I hope everyone had a pleasant weekend. I finally finished up the Stars Around the Garden Quilt a few weeks ago. This is finish number 7 for this quarter. You can find my 2nd quarter list here.
This quilt has been a work in progress for 8 years. It is machine pieced, hand appliqued and hand quilted. The quilt is 87″ by 102″.
I did this as a block of the month at Little Quilts in Marietta, GA. Instead of a traditional BOM, though, we did it as a monthly class. Mary Ellen Von Holt, the shop owner and Little Quilts pattern and fabric designer taught the class.
There were two options, the scrapy border or the applique border. I chose to do the applique border, but I pieced the applique background and wide border with 9″ squares instead of the 3″ squares.
In each class, we would learn a new technique or how to use specialty rulers. I learned so much from Mary Ellen that year. It was during that class that I really became aware of how important it was to be precise in my cutting and piecing.
This is a very straight quilt. Mary Ellen taught us to tear the pieces for the borders and sashing on the length wise grain. In my smaller quilts, I’ll cut the borders on the cross wise grain, but when they start getting longer, I will usually use the length wise grain.
I used Aurifil 50/2 for the piecing and applique and Aurifil 28/2 for the hand quilting. The batting is Quilter’s Dream Cotton Request. The thread glided through the quilt layers, so different than my first hand quilting experiences in the ’80s and ’90s. I had a long arm quilter baste this quilt. I’m not sure it would have been quilted if I had to hand baste it.
I had a hard time deciding how to quilt the blocks. That’s one of the reasons it took so long to get it completed. The last class was in December 2008 and I had the applique and top done a few months after that. I quilted around the applique first, then did the cross-hatching in the center. I used a blue soluble pen to mark the lines in the light areas and a white mechanical pencil to mark in the dark areas.
Next, I quilted vines and leaves in the sashing. There is a little flower in each cornerstone area. I used a flexible curve to mark the vines and made a plastic template for the leaf and flower. I also made templates for the curved designs in the blocks.
I finally decided that there were four basic block layouts and made a design for each one, keeping the centers the same for continuity.
Most of the time, I would quilt in the cooler months, another reason it took so long. I have a hoop that sits in your lap, so the quilt would be draped over me which could get quite warm.
It felt good to take that last binding stitch. I’m glad I hand quilted it, but will probably never do any hand quilting on this scale again. I may enter this into a local show next year so Mary Ellen can see that I finished it. She always asked about it.
I have to give photo creds to my daughter. She took all the pictures in the park at the lake. I hope you enjoyed the quilt and thanks for stopping by.