Monday, August 26, 2019

Bright Stars on Black Quilt Finished!

I mentioned I'd been working on the quilting of the Bright Stars on Black quilt but had to put it away while entertaining company. When I was ready for my living room to be taken over by my sewing machine and paraphernalia again, I brought it out and continued the job.

The first thing I did was figure out where my bright strips were going to go for the binding flange and then pieced the pieces together. I didn't have enough length or variety to match the colours of the inside stars, but I followed the general flow from one colour to the next as best I could.

I hand stitched the flange on all four sides to baste it in place and sewed the binding to the back instead of the front. That was so I could fold it over to the front,
 and use some more "big stitch" sewing to finish the binding.
I used two strands of floss (as I did in the center) and changed the colour to match the thread colour used for the stars in the border.
You can see the floss on the binding stitching
change from orange on the left to green on the right.
Although I did mitre the corners of the binding like usual, I simply overlapped the ends of the flange:
I like the colour it gives on the perimeter of the quilt, but the flange is rather sloppy, as you can see here,
 and here:
I think I could have pulled the flange tighter when I applied it (and that's what I'll try next time). Since this is put together already, I am considering sewing the flange down. It would be about the same amount of sewing as sewing a binding down. Or I could let go of perfection expectations and just enjoy a little "texture" on the quilt!

Before I sewed the binding on, I tucked in a hanging sleeve. The top is sewn in with the binding and the bottom is sewn by hand to the back of the quilt.
The sleeve doesn't run all the way to the edge of the
quilt. You leave a little room for the hanging hardware.
The sleeve was sewn from strips of the backing that were cut off the sides of the quilt. I had never thought of that before, but I'll keep it in mind. You often cut off about 4" when you trim a quilt and a hanging sleeve is usually made from an 8" strip. So sewing two of them together would usually work. (In case you're wondering why the hanging sleeve looks so loose, it's done on purpose to leave room for the hanging bar.)

Here is the quilt on a bed:
 The center part covers the width of the bed, and the border hangs over the edge nicely.
I didn't specifically plan for that it's not too surprising. By that I mean, if the centre had worked out to be much larger, I wouldn't have added a border. If it was much smaller, I would have added two borders. Although I didn't make it "for" my bed, I did want it to be a bigger quilt (without becoming a king size!)

I've shown the quilting I did in the center, but I don't think I've shown the borders. I did some dot-to-dot quilting between the border stars. (The straight lines below.)
I was going to echo the angle in the outer part of the border to get triangle shapes or maybe a zig zag, but when I drew it out (in chalk directly on the quilt) it just didn't work because I didn't put an equal amount of space between the stars. Then I thought of just going straight down the border adding simplified "line stars" wherever it seemed best. I liked it.

So I decided to add the same kind of stars between the centre stars. The first one I did had three "scattered" stars, not lining them up.
Then I realized it would be easier to just imitate the border stars and do the three of them on a continuous line:
That save me a few starts and stops.

At the sides where there was a little more space to fill up, I made a "T" at one end and added some stars there too.
In the areas where there was even more space, I again filled it in with scattered stars before realizing that three lines of stars would fill the space just as well. (Again, with many fewer starts and stops!)
Here is the entire quilt:
And the back:
The coloured floss is more visible to the eye than on camera, but I think you can get the idea.

Project Summary
This was a fun quilt to make. I started it in 2017 after two things happened. I saw the Pecking Order quilt tutorial from Missouri Star Quilt Company and my first thought was that it would look great with bright fabric on a black background. Then soon after, I got a lot of black fabric! (A lot!) The fabric didn't have the best feel to it, but it was sold as quilt backing so I decided it was good enough quality to use. It was all in small chunks (about 11x17) with a few very long strips (which were great for the borders and binding!)

Since all the center blocks units are the same (the stars are created with the arrangements of the units), I pulled out some scraps and made units to my hearts content. I thought I had kept track, but when I finally got to putting the top together, I had enough for two tops!! This gave me plenty to chose from to make stars from units with similar colours. And once I had the stars together, I laid them out to figure out the arrangement. I really like the ombre rainbow effect, but I didn't go into the project planning it.

I like to use leftovers from the front on the back, so that is where the flying geese (the triangles) come from. The rest of the back is pieced from the never ending black fabric. Like I said, it doesn't have the best feel, but I just couldn't justify using other fabric when I had all this black fabric to use up. I pieced two 7x14 pieces together to end up with a 14x14 square. (All finished measurements, in case you're wondering how that worked.) Then I sewed the squares together, alternating the seam from horizontal to vertical so that two seams never met.

I didn't keep careful track, but I am quite sure that I did not buy any new fabric for this quilt. It helps when you get a boatload of black to work with and the rest of the pieces can use small scraps. But I did approach the quilt with an attitude of using what I had and seeing what I could make of it.

Size: 91" square
Started: September 2017
Finished: August 2019
Batting: wool
Pattern: centre based on the Pecking Order quilt by Missouri Star Quilt Company. I designed the rest, including borders.


  1. I have loved this quilt since the first time you posted photos of the project. Truly a masterpiece, and wonderful that you used scraps and what you had! Trying every day to follow your example!!!

    1. Thank you! I do love working with scraps, but fortunately you don't have to choose--you only get scraps after using new fabric! :)


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