Friday, September 02, 2016

Gwennie-Inspired Medallion QAL - Star Border Reveal!

 I was so excited about this month's assignment of stars in this next border!  But it hasn't been an easy-breezy task, for some reason.  As much as I love liberated stars, I really struggled with these borders this month.  And I barely finished in time.  And now I'm posting a day late, but better late than never!

For lack of a better name, I've named my two quilts Wide Basket and Tall Basket, at least until I can think up better names!  (I'm open to suggestions)

Wide Basket 30 1/2 " x 30 1/2 "

I decided to work on the Wide Basket top first, as this quilt seems to be harder for me to design and work on.  Possibly because of the limited number of fabrics and colors?  Using solids?  Who knows?

I didn't have a clear idea of where I wanted to go for this border, which makes progress hard to achieve.   And it was like pulling teeth Every. Single. Step. of the way.  But I dug in my heels and made it work, gosh darn it.  I'm not entirely happy with it, but I can't tell you why.  This quilt is the epitome of Gwen's liberated adage "If it's too short, add to it and if it's too long, chop some off."  I had to do some of both this month.

I made stars, to get started.  These finish at 4 1/2 inches.

I made some more stars.  I played with placement.  Nothing clicked for me.  Then I decided that I didn't want stars all the way around the quilt.  I want this quilt to get taller, not wider.  (I did achieve square, so that's a step in the right direction.)  So I tried coming up with other ideas of what to do. Meanwhile, we were having a heat wave and it was too hot to be upstairs in the quilt studio.  So I only sewed in the evening when it started cooling off.  

More rickrack sounded good.  I like that.  Then, after I made one star of each fabric, there were still big gaps around the border.  So I started looking through Gwen's books.  Aha!  How about some strings?  Sounds good to me!  So I made strings.

For some unknown reason, I cut those strings too short.  Now what?  Add to them, of course.  And that is why my strings have an inner border of the gold.  To make them fit.  And it works.

These two stars look like they're holding hands while they dance!
If you look closely at this photo, you can see that I had to add to the strings to get them to fit the length of the border.  I was concentrating so much on design that I had no brain left for math to get things to fit together properly.  So, I totally faked it.

This green star is one of my favorites.  I accidentally grabbed the wrong green for that one star point, and now it is even more liberated!  It makes me smile.  ;)

So now I have to really put on my thinking cap and come up with something to fit the prompt for September: "something fishy".  That sounds challenging.  I have a glimmer of an idea though, so hopefully this month's border might go easier.

Wendy at the Constant Quilter has given us the 5th and final prompt for the QAL and here are her thoughts:

Being from Maine, my theme choice for the final border is
“Something Fishy”
As with those who have gone before me (Lori, Cynthia, Cathy and Katy), you can interpret this as loosely as you like. Here are a few examples:
Fish fabric or appliques
Sea birds (they eat fish!)
Marine mammals (they eat fish too!)
Lighthouses (they see fish)
Boats (they catch fish)
Ovals and triangles (i.e. fish shaped)

So, Wendy's kind of left it wide open.  Possibilities!

Next up for some stars was the Tall Basket quilt.

This was my start.  I wanted to use the black polka dot fabric that I have in the center of each little log cabin for this "starry" border for some cohesion and to calm down that busy quilt a little.  I made very scrappy stars, because I love scrappy best.

Again, I didn't want stars completely surrounding the quilt top.  These little stars finish at 3 inches and take about 1/2 hour for each one.  They're fun to make, but they're not fast. 

Tall Basket 27" wide x 30" high
I love the way this came out!  I made the stars "dance" in the border, just to liven things up.  It's such a wild quilt top that ordinary just won't do.

side border detail

top border detail
Now to come up with "something fishy" for this top too!  Again, I have a little "seed" of an idea.  Hopefully it'll work out!

