a little more about the crazy starburst quilt…

Thank you so much for all the comments on my crazy starburst quilt! I’m so pleased to hear that you all like it too. I’ve decided that I like it so much that I already have a second in the works.

A couple people mentioned Gwen Marston’s Liberated Quiltmaking II book. Even though I own this book, I’m a little embarrassed to say that I had no idea that Gwen had included a similar quilt in her book. Last night I got the book out so I could take a look, and sure enough, she has a very similar quilt out of solids on page 47.

What strikes me as interesting is the idea that nothing in quilting is really ever completely new, but rather we build on, expand, or discover for ourselves something that may have already been done. When I first started sewing and buying fabrics, a local shopowner kept telling me that same thing – I’d come in excited about a new block or a new piece of fabric and she’d always say “it’s not new, it’s just coming back around again”. Initially I wasn’t sure I believed her, but now that I’ve been sewing for a little longer, I realize that there’s some truth to that (take a look at this Flickr group for new fabrics that have been recreated from old designs).

With this quilt, I feel like I discovered for myself a very similar pattern that Gwen had already discovered. What’s interesting though is that we came to a similar design, but we were initially inspired by different blocks. As Gwen discusses in her book, the blocks she uses to make up the square are based on a student’s error while making liberated star blocks. The resulting shape, when sewn together, creates this fun block. Then when sewn together with other blocks, it also creates a secondary pattern.

My inspiration was spiderweb blocks, as I mentioned in the previous post. I started looking at a number of spiderweb blocks on Flickr and then happened upon this block by Jess which she made for a quilting bee. I loved how the spiderweb was contained within one block. I realized that much of what I like about the spiderweb block is how the fabrics all come together into a point at the center. From there, I realized that I could skip the paper piecing and just use one piece of fabric for each of the wedges. (I just went back and read Jess’s post about this block, and now I see that the quilt bee member had asked for these liberated spiderweb blocks from Gwen’s book Collaborative Quilting (I don’t have that one yet, but maybe I should get it!). So in the end, it turns out that I was inspired by Gwen, even though I didn’t actually know that was the case at the time!)

I put together each half of the square separately, cut each down to size (my blocks are 10″ square), and then sewed the two halves together. Since I did it this way (and since I varied the widths of my wedges) I don’t have that secondary pattern when I put the blocks together. As I learned last night while reading Liberated Quiltmaking II, Gwen sews quarter squares with three fabrics per quarter, and then sews the four together into a square block. If you’re looking to make this type of block, you might want to take a look at Gwen’s method in Liberated Quiltmaking II. She also provides great examples of other types of patterns you can make using this quilt block.

Since my method is a bit different, I’ve put together a quick tutorial for you showing how I constructed these blocks. It’ll be up in the next post!

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