Monday, January 11, 2016

Lone Star with hand-dyes ... done! Woo hoo!

The last post I made about this long-term UFO was in October 2015 and I am overjoyed to say that I am finally FINISHED with this project!  It has turned out to be so spectacular, so magnificent .. well, at least to me it is .. that I can hardly believe it.

My "way back" machine tells me that I started this journey started in June 2011 when I purchased a packet of a 10-step hand dyed fabric, ranging from pale yellow through deep gold to deep turquoise.  The colors were beyond description; they were stunning.  I knew that I would make a Lone Star with them.  You can read about the start in this blog entry.    In my haste to work on it (BIG MISTAKE TO HURRY!), I used an inappropriate fabric for the New York Beauty blocks.  I thought I could fix it after the fact (another HUGE MISTAKE!  Do it right the FIRST time), I realized that there was no good fix for my stupidity and the New York Beauty blocks would need to be redone.  You can read about *that* faux pas in this blog entry.

I was so discouraged that I bundled up the Lone Star and the screwed up New York Beauty blocks and put them away.  I just didn't want deal with them.  But .. I knew they were there.

Let's fast forward to August 2015.  I was on binge ... of finishing old UFOs.  I certainly remembered the Lone Star and dug it out.  And dealt with the stupidity of 2011.  And conquered it!  Go me!  :-)

From then until now, I have slowly but steadily continued to work on the appliques around the edges of the quilt.  There is certainly a time and place for machine stitched appliques, but this quilt was not it.  It took me a very long time to hand stitch all the applique flowers down.

Then, it came time for quilting.  Sometimes, quilting can be the bane of my existence.  There are times when I have flashes of brilliance and know exactly what I'm going to do.  But most of the time, I employ the "sit and stare" method of inspiration. This quilt used both techniques. :-)

I knew the star itself would get continuous curves.  I really enjoy doing ruler work on my longarm.  I like the precision of it.  I like how the decisions are taken out of my hands because the geometry of the design tells you want it is going to be.

I also knew that there would be a messload of stitch in the ditch.  All of the appliques.  All of the New York Beauty blocks.  Around the tiaras.  Yeah, that's a lot, but not only did I needed to stabilize those areas with the stitching but the stitch in the ditch would emphasize them also.  Lordy, it took a long time to do all that stitch in the ditch!

As I work on areas where I know what I'm doing, I also let my mind wander and ponder what to do in the other areas.  It was during one of these times that it occurred to me that Gothic Arches around the spikes of the New York Beauty blocks would be exactly perfect.  Not only that but I found the *precisely perfect* variegated thread from Superior!  So, that decision was made.

The turquoise tiaras would get feathers of some sort because I like doing feathers.  When I finally found a method of stitching feathers that made sense to me and I was able to master, I will put feathers anywhere. :-)    But there are all SORTS of feather designs.  I looked up tons and tons of feathers, both in my own reference books but on the internet as well.

That left the background fabric around the appliqued vines and flowers.   Oh yuck yuck yuck.  I hadn't a CLUE what to do.  The background absolutely needed to be held down but I really .. I mean REALLY dislike meandering and stippling. Then, it hit me!  I don't need to do meandering/stippling around ALL of the appliques!  I could do beadboard from the raw edge of the quilt up to the vines!  And I like doing beadboard.

That left only the background between the appliques and the tiaras.  Once again, looking through my reference materials, I found a scrolly meander that would work.  It would be a meander of sorts but with enough curly q's to make it interesting.

And that's what I did.  When the quilting was finished, I hung the quilt up on my design wall and just admired it.  I'll be honest here .. I love this quilt.  I LOVE THIS QUILT.  Sure, it's not perfect; there are lots of bobbles in a lot of areas ... but now that it's washed, from the distance of 5 miles during a stiff breeze from the back of a galloping horse, it looks absolutely perfect.  And that's how I view it. :-)  (Aside: this attitude is exactly why I don't do "show quilts".  While I don't do sloppy work, I also just don't have the patience to do the kind of OCD, anally-retentive workmanship that show quilts require.)

Finally, it came time for the binding.  The background fabric has straight edges.  That's just standard when you're busy making the quilt.  I hadn't really given any thought of what to do with the edges.  As I as gazing with deep affection on this quilt, it came to me that *scallops* would be the PERFECT finished edge.

ONLY .. oh dear ... I hadn't exactly planned for scallops.  There really wasn't enough excess fabric for scallops.  Or was there?  Hmmm ... maybe .. perhaps ... what if???   What if the scallops were very, very, very gentle?  They would need to be because the appliqued vine comes VERY CLOSE to the edge of the fabric in a couple of places.  But ya know??  I think it could work!

Working very carefully and determinedly, I marked the scallops, applied the bias binding and hand sewed the binding to the back.  Yes, they *were* very gentle scallops but they were exactly what this quilt needed to finish it properly.

The only item I have left to do is the label.  But I am SO SO SO ecstatic that this long-term UFO is finally done!  And I'm SO SO SO exceptionally proud of the result.  I just look at this quilt and smile.  A great big smile.  :-)


  1. Absolutely Beautiful! And so worth all the work you have put into it. It's one of those projects that will be treasured for years to come. Congratulations! The quilting is stunning too!

  2. Shelley,
    This is incredible! The amazing quilting you did just takes it over the top. I can't wait to see it in person.

    1. Ang, we missed you at Corrine's! I brought it for show-n-tell .. so you'll just need to come over to my place to see it in person! :-)

  3. I is just beautiful!!!!!!! Lone star with applique is one of my favorites and yours in the hand dyes is amazing!

  4. I remember this quilt! You were agonizing (sort of) over the quilting around the applique. Which BTW is beyond gorgeous..the whole quilt is a stunning piece.