Confident BeginnerA Jack of no Trades
Under the Stars Quilt Top
HAPPY QUILT MARKET Y’ALLLLLLLLL!
Man, how I wish I was rocking that #Houstin life right now, kicking it with Beyonce and ordering all of next years Cotton+Steel fabrics for my make-believe quilting store. Alas, I am not ’bout that H town, coming coming down, but I am still in my pajamas although I have to be at work in 45 minutes. #priorities
Now, let’s get down to business!
First things first, let’s just get this out of the way: Jenny Doan from the Missouri Star Quilt Company is my sewing godmother, and the reason I became obsessed with quilting. I highly recommend checking out all of the MSQC videos on you-tube and staying up oh so very late into the evening obsessively matching all of the amazing tutorials with fabric pattern collections in some sort of quilting Good Will Hunting scenario.
SO, the story begins: it was a dark and stormy night….
JKJKJK, it was probably a very normal evening where I should have been doing something productive like vacuuming or working out, but instead I was obsessively clicking though the backlog of quilting videos and zoning out of any of my actual adult problems. It was then that I stumbled upon the majesty that is the Under The Stars block. cue angelic hymns
Now, being a #truewitch, I immediately saw the potential of a gorgeous witchy-mega-moon-vibe Under the Stars quilt with the release of Janet Clare‘s Nocturne collection that had recently been released by Moda Fabrics. Like, could there be a better match made in heaven? I just don’t think so. And, heck yas kweens, the video tutorial is only 12 minutes and 38 seconds long! How hard could this quilt actually be, right? YAP RIGHT!! So, with that super legit logic settled, I headed to my e-bbf fabric company, Dinkydoo Fabrics and Notions, and ordered me some pre-cuts.
FYI: this picture was posted on my Instagram on August 26th, 2015. Now, I am an English Major and ‘math’ isn’t really my thing, but believe me when I say that this process took much more than 12 minutes and 38 seconds.
Anyways, back to 2015: with Netflix on queue and a very sharp rotary cutter, I settled in for a wild pre-cut adventure. Just a head’s up: The X-Files and me were in a very heated love affair during the summer of 2015 (that information will prove relevant for the remainder of this post).
First things first: cut up your jelly roll 2.5″ strips into 5″ rectangles. Easy as pie! If all of the steps are going to be like that, this quilt is going to finish itself in no time!
Next up: cutting what seemed to be (and what I believe amounted to) ONE HUNDRED MILLION BILLION white squares, at 1.5″ and 2.5″ sizes. It was during this epic cutting fest that began to question every decision I have ever made. Why did I choose this pattern? Why did I ever like quilting? What is the point of life even?! Just like how Skully questions how aliens exist each and every time Mulder suggests them ALTHOUGH SHE HAS LITERALLY SEEN ALIENS AND HAD AN ALIEN BABY. C’mon Skully, get it together.
I did totally love how my selvages and my Netflix binge matched up perfectly. Look at those little UFO’s! A total Mulder dream world over here. I’d invite Season One and Two Fox Mulder to hang out under my quilt any day. The offer also extends to any season (or any day really) Gillian Anderson. Like, blonde Hannibal realness cmon girl yaaas. Moving on.
Next step! Remember those million billion squares I just cut? Yeaaaahhhh, now it’s time to individual sew each tiny square. Where is this 12 fucking minutes of work, Jenny?! I FEEL A LITTLE BIT LIED TO RIGHT NOW.
Chain-piecing became by actual best friend during this step. I just rocked that 45 degree angle over and over again like it ain’t no thang. Eventually, when life itself was over and no other earthly being remained on this planet and I was left alone in a barren hellscape of fire and rock, I had finished snowballin’ all of the little squares to the corners of the rectangles (yeah, I read that too…it does sound dirty). However, I have condensed those eons of time into a short little gif for your eyeballs! Look how fast that time goes by in retrospect (and in gif format).
Now, here is the make or break of any quilt: the layout. This step is always my true nemesis in quilt top making. Firstly, it took forever to figure out the placement where no matching patterns touched and that had a good balance of light and dark in the same area. However, I have a quilting curse that follows me around to every quilt that I create: no matter how extensive the planning, nor how meticulous I am gathering and organizing the piles, something always messes up and I always have a row or two that are out of order. WHY, QUILTING GODS, WHY?! This happened here too, but at least I had a million billion other pieces to quickly swap out and reorganize with relative ease.
