It’s always inspiring to be around the office after Jaime and Amber have come back from quilt market with new fabric bundles of soon-to-be-released prints. When I saw the stack of Ellen Baker’s new line “Paint”, I was excited to get started on the Double Star Quilt Pattern. I had a variety of prints in various color ways that looked beautiful when stacked together and challenged my color eye as I tried different ways to lay out the star and border. After a lot of collaborating with friends, I decided to use the lighter fabrics for the (A) Star Colors and then used the solid double gauze to help make those colors pop against the darker (B) Background Fabrics. Planning out the quilt is one of my favorite processes in sewing and with the help of others around me, I’m really happy with the way all the prints and colors balance throughout the quilt.
Pattern: Double Star Quilt Pattern by Fancy Tiger Crafts
Materials: Main fabrics – Paint by Ellen Baker (A) Star Colors: ½ yard cut in Texture, ½ yard cut Loops in Cream (B) Background Fabrics: Six ½ yard cuts (Loops in Navy & Slate, Darts in Navy, Black & Berry, Texture in Navy), ½ yard cut Bespoke in Indigo, ½ yard cut Robert Kaufman Double Gauze Chambray Black, 2 5/8 yards Essex Yarn Dyed Homespun in Limestone
Size Made: 54” x 54”
This was my first time piecing together an entire double gauze quilt top and one of the biggest lessons I learned while making this project was the difference between using double gauze and regular quilting cotton for this kind of project. Double gauze is two very thin gauze layers fused together by stitches to create a soft fabric. When cutting out the squares, I gave myself some extra room to trim down the pieces after starching the fabric. Ironing the double gauze directionally with the grainlines was also important as I starched the squares. If ironed at an angle, the fabric will skew, making squaring up the block difficult. Starching the fabric before trimming helped keep the blocks crisp and square before piecing together the star.
I shortened my stitch length when sewing with the double gauze in order to keep the fine threads from fraying below the ¼” line. This only proved challenging when I had to take a few blocks apart because I did not plan out my half-square triangles for the star properly. I learned to take my time on the quilt and not to rush just to try to get it finished. As I relaxed throughout the process, getting my points to match and patterns to blend came more easily.
I wanted to top-stitch the quilt myself and given all the color and patterns, a simple straight stitch seemed to compliment the top best. I discovered this after spending some time trying to sew curved lines before realizing that straight lines are much easier to follow. Once I started straight stitching, I was able to quickly get the top done. I used a quilting foot, matched my bobbin to the backing fabric and used a light grey for the top to bring all the layers together. I am always looking for ways to improve my quilting skills and using double gauze made me slow down my process, pay attention to things like ironing and starching, and how to use new tools for quilting like the Janome walking foot and Dritz Soft Grip Oval Clips for topstitching.
The colors and patterns in “Paint” by Ellen Baker for Kokka fall perfectly into the kinds of textures and prints that I’m drawn to in each of my projects. There’s a bit of metallic, beautiful blues and teals, pops of color, soft neutrals and a mix of patterns and styles that were exciting to watch come together in the double star quilt top. The pattern was easy to follow and if sewn with a proper ¼” seam, points match easily. The back of the quilt is Essex Yarn Dyed Homespun (55% linen 45% cotton) which provides a soft backing while adding body to the quilt. Washing the quilt will bring out the texture in both the double gauze and Essex, giving the quilt extra body and warmth. From choosing the fabrics to finishing the binding, I enjoyed each process and learned more about quilting, fabrics and new patterns that will help me through future crafts and projects. I look forward to enjoying the quilt for years to come!