Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Quilting of Starbright Part 1

Today's post is about the quilting of Starbright,
it's thread choices and design decisions. The actual quilting will be a future post, as this one is so long!  So, let's get started.

The first quilting decision is choosing a thread color.  This quilt has a lot of colors in it, and I didn't want 6 color changes cause I don't want to work harder than I have to.  I'd rather quilt!   
My color choices were purple, dark blue, lite green, gold, and orange.  I like to take a bunch of thread off the spool and put it on the quilt to see how it might look.  Here's the tests:
Dark Blue

Lite Green
Purple and dark blue disappear on the background, and lite green disappears on the green and turquoise.  The gold works okay, but I found orange to work better because it's brighter and the color shows up on all of the fabric colors.  
Now that the thread color is decided, it's time for design!

Since the turquoise fabric ended bluntly instead of a point, I wanted to quilt it such that there was a point, to further define the star.  And for fun, I added 4 more points in the background fabric, so now my star has 12 arms.
I've come to discover that I don't have to stay within the confines of the patch when quilting, as is the case with this star.  Using a circle now brings all the arms together, and creates movement.  Adding the additional zig-zag makes the star spin.  The pebbles are okay, as they add interest and texture, but maybe something else would have worked better.  But I certainly would not put in more lines--there's enough of that already.

Now for the center.  I treated it separately, as if it were a star within a star.  Here's what I drew up originally
The very center is okay, but what was bothering me was the additional pebbles.  Now there were just too many of them.

So, back to drawing.  Here's a slight variation of the center.
It's okay, but by extending some lines to make four more points, I get this:
That's looking more impressive!  Now I play with fills:
Hmmm, the pebbles are a bit much.  How about a tiny stipple?
Better, but....
At the frame, it's decision time.  I have all the lines of that inner star stitched out, but as I look at it and it's relation to the surrounding quilting, I decide not to do any fill.  And here's why:  the stitching of the star had already compressed the area, and I would have to stitch a pretty dense fill to make it pop.  And those areas would be more heavily stitched than the rest of the quilt.  I am a firm believer in consistency of quilting.

Now, I could have filled in areas of the star, but the design was just not lending itself to that.  So, I'm letting the star stand on it's own.

And last but not least, the smaller pink/orange stars.  
The orange area is at the front, but I didn't want it to dominate the quilt.  So here, I went with gentle curving lines that give motion instead of a fill that competed for attention.  And the straight lines in the pink give the eye a place to rest.

I hope you have enjoyed the walk through of the quilting design for this quilt.  In Part 2, I show thread paths to eliminate starts and stops, and how I stitched the star.

Happy Quilting!


  1. You explained your thought process so well in this post. There were things I'd never considered. It's interesting to read how people tackle problems.

    I also liked taking the thread off the spool and laying it on the quilt top. I've always sewn a small sample but this is so much easier.

  2. Wow - it's a lovely quilt and you've done an amazing job on the quilting! :o)

  3. What wonderful FMQ! i love playing with going outside the shape too!
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