THIS QUILT. This scrappy Starlite quilt. What an emotional roller coaster it brought me on! Starlite comes with three variations – 3-color, Fat Quarter, and Scrappy. Each variation allows for a slightly different finished quilt. The cover quilt, which you can see in the image below, is the “Fat Quarter Variation” made with Fat Eighths and a single background color. But, for the ultimate scrap experience, you want the “Scrappy Variation” of the Starlite quilt.
The Scrappy Variation has directions for a scrappy background, so instead of using a single color for your background, you deep dive into the scrap bin and go all out. The result is a quilt with so much depth and interest!
I started with a fat quarter bundle of Meadow by Rifle Paper Co. Of course, deciding that THIS was the fabric I absolutely wanted for my quilt… a year after said fabric was released meant a fair bit of internet sleuthing. I finally managed to track one down. I specifically wanted this bundle because the color stories worked so well for Starlite. Starlite is a “three color” quilt. I use that term loosely, but basically Color 1 makes up half of the stars, Color 2 makes up the other half, and Color 3 is the chain pieces. The number of fabrics you choose to use to make up your three colors is up to you. As you can tell from the fabrics below, Meadow neatly fit into the three-color story.
For background, I picked a ton of white, cream and beige out of my stash. Most of these are Riley Blake Designs basics. I love RBD basics because they are so versatile and work for so many different types of quilts. I also brought in some different substrates – wovens, linen, and linen/cotton blends for added interest.
I usually mock up my quilts before I actually get started on them, this gives me a good idea of where I’m heading. I realized I was in need of a few more green fabrics, the fat quarters I had wouldn’t be enough, so I purchased two fat quarters from the Strawberry Fields collection also by Rifle Paper Co. The greens looked like they would compliment the Meadow collection well. From my mock-up I realized how the pale plaid fabric took away from the design too much. I still wanted to keep some of it in there, but decided to try to use the least amount of it as I could in the finished quilt.
From my mock-up, I also realized I didn’t like the darker grey background fabrics, so I ultimately took them out of my fabric pull and just stuck to white, cream, and beige instead.
I’m not usually a scrappy sewer, so I had trouble letting go and just “seeing where the pieces would end up”. I organized my pieces by background fabric so I could make sure I was mixing background and color 3 fabrics “appropriately”. Feel free to laugh.
As I was working on this scrappy Starlite quilt top, I knew I wanted to hand quilt it. The fabrics and colors have such a vintage feel to them that I thought hand quilting would be the perfect fit. I chose a striped brushed cotton fabric from my stash for the backing for extra softness. I think it is an old Moda print, but I’m really not sure. I bought it on super clearance from my local quilt shop a couple of years ago.
I decided on a clamshell design for hand quilting because I wanted something that would soften the quilt and add texture without being too bold. The clamshells ended up being the perfect thing! My approach was to mark 3 rows of clamshells, then stitch up those rows. Then rinse and repeat all along the quilt! Thread-wise, I again wanted something that wouldn’t be very bold. Usually in my hand quilting, I want people to SEE the quilting. But in this case, I wanted the texture and softness without adding to an already busy quilt. Aurifil 12 weight thread in #2311 was just the ticket. #2311 is my go-to over and over again for projects because it is creamier and more beige than a stark white without being too bold either. The goldilocks of white threads ;).
You might have noticed, I thread basted this quilt! I’m usually a spray baster, but there are certain times I’ll pick thread over spray. I’m working on a blog post and video about thread basting – why, when, how, the works. For this particular quilt, since I was hand quilting a design I knew would take a while, and I wasn’t sure how fast this quilt would get completed, thread basting just made the most sense.
My favorite assistant, Riley, was more than happy to test this quilt’s quality throughout the hand quilting process. Every time I’d put this quilt on the floor to mark out some more rows, there he was, claiming it for his own.
There were many times during this scrappy quilt that I questioned myself. The pale pinks and blues were too light. The darker beige background colors too dark. Maybe I should have picked different fabrics/different colors/a different quilt all together.
I think that’s what happens when you push yourself. You end up questioning yourself all over again because new things are unpredictable. However, for me, this quilt really came all together when I started hand quilting it. The added texture from the clamshells seemed to soften the darker background fabrics and lend a cohesiveness to the whole quilt. I found myself thinking “oh yes, I really do love this one.”
Now that this scrappy Starlite quilt is finished, holding it up for these photos, it is a quilt I find I could stare at all day. Seeing different shapes, different patterns within the fabrics show up. The way that you can tell what the pattern is, but the lighter fabrics break it just enough that it isn’t obvious at first glance. The fabrics themselves, which have a vintage look to them, and how I can just see this quilt looking better and better after it is crinkled post-washing. And over time, as it is used, loved, and worn, how it will continue to look special and unique.
To see a Starlite quilt made with Fat Eighths and a single background fabric, click here.