Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Gradient Stars ~ Guest Blogger

Today Victoria from is going to share how she tested Gradient Stars and made it hers.  Enjoy!

Hello. I am Victoria from and I’ve been invited to share my experience pattern testing (and mixing it up) for one of Jen’s new designs – Gradient Stars.

I stumbled upon Jen’s pattern testing group when doing some fieldwork for my own pattern development and testing process. I really did not need another project (a.k.a. potential long-term UFO), but Gradient Stars really caught my eye and I could see lots of different options (opportunities for day dreaming is my personal Kryptonite). I chose the smallest size - I tend toward project attention deficit and frequently only get a few blocks into a project before I get distracted by the next “shiny object” – so  it was great that the pattern really is only a few large blocks.

I spent a few afternoons “shopping” in my stash (a.k.a. personal warehouse). I was thinking about a Christmas quilt, but with the cold dark winter days in Wyoming I was ready for something really bright. I pulled twelve rainbow colours and needed eight so I decided on the Yellow-Red and Purple-Aqua groups. I also needed a fairly low-volume background and decided to go with the “colouring page” fabric (top left corner). I give all my fabric an overnight starch soak – and since there were a lot of bias edges to work with, I felt it really helped.

I also chose to order the Deb Tucker Rulers – I am not great with templates and tend to whack the edges off them each and every cut. I do have several quilting friends and we pool our resources so I was able to use an AccuCutter for the 3” squares and 2.5” strips, and play with some BlocLoc rulers - so I used both to compare. The BlocLoc Triangle in a Square is the same as a V Block and the Kite in a Square is the same as the Corner Beam – however the BlocLoc rulers only work for one size where Deb’s Rulers cut multiple sizes. I preferred using squares and Deb's ruler for the center kite (but it does have more waste). Conversely I preferred using the templates for the side pieces - Deb's ruler was a little clunky for the second side unit. For trimming pressing the seams open (no pressing guidance given with Deb's ruler) seemed to work better with Deb's ruler. BlocLoc requires pressing toward the sides, and the trimming was pretty easy. In the end, the two methods produced identical units.

There were a *lot* of V Block and Corner Beam units, and to break them up I started sewing them as “leaders and enders” during other projects. A word of caution on the V blocks – the triangle is *almost* - but not quite – an equilateral triangle, so when tired you can start sewing sides to the base. When tired you can also start seeing things – Brandy Pettit (another tester) started seeing “pretty trees’ – I started seeing Doritos.

The block came together nicely and it gained the nickname “Doritos and Snow Cones” – which may stick.

My final decision was for the layout – although I had chosen the smallest size (six blocks) – it still would have finished a little too large for me as my quilts have to be able to go on a wall. To add a little more interest, I opted to put the blocks on point (almost like a square-in-a-square block) and inserted a yellow flange (small strip of folded yellow) to help “contain” the design. I will probably do faux piped binding in two colours - the background fabric and either the green or the purple. I think my LAQ – Kristy Ball – will have fun with the large negative space in the corners.

I thoroughly enjoyed the making the pattern and the pattern testing process. I found I really had to pay attention to following the pattern as a beginner would (and not winging it as I usually do) in order to give useful feedback. Having a deadline to give feedback also meant this top got done rather than succumbing to my endless daydreaming through colours/patterns/backgrounds/layouts…etc…
Thanks Jen Shaffer for a new experience and a fun quilt.


Thank you, Victoria! I love the idea of this quilt being named Doritos and Snow Cones. Hehehe.

I hope you enjoyed this little look into Victoria's process.
Happy Stitching!


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