I’ve always loved challenge projects – it can be energizing to work with a set of rules and a deadline – so I was happy to hear about the Chicago-Area Modern Quilt Guild Friendship Star Challenge for International Quilt Festival in Chicago. The challenge rules were simple: at least 36 inches on each side and based on the friendship star block. It’s pretty cool that Quilt Festival has this modern challenge, so why not give it a go, right?
I found that friendship star to be pretty difficult to work with. It’s chunky blocky. It wants to move in one direction. Camille Roskelley’s “Round and Round” layout uses friendship stars in a ring kind of perfectly already, so nothing like that. I didn’t like much of what I was doodling and I got totally stumped. This was a Saturday, and I was drawing and groaning at the table with my daughter, Eva, who was doing homework and complaining less. She’s in high school now, and while she has always had an artistic point of view, I find that I go to her more and more with design questions. I trust her design sense. It’s so helpful to have another set of eyes when you are hating what you’re making.
The design I liked best so far was one where I had 4 stars facing each other, with the outermost arm of each star chopped off. (I figured that if I didn’t love the friendship star shape, the best thing to do was change it some.) This left a chunk of whitespace in the center, and I wasn’t quilt sure what to do with it. Another star? Leave it blank?
Really, the quilt is largely Eva’s design. I would have given up without the push of making something together. It was Eva’s idea to put a gem in that middle spot there. She sketched it out for me, picked the colors, and helped figure out what went where. For colors, we started out with a bigger stack that also included amethyst, jade, and aquamarine – very “Hall of Minerals” – but then we pared down to all peachy pinks and gray blues. I never mind falling back to gray blue.
We named the quilt Gemerations, because we are corny on purpose. It will be at Quilt Festival, and I’m thinking we might plan a little trip to get there too!