Wednesday, January 10, 2018

what i gave for christmas - a stella grande constellation

if you're an old blogging friend, you might remember christmas 2013 i tried to give each of my 7 children a quilt. in short - it didn't work. some children got quilts and others got pieces of a quilt. eventually, all of those quilts got done. (now that i think of it, d4 and i never did anything with her applique flowers, so i guess they didn't all get done. darn.) however, my dream of gifting a quilt to each of them at christmas fell decidedly short.

fast forward 4 years to the beginning of 2017, and i began experimenting with color combinations in a very simple and easy pattern: a giant sawtooth star with borders that i dubbed "stella grande." i could complete one of these quilts in about a week and had plans to make a different one each month. i had in the back of my mind that i could easily have a quilt for each child this christmas. since it would be the last christmas with all my children at home, i really treasured that idea.

but my life got in the way, as it so often does. i completed 3 stella grande quilts in the first few months of the year, and started 2 more. but none of those were the quilts i had planned for my children. once may hit, we were heading into summer and travel season, when i get no sewing done at all. christmas wasn't even on my mind.

even in the fall, i did very little sewing. when thanksgiving approached in november, i had one of the seven needed quilts mostly finished, and another started. but that one quilt had been quite difficult. i had tension issues with the quilting that i hadn't had on my previous stella grande quilts, and it took me the better part of a month just to quilt. i decided to accept the inevitable - i would not be gifting quilts this year, either.

in early december, i simply changed my mind. i knew it was now or never for this little dream of mine, and i chose to go for it. time was even shorter, but i sat down with my plans and decided on the solids i would need, and went to the store for a huge stack of kona cottons. i had gathered the backings, which were all prints, for the quilts earlier in the year. i had a general idea of color scheme and theme for each child, and the backing prints were the basis for those. once i picked matching solids, i was well on my way.

my husband conveniently went out of town a few times in december, which left me slightly more time than usual to quilt. it was still not quite enough, but i decided a reduced version of my goal would be perfectly acceptable. i got each top and backing made, and basted the quilt sandwich. by getting the quilts to this point, they felt like quilts and were presentable enough for me to gift.

and here they are, oldest to youngest, left to right:

d1, 19: mary, mary star contrary

s1, 17: rubix star

d2, 15: etoile de patisserie

s2, 13: star on the field

d3, 11: radiant suzy

d4, 9: star in the fairy forest

d5, 6: neopolitan sundae in pewter

each quilt has some slight variation from the original pattern to it. there are so many ways to go with this one basic pattern - sometimes it was a border change, other times the number or placement of colors. i've now tried out 12 versions, and i could keep going. but aside from finishing these quilts, i'm going to let 2017 be "the year of the star" and move on, or back to, other projects. i do have a handful of christmas-themed stella grandes i want to make, but that will wait for the next holiday season.

maybe i'll even get the tutorial written up by then and have a quilt along for anyone wanting a quick gift quilt. maybe.

what you get from a 17 year old boy when you ask for a picture from behind

my dear 6 year-old dslr was giving me problems over christmas, so i did not get the photo shoot of these quilts i had envisioned, but i'm happy enough with the capture. i have plenty of quilting and binding to take me into this new year. perhaps when they are all truly done, we'll get better photos with a more functional camera. for now, i'm accepting the incompleteness and imperfections of all.


  1. Your quilts turned out great! What lucky kids you have.

  2. All of the quilts turned out beautiful

  3. I just came to your blog to see if you had a tutorial yet for these quilts :-) I would love to do a quilt along - maybe in time for gifts for Christmas this year! No pressure or anything though!


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