I actually had to lay out all of my pieces on my king sized bed and even then I was barely able to fit everything all together. How freaking nerve-wracking is that?! Goodbye little baby quilts experience, I needed to get ready for the biggest quilt of my entire quilting life.
Oh man, here is the final countdown. Cue energetic music. Get those fists a-pumping. Let’s get sewing!
So, the basis of this quilt (if you didn’t feel like watching Jenny earlier) is: a strip of your charm pack pieces (5″ squares) with a rectangular block repeated for one row and then a sashing piece with a rectangular block and a 2.5″ white square repeated. I believe Jenny went horizontal when putting her pieces together, but I opted to go vertical as that is how I usually sew my quilts together. So, you go one row with squares, one row of sashing, one row with squares and your star pattern emerges! I was totally enamored when I got my first three rows together. Like, hi little moon babies! Hi little quilty star magic! This is lunar love, people, and I can’t stop ogling.
The biggest challenge is to make sure you match up all of your corners on the star block so that everything makes proper square, and to make sure to only sew the 1/4″ seam allowance on your snowballed edges so that your start points come out on fleek. The great thing about this quilt top is that there are approximately 100 little stars, so if one isn’t absolutely perfect no one will really notice. Here is a little close up on one of those stars. See, look how fun quilting is!
So, all of you hard math heads out there can figure out that if this quilt has 100 stars, it means I had to sew 100 2.5″ squares and, hold on to your butts, 880 1.5″ squares. What the actual dear god in heaven (juuuuust kidding, this isn’t a surprise: Jenny told me it would be this way, remember?). But like, there is a huge difference from being told that you will be sewing 900 little squares and actually cutting and sewing 900 little squares. Heed my advice people.
Now! Big reveal (j.k. you probably saw this from the thumbnail duhhh): My Nocturne Under The Stars Quilt Top realness yaaaasss kween yas!
The quilt top did not end up being as big as a king-sized bed, as all of those little quarter inch seams really snugged it up a bit, but it is approximately 68.5″ by 67″ (sewing, it’s not always an ‘exact science’ right?) which is just a little short of a queen size quilt.
Now, you may be wondering why I keep calling it a ‘quilt top’. Seeee the thing is, I haven’t actually quilted it yet. A bit of back story: the very first quilt top I ever made (maybe I will blog about that eventually?) I was totally enamored with. I loved it to pieces (haha, get it? #quiltpun). It was an equilateral triangle quilt and everything was perfect (or as perfect as a first quilt was going to get). Then, I tried to do some fancy-ass quilting on it and it came out hella wonky. Like, absolutely one hundred percent noticeable from far away wonky, and looking at that quilt kills my soul sometimes. So, I have quilter’s paralysis with this top, I just can’t touch it.
Because of this fear, and because my quilting sewing machine is probably on it’s last legs, I kind of have a dream of long-arm quilting this guy. I know right?! Who do you think you are, you confident beginner you! The Workroom in Toronto has beginner Long Arm Quilting classes that I am so super jealous of, but I do not know of any such thing in Vancouver. I bet the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild would have all of this information, but I have yet to make it to one of their meetings (but I want to so so bad!!) Working an early evening shift means you miss out on everything cool all of the time #firstworldproblems. Anyways, stop complaining Natasha. Look at this darn top! Look at those moons, god they are just so dang cute.
‘So, if you won’t quilt this beast, where is it now, Natasha?’ is a question you would ask if you have not recently visited my humble abode. This dude is currently hanging triumphantly in my living room for all to see (and for me to ogle daily, of course). Even if I never actually get to quilting it, it will have had a great and long life as a wonderful centerpiece on my otherwise white, white walls.
I, of course, have another Nocturne quilt idea in the back of my mind already, and duhhhh I have already purchased the pre-cuts because THAT IS WHAT AN ADDICTION IS, PEOPLE.
For now, I will leave you all with a total cliche quilter’s picture that I refused not to take and made Brian reshoot about 100 times before I got it 💯💯💯. You know readers, it’s all about branding, and I am all about that #instafame all day every day.
Stay sexy, you fellow readers.
PS. Oh shit guys, have you seen these new god damn emojis? There’s a freaking selfie emoji 🤳 what is this world even. And a burrito 🥙 which is actually necessary. And even a 🦍🦍🦍 #dicksoutforharambe
kk for real peace out.