Star Surround Finish

I stayed up last night until nearly midnight so that I could finish and submit my Star Surround quilt for the SSQAL Parade at Happy Quilting. It might have been a dumb idea, I don’t know, but I had to get up at 4:30 AM, so dumb feels like an appropriate word. But FINISHED is another, and finished is a very, very sweet word indeed, because I never finish much of anything.

Star Surround

This quilt might be my fastest finish ever – I started it in mid-July and it’s just now mid-September and the entire thing is done and dusted. Well, I haven’t washed it yet, that’s the next step, but I’m pretty confident it’s not going to fall apart in the wash (which is my usual unfounded fear with quilting). Anyway, as a rule, the only things I ever finish in a timely fashion are small items, like pouches and pillows and pin-cushions. (Well, maybe not pin-cushions – I don’t think I’ve ever made one! Just wanted a third ‘P’ because things sound better in threes.)

On Saturday, I pieced the backing, basted the quilt, and got the straight-line quilting done on the top. Then on Sunday I spent most of an hour practising some free motion loopy quilting so that I could add that as well. And then I trimmed, made and machine sewed on the binding, and then stitched it down on the back. I was planning to try machine sewing the binding (and watched about six different videos on the subject) but got scared at the last second and couldn’t bring myself to do it.

Star Surround

Anyway, quilting. If you look closely at that photo, you should be able to see that in two quadrants I stitched north/south in the ditch (every 3 inches) and in the other two quadrants I stitched east/west in the ditch. In between those stitches, I FMQed the loopy lines, which are all kind of variable in stitch length and sometimes a tiny bit choppy, but largely came out pretty well. I’ve always been pretty terrified of FMQ and it feels a little bit like cheating to have chosen a method that didn’t just let me cross my own lines, but actively required it. But I’m really kind of ridiculously proud of myself anyway. I only had to pick out stitches once (where I kind of jerked and wound up with a toe-catcher), and that seems like a pretty big victory. I guess I unpicked a few more times, but that was always only because the thread snapped as I was sewing, so I had to unpick enough so that I could bury the threads and get back to it. I quilted it with Aurifil thread, 40 wt. 4663, which is Baby Blue Eyes Variegated. I had about 6 or 7 thread breaks, well, I say thread breaks, but it was more like it sort of shredded apart, and you could pull of loose tufty bits when it broke like that. I’ve never had that happen with other thread before, but I also have never really done FMQ before, just bits and pieces to practise in the past, so I don’t know that it wouldn’t have happened with other thread.

The fabrics, if you’re curious, are from two different Riley Blake lines, One for the Boys and Boy Crazy. (Two prints each – in the photo above, the dashed stripe and the stars are from one line, the cars and the spiral stripe are from the other.) The background fabric is Kona Robin Egg, which is a gorgeous blue, and the red binding is Kona Coral. The quilt backing is a random no-name flannel that was in my stash.

Star Surround

I didn’t take any particular good photos of the backing, but it’s not a great match for the front – it’s a slightly greener aqua than the Robin Egg, but I thought it worked well enough. Especially since it’s on the back. When I bought fabric for the backing, I accidentally bought enough for the length, but not for the width and so I had planned to piece the backing with… something that wouldn’t look terrible, but didn’t find anything that seemed like it would work. So I dug this aqua with white dots out of my (rather small) flannel stash.

Anyway, that’s that quilt done. Now I kind of want to make another one, but in fabrics I love, and large enough for my bed. But probably I should finish some things… Maybe quilt some of the tops I’ve got laying around. Especially now that I’ve lost my FMQ virginity ;D

13 thoughts on “Star Surround Finish”

  1. It must have felt so good to have a finish. I know when I finished my one it was a great feeling. Congrats on getting it done and wow on getting through the day on 4 hours sleep 🙂

    1. It’s a good thing my job is pretty non-vital because I was stupid tired all day 😀 I’m pretty sure it took me twice as long as usual to get everything finished.

      Anyway, thanks! I’m really happy to have it done because I am so, so, so good at putting things off until later!

  2. I love that binding! The blue in the one corner is awesome. Very nice finish! The loop-de-loop quilting suits it nicely, I’ve never combined FMQ

      1. I hadn’t either, but then I’d never really done FMQ on anything bigger than a practise sample! I felt like the straight lines helped stabilize things a little (when I’ve done more free motiony things in the past, I’ve have issues with the fabric shifting a bit and didn’t much this time). Anyway, I think it’s something I’ve picked up from Leah Day – I’ve watched a couple classes from her Quilting a Sampler class on Craftsy and she kind of does it a lot – defines an area with straight stitching and then comes in and fills with something FM. I didn’t really “fill” but I’m always afraid of winding up with a stiff quilt from over-quilting it. (And also, it just takes a long time – I wanted to get this quilt done over the weekend!) Anyway, she’d have probably gone around the shape of the star, then filled in the star, then around the shape of the surround and then filled in that area, if that makes sense. I wasn’t sure enough of my ability to FMQ straight lines though (she stitches in the ditch that way), but I guess I should make a cushion or something small to practise the idea on.

        I usually leave a corner in a different colour on my bindings – I don’t label my quilts, so I consider the colour-change in the corner to be my signature of sorts. (Though I’ve learned since that Elizabeth of Oh Fransson does something similar! No new ideas out there, that’s for sure.) I didn’t used to do it, and on small items I don’t often bother, but yeah. This one kind of makes it look like the background is spilling out that corner 😀

    1. Thanks! Honestly, I think the binding against the blue fabric is my favourite part. And I’m pretty proud of myself over the quilting just because that’s such an issue with me all the time! It might not have been The Best way I could have quilted it, but it worked and pushed my boundaries, so that’s a good thing!

  3. I think we should have all kept a tally on how much sleep was collectively lost as the star surround deadline drew nearer 🙂 I like the blue of your background. It adds such a cheerful vibe to the quilt!

    1. Thanks! I think the blue made the whole thing work so much better than the prints would have with just a white or something behind them – kind of gave them life. (Of course, I didn’t like the fabrics to begin with, so maybe it didn’t take much to improve it in my eyes :D)

      Considering how many of us finished tops and finished entire quilts, I suspect a fair bit of sleep was lost 😀 But it was worth it!

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