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Monday, October 28, 2013


Celestial Splendor is a quilt with a lot of lines and shapes going on. All of them are appliqued (yes, even the straight lines) with my preferred method: fused raw edge applique.

One of the lessons gained through entering quilt competition is this: If it can be measured, it will be criticized. So I learned to check and double check for accuracy. The only way to achieve accuracy on a complex quilt like this is to use acrylic overlays for exact placement of the fabric shapes. When shapes repeat themselves in a pattern, if you’re off a little bit to start it will only get worse.

The following images aren't the greatest but they show the two acrylic overlays used for this quilt. First, the main design. This is one quadrant (32" square) of the entire quilt . Four of these pivoting on center equals the quilt. I cut my large overlay from a roll of Grafix 40" x 12' Dura-Lar purchased at Hobby Lobby. The design is marked with a Sharpie permanent pen.

Second, this overlay is a smaller section that is a more detailed part of the overall design.

In the next image that smaller section is being used to line up fabric shapes. I lay my background fabric on the ironing board. Holding the overlay on top with one hand, I place the first applique shape under the overlay. All shapes are backed with fusible (my favorite is Wonder Under) and pressed with a hot iron to fuse in place. Then it's back to lining up the overlay and adding the second shape and pressing. Repeat, repeat, repeat. All the appliqué shapes are fused one piece at a time.
I work in small sections and finish the raw edges with a small zigzag stitch (length and width set at "1" on my Bernina 170). I pin a thin piece of tracing paper behind the fabric to serve as a temporary stabilizer for doing the zigzag. The paper is later removed. Tiny bits can be picked out with a tweezers.

Monday, October 7, 2013


One important design principle is the use of repetition, whether in shape, fabric, color or quilting. Canterbury Cathedral's central ceiling is the basis of this quilt design. Gothic architecture included a lot of ornamental work of interlaced lines. Repetition is evident in many of the lines and shapes in this design called Celestial Splendor.

A common symbol is the quatrefoil which is a leaf-like design of four foils or lobes. It's used here at the intersection of these lines as well as in the center of the quilt (shown in the next image).

The quatrefoil is alternated with the trefoil symbol, a stylized three-lobed leaf.

By way of color repetition, all straight lines and most of the circular bands are royal blue. Along with the cloudy sky background fabric, the lines and bands anchor the fluctuating color changes of orange, green, pink, blue and yellow.