mm x 320mm) to quilt the project – using my “grand dream” hoop – 360x350mm. The hoop is “reversible” – the machine stitches out the right half of the embroidery design, then you rotate the hoop to stitch out the second half. So all I needed was to execute 16 repeats of the design. The quilting turned out quite nicely.
Then I stitched the sashing “in-the-ditch” using a navy 50wt thread adjacent the dark blue so the stitches are barely visible. After I trimmed the backing, I had enough leftover fabric to use as binding. I’d initially thought I’d turn the binding completely to the back, but in the end I liked having 1/4″ showing – it added interest to the quilt top. Then I hand stitched the binding to the back. It blended in perfectly; you hardly notice it at all.
Now I have the choice to display either side of this quilt – I’m almost tempted to show the back of the quilt in Parrsboro!
Just finished piecing the quilt back. I managed to get it a bit longer and a bit wider than the quilt top which will allow me to position the vertical pieced stripe further to the left a wee bit when I assemble the quilt sandwich.
I’m not sure how I feel about the unequal sashing on the pieced stripe – I suspect it ought to be symmetrical – the question is whether it wants both sides 1″ or both sides 1/2″? I’ll probably leave it as it is. Nobody looking at the finished quilt will even wonder about that possibility! They’ll accept whatever decision I made.
Now I have to think about binding fabric – I intend a hidden binding which will show only on the back side of the quilt; I suspect it should be pieced – I may be able to salvage enough from all four sides, after quilting, to make the binding strips which will then match (more or less) the four sides of the quilt! Wouldn’t that be nice. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.
BTW the quilt back is actually square. I’ll be able to ease out the wobbles visible in the photo when I place it against the batting. That’s one of the things I like about Warm & Natural batting – the cotton fabric clings to it so I don’t have to use a spray glue when I assemble the sandwich. Also, I’ll be able to smooth each section when I place the quilt in the hoop to quilt it. The slight excess of fabric will disappear. I’m not going to fuss about at this stage. A good spraying with Best Press will shrink the fabric and eliminate a good bit of the fullness.
I’ve been pondering the quilt back for many days – I have the four long strips assembled from the 2 1/2″ batik pieces which I’d originally intended using on the front and I wanted to incorporate them in some way on the back. I picked up what could have been some batik backing fabric at Atlantic Fabrics on Friday – there wasn’t quite enough of it for a single length but I thought it brought out the colours in the small strips so I bought what was there. I also picked up this blue batik on Sunday at Heidi Wulffrat’s shop in Mahone Bay – just enough for a single strip. However this quilt (because it’s a square) needs ~60″ in width – close to 20″ needed to augment this strip I’ve assembled so far.
I’ve attached one of the long strips to the right side, the second is sitting on the floor beside it. I’m going to intersperse something between those two long strips and I intend using a third but I also want to integrate the fabric I bought on Friday which also needs to be broken up in some way.
I’ll just keep working at this. I’m thinking about this – if I get it more or less pieced in an interesting way – as possibly the front of the quilt! I have to see how it all turns out.
I also don’t have a name for this quilt, either! Maybe something will come to me when I get it completed.