Finish: Jumbo-er Star 58


I just dropped off the Jumbo-er Star quilt for the charity auction on Sunday. So it’s officially done, because there isn’t anything I can do on it now!


This quilt came together because a couple of random events. The first was my friend Adrianne @ Little Bluebell posted an instagram picture of some flowers near her house. I immediately fell in love with the colors, and I asked her permission to turn it into a palette. Fortunately, she agreed!


I put it into the palette builder and tweaked a few things but quickly arrived at a palette with taupes, grey, pink and green. I pulled some fabrics and dreamt up ideas. And there it sat for a bit. I loved the palette, but I had no project to use it for. All my pregnant and recent mommy friends were having or had baby boys and none of them wanted a pink and green quilt (trust me, I asked.)


A few weeks later, I went to spring quilt market to help Heather Ross with her booth. The day we were setting up, her twin sister was receiving surgery to remove a cancerous mass. It was an emotional time as you can imagine. Heather talked about a charity event she wanted to hold in Santa Cruz (where I live, and near where her sister lives) and I waited to hear more details.

As the event details became more concrete, I realized I really wanted to donate a quilt for the auction. I’d never made an auction quilt before, so I waffled on design for a while. Due to time constraints, I didn’t have a lot of time to waffle, so thanks to the help of you lovely readers, I decided to go forward on the Jumbo Star pattern, first created by Kati @ from the blue chair.


Kati had hand drawn her pattern pieces, but I’m lazy and like Illustrator and love causing consternation amongst the Kinkos staff, so I drafted up my pattern electronically and printed it out at Kinkos. The pattern was 25 feet long (!!!) before cutting it into the 8 diamonds that make up the star (and I could have done it SO much smaller if I’d planned remotely well. Oops.)


Somewhere in the design process, I accidentally resized my pieces making them a good 5″ bigger. I didn’t notice until I was piecing the whole thing together and trying to figure out why my dimensions were so much bigger than Kati’s. That’s where the name Jumbo-er Star was born. It has since stuck because I sure do love me a good grammar thrashing.


I went through a lot of layouts before I finally settled on the one I ultimately used. I had decided that I liked pink as the outer color, and I wanted the green to be repeated twice. I used the taupes twice because it was the predominant color in the initial inspiration image. Having the greys in the middle made them stand out a bit, even though they were only used once. It had the balance I was looking for.


Then started the actual sewing. Once I got going, it took about 1-2 hours to finish each ring. I’ll let you do the math on that, but let’s just say my family had words with me about how much time I was spending at the sewing machine.


Once the diamonds were done, the rest was relatively fast. I pieced the entire star together, then y-seamed in the large triangle and square pieces to make the inside square. When I eventually did the quilting, I quilted down the middle of these pieces, thereby negating the whole point of the y-seamed pieces, since it looks like they’re seamed now. Live and learn.


Then I waffled on a border. I loved the look of the original border in Kati’s version of the Jumbo Star, but mine was already quite a bit bigger than hers. In the end, I loved the look far too much not to do it. I went with green because they grey looked weird with the Kona Bone background, and the taupe would have recessed too much. The pink would have been too overpowering since it was the outer ring of the star, and the green was just the right balance I was looking for. I went with a more yellow green that fell pretty much in the middle of the spectrum of greens I used in the quilt. As an aside, I wish I’d done a shot cotton instead of a solid, I like the depth and texture that lends.


Once the top was done, I rushed the back. I was borrowing a friend’s floor space for basting (not nearly enough room at my house) and so I had a couple hours to make a back. I went with darker taupe solids because I wanted to reflect the predominant color in the inspiration image without doing the same color that was on the front.


