Thursday, April 26, 2012

Oh Happy Day!

See what's hanging over the closet door? Yup, Martha's Star is done! I am so happy with it I can't tell you. In an earlier post I said I thought it was the perfect mix of scrappy and structured, and now that it is all together I'm even more convinced. And with everything sewn together there is a beautiful weight to it.

It is fitting that I should finish it now because five years ago this week mom passed away. She would have liked the end result too.

This one involed a lot of sewing - 4,369 pieces by my last count, excluding 4 stars that were switched up with lighter colours at the end - and it's a biggie. So large that I don't have a floor space upstairs that I can fully lay it out for you to see the entire thing and get a better sense of the colours, compared to the dull images that I was sending you from the sewing room.

Sewing all the blocks together is not my favourite part of the process because you end up dealing with such a large piece at the end and it is often a struggle, but I found a chain stitching technique on Wanda's blog a while back and I have to say it made the job quite enjoyable.

You start by stacking the blocks from the first two columns side by side and sewing pairs together without cutting your thread between them so they are chained together. Then you add the third column, and so on until you have all the columns joined. I don't have a huge work table so as I added each column I just accordion folded it into a stack and they stayed together nicely.

Columns chained together
Then you work across the columns to join the rows. It saves lots of jumping up and down to get the next row of blocks and you avoid the possibility of sewing rows/blocks in the wrong order (and potentially lots of ripping out!).
The home stretch - pinning and sewing all the rows

The one thing that did take a lot of time was the pinning when I got to joining the rows, but that was because, in essence, each block is a large Nine Patch so I was joining the blocks and then pinning again twice in each block - 30 pins per row; it would go even faster with a different block style. What's particularly nice about it is that with everything all chained together you can just sit in one spot and keep going.

And now it's a quilt top.

Kimono remnants make beautiful stars
Much of what appeals to me about it is the fabric selection. Mom had chosen a wide variety of calicos and remnants, but she also included a few non-cottons - like leftovers from the many, many kimonos we made for our high school musical Teahouse of the August Moon, a beautiful mauve print from a top that Betty made (I think it is rayon), things like that. Not only do they add visual interest but lots of great memories that will be fun to fall asleep under.

Maybe it should be called Starry Night? No, I think we'll stay with Martha's Star....M


Exuberant Color said...

You explained my method very well, and I'm glad it worked so well for you. I sew almost all of my quilts that way - you only have to make decisons one time with this method.

Kathie said...

it is just beautiful what a wonderful tribute
I might call it Martha's starry night quilt !
I love that its scrappy but yet your right its very well balanced.

Lisa said...

I just found my way over from your comment on my quilt guild's (Needles and Friends) blog. What lovely quilts you have and especially love this newest one. It's simply gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

I think this is a lovely tribute to Mom. She would be proud and you should be too!

Nicely done, Marie!


Doniene said...

Oh this is so wonderful!! Martha's Star is a perfect tribute! And to top it off Ohio stars are my favorite, and I love how you have set them with chain blocks! This is definitely an heirloom! Bravo!!


bettyb said...

This inspires me -- might take this approach with my newly started star blocks.