Saturday, 16 April 2011

The highs and lows of the Supernova (a progress update)

It's about time I devoted a post to my Supernova quilt (the one I'm making for my brothers impending delivery!), since I keep making references to it.   So, for the benefit of my Mum, and a few others who get my update by email but don't read other blogs, I'll start at the beginning so everybody knows what I'm talking about! (seasoned "quilt-a-longers" - feel free to skip down a paragraph!)

Photo courtesy of Freshly Pieced

Here is the original glorious Supernova quilt as made by Lee at Freshly Pieced.  Lee is hosting a quiltalong, so we can all make our own version, and I am quilting along, but only in reverse so the stars will be white and the background to my quilt will be multicoloured.  In order to make this work the diagonal pieces of my stars are made up of lots of 3" squares and 3" half square triangles (HSTs).  Having never made HSTs in volume before I consulted the world-wide interweb, and found this tutorial.  I ended up cutting two 3.5" squares (one white, the other patterned) and stitching them together twice down the middle (either side of the diagonal line). Slice them in two, and you get two HSTs.  I needed 16 per block (in five different fabrics), so 144 in total.

To speed up this process I decided to use chain piecing (again, for those not in the know, this means feeding the squares through the machine in a long row without cutting the thread each time). 

The pro's of this method?  It's super fast!  I stitched all my squares in about 15 minutes... the con's?  my bobbin thread ran out after the first few squares and nobody told me (!) so I kept merrily feeding squares through with no thread!  20 squares or so later, having discovered this error, I started again and had the whole lot done in 30 minutes.  Here's a few of them:

And sliced here

What takes the time is pressing the seams and squaring them up to exactly 3" (at least another hour!).

OK, so now I'm ready to sew my squares into 3x3 blocks, like the red one I did first...sounds simple? it should be.  Grey, done.  Green, done.

Pink....doh.  Too many squares, my head hurts!

Take a break...write a blog post, come back to it later, pink done, yellow, orange, teal, purple and light blue left to do.

So the next question is, how best to join my blocks together to create the full star effect?.  Here are my two options:

a) Create each block individually with two shorter white rectangles and one longer one.  Then sew all the blocks together

b) Do all the horizontal white strips first, and the join the whole column of stars together with one long vertical strip.

So, quilty types, which way would work best?, I'm veering towards option a to keep it simple but I'll very happily take guidance on this, is there a better way I haven't thought of?



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  2. I think your eye will see the vertical unless you quilt across it to break it up and look like a square. Option A also gives you the flexibility to have the blocks individually done and then you can still change the placement before sewing them together.

  3. This is going to be so striking! Have you considered putting a coloured square in the very centre? I would make them as individual blocks, so then you can play with the order when you are all done.

  4. Here's an option C: Sew 4 different-colored sub-units together and then treat the larger white areas as sashing. So your "blocks" are different but the end result is the same. Does that make sense? I think that makes the most sense as far as assembly, you'll just need to have the whole quilt laid out on the floor so you know which colors go where. Good luck! It's looking so beautiful, I can't wait to see it all together!

  5. Looks great! I've doen the exact same thing with chain piecing (ran out of bobbin thread and "wasted" 30 minutes of sewing. That's one reason I just finally updated my sewing machine to one with a LOW BOBBIN ALERT!!!!! It's worth every penny! Also saw your Charlie Harper QAL button! I am a HUGE fan. Thanks. I'm already signed up!!!

  6. Your supernova looks amazing, I like the look of option A. Thanks for your comment on my blog btw, yes the 'ego-tag' made me laugh too. It's so true though, that's exactly what it is!