Quilting was constrained heavily by my own abilities. Since this is something that is going to be sold, I didn’t feel comfortable doing free-motion quilting, as I’ve only done it once before. I think I would have liked FMQing better for this quilt, but I enjoy the straight line echo quilting I did as well. I used a darker thread than I normally would have used (again, constrained by what I had access too. Many thanks to Karen @ capitola quilter for the use of her floor and thread!!) but I’ve been told it looks fine. πŸ™‚

For binding, I had very little time to pick that out. I’m fine with what I ended up with, but I don’t feel like I gave it the due consideration I normally would. I definitely wanted a print since a solid Β looked too static next to the solid green border. Pink seemed like the logical choice since green was too repetitive, grey looked really weird with the backing I had chosen, and taupe was too bland. In the end I went with a Joel Dewberry Nottinghill print because he uses Kona Bone as the base which is the same background I used, and the colors were perfect.


Finally, I added a label. This is my first label I’ve done, and I realized after the fact that I wanted to credit Kita (my cat) in this quilt. Mostly because she was practically surgically attached to this one. Every time I turned around she was on this quilt. I have promised her that the next big quilt will be forΒ keeps! She’s thrilled. πŸ™‚


Overall I’m incredibly happy with this quilt. It’s the striking design I was hoping for, and I definitely would consider making another one for myself (with a much looser deadline…)

With that said, I did want to mention a few design changes I would make as well as things I learned throughout this process.


Paper-piecing pattern: The 1/4″ strips are really not worth it unless they pop like crazy. The grey 1/4″ strip I did in Kona Ash (above) which just gets lost in the prints. I wish I’d done a darker color to have it really contrast nicely. The green and pink work much better. Although to be honest, I’m not sure 1/4″ is really worth it anyway. 1/2″ or bigger makes it easier to deal with and gives you more impact on a design that big (the pink solid section is bigger than 1/4″ and it’s easier to see for sure). And it makes it easier to line things up when you’re putting your star together.


Printing at Kinkos: If you decide to print at Kinkos, you should know that the ink WILL transfer when heated. So when you press those seams, you’ll also leave black marks all across your pressing surface (I used a towel to cover my pressing board). I made pretty thick lines, and I’d definitely change my pattern to use thinner lines. Less mess, and also more precision.


The quilting: I mentioned this a bit already, but I wish I’d gone with cream thread. The darker taupe looks fine, but the additional lines just make a busy pattern look even more busy. The cream would have let the design shine more. With that said, I didn’t have cream thread, and Karen’s a saint for letting me use her Aurifil, so I’m not complaining that loudly. πŸ˜€ Also, man I wish I knew FMQing.

The back: I wish I’d added some color back there, or possibly gone with grey neutrals instead of taupes. It’s a back so it’s not a huge deal, but the back is not what I’d call “pretty”.

These are all minor details, but I share them in case someone else decides they want to take on one of these quilts. Also, to remind myself when I go to make another one!


Dimensions: 85″ x 85″
Design: Based on the Jumbo Star pattern by Kati @ from the blue chair
Background: Kona Bone
Solids: Kona Pomegranate (dark pink), Kona Lime (1/4″ green bit in the star), Kona Ash (grey), Kona Peapod (border), don’t remember what was on the back other than two Michael Miller Cotton Coutures (two darker ones) and Kona Oyster or Parchment for the lightest color.
Prints: From stash, lots (66 total)
Number of needles destroyed: Seven. 4 to paper-piecing (the paper would strip off parts of the silver coating within minutes), 3 to quilting (snapped due to the thick seams and me moving the quilt around in a bad way).

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This was also my June goal for a Lovely Year of Finishes. Yay!


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I love comments, and respond to each one!

58 thoughts on “Finish: Jumbo-er Star

    • anne Post author

      Thank you! I’m a little burnt out from pushing so hard on this one to make the deadline, but at the same time, I’m really pleased with how it came out! πŸ™‚

  • Kim

    ANNE!!!! I love this so much. What a great quilt – so much effort and energy made a beautiful donation/raffle item. And I agree with Kita – I would have snuggled all up in that shit. Make that cat a quilt!

