The QM Scrap Squad is a select group of seven QM readers. They take one pattern from each regular issue of Quiltmaker and create their own scrappy versions to inspire you.
The Scrap Squad recently went to work using the Bella Amore pattern from the Nov/Dec issue. Below is the original Bella Amore, designed by Marianne Elizabeth, sewn by Pat Welch and quilted by Janet Lee Santeusanio. The fabric is Arabella Rose by Marianne Elizabeth for RJR Fabrics.
Today’s featured quilt is by Jackie Hughes. You’ll hear from Jackie in her own words below.
Lots and Lots of Stars!
My immediate thought when I saw this pattern was “red, white and blue,” perfect colors for a star quilt.
I got right to work pulling lots of reds, whites and blues. Reds and whites were easy, but there are endless shades of blue. I tried to pick blues that were a definite light, medium or dark shade.
The first block was easy. I liked the first combo I tried and it seemed like this quilt was going to be a quick one. I put six of Block Y on my design wall and then got to work on Block X.
I had a little trouble deciding on the color placement for the second block.
I tried several options and finally settled on one.
After sewing the quarter-triangle units I placed my pieces on the wall, only to discover that I really didn’t love it. It just wasn’t right.
Playing around a little more I discovered that the second block looked much better with a dark background. My blue and yellow units went into a baggie for some future project and I got busy sewing them again—this time with the navy background. I made all the centers royal blue. I was liking this more, and white circles were appearing in the design.
However I still hadn’t found the perfect color for the corner of each block. I had tried many options but nothing looked right. As I took down the reject triangles the white of the design wall showed through and I realized those triangles looked good just left white!
I was on a roll, cutting and sewing and using up so many scraps that I just kept making stars—more than the 12 stars in the layout the Scrap Squad received. I liked the medallion in the original quilt and as I put more stars on the wall I started thinking that maybe I could make a small one in the center.
That was kind of neat, but it seemed a little small and dark. So I decided to go for it, to make the large medallion and a lot more star blocks. Again I had to try a couple of color arrangements until I found the right ones.
The answer turned out to be three narrow borders, the white separating the red from the blue, and the center square to be blue.
After a few days of sewing all the star blocks were made. It was time to sew the rows together with the setting triangles. Because I had white triangles on the corner of my blocks and white setting triangles the edge of my design looked incomplete.
I solved this by replacing the tip of my setting triangle with a navy triangle.
This gave my blocks a more completed edge.
Almost done, the finish was in sight, just the border to go. I had planned to make my border red, white and blue, just like the border of the medaliion. However when I put my strips up on the wall, I found I really liked the look of no border, just a red or navy binding.
So, no borders to sew, my top was done and all I needed was to do the quilting. I decided to do an overall quilting design, loops and stars. Just one small problem, I had never quilted stars before. I pulled out some paper and pencil and drew LOTS of loops and stars until I felt I knew how to stitch it.
I used a great variegated thread that was red, white and blue. My loops and stars are far from perfect but by the time I had quilted the whole quilt I could see improvement!
And now…many, many different red, white and blue fabrics transformed into a beautiful quilt I call Bella Stars Forever.
I’m always amazed at Jackie’s persistence to get the quilt just right, even when it means resewing units, rethinking plans, redoing ideas! Wonderful job–this strikes up a patriotic tune in my heart!