Monday, 27 May 2013

Star and Elephant Quilt

This is a quilt I started for my sister in September, unfortunately I didn’t finish it as soon as I would have liked to but quite a few events got in the way. I have now finished with it and feel I learnt a lot working on this quilt as it is the first quilt I have made by machine.

In a previous post I discussed how I chose the fabrics for this quilt, if you wanted to read it.

I was following a pattern in a book called Love....quilting. This was ok, but it did leave out quite a few key instructions and I felt that the instructions were not very clear. Also it would have been good to have close up photos and one of the back of the quilt, you can never have too many photos in a project book.


I worked on it step by step, so I cut out all of pieces first and then started to sew the blocks.

The stars are a Sawtooth star and this is started by making flying geese blocks, I had to look up how to make the parts online and found a useful and quick method. It did mean there was a bit of waste with all of the small triangles cut out, but I’m sure I will use them for something else.

Blocks ready to stitch together
Flying Geese

One almost finished block

Once I had made the star blocks I then sewed on the grey borders and started to plan the quilt layout. As I had 5 blocks with the blue star fabric on the stars and seven with the plain blue, I decided to have a blue star block in each corner and one on the front of the quillow.

Quilt top

Next I cut the large squares in the Washi fabric to go between the star blocks. I don’t think I had cut this as accurately as I should have as later on I had some difficulty getting all the blocks to match up in size, later this affected the quilting. As I needed to cut diamond shapes, this meant I had to cut the fabric on the bias which meant it was stretchier to sew.

Once I finished all the blocks I used a bright pink fabric as the border. In the book they used 2 borders even though they did not tell you what size to cut them to. I only used one border as I was running out of time and felt the quilt was a good size.

I used some wadding off the roll which was bought from a local shop. For the backing I used an Egyptian cotton sheet, which was left over from the backing on my hexagon quilt.

Planning the layout of the blocks - not quite enough floor space!


I had a lot of problems with the quilting. I couldn’t seem to get it started right and I was left with lots of creases and bumps. I must have taken the quilt apart about 3 times and re basted it each time, but still the back looked terrible. Also I was laying it out on my dining room floor and there wasn’t enough space to get it completely flat. I looked online and someone mentioned that I should be using a walking foot.

Once I started to use the walking foot it seemed better but I still had the odd crease and fold. As I had started the quilting about 4 times by now, I did just want to get it finished and not mess around anymore.

It took some of practise to ensure I was stitching in the ditch on the top side and that the lines were straight and attractive as possible on the back. This problem goes back to not cutting the fabric out accurately at the start.


For the quillow pocket part I made up one block and did a pink border for it, I then put some wadding behind it with some white fabric and quilted the pattern.


I used a yellow fabric for the binding as I felt there was enough blue and pink already and knew my sister would like it nice and bright (if it was for me I probably wouldn’t have chose yellow next to the pink.) While sewing the binding I also attached the pocket which went well. I then stitched up the sides of the pocket and binding by hand.

Finished quilt

Close up of the front
The quilt back with pocket in the middle at the bottom edge
I was quite nervous to first fold it away in case something had gone wrong, but luckily the quilt fitted in fine and was easy to get out again. Once again I looked up online how to fold a quillow.

All folded away

It was then posted off to Wales to my sister and she was delighted with it. Surprisingly she knew straightaway how to fold it so I didn’t need to show her!

Reading back over this, it sounds like I didn’t enjoy it or that there were constant problems. I enjoyed this overall but learnt some very difficult lessons. Halfway through working on this I was given a quilt ruler for my birthday and this has made all the difference to the cutting of things I have made since.

I am pleased with this quilt as it is the first one I have done all on the machine and I learnt a lot of new techniques and skills which will make my future projects better.

You can see quite a few of the quilting lines on the front, more than I am happy with, however I guess you are not going to be perfect straightaway.

I do like the quillow idea and will be using it again.