Prismatic Star aka Quilt From Hell

  • Quilting
I was going to combine my visit to Red Boot Retreat with this prismatic star quilt. For a variety of reasons, I have decided against it. A separate post will showcase the retreat center itself.
 
So, let’s start this post pretty by showing the finished Prismatic Star quilt. We can get into why I also call it “The Quilt from Hell” later.
 
 

The above image is of me presenting the finished quilt at the Johnson County Quilt Guild. It was nice to show it after all the effort that went into its creation.

Why Did I Make This Quilt?

As many of you know, I almost never create a quilt from someone else’s vision. I like to do everything my own way. But, when the opportunity presented itself to learn something new, I jumped. The Red Boot Retreat Center was offering a Judy Niemeier Prismatic Star instructional retreat. This was a great way to learn a new technique. Also, I wanted to know what all the hype was about with these quilts.
 
And, I met some new friends, including instructor Cindy Simmons! I won’t go deep into the actual construction process. It is detailed and best learned from an actual instructor. I can say that I learned a lot about accuracy and color use.

The Process

You would be so proud of me – I followed the instructions! I saved my own input for the color layout, borders, and quilting. When it came to the layout, I did change up my original vision after I arrived. Cindy had this yummy burgundy batik that I had to use. More on this choice later.

Entering Hell

So, what is this Hell of which I speak?  As many of you know, Hell is of our own making and it was my own actions that created ALL my problems. The good side is that I learned so much and will NOT make these mistaken choices again!

Problem 1

Most of my quilts evolve as I create them. I make initial decisions and then change my mind. I change elements like fabrics, placement, and quilting designs. The Prismatic Star was no exception. I had chosen one fabric for the background, then saw the beautiful maroon batik. In the end, I still used my original background fabric but added this to the floating borders.
 
So, what’s the problem? The issue is that with ALL the fabrics provided with my kit plus this batik – none were prewashed. The entire project happened at the retreat. Of course, you know what happened. As I was using water to remove marking on the top from quilting, the maroon fabric bled.
 
I have since changed to a better mister, but in this instance, the one I used delivered way too much water. This caused a bleed not just on top, but through to the bottom.
 
Solution?  I plan on eventually washing this with at least 2 boxes of color catchers.  If that doesn’t do the trick, I will live with whatever tye-dyed result remains.  I will love her regardless.

Problem 2

I decided on an intricate, calculated custom quilting design. What I should have done is mark the entire quilt first, and then quilt from top to bottom. Turning the quilt for borders is ok, but the way I did it was a recipe for disaster. I quilted ONLY the custom diamonds all the way across the top (3 rows) down to the bottom and across the bottom (3 rows). By doing this, I was not able to retain the proper integrity to the bottom and found I had puckers in the back.

 

On the images below, you can see one of the puckers as well as the section I had to pick out to make this right.  Luckily, I had not done the inner section yet or it would have taken even longer.

Solution? It took me almost 3 weeks to manually pick every thread. Tedious does not begin to describe this process. I am glad I put in the time and effort because the result is worth every cuss word.
 
Here are some images of the quilting to give you an idea of the monumental feat this was.

Prismatic Star Complete

I am very proud of the final product, and of my journey. I made mistakes, as we all do, but owned them and made the necessary corrections.
 
These experiences serve to make us better at our art. This quilt will make a wonderful addition to my “From Kits to Custom” quilt guild presentation as well.

Now that you have seen my journey, have you ever had a Quilt from Hell? Did you buckle down as I did and make it right, or is that quilt in time out somewhere?