Monday, July 04, 2011

Happy Birthday, USA!

Here is a very favorite quilt of mine.

Back in 2001, I "met" quilt designer Marj Rhine of Quilt Designs NW on the internet and occasionally she asks for people to beta-sew her designs before she makes them commercially available. This is the 2nd quilt I've beta-tested for her. She calls it 'Stars & Stripes Forever'; it comes as a wall-hanging and twin sized.

Since I didn't want another wall hanging right now, I decided to make the twin size version. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE her layout! When you look at the photo, you'll see it's a bunch of Lemoyne stars. Normally, one makes this block with set-in squares and triangles. An alternative method is to use half-square triangles to avoid potential set-in problems. I'll admit that I'm a snob in this area, in that I like the set-in squares, etc because it demonstrates that I can do it. But for this specific layout, to get the zig-zags, you *need* the HST to accomplish this. And ya know? I like it! :-)

I decided that I was going to use fabric from my stash to make the twin size quilt and mostly I achieved this goal. The reds were from a wall hanging made about 6 years previously. They are reds with different gold metallic designs. One white is a homespun-sorta weave, i.e. looser than the cotton, but I liked it anyway. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough to do all the white zig-zags in this fabric, so I bought another white that reads the same from a distance. The blues were a recent addition to my stash, not specifically bought for this project .. however, I discovered that I was going to run short of the dark blue (which was also going to be used for the outer border), so a quick trip to the fabric store for additional supplies was in order! Fortunately, it was still in stock.

The result is that the red zig-zags are of different design reds; the white zig-zags are of different design whites, but overall, it reads as a simple red/white zig-zag.

Because I loved this quilt so much, I decided to indulge myself and have it quilted by a local longarm quilter, Janna Bailey of The Quilting Company. At that time, I had no idea of what sorts of thread a longarm quilter preferred to use and I wanted a glittery thread for this quilt. I brought over spools of the glittery thread and asked if she could use it. I'm not sure of Janna was just being accommodating or thought it would work fine but ... when I picked the finished quilt up, she mentioned that it had been a very difficult thread to work with. I had no idea ... and can only hope that *she* didn't either ... but now we both know something new!

At the time this quilt was made, I was in the habit of using a compatible quilting cotton for the backings. For this quilt, I used a fantastic red-white-blue starburst fabric. I don't use quilting cottons for backings any longer; the cost of fabric has become so high, I can't justify the expense for an area that just isn't going to be seen. (I generally use 110" wide muslin now).

I'm pleased with it and even after all these years, it's still one of my favorites.

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