Tag Archives: 6-pointed star

Union

So much of last year was a blur. Because Jim and I were gone a lot, and because of the quilts I chose to make, I made fewer than I usually do. Three of them were particularly time-consuming and spread out over a long time.

One took especially long because it started last year as a UFO. By early July I had the top done. And some time in late August the top was quilted. But I think it was December before I finally got the binding on.

Its name is “Union.” Many quilts seem to name themselves, and occasionally I’ve asked you for help with names. This one took a lot of thought. The overriding factor in its name has to do with the six-pointed star, or hexagram that centers it.

The caption of the image in the wikipedia entry:  “A regular hexagram, {6}[2{3}]{6}, can be seen as a compound composed of an upwards (blue here) and downwards (pink) facing equilateral triangle, with their intersection as a regular hexagon (in green).”

In other words, the hexagram is the union of two equilateral triangles.

The symbol has been used for centuries around the world and within many religions. Many of us are familiar with the Star of David in Judaism, but it also is an important symbol in Eastern religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism. In Christianity, it is called the star of creation. Islamic artifacts and mosques feature it, as well.

Besides the religious connections, there are many others. If you watched the movie based on Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, you saw the interlocking triangles used to indicate “the divine union of male and female energy, where the male is represented by the upper triangle and the female by the lower one.”

Union. To me, the six-pointed star, which began this quilt and literally centers it, represents union or connection. We are all connected.

Union. Finished December 2017. Photo by Jim Ruebush.

The photo shows it is a bit ripply. This is due to the wool batting. I used remnants of wool from other projects. Some of it was thick and resilient, and some of it was very thin. Because of the irregularity of density and loft, I just kept stuffing more wool in as I went, trying to get a fairly consistent thickness through the whole quilt. Besides the rippliness, this has to be the heaviest quilt I’ve ever made.

Here are a few close-up pix to show the quilting and the loft provided by the wool.


This quilt was a puzzle from the beginning, which is why it started 2017 as a UFO. After a long journey, it is finished. It’s not a perfect quilt. When I look at it, I know there are things I would do differently if I were doing it again. Nevertheless, I’m pleased with how it turned out.

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Six-Pointed Star Is Off The Frame

Last week I looked at some very old posts from this blog. One noted a handful of UFOs, including the 6-pointed star. I needed to set the points in background and then figure out what else to do. That was more than four years ago, and already it was a challenging puzzle.

Besides the design puzzle, it also provided some good quilting puzzles. First up, the batting. I decided to quilt it with wool batting. I have two new batts in the closet, both large enough for this project. However, I also had largish chunks of remnants. I wondered if there was enough to use for a quilt finishing at about 80″ square. After pulling it all out of the closet and draping it across the floor, it was easy to see there was plenty. They were all the same brand, Hobbs. However, I found that each batting was substantially different. Some was thick, dense, and spongy. Some was thin and with little resiliency. Some varied in thickness and density from one side of the batting to the other. (The new batts in the closet are a different brand. I’m hoping for better consistency.)

The quilt center is large enough, with the large background setting, that I decided to use a double layer of batting to set it off. That gave another challenge — how to use those remnants to show the center off, and also have fairly consistent loft and density through the rest of it.

Big question: should I stitch all the batting pieces together before starting to quilt? Big answer: NO! It seemed like stitching would crush the edges. Instead I saved the piece I wanted for the center, and other than that, simply kept sliding in more pieces as I went. It was a pretty improvisational method, but it worked. You can see by the translucency in the photo below that there is no batting behind most of the quilt top at that point.

For most of my quilts I wouldn’t have the patience or see the need for “custom” quilting. Instead I use some kind of edge-to-edge design, such as loops and leaves, or spirals, or all-over feathering. This one, again because of the large center star and setting, seemed to call for more special treatment. I used a combination of free-motion quilting and ruler work on this quilt. In the photo above you can see I used blue painters’ tape to remind myself of where I wanted to put feathering. The tape is easy to use and move and move again with no damage to the fabric.

Here are a couple more photos of quilting in process.

I did long feathering on the outer borders, and ruler work on the inner border of 4-patches on point. It was easy to do the “top” and “bottom” borders with continuous movement, because they run parallel to the frame. Doing the side borders was more challenging. There are two choices: 1) do the side border quilting in small sections, as I advance the quilt on the frame; or 2) take the quilt off the frame, turn it 90°, making the side borders now at the “top” and “bottom.” I did the second.

Choosing the second method is easier in some ways and harder in others. For example, it requires big-stitch basting through all the areas to be quilted after turning. The basting stabilizes and secures the layers, so they don’t shift and pleat with turning.

When I got through the first time, I turned it and started again at the top.

The quilt isn’t finished, as I don’t have binding on it yet. But here it is, quilting finished and off the frame. The first photo shows some of the detail, while the second gives the big picture. You can see in both of them that the wool, especially in the center, gives a lot of stitch definition and texture.

I’ll finish with binding some day soon. And I need a name for it. (Any ideas?) Before that, though, I’m working on my class sample. I’ll show you progress on that soon.