Today I wanted to share more about Sunburst, which is probably my favorite quilt that I have finished to date. I love blogging and sharing my thoughts on a quilt as I am working on it, and I really missed out on getting to share details and lessons learned with you as I made Sunburst. I have been looking forward to this post so much, so to prepare, I took Sunburst with me when I visited Death Valley on Wednesday, and I think it made for a striking contrast of color against the white Badwater salt flat and surrounding Desert mountain backdrop. Also, special thanks to my tall husband for holding the quilt for me while I snapped photographs. <3 Because I am so excited about this quilt (it is my first quilt to be published in a magazine!) and as a thank you for letting me share about this quilt so much lately, I have a giveaway for several QuiltCon 2016 magazines that feature Sunburst and contain the pattern to make it at the end of my post today.
It was really, really hard to keep the making of this quilt a secret, and in the end, I made it in a pretty big hurry. I actually designed Sunburst as part of the Quilt Design a Day Facebook group in May 2015. The spark / inspiration image was an underwater photograph looking up at a scuba diver who was enveloped by a Sunburst – streaks of light emanating from the sun above the diver. I do not hold rights or have permission to share that image, but I can share one of my husband’s underwater photography images that also represents this idea.
I have a huge affinity for the color blue and water, and you know I can’t seem to get enough of monochromatic / transparency in my quilt designs. Combining all of these things I love into a quilt was pure joy, and I think that the quilt evokes the burst of light and quick transition to the deep blue of the ocean that I love so very much. Because I loved this design, I wanted to make it immediately! In late May / early June, I tried to convince some friends to let me use the design for them in a custom quilt, but the pattern did not speak to them and their vision. I then submitted Sunburst to a magazine and proceeded to wait almost 4 months before hearing back that while they loved the quilt and tried over and over again to work it into their magazine, they had not found the right place to publish it. So with only a few days left until the deadline was over, I submitted it as a design idea for the QuiltCon 2016 magazine. I was feeling that whatever happened with that submission, I was going to make the quilt, so I went ahead and placed my fabric order, as you might recall from one of my September Sunday Stash posts. I used Kona cotton solids Lake, Niagrara, Water, Malibu, and Pacific, and I love that all of the fabric names make me think of water, too. It turns out I was fortunate to have pre-purchased the fabric, because I was notified on October 7th that the quilt and design were accepted into the magazine, and the quilt and all paperwork needed to be received in their offices no later than October 30th!
The piecing of the quilt came together very quickly, and I then spent 4 long days quilting it on my domestic machine. I actually made a mini mini quilt to test out my quilting idea first. There were questions from the magazine editor about my quilting plans, and I also think that having made the mini mini really showed them my vision for the larger quilt and helped them accept my design into the magazine in the first place. I used my go-to 50wt Aurifil thread to quilt Sunburst. I actually used 2 different thread colors, which is all but unnoticeable in the end. The majority of the quilting was done using 1320 (Bright Teal) and a very small portion was quilted using 1125 (Medium Teal). I used 1125 when the quilt spacing increased on the edges as it blended a bit better there, and I always matched my bobbin to the thread on top.
I learned a lot about quilting a larger quilt on my domestic machine as I worked through quilting Sunburst. I learned to start in the center and work my way to the edges and wrote about it in my Crosshatch Quilting Tips. I ripped a lot of stitches to fix areas where my quilting wobbled. I ripped a lot of stitches to fix areas where my stitch length was super irregular. It was not perfect when I was done, but I was pleased with what I was able to accomplish. Maybe next time I would try loading it at 45-degrees on my longarm? Hmmm… I’m not sure it would fit!
One of my favorite parts of the quilt is the binding. I spent another 2 days putting the binding on after the the quilting, washing, and blocking. I wanted to continue the sunburst idea across and into the binding, also playing off of the idea of water reflections and how light refracts in water.
I think this in process photo really shows how I laid out the strips and planned the binding. I wanted the lightest portion to be centered, so I actually started sewing down the binding in the center of the light portion and worked to an end. Then I loaded the quilt backwards from how I normally work to start back at the center. I did this for the 2 sides and then had 2 binding joints to make at the top and bottom of the quilt.
The thrill of having Sunburst come together as I envisioned it was a huge rush. Thankfully, a great solution for tempering my excitement about the quilt was to immediately box it up and ship it away for a few months!
Getting to see Sunburst hanging at QuiltCon was another huge thrill. I had so many questions about the quilt: Was my memory of this quilt accurate? Would I still be proud and excited about the work? I know I am crazy biased, but this quilt was still everything I had hoped for and more.
You can purchase a copy of the 2016 QuiltCon Magazine, which features Sunburst on the cover and contains the pattern for the 60×80 quilt top inside, through the Interweave online store in two formats: as a Digital Download or Magazine.
2016 QuiltCon Magazine Giveaway!
I have 2 copies of the QuiltCon magazine to give away to anyone in the continental US, and I have 2 digital (PDF) copies of the QuiltCon magazine to give away to my international readers. You can earn up to 4 entries to this giveaway by using the Rafflecopter widget to enter (click on image below to go to the Rafflecopter entry page)!
The giveaway will run from March 4th through March 14th at 11:59 pm EST and is open to entrants 18 years or older. The winners (2 within the continental US and 2 international winners) will be announced Tuesday, March 15th! The giveaway is closed. Congratulations to Joan, Patricia, Christine, and Carmit!