Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Circling the Shadow Star Quilt

(Fascism develops) not just through the terror of police intimidation, but by denying and distorting information, by undermining systems of justice, by paralyzing the education system, and by spreading in a myriad subtle ways nostalgia for a world where order reigned.
~Primo Levi

Quilting


The border of Shadow Stars caused me lots of trouble. My great-aunt's quilt didn't have any border but adding one would update the design. Over the years I've seen many beautiful borders. For example, this gorgeous Weeping Willow tree border from an antique quilt in the American Folk Art Museum has long been one I'd like to interpret. My skill set is not up for those but pieced Pine Trees seemed like a good idea until I realized that putting them on point left too much open space {and I couldn't figure out a way to fill it that didn't overpower the rest of the quilt.} So those blocks and the Shadow Stars rested for a while; the tree blocks are still resting.

Eventually appliqué became the solution. There's an appliqué vine on the Spiderwebs but I didn't want to repeat the sinusoidal wave of that vine. Nor did I want raw edge appliqué. The Stars called for turned edge. Linda Jenkins and Becky Goldsmith made a straight vine on one of their quilts. Love the shading of the background here. But it seemed too contemporary with my white stars. 

When a family friend now in college took flower arranging for her art elective, she shared some of her work at Zoom dinners. Now I know what Hogarth curves are. Those S-shaped designs wouldn't fit in this space but they got me thinking about the many Baltimore album quilts with beautifully elaborate vases.  It took many iterations to simplify one of those into this border. There wasn't room for lots of flower height above the vase and the vase itself is so basic. No reverse applique, no curlicues. OTOH, fussy cutting a large print elevates the vase.

Once the borders were attached, there was too much contrast between them and the center. Who'd have thought pale blue, green, and white could create such a stark difference. The green is stronger so adding some light blue to the center might be the answer. 

Blending border and center by adding small blue circles
Shadow Stars with small circles only

The first circle attempts were small but slightly larger than the center post but the border delineation still seems too sharp. Adding only half circles along the border creates a bit of fuzziness but the center is stark.

Blending border and center by adding blue half-circles
Shadow Stars with border half circles only

It's more work but the quilt needs these dots/circles/spots of color in both places - at the posts and along the border. But now the circles seem vanishingly small. Too innocuous?


Blending border and center by adding blue circles and half-circles
Shadow Stars with small circles and border half circles

Just to be safe, I tested larger circles at the posts. They overpower the stars.

Blending border and center with large blue circles and half-circles
Shadow Stars with large circles and border half circles

I snapped a quick photo when the work was half done to double check. On the left is a complete contingent of circles while on the right the circles are only along the border. FYI, everything is hand appliquéd but the border circles are only sewn halfway. When they are all attached, I'll go back and resew the border so the other half of those circles will disappear. Simply appliquéing them all around won't work; some of the leaves are in the way.


Shadow Stars circles in progress


This was perfect work for the evening hours. It took a few days to finish, then I rechecked all the seams looking for twisting. 

Shadow Star quilt top ready to quilt

Now it's off to my longarm quilter. I decided not quilt anything this large again. Smaller work is better for me these days. {We'll see how long that resolution lasts.} I'm looking forward to this as a summer quilt on the bed. 

Reading

Madeleine Albright, former US Secretary of State, wrote Fascism: A Warning in 2018 but it's even more pertinent now. She starts with the beginnings of fascism in Mussolini's Italy and moves to Hitler. Subsequent chapters discuss more current world leaders.

She defines fascism as "majority rule without any minority rights... that involves the endorsement and use of violence to achieve political goals and stay in power. It's a bully with an army."

Her solutions are to get involved locally and talk with people with whom you disagree. Good starts. We also need to ground discussions in reality rather than conspiracy. 
Enjoy the day, Ann

31 comments:

  1. Wow ..... it took a while and many decisions to get there, but you did it! Beautiful work!

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    1. Thanks. It's been a long ride. I'm so glad it's gone to the long arm quilter.

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  2. I’ve loved following the progress of this quilt Ann. Thank you for sharing your decision process and the links today are beautiful! Also an interesting book to add to my list. Great post!

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    1. Thanks, Tammy. I'm glad you enjoyed it although I think it's taken me a couple of years.