Be sure to go visit Lori's blog Humble Quilts to see the link-up for all the participants in the QAL.  There are some wonderfully fun and liberated medallion quilts being made!


  1. Okay, I have to confess that I like your tall basket best. I love the black background and the bright colors in a variety of prints. Wish I could help you figure out what it is about your fat basket that you aren't happy with but I'm at a loss there. It will be fun to see what you do with the fishy theme. I found the stars to be hard to come up with too. If the print I ordered works out I'll have fun with the fish. :- )

  2. I love both of your quilts. But I really love the polka dot border on the second quilt. Hugs

  3. It amazes me that you are doing two medallions--they are both so fun (and liberated)!

  4. I like them both, but the tall basket is my clear favorite! Love those bright colors sparkling against that dark background!

  5. I favor your tall basket over the other. Somehow, the black border and the dancing stars just pull everything together. I wonder what your "glimmer" for wide basket and "seed" for tall basket will become.
    --Nancy. (ndmessier @,

  6. Both are looking great! Love all that contrast, and especially the stars falling around the corners on the second one.

  7. Both are very beautiful. (I have not yet made mine... :( )

  8. I love the tall basket quilt - just fabulous. In one of the photos of the wide basket quilt, you have darker fabric strips on the left. I suspect a darker final border or even a narrow dark stop border before the fifth round might ease some of your discontent with that one (I adore the three borders but somehow the border with rick rack doesn't sing for me -- maybe it needs strings?) I cannot believe you are making TWO complete tops . . .

  9. Gorgeous..I like very much both ... they are original and liberated!

  10. Well, there is a compelling symmetry to the names "Wide Basket" and "Tall Basket, " I have to say. I would keep them!

    Both these turned out brilliantly, Sharon! They seem cohesive, but with plenty of energy and fun. I know how hard it is, and I am very impressed. Great job!

  11. Both of your pieces turned out very well. I like the fact that you don't have Stars all the way around the borders. Sometimes less gives you more to look at and think about. Gwenny would approve!

  12. I really like both quilts! Very liberated and the rickrack is so fun.

  13. So colorful and pretty. I love both of your quilts.

  14. I love the setting you used for your stars ! Very pretty and original !

  15. I love the setting you used for your stars ! Very pretty and original !

  16. I also prefer the Tall Basket. The colors sing to me and there is a lot of happy energy there. I'm with Julie about the blue border on the wide basket. It breaks the design. And the string blocks perpendicular to the borders aren't doing you any favors.

  17. You've done a wonderful job on both quilts - I particularly like the Wide Basket and the fact that you had to put in an extra piece to make the strings long enough. Just that little extra bit of detail that you wouldn't have had, but it's perfect.

  18. I love it all. You are motivating me. I am sitting here at the computer with a sorry face...Now, I say...get sewing this post.

  19. I love both and just when I thought the top one was my fav I saw your other one! Love that neutral black border. The rick rack is so sweet!

  20. Love both your pieces but the colours that speak to me most are the tall basket colours. I'm embracing bright lime green more recently.

    This round was fun, but I'm even later posting as I thought the first Monday was our posting date not the first! I got them done yesterday but posted today! Now about this fishy theme!

  21. So interesting that some phases in a quilt are just difficult. Your quilts are both looking wonderful so keep hanging in there! You're doing great!

  22. Love them both! Your color sense is great.

  23. These are looking great, and I like 'Wide Basket' and'Tall Basket' as names too. I especially love that with Wide Basket you really were making it up as you went along, but you made all the right decisions - I like the strips in with the stars, like the little yellow bits to make them the right size, like the one star made with the same fabric as your basket.

  24. Wonderful quilts, Wide Basket and Tall Basket. It was great reading your explanations/excuses!

    I need to try being liberated.

  25. I love tall basket! I want to see the strip sections and stars go all the way around wide basket.

  26. Wide Basket and Tall Basket immediately made me think of Native American names. I like them (the names) and the quilts!!


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