Thursday, January 17, 2013

Fiery Starr Finish

I have finished the Fiery Starr quilt!!

Hip Hip Hooray!  Well, that was a time consuming quilt!

Okay.... Now I'm very happy with the overall quilt and how it turned out.  Sort of proud of myself, sort of smug.  But there are a lot of bloopers in it too.  It would never will a prize in a quilt show... not that I've ever thought about showing my quilts.  For my niece, for whom this was made, it will be a nice, showy quilt and she will never notice the "mistakes".  I don't have a great place to spread this quilt out and photograph it but I'm taking it to my patchwork group today and maybe Mrs. Ochiai will photograph it for me.  In the meantime, here is a critique for my own reference.  (No sense in making the same mistakes twice.)

The pattern for this was called Starr Fire... and there was a wedge template with markings on it included in the pattern.  Unfortunately my seam allowances were off just a bit so from the beginning my blocks didn't completely match up.  You'll have to think of a way to check those seam allowances if you want to make this quilt again, Tanya.

And the original pattern didn't have the extra two borders but it seemed a waste to not use the extra fabric that was left over so I added the thin rainbow strip around the quilt.  Quite a nice touch I think.

While I was in the States at the Long Beach Quilt Festival, I bought a cone of Superior thread (and a thread holder) at one of the booths.  Come to think of it, I may have bought the quilt pattern there too.  I was interested in seeing how the Superior thread worked...  But you know, even with the thread holder, the thread seemed to unravel into three strands as I sewed and then they'd get tangled up in the needle.  I'm not sure what I was doing wrong.  The needle was too thick?  The sewing machine didn't accommodate the thread well?  If I were doing this again I'd try different thread.

It took me a long time to find a rhythm for making the feathers in the wedges.   Some of them are jerky... the balance is very haphazard.  Some have 9 loops, some have 11...  I wish I could have been more consistent when quilting those but probably no one is going to compare 192 wedges of quilting.

And then the flowers...  They look great from the top!  BUT...  Some of those (not all...  maybe a quarter of the flowers) have birds' nests on the back!  I even took out two and redid them.  Now why did this happen?  The tension somewhere was too loose, but most of that was continuous stitching so though the wedge quilting looks smooth on the back, the transition to the flower quilting messed up something.

Okay.  A quick look so you know what I'm talking about and then no one is ever supposed to look at the back of this quilt again!  If I were a perfectionist I could take out the matted flowers, it isn't that much work to take them out (not with all those loose threads) and it isn't that much work to quilt them again...  But I swear... from the top, the flowers look just fine.

Moving out to the border...   A simple swirl and petal design that wasn't too difficult and hopefully tied in to the flowers.

The final feather border improved with the extra quilting but... though I marked the quilting area... for example a line a quarter inch from the quilt edge... when using the machine I was maybe a bit too flamboyant and worked in too close...  The result is the loss of a few feather tips in the binding.  I should have made my feathers a bit smaller?  And if you look closely at that picture you'll see I "quilted in" a fold or two of the border fabric.  Again, though I basted the edges to prevent the quilt from shifting, the top did warp a bit as I swooped around to sew my feathers.  A quilter's eye would say this is a big no-no.  My niece is not going to notice.

So.  A finished quilt!  I started piecing in August last year and started quilting in October.  Still, it took a lot longer than I thought it was going to.  This will be hand carried by me to the States sometime this summer and given to my niece as a high school graduation present.

I sure hope she doesn't plan to get married for a few years because I don't think I have the energy to make her another quilt any time soon.

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