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  3. apparently there is a portion of Americans who want a dictator...
    that quilt is a lifetime achievement award in my book

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    1. Madeleine wrote that people like dictators in stressful times because they are decisive and seem to have answers. Too bad they don't like to think for themselves.
      This quilt seems to have taken a lifetime although it's only been a couple of years.

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  4. I am so happy to see these Shadow Stars in the forefront again. What I like, nay love best is the way you have added the squares around the star going from dark to light so that it appears to melt into the background. It is not very obvious up close but conveys a magical effect when one steps away. Further the illusion of a circle is just perfect. So when you talk about those little blue dots or half-dots at the intersections or next to the borders...well to me that is just small potatoes :-P Ann, I am sure this will be an heirloom piece. If you wish to share the pattern for those gorgeous, ethereal star blocks, I'd be very interested :-)

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    1. That was the part that always intrigued me about my Great-Aunt's quilt. I love how it fades into the background and how it appears circular.
      I'm not exactly sure where the pattern is right now. We moved and stuff is in transit.

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  5. So much work and attention to detail here, and it has really paid off. This is a fabulous top; I especially like how you have updated the traditional design and given it a modern edge, without overpowering your beautiful stars. Thanks for all the links too - I have clicked through every one!

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    1. How kind of you, Kaja. I always loved my Great-Aunt's quilt but didn't want to completely replicate it. And I've worried the border is too large and strong for the stars. I'm glad you enjoyed the links. I did, too.

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  6. Great quilt! What size is the block? I know you drafted it from a newspaper clipping found with your Aunt Edith’s things, so have you published it to sell?
    Thanks,
    Linda

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    1. We are in the process of moving so I'm not sure where anything is right now. En route is all I can say. I think the blocks are 15 or 16 inches. This is a very large quilt.

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    2. Thanks! I think I might challenge myself to draft a version of this for my own pleasure with no intention to publish. I retired from the quilting circuit, fabric designing and writing books in 2015 and loving the freedom to design for myself. Good luck with your move, Ann!

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  7. There is a vintage Aunt Martha's booklet listed on eBay and also Etsy, which has this pattern. Title is "Quilts Modern--Colonial", No. 3333. Dot

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  8. Ann, it is absolutely lovely. The vine border gently frames the sparkling stars.

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    1. Thanks, Nann. I enjoyed making it but am glad to be done... almost.

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  9. Love the quilt- perfect for summer bedding. Thank you for the book recommendation. I recall hearing an interview a few months ago with Madeleine Albright and I intended to purchase the book.. You have given me the prod to do it this week.

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    1. I plan to use it as a summer quilt, Barb. How fortunate you were able to hear Madeleine. It’s a readable book.

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  10. The dots added just the right touch! They want to overthrow the government, but I have never heard their plan for it's replacement - kind of like Obamacare.

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    1. Thanks, Patty.
      Some people want others to do their thinking. So much easier than working through problems themselves. Sure wish we still had ACA with teeth.

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  11. A lovely lovely quilt! So much to look at, love all the detail! I also love your fresh modern vibe to this traditional block.

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    1. Thanks, Linda. It’s been fun to finally make this quilt and update it

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  12. WOW, that is going to be fabulous when you get done!

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  13. Oh wow! I just love how your little blue circles finish everything off so perfectly! This sort of detail just makes me so happy. What an incredible looking quilt! Can hardly wait to see it with the quilting texture added. It will take it to the next level of amazing I'm sure.:)

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    1. Thanks, Audrey. Funny how we have to keep fidgeting with a design until it looks right to us. I can't wait to see what Peg's phenomenal quilting does, too.

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  14. Just catching up with my blog reading and enjoyed your post very much! I also design many of my own quilts so it’s interesting to read about how others approach similar design challenges. I just struggled with an “on point vs. straight set” decision and how much space the former takes. The blue dots look like a great decision to tie your quilt together and I love your appliqué border! (My blog can be accessed through gladiquilts.net).

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    1. Your post about on point vs straight set reminds me I have a set of blocks that seriously need to get put together, too. Several more steps left including the posts. I need to seriously consider an applique border there so I will watch yours develop with great interest.

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