Bright Sisters is finished!

a colorful quilt being held up by two people
Bright Sisters

I’m so excited to share that I have finally finished Bright Sisters, my version of the Color Block quilt from 3 Dog Design. It’s been gifted to my amazing and talented sister, Sonja Stone, who loves it and will give it a good home. She writes young adult suspense novels, by the way. If you’re looking for a gift for that 11-18 year old reader in your life, I highly recommend her spy-school series, Desert Dark and Dark Divide.

I wanted to make this quilt for her the minute I saw it. I’ve documented the journey here on the blog in case you want to read all about it from the beginning. I’m so pleased with how it came out! Let me introduce you:

a brightly colored quilt folded over on itself showing part of the blue backing
the corner of a brightly colored quilt with dark red binding

When I first pieced it back in 2017 I had a vision for how I wanted to quilt it. In the Midnight Quilt Show episode featuring this quilt, Angela Walters uses a variety of quilting designs that she matches to the different shapes and colors. I wanted to do something like that, but I also knew that I didn’t have the skill at the time to pull it off.

a daybed made up with a bright colorblock quilt

Since then I’ve been practicing like mad, and I also got a new Juki TL-2010Q in December 2018 that quilts like a dream. I planned a complicated quilting design using my iPad and began practicing each design on scrap squares. In September 2019 I finally felt ready to start quilting it.

several practice quilt sandwiches with different quilting designs
A few of the scrap squares I practiced on

I ended up modifying my planned design a bit as I went. I re-drew each part of my planned design, think about whether I could do it or would actually like it, and sometimes doodled other designs until I found something I preferred. Here’s the original plan:

a photo of a quilt with drawn lines over it to show where the quilter plans to quilt it

And here’s a drawing of the final design:

a drawing of a complicated quilting design
the blue back of a quilt being held up by two people
The quilting really shows up on the back.

There was only one place where I quilted something that I didn’t like at all. In the purple circles, I originally wanted to use a design that broke the circle border and blended it together with the ribbons or starburst around it. Here’s the practice sandwich for that design, which doesn’t look too bad.

a star-shaped quilting design on a practice sandwich

When I put it on the quilt, it looked okay from the back . . .

a blue quilt back with a star-shaped quilting design on it

. . . but on the front, it was unsuccessful.

detail of an unsuccessful quilting design

I found that the contrast between values of fabric in the circle and the star interfered with my plan to blend them. The thread I chose, a medium purple, blends in completely in the circle but stands out very obviously in the star. Add to that some inconsistencies in the quilting that show up very clearly in the lighter star patches, and the design just doesn’t work. Fortunately, I realized this before quilting the closely-spaced meandering that goes in the very center of the circle (you can see it on the test pattern above).

I decided to pick it out. It took about 30 minutes to quilt this part, and it took two and a half days to pick it out. I almost never unpick quilting but I just couldn’t bear to leave this in because I felt so good about how the rest of the quilt had turned out. So I started up the pilot episode of Sports Night, sat down, and unpicked my way through both seasons of the show.

a quilt with some stitches picked out
Unpicking is slow going.

The final design features two different thread colors — the same medium purple in the circle and a lighter pink-purple in the star — and no overlap between the quilting on the circle and the quilting in the star. Otherwise, it’s very similar to the first design.

detail of a quilt with brightly colored blocks

That was the only part that gave me any trouble. The rest of the quilt went smoothly and I’m pleased with how the other designs came out.

detail of a quilt with brightly colored blocks
detail of a quilt with brightly colored blocks
detail of a quilt with brightly colored blocks
detail of a quilt with brightly colored blocks
detail of a quilt with brightly colored blocks
detail of a quilt with brightly colored blocks

As always, it’s a little weird to see my sewing room without the quilt that’s been the focus point of the space for weeks (or months). But I’m happy to have made it for my sister, and I’m so happy she loves it!

a colorful quilt folded on a dresser with the red binding showing
a folded quilt on top of a dresser
a brightly colored quilt folded over on itself showing part of the blue backing

The previous post in this series was Feather & Fern, and this is the last post in the series. Another quilt finished!

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Carleen Brigley says:

    Rachel! The quilt is amazing! This quilt is how I found you, from the curvemaster youtube video you made! I bought the curvemaster foot and always think of you when I use it!

    1. Rachel says:

      Carleen, thanks for your kind words! I’m so glad you like the Curvemaster. It definitely made this quilt a lot easier!

  2. Sonja says:

    Rachel, this is the most beautiful quilt I’ve ever seen. I feel your love wrapped around me every time I snuggle up with Bright Sisters! ❤️

  3. Susan says:

    I have to agree with Sonja. This is the most beautiful creation…I am in awe of you and your many talents. Love you like a sister!

  4. Shasta says:

    This is a gorgeous quilt! I love the happy colors and that you challenged yourself to add all that beautiful quilting. I like how the blocks come iblend into each other.

  5. Hi Rachel, I really love your FMQ. Your hard work has really paid off. It sure isn’t easy to unpick so much quilting but you did a great job on the final quilt. If you feel like linking this post up to Free Motion Mavericks, the link is open till the end of the month.

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