Luminaries – a quilty road trip

Imagine my utter delight back in August 2018 when this parcel of gorgeous Alison Glass fabric arrived on my doorstep. The richness of the colour and the interplay of the individual fabrics with one another was so inspiring that I was itching to start a project with it straight away.

Road Trip – Alison Glass

I looked through my dropbox of patterns, and Luminary by Jamie Swanson jumped out at me immediately. It’s a great pattern for showing movement of colour and I thought it would be prefect for using all these fabrics mixed together. The pattern relies on you making strip sets, so step one, break out the rotary cutter and get stripping!

I organised my strips into three colourways – to represent the three layers of the star motif in the pattern.
The instructions in the pattern give great guidance for how to transition your colours within the strip sets so that you get that graduation of colour in the finished quilt, very clever stuff.
Eventually you have a large enough stripped piece to cut your diamond block from.

When I’d cut all my diamond blocks I laid them out and discovered that I had more then I needed for the original pattern. The original finishes at 42″ x 55″ and I knew I wanted something a little bigger than that, but not necessarily bed-sized. The leftover diamonds were enough to recreate the outer layer of the motif, leaving it with a hollow centre, some quilty maths were going to be needed for the next stage.

When I first started on the project I’d decided to use Kona Nightfall for the background. It was similar to the darker blues used in the Road Trip fabric and has the same richness and saturation of colour. It sets off the other colours beautifully.

Adapting the pattern to include a mirrored, off-set motif definitely called upon the Gods of quilty maths to smile down on me, but we got there in the end. Needless to say I didn’t anticipate blogging this photo when I laid the quilt down across a doormat.

Obligatory table-basting picture.
I think basting is the turning point in a quilt’s life, its rite of passage if you will. If it makes it past this point it becomes a much more tangible object, one which demands to be finished. I also feel that if I’ve invested the energy to baste something I owe it to myself to get it finished…
I hate basting!

Two weeks before I reached basting phase I’d welcomed a new man into my life, my hunky Janome 8200QCP who was promptly christened Jean Luc (because he ‘makes it sew’ – one for all the sewing Trekkies out there).

Working on a quilt on a machine with an 11″ throat was a whole new kind of wonderful and I felt confident in trying out some new things with my quilting. I decided on a combination of echo quilting around the motifs to create a border, filled with free-motion circles, and 1/2″ straight-line quilting across the rest of the negative space.

Chalk pencil at the ready I began marking up some circles to fill in my echoed borders. I wasn’t confident in going completely free-hand with no guide so tracing the larger circles helped a lot and I was able to fill in the gaps myself, giving me a bit of practice with pebble quilting.

The quilting took me much longer then I expected, with burying threads becoming my new ‘hand-sewing project’ wherever I went. Eventually, though, just after the new year it was done and ready for binding.

The quilt was bound with the Kona Nightfall background fabric, which gave it a lovely, seamless finish and left the two stars to shine as the only colour against the ‘night sky’. Last job was a label, something which I rarely ever get round to on quilts I make for myself but I’m glad I made the effort.

I’ve found it almost impossible to photograph the whole quilt whilst still showing the quilting detail, perhaps when the days are longer and brighter and I can get outside with it and a proper camera? Until then, I leave you with a ‘Quilts in the foyer’ shot that I took at Leeds Modern Quilt Guild in January. If you made it this far, thanks for joining me on this quilty road trip.

Luminaries – made by Alex Fox

14 thoughts on “Luminaries – a quilty road trip

  1. Oh, this is so wonderful! Well done. I love the touches to make the stars shine! And great to be following another ‘Janome’ & Star Trek lover!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is stunning!! I love everything about it! Congratulations on your finish on behalf of the 2019 FAL team.


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