Friday, February 27, 2015

A Quilt for QuiltCon

I created Deconstructed Lonestar specifically for QuiltCon 2015, the international conference and show by and for The Modern Quilt Guild.

I was inspired by a traditional lone star quilt my mom made for me when I was in my twenties, long before I was interested in quilting myself.  I was looking at it recently and thinking about how striking the pattern is and how it might look with a more modern spin.  I was also inspired by this and this and this and this, all modern versions of the lone star pattern.  I then started to think about the idea of the star breaking off and exploding into space.  The concept of combining a traditional pattern with current fabrics and improvisational piecing resonated with me.  I drew up a basic star pattern, offset it towards a lower corner, and starting sketching over it with colored pencil.

I decided early on to use a cool palette of blues and greens for the star, and that I wanted those colors to pop against a darker background.  I was looking for more depth and interest in the negative space than I thought I could achieve with a solid gray.  I also wanted the construction of the piecing to be obvious, as I feel like that is a big part of what makes the lone star pattern so beautiful.  Since I knew it would be impossible to find assorted dark gray prints that worked together, it became clear that I should overdye the background fabrics myself, something I hadn't done before.  Because (ha!) why would I make the process easy??!  In the end, after collecting a variety of black-on-white prints, and learning as much as I could from everyone I know who had ever dyed fabric, I set to work.  It took two tries -- you can see the first (too light) version on the left and the final version on the right.

You can see my partially completed sketch for the design in the upper left corner of the photo above.  That's as far as I got with planning out the design.  I laid out the "shards" of the broken star as I went, until it looked right.

Here it is on the floor on my living room, almost complete!  I pieced the star in somewhat random strips that I then cut at a 45-degree angle, similar to this tutorial.  The broken points of the star are pieced in the same manner, but with more carefully placed strips of the gray fabric added, so those parts became negative space and faded into the background.

The quilting was influenced by a "Recipe for Spiraling" in the book Pamphlet Architecture 27:  Tooling, shown above.  I'm not adept at free motion quilting and was looking for a dynamic quilting design that I could quilt myself with a walking foot.  The authors of the book write that "Spiraling produces a shape unlike any other because it is seldom experienced as geometry, but rather as energy."  Seemed perfect to me.  You can see that I sketched the beginning of the spiral on the quilt top.  Thankfully, once it got big enough, I was able to use the edge of the walking foot to continue the shape until it was complete.

I love how the gray fabrics have a similar tone (or is it shade?), yet are still distinct.  I really pushed myself with this quilt and learned so much in the making of it.  It also reinforced for me how much I enjoy the process of design.  I finished binding and photographing the quilt the day submissions were due for the QuiltCon show, and was thrilled to find out a few weeks later that it was accepted into the show!

Then, on the first morning of QuiltCon, my quilt was awarded second place in the Modern Traditionalism category.  I'm still a little in shock!  Really, it was incredible just to see my quilt in the show.  You can see all of the amazing winning quilts in this post on The Modern Quilt Guild blog.  So many other fabulous quilts were on display, too.  If you're on Instagram, check out #quiltsofquiltcon or #quiltcon2015 to see many of them.  [The quilt on the left, above, is Fly Away by Heather Jones.]


  1. Thanks for posting your process

  2. What an ingenious idea - thanks for sharing the versions that inspired you and explaining your thought process. Congrat's - can't wait to see more of your creative ideas!

  3. Congratulations! I'm always trolling for lone stars and found yours. Its gorgeous!

  4. congratulations on winning a prize at QuiltCon, it was most definitely deserved, this quilt is a real stunner! I love the look of the background you achieved by hand dying the fabrics and I love the fractured look of the lone star made of all the different colours. Beautiful work!

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  6. Wow, love this quilt. Hope to see a pattern available for purchase.

  7. تتم الخدمات التي تقدمها شركة تنظيف منازل بالدمام من ابراج دبي على يد فريق متخصص مدرب من شركة تنظيف شقق بالدمام على استخدام احدث الوسائل و المعدات و مزود بأحدث المعدات

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