Sunday, December 18, 2011

Bristol Stars

I have been fortunate enough to get this marvelous quilt from a new client. It is Judy Mathieson's Bristol Stars pattern. I love to piece intricately, but even the degree of detail on this pattern seems daunting to me. Truth be told, I don't like paper piecing quite enough to even dare this masterpiece. My client has done a really nice job on the piecing. I generally worry a lot when something with an abundance of curves is coming my way fr fear it will probably not lay flat or be remotely square. But this quilt is mostly flat and square. As you can soon tell, she wanted it custom quilted - my favorite...no boring edge-to-edge patterns for me!
The flip side of course is that it requires about 30 hours to custom quilt this 93" quilt. She specifically requested feathers, so I feathered-a-plenty. I have used a Hobbs Heirloom wool over Hobbs 80/20 batting, and most threads are Glide or SoFine. With this much busyness and movement in the piecing, the quilting needs to be intricate, but not overly busy. It needs to unify the quilt, and accentuate the features of the piecing.

The center of the quilt (below) turned out amazing. She asked for feathers, and definitely got them. The black around the flying geese is micro-stippled, and those curved geese pop out really well. The decision to micro-quilt between ever other radiating ray was made yesterday by the client (after I showed her pictures of one of my quilts before and after filling these spaces). It was a good bit offill work, but it makes the rays so vividly evident. To me, this is one of the defining features of the piecing, and it is better because of the quilting.

One of the things I found challenging to deal with were the way that each circle star unit is finished. These are pieced, then fused down to the checkerboard background. Then, a black bias piping is stitched atop the raw edge. In all but one location, these pipings were appropriately attached, but the added thickness of the 3 extra layers of fabric made stitching near to the piping difficult. I wanted to ditch-stitch along the edge of the piping, but it was really hard since the hopping foot wanted to catch on the added thicknesses. This should merely be a lesson for the readers. If you do this technique, it will indeed look great. It is a clean finished edge. It does, however, make it way harder for the longarmer. Originally, we discussed a plan to quilt flying geese into the black borders, but because it was too hard to get right next to the pipings, another plan was conceived.

The eight largest mariner's stars received simple detail quilting on top of the piecing. They have pebbled backgrounds, and are completely SID in monolon thread as well. Each of the eight stars is detail stitched in a coordinating color thread - yes, eight different colors. I did a small-ish feathered wreath in the center, and a squiggly sun look up the spokes of the star.

The serpentine black borders that are around the stars are pieced from several different black solid and print fabrics. To unify them, I did a peacock-type filler (rather than the serpentine geese) in a charcoal gray Glide thread. Using black would have been too hard to see well, and the gray makes all the areas appear as the same fabric.

One last peek at the front of this quilt (I know, it's hard to get enough...it is amazing)...

Before I show you the gem of the quilt (aka, the back), let me share something that the owner shared with me. When she made this quilt a year ago, her husband had just been laid off from his job. She, an oncology nurse, needed a quilt project that would really challenge her and take her mind off of their troubles. But because of the money hardships, she had to make this from only fabrics that she had in her stash. If you look closely, you will see some wonderful gold-colored satin fabrics that are snuck into the piecing. They are my favorites, and really help to give the quilt depth and personality. At some point in the winter last year, she was forced to sell or all things her sewing machine in order to make the house payment. This was a sad necessity, but forced her to not be able to continue working on the piecing. Imagine working all day with cancer patients only to come home to the challenges that were at home. Some months later, her husband did get a job, and he at some point after that surprised her by brining her home a new sewing machine. She was able to complete the quilt afterall. Life is better now for them, and I am blessed to bethe one chosen to custom quilt this gem for her.


Now, want a look at the back??? It is a mottle fabric, which is more caramel colored than the pictures show. I think it may be a Cherryood hand-dye, but I am not certain of that. Because it is not printed, the quilting shows wonderfully on the back.

There is a gold, black, charcoal, brown and 8 star colors for threads (if you look closely!).