    • anne Post author

      Awww, thank you Kim!! It didn’t SEEM like it was going to be a lot of
      work, and I’d just made two quilts in May, so one seemed not so bad.
      I’m totally making Kita a quilt. The bento box is gonna stay with us! πŸ˜€

    • anne Post author

      Your enthusiasm totally made my day, just so you know. πŸ˜€ When I saw how long the post was I got a little worried! I’m glad you enjoyed the details and they weren’t overwhelming or boring. πŸ˜€

  • Adrianne

    Wow Anne – it looks fantastic finished. I hope it sells really well at auction! In relation to your perceived flaws in this quilt, I think you are being hard on yourself. That said, it’s always nice to take lessons from any experience. I am working on my FMQ skills, and you might be surprised to know that it usually takes me longer to FMQ a quilt than straight line quilt it (even if I mark for straight lines). It’s probably partly to do with the fact that I have a small sewing machine that means I have to FMQ reasonably densely (there’s not enough room to move my hands to create very open FMQ designs). FMQ is also much harder on my neck, shoulders and wrists than straight line quilting – so much that I have to restrict myself to 3 bobbins a day. So I would highly recommend practising FMQ on a quilt you are not in a huge hurry with – it will be a lot more fun if you can take breaks. Also, I think Kita might be related to my cat Ivy. She has been known to burrow into a quilt while I’m still quilting it. Now my cats have their own quilt (to go with their little kitty heat pads, natch).

    • anne Post author

      Thanks so much! πŸ˜€ I know I’m a really tough critic on my work, but I honestly am really happy with how the quilt came out. πŸ™‚ I just like to keep notes of what I’d change for next time so when I look back on it later, I can remember the lessons I learned. I don’t expect any quilt to be perfect. If it was, then I think I’d be “done” quilting, if that makes sense? πŸ™‚

      I actually tried using masking tape for marking my lines this time, and I liked it quite a bit. No fear of the pen not coming out for some reason, and if you keep it taut, it creates a straight line automatically.

      I have the same problem with FMQ really making me tense up. A lot of my quilter friends have recommended this silicon mat thing that you put on your machine (it holds on by friction, so you can remove it later) and they say it makes FMQing SO much easier. I think I might pick one up to give it a try. πŸ™‚ Otherwise I end up wrestling the quilt so much that there’s no hope of the pattern looking smooth or interesting.

      Ivy sounds adorable!! And /definitely/ related to Kita. I adore that you made your kitties quilts for their heat pads. lol I am totally going to have to do that. πŸ˜€

    • anne Post author

      Thank you! I’d been really wanting to do something more spring/summer after a long row of navy projects. πŸ™‚ I’ve been really feeling pink lately, maybe navy and pink for the next one? πŸ˜‰

    • anne Post author

      Thank you, although I really do assure you it wasn’t that fast, I just spent a lot of time on it every. single. day. I think my output is going to be a little light for the next month or so as I recover my social life and creativity!

    • anne Post author

      Hahah thanks Charlotte! <3 I'm glad I won't be seeing it until Sunday so I have a little space between finishing it and it getting auctioned, so I can maybe appreciate it a bit more. πŸ™‚

  • Cari

    This is SO inspiring. I loved hearing about the whole process… definitely filed away some ideas! I really think the quilting compliments the design perfectly. In fact I would not change a thing!

    • anne Post author

      You’re so sweet, thank you! πŸ˜€ I’m sure I”m suffering from grass-is-greener syndrome. I am less skilled at FMQing, so of course it would look better with it. πŸ˜‰ But I’m truly happy with how the quilt turned out. And I’m enjoying the break from it so I can see it with fresher eyes at the auction on Sunday. πŸ™‚ I’m so happy that describing the process gave you some ideas!! That makes writing it all out worth it!

  • Karen Schulz

    Wow I have been following your progress and so want to make one – might have to start tonight!!! I did not realise it was for charity. How fantastic you, very thoughtfull and a lot of work to then give away.

