Hunter’s Star

Hunter’s Star

I’m not a huge fan of piecing traditional quilt blocks together. I do, however, have a great appreciation of their beauty and craftsmanship. It’s really hard to sew all those ¼” seams together and make everything match up correctly! So much easier to make Art quilts where all that precision may not be necessary. And who doesn’t love having a handmade quilt on one’s bed??

I’ve been attending a quilt retreat (which gathers three times a year) near my home for over 10 years. One of the attendees used to work in a quilt store and made LOTS of quilts. I got to admire them from across the room as she built them and put them up on her design wall. One pattern I fell in love with was the Hunter’s Star. There are so many variations to this pattern. I vowed to myself that if I ever made myself a bed quilt, I wanted it to be using this pattern.

Fast forward a couple of years…a quilt shop near me was going out of business and had great sales on all their fabric. I knew if I was going to make a Hunter’s Star quilt, I wanted it to be blues on a white background. So, I bought a bunch of bolt ends in blues at a great price. Then they sat for a couple of more years. I finally decided to start working on it about 3 or 4 years ago. I mostly worked on it at the retreats, so it has been fairly slow going.

At my last retreat in August, I finally got all the blocks sewn together. Yay! I have to fess up and say that all the points aren’t perfect, but I was pretty pleased with how flat everything laid.

I was also happy to have it sewn together at the retreat so I could get input from the others about the borders. What fabric to use and how wide should I make the borders and do I need two borders. Always good to have other eyes look at it.

I decided to go with two borders, the inner border being a solid dark blue that is different from the fabrics in the blocks and making it 1” in width. The outer border will be 5” wide and I will use the solid light blue that is used in the block. I’m hoping I’ll have enough of that solid light blue to use for the quilt binding. Heaven forbid I have to buy MORE fabric!

Here is a photo of the quilt after sewing the first border on.

Sorry about the background and wonkiness of this photo. I was standing on a rickety ladder trying to get the whole thing in the frame. At this point this quilt measures 82 ½” x 82 ½” so it’s quite large.

I ran into a dilemma after I took this photo. I decided to audition my outer border choices again before I started cutting fabric. I tried the medium blue speckled fabric that is in the block and was kind of intrigued with how it looked.

Here is the medium solid blue.

And here is the medium speckled blue.

Blue stars on white background

I then got the bright idea to lay the quilt out on my bed and see how those two fabrics looked with the bed skirt I have. Good thing I did that! If I was going to hang this quilt on a wall, I’d probably go with the lighter blue as I feel that one pops the colors a  bit more, but on my bed things looked different when placed next to my dark blue bed skirt!

Here it is with the solid blue border. The bed skirt is navy blue.

Star quilt on bed

And here it is with the speckled blue border.

quilt on bed

I think I might go with the speckled blue after seeing it on the bed. And now I’m not sure I like the 1” dark blue inner border. It’s all looking like I have three borders on the quilt. Maybe the inner one needs to be a tad bit thinner. But I’m not sure this mid blue is THE ONE either.

Guess this project will remain another one of my UFO’s until I can get back to it. And here I thought I could get this done in one sitting. Joke’s on me!

I’ve always been told to make design decisions visually and I think that rule helped me out a lot on this one. I’m glad I haven’t cut the lighter blue into border lengths yet. I’ll need more thinking before I figure this one out.

My sister suggested that I may need another color bed skirt OR I could add another 2 rows of blocks to each side (ugh!) and don’t have borders, just the binding. The new bed skirt idea sounds more appealing than making 16 more blocks!

Which border do YOU like best and why??

Here is another bed quilt that I made from blue Japanese fabrics that I had collected over the years and finally got to use. No border on this one so it looks okay with the bed skirt. I should have thrown my matching pillowcase covers on so it looked more like a bed! I love this quilt.

snowball quilt patter in blues and white

And another bed quilt I made and have not put on the bed yet. It seems like it should go on a wall more than a bed. It was a UFO that I started years before the Hunter’s Star quilt and finally finished. Not my favorite but it’s DONE! Not sure it would look very good with my navy blue bed skirt either since the background is black. Again, sorry for the crummy photo.

baby block pattern quilt on a black background

I’ve got one more bed size quilt that I want to make and it is about ½ way finished. I’ll get it done someday. It won’t look good with my current bed skirt either!

quilted quilt blue on white

So, until I can get back to my Hunter’s Star quilt, I’ll put it back into the UFO pile along with these other projects I hope to get to one day.

stack of unfinished projects

How big is your UFO pile???

