A few details about the Radiant Star

Some of this is a repeat for those of you that have seen my post about this quilt on MQR.

I’m not necessarily answering specific questions that I’ve been asked: but these are some things that I’ve been thinking about and maybe you’ve been wondering about, and I thought I’d share.

1.  How much thread? Short answer:  I don’t know.  I intended to count bobbins, but then I messed up.  It’s a lot of thread.  The top thread is Sew Fine and the bobbin thread is Bottom Line, both of which are from Superior Threads.  My cone of Sew Fine 402 (the light cream) is a lot thinner than it used to be.  Maybe half of a 3000 yard cone??

2.  What kind of batting? I used Warm Bond, which is a blend  (80% cotton 20% poly)

3.  Is it stiff? Well, *I* don’t think it is, but I think we all have different standards for how we think a quilt should feel.  It’s certainly not POOFY, but neither is it stiff as a board.  I’ve now washed it, to soften it up a bit (and get rid of the rest of the chalk markings and the starch and the oils from my hands, and the whatever else it picked up from simply being around and worked on over the last few months), and I think it’s just about perfect, and it will only get softer with time and use.  Using very fine thread certainly helps, and even with all of that pebbling, I bet it’s softer than you think it might be.

4.  How much did the computer do? How much is freehand? On this particular quilt, my computerized system was only used for the sections in which I would have otherwise needed to use a tool of some kind:  the circles for the wreath and border spines and the curved lines in the blue star points.  That’s it.

Everything else was hand-guided.  For the stitch in the ditch, I used a straight edge ruler, and the curved crosshatching was marked with a circle template, but the stitching was actually done freehand.

I did contemplate recording myself doing some of the feathered wreaths and then doing all of the repeats with the computer, but on this particular quilt I decided that I wanted all of the wreaths to be uniquely freehanded.  And unique they are.  From where you are sitting they might look perfect and identical, but I’d be happy to point out the spots where they vary.    For those of you looking on this as a beginner quilter thinking “I could never do that” — guess what?  I would have thought the same thing 8 years ago when I started this journey.  When  you look at THIS quilt you need to remember that I have  8 years and hundreds of quilts experience lined up behind it.

5.  How many wreaths and stars and pebbles? There are 20 Feathered stars.  That works out to 640 of those itsy-bitsy light blue and white half-square triangle units.  In the quilting, there are 30 large wreaths (both full and partial) and 49 small wreaths (full and partial).  If you want to come count pebbles, you are welcome to come on over and do so.  My neck and shoulders tell me it was approaching about a bazillion.

6.  How can you stand to give it away? I’ve been asked this one a bunch of times, but I’m not sure I can adequately explain that it doesn’t bother me.  Having signed a contract helps.  Here’s the thing:  this quilt has never been MY quilt.  It’s always been my customer’s quilt.  Sure, if he decided not to honor his end of the bargain, I’d have no trouble keeping it, but I’m not as emotionally attached to this one as you might think.

7.  Are you going to try to borrow it back to put in a show? No.  I’m going to make a NEW quilt (smaller) and do some things differently, and I’m going to put THAT quilt in a show.

8.  What are you going to do now? I have not been working on this continually since it started.  I’ve pieced and quilted other quilts, and I’ve done plenty of customer work.  But mentally, it’s sure consumed me.  I’ve got a stack of larger quilts lined up waiting to be quilted (some are long-time UFOs that I’ve gotten finished in between other stuff), and I do have some customer work to finish in the next week.  And then I have to inventory the shop, and finish my feather book and plan more online classes and yeah…Oh, and learn how to play my new guitar!

Right this minute, though, I need to go brush my teeth and work on getting the boys ready to go to school.  The poor dears have had to sleep in the last 2 mornings, they’ve had 2 hour delays this week (the road conditions, particularly out in the country, are terrible.  Ice, ice and more ice.)


Thanks for all of your kind comments about the Radiant Star.   Even if it has sounded like I was grumbling at any point in the process, I’ve really enjoyed the whole thing, and honestly?  I couldn’t be happier with how it went.  I had no major piecing problems; the quilting, while time-consuming went well (the machine behaved, my tension was great, etc…), and even the binding went well.

My customer has been following along on the blog, and he has promised a picture of his wife with the quilt, so I can post that as a final wrap-up to the entire story.

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