This is a Hunter’s Star square that I made for my first quilt. It was a beginning sampler quilt class taught by -lucky me!- Karen Buckley. Yes, it does have all straight seams and, yes, it is hand pieced. The whole quilt is hand pieced. Karen believed that a beginning class should not use sewing machines. I have always liked Hunter’s Stars and it is one of the classic two color quilts. But if you know me, you know that I could not do a two color quilt…..too boring!
Enter Jan Krentz, who wrote Hunter Star Quilts & Beyond about an easier way to cut and piece this pattern. Louann tells me that it was in 2004 that she and I took this class with Jan at the Colorado Quilt Colorado in Estes Park. The class project was a very beautiful variation of this design, but of course, I had a different idea! Mine involved making blue/green stars and magenta/pinky stars and alternating them across the quilt…… Remember this is a Colorado made quilt, so the color scheme included browns in the background. (Brown/gold scenery out the window, brown loveseats with dark greens and dark magentas and dark blues in the background)
Jan has a wonderful technique for making this pattern quickly and easily. My plan of alternating stars involved a lot more work. Louann did a very beautiful version of the class project and -got it done- but I took forever with mine. In my defense, I did work on it. But if you have made a scrappy quilt before, you understand that you do need lots of fabrics! If you look at the square above, you can see that in just that square, there are 8 “background colors” coming together (green, paisley, green, paisley) and then if you want to make every point of the star a different color, that’s 8 blue/greens or 8 magenta/pinks! The “background” pieces are large and some of the fabrics I used had very distinctive patterns, so I had to make sure that they weren’t too close together…. That’s a lot of fabric! I lived fairly close to Boulder, so as I recall, I placed an order to eQuilter every few days! And the next day a squishy envelope would arrive, I’d wash the fabric, cut and sew them and add them to the design wall. When I had a section I liked, I would sew it all together.
I was pleased when I finally completed the top. I should probably have had it professionally machine quilted, as I would have been using it all these years. But no, since I had put all that effort into the different-colored stars, I wanted to quilt around each one. It would have cost a lot of money to have a machine quilter do that. So I waited to get better at machine quilting… I finally decided that I should quilt it. I bought some green thread and some magenta thread and a variegated brown thread. I machine quilted each star in its appropriate color. I like to hand finish all of my sewing threads and so I would quilt a lot during the day and then at night, I would sew all the ends in…… it was a lot of work but that’s how I like to do it.
Machine quilting the quilt was pretty unpleasant and I have learned one lesson…… keep the quilt top away from the cats! You have seen several pictures of the cats lying on this quilt and in total, 4 different cats have enjoyed sleeping on it! It was covered in cat fur and at times, it made me sneeze!. When I washed it, I put it in the dryer for 20 minutes of air dry to get the fuzz off. That helped, but I still am pulling off little wads of fur that were quilted on it…ugh!
And here is the label which I printed on white fabric. I had no idea that the browns were running and here is the newly “dyed” label. I actually quite like it – the white was too stark but I was too lazy to look for a better color.
The temperatures are in the90’s today, but I know this Fall when I am cold at night that I will enjoy snuggling under this quilt!!! (And picking cat fuzzies off!)