Quilt ADD in therapy

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Colorado, United States
Other than my family, the passion of my life is quilting. An eclectic, I love a wide variety of styles and techniques encompassing both machine and hand work. I am a longarm quilter who can work for you. I enjoy any style, from pantographs to all-over to full custom, ranging from traditional to modern. I love bringing vintage tops to life and am willing to work with a challenging quilt top. Instagram: lyncc_quilts

Friday, January 26, 2018

Finish Report!! - "Sterling's Sapphire Stars QOV"

Wahoo!!!!  The final stitch has been placed for the label of my January OMG quilt, also on my Q1 list!  :D 

This is the Quilt of Valor I've made for my father-in-law using Kevin the Quilter's Sapphire Stars Mystery that he ran the second half of last year. The design actually stitches out a wee bit larger than the official QOV size limit, but as it's custom made for a specific person, its 72.5 x 96.5 inches will be fine.

It's a heavy quilt, even with a single layer of Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 batting and a wide backing to make it easier on myself.

Scott and his dad, Sterling, enjoying last year's eclipse.

Sterling Caulkins served for almost two years in the Army National Guard before transferring to full active duty in the Air Force. He served as a supplies personnel for 20 years and 21 days before retiring in 1976, putting in deployment time in the newly post-war Korea arena as well as the Vietnam arena a generation later.

When I called him to ask him when he retired and when he started, he perked right up and immediately gave me a full rundown of each base he'd been stationed at with the dates, even, of the changes. I was astonished. I would have to take a good bit of time with each transfer to run our list of PCS's, deployments, and their dates. 

Which goes to show just how much this quilt will mean to him. So I listed his stationing places on the label - too bad there wasn't room for the dates. The pocket's functional, though, so he can have us type up some of his stories and put them in there if he wants. (He is mostly blind from macular degeneration, so all the details of this quilt will be "seen" in his mind's eye.)

Sapphire Stars was made from scraps. It has a lot of fond memories of my own pieced into it. It is a huge learning piece in terms of longarm work. Plenty about it is far from perfect, but everything about it is perfect.

When Kevin revealed the finished design, the rows in the borders immediately called to my mind the ribbon boards on military dress uniforms. So I knew from the start that I would quilt oak leaf clusters and stars recalling the devices placed on ribbons to signal that a person has earned a given ribbon more than once. 

Don't ask me what the difference is between an oak leaf cluster and star. It's a military mystery. They like those. This quilting was put in using Glide 40wt honey gold. It was the last quilting to happen even though it was planned first. And marked first. I used blue quilter's pen and white chalk pencil to trace stencils I cut out of a cereal box before I loaded the top on the frame.

The background was easy for me to figure out. That would be inch-wide single lines to match in with the SID between "ribbons" around the device motifs. Those were made in 50wt. navy Aurifil. [Can you imagine how super-slow I went between those light ribbon colors?? I put in the SID lines before I quilted the motifs, wanting the travel lines in the navy to be under the gold highlighting thread. That worked really well, exactly as desired.)  I liked how the straight-line background quilting made it look like the central and border fields are all floating on that single-fabric navy background.

I had no idea how to quilt the rest of the quilt's designs. After playing with my acrylic overlay panel, I decided to put feathers in the star points and faceting in the gemstone centers. The feathers were easy for me. Glide 40wt navy thread. (many brands in this quilt - my longarm thread stash is still meager, so I used what I had)

I wasn't happiest choosing the meander for the stars' background, but I haven't worked at the longarm yet with the McTavishing I would have preferred. This worked fine and met the need for a finish in a timely manner. Superior Microquilter in Lace White. I put in SID and a 1/4" echo line around each star as I did the fill in each section. (To stabilize the quilt at the beginning, I SID all the sashing and the diamond centers of each star with that Microquilter thread.)

The faceting in the star centers started out more detailed, but when I got the first one put in, I could see that the effect was going to be slightly jarring instead of playing with the whole. 

So I picked it all out and went with the wisdom that sometimes less is more: I stuck to some simple echo lines inside the gem areas, done in an Affinity 40wt. variegated turquoise.

I needed this to be an Air Force quilt, so I made letter stencils to mark in the USAF's on the sashing. I took the extra time to do individual triple lines on either side (start and stop for each one of those suckers, and I'm a tie/tucker. . . so much work, but the effect I wanted for this). The Lace White worked great here, blending right in on the gray. This quilt has a lot going on, so I didn't want to add extra contrast at the letters. I oriented these the same way around each star - so half the stars have the letters facing them all around, and the other half are the other way.

The cornerstone patchwork on either end of each sash got chevrons radiating from the star points. (also done with the Lace White microquilter thread)

That left figuring out what to do in those vibrant, criss-crossed yellow and red diamonds around the stars. I needed something that would play nice with the rest of the quilting, and wanted to somehow play down the fracturing of the diamonds. My curved ruler came to rescue with some crossing arcs in 40-wt Isocord red or yellow that vaguely made me think of something wing-ish. And therefore somehow AirForcy-ish. You probably had to be in my mind to get that. :)   

So that's all the quilting. To finish the quilt, I obtained an authentic Vietnam-era uniform shirt with Sterling's rank on it. His own uniforms were destroyed in a fire, so I had to find one elsewhere. Thanks to Tech Sgt. Simmons, I could make a flanged border with the uniform fabric my husband associates with his father's active duty days.

