Friday, 10 December 2010

Christmas Star Quilt

As promised, here is the Christmas Star quilt top I got finished when I was snowbound last week. I only had another 10 blocks to make as the wonderful folks from The Quick Christmas Bee had made the other 14! (I had made the first one as a demonstration block). Thanks so much Marg, Lynz, Julie and Maria!
This is going to be quite a 'modern' quilt for me. Look, it has borders! AND a pieced back (or as I like to call it a 'fancy' back).
I am not totally sure about the back, I have often admired the random backs on other quilts which look like the makers have just used up fabric left from the front. Maybe there is more to it than this. But also maybe it will look better when quilted.
Ahh, quilting, well that's the next thing. I am going to attempt to machine quilt for the first time in 15 years. And I would really appreciate some help! I have being reading a few tutorials but there is a lot of conflicting advice. So maybe you lovely peeps could give me the benefit of your wisdom.
1. Basting - pins or spray stuff? Does anybody tack a machine quilted quilt? Do they have to be safety pins or can you just use ordinary ones?
2. Walking foot - I have actually just bought one of these and it arrived yesterday. Is this just to do straight lines? I thought I might 'stipple' (is that the right word?) all over but have just realised the 'free motion' foot I have is for an old machine and now I will have to buy one for my current machine. So maybe I should just use straight lines all over. Any ideas?
3. I am also worried about how a light stippling would look on the red back. What do you think?  Please give me any advice you think would be appropriate!
It all seems such a hassle that I wonder if I should just hand quilt after all! Especially as some news I had this week means that I will be losing the use of my sewing room over Christmas!
Yes, Felix is coming home for Christmas! In fact he is home already, though I won't see him until tonight as I am stuck at the shop.
You may remember how pathetic and snivelling I was in this post, as Felix, my eldest, embarked on a 9-10 month travelling trip with his girlfriend back in September. Funnily enough as soon as he left I was completely fine and Jonathan and I have been really enjoying the peace and quiet! We still have our younger son, Jacob, visiting every week or so, and of course he will be staying for Christmas too, hence my sewing room will revert to a bedroom :(
Poor Emma, Felix's girlfriend, was rushed to hospital last week with appendicitis and had to have her appendix removed! In Sri Lanka (though surgeon trained in Edinburgh)! So they have had to fly home so she can recuperate, but still plan to go off again in the New Year.
So excited to have him home for Christmas!
Don't forget to leave me some invaluable machine quilting tips. Thanks!!


  1. It looks lovely in the snow! I will email you.

  2. Very beautiful christmas stars quilt

  3. Stunning quilt Jo..I was going to offer advice, but I see Marg is going to email you, and that woman is the absolute oracle on everything, so I am sure she will cover everything I would have said ! I am sure you will do a great job xx

  4. One thing I have to day is DEFINATELY don't use straight pins unless you like to be pricked ALL the time!:o

    Walking foot is just for straight or wavy lines, darning foot would be fore stippling.

    Also you could check Dana's first quilt on the Old Red Barn Quilt Along...all kinds of advice there on free motion quilting.

    I think that with those wonderful stars it would look really good if you did a diagonal stitch going both ways on the stars and go around and around on the border....that would be nice and quick and effective.

    Or one of my new favorite things to do is start in the middle and stitch a square and then just keep going around and around never picking up your needle sort of like a one way maze.

    Or like you said you could just hand stitch on the inside of each star and the sqaure in the middle with 6 strands of floss...that would really look cool!:)
    Didn't mean to write a book!!!:)

  5. I'd love to know what Marg suggests, I think I could do with that advice too. Quilt tops looks lovely.
    So pleased your boys will be home for Christmas. Juliex

  6. If it is small (lap size or smaller) I use basting spray. Bigger ones get safety pins. If you already have your walking foot, why not stitch in the ditch and outline all those beautiful stars? A walking foot can do straight stitching, but it can also do gradual gentle curves and large circles. I use mine to do outlines of blocks, long curvy lines and geometric patterns. Stippling works best with the free motion foot and does take a bit of practice, so have a practice piece on hand to get into the swing of it first.

    Your quilt is gorgeous! Enjoy your Christmas with family!

  7. I have brought basting spray but yet to use it, a friend who teachs vows that it MUST get into the workins of your sewing machine, hence should be avoided. Personally I am not so sure, but have used safety pins for 11 years, with no problems. However would like to hear what a sewing machine mechanic did say about the spray. Dont use normal pins, will get scratched and they come out too easily. You can do curved quilting with a walking foot, but straight lines on the stars, stitch in the ditch will be fine to begin with. Then if you want to stipple do it later - definately need lots of practise first. I make practise sandwich pieces out of homespun and scraps of batting and stipple on that first then move onto my good piece. Happy quilting, Sue SA. PS enjoy your snow pictures, as we have had it unseasonably wet (for Australia) we are finally anticipating 35 C on Tuesday!

  8. Your quilt is beautiful! You are speaking in a foreign language though when it comes to basting and stippling. I hope that the other comments have helped as I am neither use nor ornament when it comes to sewing.
    I hope that Emma recovers soon, it must have been terrifying for her.

  9. This is a really lovely quilt Jo :) I'm working on a star quilt too - I started it last year, wrapped it up for my son for Christmas and then carried on hand quilting. Still not finished, but I may just wrap it up and put it under the tree again for fun! (Like you said - all that machine stitching, a bit of a phaff, and not so much fun when you could be sitting with the family peacefully stitching away :) )

  10. Mirando en internet encontré tu blog y me encantó. El tutorial de la casita es fantástico.
    Yo vivo en A Coruña,Galicia (España) y tengo en estos momentos un sobrino atrapado en el aeropuerto de Edimburgo, está estudiando este año en la Universidad de Dundee. Supongo que estaréis padando mucho frío.
    Felices Fiestas

  11. I love your star quilt. I can't wait to see how you quilt it. I'm a machine quilter and it can be scary but I love it. The best thing I can recommend is to take a beginner class. Sometimes you just need to see things in person instead of just reading about it.