    • anne Post author

      I hope you do make one! πŸ˜€ I’d love to see it if you do! I’ll look for it on your blog, for sure. πŸ™‚
      With two cats and a dog, having a light quilt like that in my home is not really practical, but I loved working with those colors. So being able to work on something really creative and then find a home for it is actually really fulfilling! It’s one of my favorite things about quilting. I used to draw a lot and I’d end up with all these drawings with nowhere to put them. In quilting, even the stuff you don’t like, someone will take it because it’s useful! πŸ™‚

    • anne Post author

      Thank you Jennie! I figure if no one bids on it, I’m going to lowball bid on it to get it back. Hahaha Kita would be so happy! πŸ˜‰
      I really didn’t mean my post to come off so critically. πŸ™‚ I really am happy with how the quilt came out! I mostly like to note things I would change for future iterations so I can remember them later. I never expect a quilt I make to be perfect, because half the fun of quilting to me is learning new things!

  • prsd4tim2

    Anne, it is just lovely! It turned out wonderfully, and I hope it brings a pretty penny at auction! I’m not sure that I would FMQ such a large quilt on my home machine. It is a daunting prospect (although I would have found all that paper piecing daunting as well – WOW!). I often say that charity quilts are a great way to practice FMQ, but I would certainly start with something a bit smaller – once you start FMQ, you’re committed to finish it with FMQ.

    I have loved seeing your progress with this one. Congratulations, and a heart felt “Well done!”

    • anne Post author

      Thank you! I hope it sells well at the auction as well! Otherwise, I’m buying it back for my cat. Hahahaha I’ve done a little FMQing and it’s not that pleasant on my machine, but many of my quilting friends have no issues. They use a silicon mat thing that you can lay on your machine which makes the quilt move a lot easier. I think I’d be better off starting on baby quilts, though. πŸ™‚ Or … placemats. HAhaahah

      Thanks again. I was worried I was boring everyone with “here’s another picture of it a little more done!” so it’s nice to hear that the progress shots were appreciated. πŸ˜€

  • snips

    Stunning! It turned out so gorgeous, and i love the straight line quilting! You should be very proud of this, it’s wonderful. My attempt at making this one has gotten me as far as “borrowing” the roll of paper off my three year old’s easel… someday.

    • anne Post author

      Thank you so much! Having a deadline is the only reason this got done. There were a number of times when I was ready to quit, that’s for sure! πŸ˜‰ I do know that if I had to draw out the pattern pieces, I never would have started. Way too much work! (Man I’m lazy. hahaha)

    • anne Post author

      I’ve done that for a couple of big paper-piecing projects now. It’s 75 cents a foot, and the paper is 36″ wide. So it can be pretty reasonable. If it’s not 25 feet long. HAhahahaah man, that was kinda ridiculous. πŸ™‚

  • Sarah schraw

    It’s awesome! I wish I could see it in person; I’d be sure to notice all the 1/4 ” pieces! πŸ™‚

    I like the straight-line quilting! I generally prefer it to free-motion.

    I always have a similar “what I learned/ what I’d do differently next time” dialogue with myself after each quilt. Isn’t that what’s so awesome about this more-than-a-hobby hobby? It’s truly so wonderfully complex. You can always keep learning and improving, but each finished project is also a masterpiece despite the “flaws” or less-than-perfect elements.

    Good job.

