Star Series

"Lone Star", 16.5" x 23.5", 2020

"Lone Star", 16.5" x 23.5", colored wholecloth, 2020

Star Series

March 26, 2020

In working on the Abstract, Traditional and all In-between show, "star" presented a small series.

Ohio star is a very traditional design... as is lone star. So obviously, ninja star had to finish it off.

"Ohio Star(s)"

"Ohio Star(s)". 16" x 24", 2020

"Lone Star"

"Lone Star", 16.5" x 23.5", 2020

"Ninja Star"

"Ninja Star", 16" x 24", 2020

"Ohio Star(s)" process:

Because the Ohio star is a square block pattern and rectangles are more interesting to look at hanging on a wall, I had to figure out an interesting layout. Here you can see my sketches, the final pattern and the piece count. It's helpful to have a plan.

There is the large pieced Ohio star block plus two smaller pieced blocks.The star pattern is free motion stitched on the four corner blocks. The fabrics were all from my stash.

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"Lone Star" process:

As with Ohio Star(s), I did some sketches to find a satisfactory layout and ended up setting the lone star pattern off center to make it more visually exciting to the viewer. (Minimal and insincere apologies to any quilters or engineers who find the positioning disturbing.)

I made a scale line drawing, transferred it to a piece of mottled light blue fabric, pinned three layers together, and stitched the pattern with dark blue thread. The light blue beyond the star is stitched with a variety of decorative stitches using light blue thread. Once the stitching was completed, the piece was washed and ironed.

The star series was all blues so I tested assorted blue water-soluble crayons and watercolor pencils on the edge of the actual piece to find the best blues to coordinate with the other two star quilts. I took a photo of the stitched top and made some paper copies to color and determine which blue went where. One thing about coloring on fabric, it doesn't erase!

Then I started coloring. Many edges are high contrast so there was not much room for error. It would seem I've learned over the years how to color in the lines! The secret is patience and not sharing wet edges with neighbors.  (Is that physical distancing?!)

Once the coloring was done, I tweaked the center to make it visually stronger. I also added blue on the sky band which had been colored white. And some dots (with a mix of acrylic paint and ink).

This is one of my favorite pieces in the show.

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"Ninja Star" process:

In a former life, I earned a black belt in karate and still have some shurikens (throwing stars) so "Ninja Star" isn't quite as random as it would seem. The over-the-top sparkly fabric appealed to me, too, for many reasons: > sparkles make everything better, > shurikens are shiny, > all the fabrics were in my studio, > and they were light years away from the muted fabrics used in Log Cabin Traditional which I had just finished.

As you would expect by now, I did some thumbnail sketches for a layout. When I started on the scale line drawing, it did not take long to realize I was in trouble. Shurikens are geometric and man-made, therefore they are a royal pain to draw. I do not do digital drawing so it was by hand with an acrylic ruler and angles. After drawing two, I gave up.

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By the grace of the muse during the night, I remembered cutting snowflakes out of folded paper. With slight adjustments, I cut shuriken shapes out of newspaper. It was easy to change the size, add more stars and adjust the composition. Yay!

Snowflakes, shurikens, coloring in the lines - thank you grade school!

Previously, I had learned the importance of doing a quick color study of the sketch to make sure there are no surprises in the finished piece. Color affects the composition and it's way easier to fix at this stage of the process.

The stars were attached using a fusible web then the edges were all stitched down. I had a small sample strip of scraps of the actual fabrics to practice different applique stitches. I wrote down which stitch was used for each sample along with any other settings so I could refer back as needed. I keep those samples for future reference.

Being concerned there was maybe too much sparkle I opted for a regular cotton binding using the same fabric that is used as the backing for all three star quilts.

Though in truth, there can never be too much sparkle!

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