The radiating rays are very evident from the back.

Here is the center...the Costa Rican Cartwheel

I think I love the back more than the front :-)

Time to go wrap some presents now!

22 comments:

Vicki W said...

It's beautiful and what a special quilt for the maker!

SubeeSews said...

I have this pattern. I guess I was hoping that merely having it would "count" towards making it.
You quilting talents are enormous. I wish you were closer to me here in the boondocks of Indiana.
XOXOXO Subee

What Comes Next? said...

oh my word! what a gorgeous quilt - I am so glad that things improved for your customer and she was able to complete this quilt. Your quilting is just stunning, and together this is truly an extraordinary quilt. Thank you for sharing!

Lisa Marie said...

I noticed the beautiful satin when I saw your in-progress pictures, but wasn't sure if my eyes were playing tricks on me.
What a story behind the quilt and as always, you've done an absolutely stunning job! The work paid off for sure. You're amazing!

Cathy H said...

OMG....that quilt is just stunning......the colours and the beautiful quilting just amazing.....

Sue Daurio said...

Wow that is one incredible quilt with the piecing all on it own. But the quilting that you did truly turns it into an amazing masterpiece. Goodness that is some super fantastic quilting!

Sue said...

Yesterday a friend of a friend called, having been referred to me in her hunt for a long-armer on behalf of a relative in North Dakota--who thought $200 too much to pay for having her quilt quilted. As I fell in love with all the quilting you've done on this quilt, I could only think, "Honey--if you only KNEW!"

Kat said...

This is AMAZING! Just wow. Both the piecing and the quilting are exquisite. You two must both be so talented. Thanks for sharing so many and such quality pictures. It's lovely.

Katie said...

Simply gorgeous! I guess from your perspective its great when you get a quilt like this that allows your skills full rein - I hope that you are going to enter it into a show between you! Let us know how it goes ;)
Katie

Emma said...

Stunning quilt - and your quilting is fabulous!

Katie said...

Could someone please pick my jaw up off of the floor for me?

Tami @ Lemon Tree Tales said...

This is truly a stunner of a quilt. Your customer did a fantastic job of piecing it, and your quilting is superb. I love how those rays show up!

Furball Farm Quilting said...

That is one amazing quilt. As usual you have truly bought the quilt to life. Love your work.

Furball Farm Quilting said...

This really is a magnificent piece of work, both piecing and your quilting. You've really given the quilt your trademark quilting stamp!

Desley said...

What a beautiful quilt, and a special story behind it. I am glad the maker was able to finish it, and your quilting has brought it life.

lauraquilt said...

Does anyone know where I can purchase this pattern? I have googled it to death with no success.

Laura Stevenson in CNY

Lorri said...

This is such a beautiful quilt. Could you find out where I can get this pattern? Thank you so much.

Valerie said...

I am SO grateful for this post! I haven't attempted this particular quilt, but I designed one that was hugely inspired by this quilt. I have agonized over how to quilt it. This is amazing and inspiring! :) I don't think I could do anything nearly so beautiful and intricate as you have here, but you've really helped me to decide what I will do with mine! Thank you!

StaceyinStitches said...

The quilting is stunning. This is going to haunt my dreams! Thank you for sharing, its very very inspiring!

lesca said...

I have coveted this quilt since I saw it on Simply Quilts tv show 6-7 years ago. ( I think ) I researched it to death and bought Judy Mathieson"s books but could not find a pattern any wear. "So be it", I said I will just have to get creative. With a a compass, freezer paper and vague memory of geometry I have been able to make the center medallion including flying geese border but still trying figure the size and proportions of the outer stars. Wish I could post a pic, but don't seam to able to do so. Wish me luck!

Shannon Trudeau said...

I love this quilt and I'm desperately trying to find the pattern. Could you tell me where I could get it? Thanks in advance :)

Shannon Trudeau said...

I love this quilt and I'm despatetly trying to find the pattern for it. Could you tell me where I could find it please? Thanks in advance :)