I could also sew the correct rank patches onto each corner. 

And I could make that cool Air Force shirt pocket label. Thank you, Tech Sgt Simmons, and thank you Sterling, for your service during a very difficult period in our military history.

I'm looking forward to this quilt being presented to him. I'm sure he'll keep it on the sofa in his man cave downstairs and show it to everyone who visits.

~*~  Linking up at:

TGIFF Thank Goodness It's Finished Fridays at Sandra's this week
Whoop! Whoop! at Sarah's 
One Monthly Goal (OMG) at Elm Street Quilts 

2018 Finish-A-Long Q1 at Sandra's


  1. I am blown away by the quilt, design, quilting and all the thoughts and special care that went into it! I am sure it will be a real treasure to the recipient.

  2. Wow. This is so scrappy but it looks so cohesive. This quilt is amazing!

  3. Love this and all the thought you put into it. I made our three grandchildren (then 5, 12, and 15) each a lap quilt with parts of their Dad's uniforms from when he was in Afghanistan (when the youngest was born). I used parts of the uniform on the front and sewed a pocket on the back and he wrote them each a letter to put in that pocket. They love them and it will be a wonderful keepsake. I'm sure your FIL will be thrilled with this beautiful quilt!

  4. As usual, your dedication to the quilt you are making astounds me. It is beautiful, meaningful, and will be very special for the recipient. Wonderful job!!!

  5. This is one of the most amazing QOV quilts that I have ever seen!! I love how you tied in the ribbon boards with the leaves and stars and all that additional symbolism and quilted in USAF... I also appreciate all the detail about how you go about quilting something like this. I was surprised that you didn't feel confident enough to do a McTavish fill, though -- some of your other quilting looks much more difficult than a McTavish fill to me, and very professional!

  6. Hi Lynette, Thank you for your kind words on my Bloom quilt ! Your Sterlings sapphire stars is truly a work of art ! So much detail, so much symbols (the oak leaves !!!!), the armygreen fabric little border.... fantastic ! Love from Belgium :-)

  7. This quilt is just stunning. Thanks for linking up with Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal and congrats on your finish.

  8. Absolutely gorgeous. Beautiful work.

  9. What a great finish! I especially like your borders and how the top and bottom look like his service bars. I hope he enjoys your stunning quilt.

  10. AHHH I got goosebumps reading this!! He is going to SO LOVE it!!! What fabulous personal touches you have added to this amazing quilt - and the quilting - To LOVE for!!!!! Its awesome!!!! I can't wait for you to present it to him now!! Go!!! ( ha ha ) Hugs!!

  11. Oh my goodness, what an amazing quilt! The design is just perfect for a QOV, and I cannot believe how much work you have put into this quilt. I hope everyone who comes across this post reads it from beginning to end so they know how much love you have shown with your work on this! He is going to love it! So much thoughtfulness in your quilting, the badges, the label. I'm just amazed. Well done!

  12. This is an amazing labor of love! The technical aspects, the specificity of military details, the research and, yes, even the label - I'm just in awe! I'm sure he'll feel the love even if he has trouble seeing it. Beautiful job! I hope Kevin sees this - what a great thing you created from his pattern.

  13. This is just STUNNING Lynette, wow. Wow. All the details! He is going to be blown away by it I know it. I wonder if it will be in his man cave or UPstairs where all can immediately see it. The feathers you did are breathtaking, and the facets perfect. Love those stars too, so much work and love here. Aren't flanged bindings 'da bomb'?! Thanks for linking up with TGIFF!

  14. Fabulous, meaningful, gorgeous quilt! Your FIL will love it and be so proud that you made it especially for him :)

  15. You did a spectacular job on Kevin's Mystery!! I'm sure that your FIL will appreciate all the special details you added to his quilt.

  16. I don't even have words for how much I love this - the design, the colors, the fantastic quilting [the USA and lines is just inspired!], the use of a uniform shirt and patches....I'm just blown away. This is an incredible work of art.

  17. Well, Phooey! I just left a comment on the previous post saying I couldn't wait to see it finished, and here it IS! It is just stunning. So, so special. It's obvious a lot of love went into it.

  18. What a fabulous finish and I love all the quilting details. thank you for showing the close-up pictures. And speaking of pictures - that was a perfect snowy background for the gorgeous photo shoot.

  19. Oh my goodness! This one is so very beautiful! Congratulations on a beautiful finish.

  20. The quilt is beautiful, and I am sure it will be treasured. Claire aka knitnkwilt

  21. That is a beautiful quilt, Lynette! Congrats on a fabulous finish!

  22. What an amazing quilt! So much work, both in the piecing and in the detailed quilting. I'm sure Sterling will be blown away when he receives it. Marvellous finish. I so enjoyed reading the story behind the quilt. Thank you.

  23. I still love this quilt Lynette. I LOVE the fabrics and quilting. The colors are all in the perfect places.
    Congrats on your wonderful 1st quarter finishes!

  24. I am amazed at all the thought and detail that went into this wonderful quilt. I am also amazed that this is only one of several wonderful quilts you have finished this quarter.

  25. What a gorgeous quilt. The personal elements are really nice. And those colors are wonderful.

  26. Your quilt is AMAZING. Thank you so much for sharing the story behind it. On behalf of the Finish-A-Long crew, thanks for participating!


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