Happy creating!
Tesi Vaara

24 thoughts on “Hunter’s Star

  1. Tesi, I like the strip width around your quilted pieces, but wonder about it being white? (The lightest color, I am assuming is white) That’s the first thing that came to my mind. No matter what you decide to do, it’s a wonderful quilt! I have so many irons in the fire, I can barely keep track of them. So, what am I doing now?? Quilting of course! 😳 I watch a UK podcaster, Kate @thelasthomelyhouse, and became taken with her 1” hexagon english paper piece quilts. Realizing I had too many things going, I decided to rip out 2 half-done sweaters, so I’m choosing to believe I am good now! 😆

    My problem is I am showing addictive tendencies toward Kaffe Fassett’s glorious colorful fabrics. 😱 We can’t take our money with us…so we might as well have fun! Your quilts are beautiful…keep on doing what you enjoy!


    1. Thanks Capi! I tried the white on the floor but not on the bed so when I get back to it I’ll see how it looks. Some of those paper pieced quilts are amazing. I’ll check out Kate’s podcast. I’ve got two or three sweaters done and blocked, just waiting on me to sew the parts together. Wish I could get more done during the day!

  2. Firstly Tesi, what beautiful quilts 🙂

    Capi’s idea of trying white on the Hunter’s Star quilt is worth a go. It could give it a ‘lift’.

    You did well to get photos of such large pieces – not an easy task! Yes, the 3D cube quilt is definitely a wall-art piece. It’s stunning.

    1. I’m going to try the white while the quilt is on the bed. I really don’t have any good place to photograph those big quilts. My house faces north too so it’s pretty dark inside.

  3. I hadn’t heard of Hunter’s Star before and assumed that it was one big blue star in the middle of a white quilt, so seeing so many stars which seemed to flit across the quilt was amazing.
    Trust me to be different, but I actually thought that the solid blue border made your quilt look stunning, where as the speckled one made it look “ordinary”. Perhaps the white would indeed be the answer.
    The tumbling blocks pattern has always fascinated me, but I’m not sure I could live with it, myself – too busy. It would keep me awake just looking at it and seeing the 3D blocks/boxes. So much work, are all your quilts hands stitched or were you able to use the sewing machine?

    1. The solid blue did it for me until I put it on the bed. I’m going to try the white on the bed. But I’m going to try a different color bed skirt too.
      Truthfully I didn’t care for how the 3D block quilt looked on the bed. Could be the black background seems too dark for me.
      All of the quilts are machine stitched together and then sent off to be long arm machine quilted. Except for the last unfinished quilt, I am using rulers and quilting that one on my domestic machine.

  4. Wow Tesi, for someone who’s “not a huge fan of piecing traditional quilt blocks” you’ve made a great job of these! Personally I would go with the speckled fabric, no reason other than I prefer the image with that one. I’m not a fan of a wide border surrounding a busy pattern so I would be tempted to cut it back to 2” and live with the fact that the quilts a tiny bit narrower than I’d intended. Having said that, colour and design are very personal so as long as you go with your gut I’m sure you will be happy!
    The Japanese quilt is stunning and the simple edging you’ve done on that one is absolutely perfect for it.
    I’ve only two UFOs on the go right now, the dress on my mannequin which I started to draft two months ago and is still only a “front”, and a solitary felted star fish which has been laying on my table since the beginning of Summer waiting to be embellished!

    1. Wow Karen only two UFO’s?? I’m retired, one would think I’d have enough time to finish things, but that is not the case! I was going to try a narrower outer border as well as some of the other suggestions given once I have time to focus on it again. I really want to get it sent off to my long arm quilter. And I still need to piece the back for it before I can do that.

  5. Lovely quilts, Tesi! Like Karen, I’m not a big fan of “traditional quilt blocks” but yours look very nice indeed. I love the Japanese one, the colours are just what style.

    I’d go for the speckled fabric as a border for the Hunter’s Star (lots of votes for that one!) because to my eyes it frames the whole thing together better (no pun intended).

    UFOs? Goodness. I’ve got a jumper waiting to be steeked (will have a workshop on this in October), a shawl in need of repair involving lace (positively dreading that), a knitted sort-of quilt that’ll be years in the making, and a knitted plant project I’m creating. Phew, that’s tiring to think of…

    Can’t wait to see your quilt finished and see what you’ve decided to do!

