This quilt is exactly what I hoped it would be. A lacey dance of stars popping out from a scrappy low volume background.
Reaching the End of My Creative Flow
I started this quilt because I had run out of all creative flow with my first attempt at Pirouette. I had thrown myself completely at that quilt, using beautiful Bloomology fabrics by Monika Forsberg for Free Spirit Fabrics. I'd embraced fussy cutting and the use of solids like no quilt I've made before! I'm completely smitten with the current result, but I just could not bring myself to make decisions about the corners. I had no idea what I wanted there, and I didn't want to just push through and have it look a mess after all that work. I decided it needed to wait for the right time again, while I turned to my old faithful low volume stash and made a second version with no tricky decisions.
Second Guessing Fabric Choices
Even then, I spent about three quarters of the time making this quilt wondering if I'd made the wrong choice in going with a dusty blue for the stars. In my early rounds, it just didn't seem to have enough contrast. I thought maybe I should have gone with navy, or with less busy low volume prints.
I had wanted the quilt to emulate the look of lace. Beautiful, intricate patterns created just by shadows and gaps. I didn't want it to POP or scream or do anything loud, but I didn't want the stars to meld into the background either. I chose Ruby Star Society's Speckled in Denim Metallic. It's a gorgeous, almost grey with tiny speckles of metallic rust shimmering across it. I hoped it would make the perfect ‘shadow’.
It wasn't until I'd sewn all the blocks around the centre that I settled and saw that it was, in fact, turning out like I envisaged. I could see the stars dancing around on their bed of cream and white prints with all the beauty and delicacy of well-made lace.
A Hand Quilted Finish
I decided to hand quilt this one because I really wanted the quilting to enhance the ‘shadowy’ stars, rather than create new texture through straight line quilting. I don't enjoy a lot of stopping and starting and moving quilts around in my machine - it's much easier to move around a quilt on my lap! The quilting is reasonably light, following the path of stars, but only over the large pentagons. I considered sewing between the stars also, but I left that decision till last. There's nothing worse than starting a really dense quilting design and regretting the choice half way through. I prefer to do a ‘light sweep’ of quilting first, then lay it out and decide what else it needs, then go again until it's finished. For this quilt, after the first round of quilting, I decided it didn't need anymore and left it at that.
I didn't have enough of the Speckled in Denim to back and bind it, so I added leftover pieces from making my recent scrap packs, and then used the off-cuts from the Denim section of backing to make the binding. Very efficient use of fabric!
I feel so, so good about this quilt. It's such a fun, special, magical trick to be able to imagine a kind of feeling and turn it into an actual, physical, tangible thing.
*If you want to make a version similar to mine in blue and white you'll need:
- 2 yards of blue for the quilt top
- 5 ¼ yards low volume fabrics for the quilt top (you could use two of my low volume fabric bundles here - available while supplies last)
- ½ yard blue for binding
- 4 yards blue for backing
Want to have a try at your own Pirouette quilt?
Pirouette quilt is perfect for bold, mesmerizing fussy cutting, but as you can see in this version, it suits quiet, simple, uncomplicated fabric choices, too. Grab everything you need to make your own version below!