Monday, August 13, 2018

Stash Busting Stars top finally completed

When last we met, I was working on Esther Aliu's "Stash Busting Stars" and had left you hanging at the half-stars used in the borders.  Totally my fault.  For a long while, I had been in the midst of blogging-blahs.  I was still piecing tops, but just could *not* generate the energy to take that last step to blog about it or make the web page.  I think I am emerging from that phase of ennui and feeling a renewed sense of eagerness.  Lucky you. :-)

I am pleased to share that I have FINISHED all the Stash Busting Stars that I needed for my top and then augmented the layout with some leaves and vines.  I started the first hand-pieced star in September 2016 and finished the last hand-appliqued leaf in February 2018.  The blocks themselves are machine-pieced together.

Keiko Miyauchi - June 2000
You see, waaaaay back in 2001 I bought a quilter's calendar.  Each month had an awe inspiring quilt from a master quilter.  One month truly took my breath away and when the year was over, I saved that one page for the day when I might use it as inspiration.  Well, finally, that day had arrived.   I KNEW the minute I saw Esther's stars that the intertwining vines and leaves would be PERFECT for the setting of Esther's stars.  The quilt on that calendar page was made by Keiko Miyauchy.

I had deferred the background fabric until I had made all the stars.  I wanted to let them tell me what would look good.  And they did.

I chose a soft pastel yellow .. a color that I normally don't use at all .. but it just seemed to work well with all the colors in the stars.   I had found a lovely white tone-on-tone fabric "someplace" and used Rit dye to color it that soft yellow.  The overall look-and-feel of the fabric is a very subtle pastel yellow but upon closer inspection, you can see the tone-on-tone design.   It came out perfectly. 
dyed tone on tone background fabric

Except for the binding!  I had JUST enough of the tone-on-tone that I had dyed myself for the background fabric but not enough to make the binding.  However, I wasn't concerned because I have a magic card up my sleeve!    To get the amount of yardage that I needed for the binding in the precise shade I wanted, I used the excellent services of Tammy Salzman, "Always Unique Hand Dyed Fabric".    I've used Tammy before to get the most luscious hand-dyed fabric for my appliques and have never been disappointed in the quality of her fabrics.  I sent Tammy a swatch of my dyed fabric and .. as I knew she would .. she matched it EXACTLY.   I am simply delighted.

I appliqued all the stars onto the background yellow but instead of using squares as the background shape, I intentionally used rectangles, so I would have room for my vines and leaves.

Once the rectangles of stars were sewn together into a HUGE top, then I began applying the bias binding vines and making the double-pointed leaves.  OH MY GOSH, I quickly became SO BORED with vines and leaves!  There were a gazillion of them!

Remember my inspiration photo?  Well, Keiko Miyauchy is a saint.  There was absolutely NO WAY that I could have EVER replicated her intricate design.  I was having enough trouble slogging through my pared down version!   So, my own version is a very simplified version of Keiko's.  My rationale is that I figured that I could actually FINISH my version, whereas the time required for hers was waaaaay beyond what I wanted to devote to this project!

But, eventually, after simply putting my nose to the grindstone, pulling up my big girl panties, and applique-applique-applique .. in February 2018, I put my last stitch into the last leaf.  My goodness ... the 800 lb gorilla was off my shoulders!  I didn't quite know what to do with all of my "free" time!  :-)  (Well, that feeling lasted for about 5 minutes because I have a STACK of unfinished projects to be worked on and they were all calling my name.)

I have neatly folded up the top and binding fabric and they are hanging in the closet, with all the other tops that are waiting to be quilted.  I have NO idea how I'm going to quilt this.  My Muse hasn't spoken to me ... yet. :-)

Here is my finished top .. it measures 90" x 102".


  1. It looks amazing! I am having blogging blahs as well. I really need to up my game.
    Just add your top to tbe group until you have just the right idea for the quilting. I have recently pulled out many of my tops and have them hanging on hangers where I can see them. I will quilt them as I have ideas.

  2. Nice to have you blogging again, Shelley! And what a masterpiece to come back with. Beautiful top!