    1. Thanks Leonor! I’ll hopefully have made a decision by the the time I post again so I’ll post a photo then. Speckled blue is winning so far! But lots of good suggestions to try out.

  6. I love this and I would definitely pick the speckled blue for the outer border. And unless that bed skirt is welded to the frame it can always be changed to go with whatever quilt happens to be on top 😉
    I have a Hunters Star on my wanting to make list, right after a Double Wedding Ring, a couple of One Block Wonders and ….. LOL. I am more of a quilter than anything, but like you I find piecing tedious. I have been doing a lot of piecing the past few years but will be branching out into improv quilting and getting back to my real love, art quilting using fabrics I have dyed/surface designed myself.

    1. Thank you for your comments! LOL about that bed skirt comment. I could make one I guess, but consider that on the same level as hemming pants. I’m with you, art quilts and making fodder for them is a joy!

  7. Tesi, I’m amazed at all your pieced quilts! I always say I don’t quilt because of the piecing and actually have never made a quilt. So when you said that you didn’t like pieced quilts, I thought perhaps your Hunter’s Star was the only one.

    My choice is the speckled blue fabric as it blends with all the colors in the quilt and makes the dark edge next to it not so stark. I looked at the border on the screen with a piece of paper covering a portion of the border and I agree that a thinner border might be better than the thicker one. I don’t think the bed skirt will work with either of the borders, sorry. It’s just the wrong color blue. A white bed skirt would work fine though. I think Capi’s idea of a white thin border instead of the dark blue is good but who wants to start over? Not me, I would just go with what you have and make the best of it.

    I have a bunch of work that is ongoing but I haven’t abandoned anything so I am not counting any UFO’s, just WIP’s.

    1. One day I asked myself why I didn’t have a bed quilt of my own. I think I was trying to buy a new bedspread and not finding anything I liked so down the rabbit hole I went. Making all those blocks gets really BORING!
      I have lots of WIP’s too, lol. WIP’s and UFO’s. Guess I’m just a sucker for learning new things.

  8. I love your quilts, all are so lovely. My preference is for the speckled blue fabric for the border, it just seems to marry in so nicely as opposed to the solid blue – from the photo anyway. Your cube quilt is stunning. I think quilts are meant to be used – cuddling under, on a bed, or chair. But if the preference is for wall art that is fine too.

    I tend to finish each project before starting another one, so I do not have more than one WIP. I have made quite a few quilts, but I am not precious about designs, or ‘make lists’!. I also tend to pick up a lot of partially made quilts tops in charity shops, and I like to finish those too, but I always am sad about how and why they end up in the charity shop.

  9. Oh Tesi, these are works of art! The hours and pure love you must have invested in creating them, they are masterpieces.
    The speckled blue border caught my eye by the way.

    As for the black background, if I have to declare a favourite, that would be it and I have the perfect wall for it lol!

    As for UFO’s mmmmmm hubby’s trousers needed hemming and they have been sitting under one of my work tables for a number of years. I finally got around to them two weeks ago. The man has put on weight – how ungrateful is that!!! (I am joking of course but they really don’t fit him anymore). So the majority of the rest of my UFOs are in that basket under my table … I think.

    1. Thanks Helene! Lots of hours put into them, definitely! It really makes me appreciate all the quilts that have been made because I recognize the effort made to create them. Hemming pants, ugh! Not my favorite thing to do EVER!

  10. So much work I am amazed and then to see all of them after you say you don’t like them. I like the speckled fabric but white would be nice too. I think I would make the border twice as wide as the dark blue. The wide border seems like to much, overwhelming the quilt. I also agree that changing the bed skirt seems like the easiest solution.
    I think my favourite is the last one. I love seeing all the intricate quilting.
    I am sure I must have UFO, does framing count because I have a tone of finished pieces that need framing. I think most of my UFOs are still stuck in the I want to do stage in my head.

    1. I’m hoping to do some bed skirt shopping this coming week! The last quilt with the quilting on it is really going to be a beauty when it’s all done. It’s been so long now since I’ve worked with the rulers that I’m sure I’ve forgotten how to use them! Interesting to build a quilt that way. “Quilt as you go” I think is what they call that type. I would say framing counts as leaving your project in the UFO category! Those in the head are WIP’s, right?
      One would think that adding a border would be a no-brainer, but that is not the case, at least for me. I always cut the border wider than what I’m thinking I want, then cut it down before I finish the edge.

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