Monday, May 23, 2022

Starlit Courtyard and tiny but not fussy HST

I'm not sure how the general concept of Starlit Courtyards came to me, but I know it stayed a concept for a long time before I turned it into a quilt and a pattern.  

Why did it sit as a concept for so long?  Because as much as I love the classic sawtooth edging around the stars, I was reluctant to make all those tiny HST.

When the time was right, my brain remembered that you don't always need to make HST individually or even in pairs with squares.  I drafted my own "triangle papers", figuring out I could fit 24 of these tiny HST on one page.

Layer two fabrics and the paper, then sew on the outside lines and cut on the middle lines...

...and press to one side to reveal lots of little HSTs. 

I press before removing the papers.  I find it helps stabilize the diagonal so I don't accidentally distort the unit.  

Snip a few dog ears and voila!  Twenty four perfect little HST, just the right number for one block, in a fraction of the time it would have taken to make these one or two at a time, and with much less cutting and trimming to fuss about.

Having figured out how to make the HST not be a big deal, I didn't mind investing time on the rest of the quilt's design.  I thought larger, bolder pieces in the sashing would be a nice contrast with the delicate HST.  Initially, all the points in the sashing touched, but I worried about bulk at those points.  I altered the proportions just a little to add a little gap between points.  

Though the initial motivation for this tweak was to deal with bulk at the seams, it had a couple of happy side benefits. First, the extra spacing visually lightened the design.  Second, it made piecing much more forgiving:  with the spacing, it won't be obvious if your points don't match up perfectly!  I think that's a win for stress-free piecing!

When I chose fabric for this quilt, I had just finished some bright quilts and I was ready to work with more muted tones.  I don't drink coffee, but somehow coffee tones called to me while I browsed my local quilt shop for inspiration.  Guess what I picked for the backing?

Coffee beans seemed fitting! Just a little fun surprise on the back of a grown up, elegant quilt.

I think you could make this in pretty much any color scheme.  I used a different fabric for each element in the quilt, but you could easily repeat fabrics if you had trouble finding enough fabrics that play well for your chosen color scheme.

You don't have to settle for a light background, either.  I mocked up the quilt in 3 different colorways of Banyan Batik's Resort Life collection for their January 2022 catalog, and one of them has a dark background.  I love the way the elements pop on the dark.  I'd also be lying if I said I didn't have a soft spot for the bright blue one.  I do love blue!

I had planned to quilt this myself, with swirls of some sort in the sashing pieces, and perhaps feathers in the border (I want to conquer feathers, eventually!) but time was short.  I gave in and sent it to Liz Meimann to be longarmed. She found an allover design with both swirls and feathers, so the quilt has lovely texture.

Starlit Courtyard is now a pattern.  It includes 5 sizes, from throw to king.  Angles are all achieved with stitch-and-flip techniques so you don't have to cut any shapes other than squares and rectangles.  A master template for the triangle papers is included.  You'll need to make one copy for each block in your quilt.

Head over to my Etsy shop for your PDF copy or to browse my other patterns.  There are also a few more new releases there, which I'll be introducing on the blog in the next little while.  If you'd rather have a print copy, please ask at your favourite quilt shop.  Quilt shops, you can order Starlit Courtyard wholesale from Checker or Brewer, or by contacting me directly.

Happy Quilting,


Friday, May 13, 2022

Echo Point

 I've been thinking about Echo Point since last fall.  I enjoyed bringing it to life last month, and finally quilting it this week.

Strip piecing made these really quick to make.  Honestly, deciding in what order to place the fabrics, and deciding how to quilt them took longer than the piecing.

The pattern calls for 5 fabrics, so I pushed myself to find 5 that played well together. These five came home from the quilt shop.

When I started laying them out wasn't sure about that stripey one.  I thought it had a touch too much green.  Happily, I had bought a little extra so I was able to play around with repeating one of the other four fabrics to take the place of the fifth one.

I thought this combination did the trick.  Strip sets followed.

I then got sucked into sewing and didn't take any more pictures until the set was finished.

I had planned to use rulers to quilt some circular elements, but none of my ideas quite gelled. In the end I defaulted to straight lines again.  Their crispness pairs perfectly with the clean lines of the pieced design.

I dressed things up just a little with a star motif in the center of the runner. The quilting on the placemats repeats the quilting on ends of the runner.  Not only does it tie the two together nicely, it seems fitting because the runner is actually two placemats sewn to the sides of a center block.  

The pattern is written for six placemats or four placemats and the runner.  It's based on 40" width of fabric, but with 44" wide you could squeeze two more placemats from your strip sets. 

I'm really excited about this design.  I hesitated to write the pattern because there are a few bias edges to deal with, but they're small and really not a big deal in a project this size.  I included tips in the pattern about how to work with those edges, and my generous testers Judy Juhl and Pat Minnick  were very successful.  

I will definitely be making more of these.  Version two in Stonehenge Gradations fabric is already pieced and waiting for quilting.  Like I said, the piecing is quick.  I need a little more time for the quilting part :)

If you'd like to make your own, you can get the pattern in my Etsy shop or ask for it at your favourite quilt shop.

Echo Point is pictured on the cover in two colorways of
Banyan Batiks' upcoming Pebbles and Daisies collection