    • anne Post author

      Thank you! I wish you could see it, too, so you could tell me those 1/4″ pieces were worth it. πŸ˜‰
      I actually really enjoy analyzing after I’m done and noting what I want to do differently next time. If I ever made a “perfect” quilt, I’d feel like I was done as there was nothing left to learn. Judging by the comments I’m getting, it came off as extra critical (I was pretty burnt out when I wrote the blog post, I admit!) but I really didn’t mean it that way. πŸ™‚ I just like thinking about what I’d want to do next time, it gets me excited! πŸ™‚

      I’m glad to hear you liked the straight-line quilting. That one is really probably just a grass-is-greener thing, since I don’t feel comfortable with my FMQing skills. πŸ™‚

  • Marla

    Well I like the back. Also 7 needles, woman, that is crazy!! Luckily the end result is far from tortured looking. I agree with Kita it is purrfect (sorry about the pun, actually I am not sorry)

    • anne Post author

      I’m glad you like the back, that makes me feel better about it. πŸ™‚

      I don’t know what was going on with the needles. It was nuts. I literally had the silver stripped off a needle in 3 stitches at one point. I guess that paper and all those seams just did something to it! Maybe I should have used bigger needles? I used some 90/14 and some 80/12s, and had troubles with both of them. I’ve never gone through so many needles in one project before!
      I love puns, so please never apologize for them. πŸ˜‰ I figure if no one bids on the quilt, I’ll lowball bid it and buy it back for Kita. She’d be stoked!

  • Molli Sparkles

    Anne, thanks for sharing your design process! It’s great to see other designer’s thoughts around not only the design, but colour and fabric selection, things they would and wouldn’t do again, and even the notions and supplies they used. Many thanks, and, of course, the end product is divine.

    • anne Post author

      Awww, thank you!! πŸ˜€ I worry at times that I’m writing way too much detail, but I figure even if one person makes it through and gets something from it, it’s totally worth it. πŸ™‚ So thank you for being that person! πŸ˜‰

    • anne Post author

      Thank you! πŸ™‚ It feels really nice to have it completed, that’s for sure! Now comes the nervousness of hoping it sells at the auction! πŸ™‚

    • anne Post author

      Thank you! I was a bit worried I’d thrown way too much detail in there, but I like having the record for myself later. πŸ™‚ I’m really happy you found it interesting as well!

  • Suzanne

    I have also enjoyed reading about how this quilt came about – I love your inspiration and the resulting palette, and how it translated into the fabric selection. It is all so interesting! And of course, a lovely quilt at the end of it!

    • anne Post author

      Thank you so much! I’m not always so organized in planning a quilt from start to finish, but I’m really happy I did it in this case. πŸ™‚ I definitely see more large star quilts in my future, they’re a great deal of fun to make!

    • anne Post author

      Thank you! I’ve been working with low volume and navy a lot lately, and it was great to take a break and work with more Spring/Summer colors! I definitely need more pink in my creative life. πŸ˜€

  • Kati

    I love everything about your version of the quilt! It turned out so fantastic. I can’t believe you gave it away because I know how much work it was. It is so beautiful. You do wonderful work and have a great sense of color with all these scrappy prints. Well done!!

    • anne Post author

      Kati! Thank you so much for being the inspiration for this quilt and writing such a great tutorial!! Thanks so much for the compliments, they really do mean a lot. Since I started the project knowing it would be given away, I was using colors that I liked but would never be a good fit for my home. (Cream colors with lots of furry animals just doesn’t work around here πŸ˜‰ That made it a lot easier to give away. The woman who won it in the auction had gotten into a car accident on the way to the auction, and she told me after that winning the quilt made it worth it. That made it easier, too! πŸ˜€

    • anne Post author

      Thank you, Caroline! πŸ˜€ I hope the tips are useful to you! I like to post all those notes for myself when I’m working on my next quilt, and I always hope they’re somewhat useful for others. πŸ™‚

  • Eveline

    This quilt is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your thoughts as you went along. I especially like your thoughts on the next times. This is truly informative since they only come AFTER the fact. Awesome thanks.

    • anne Post author

      Thank you so much. πŸ™‚ I really enjoy doing a post-mortem of each quilt, because I love thinking about design and how to improve it next time! It’s wonderful to hear that it’s helpful for others, as well!

  • Carmit

    I keep re-visiting this post because I think this quilt is spectacular. Did it do well at auction? I can’t imagine otherwise!

    Is there any chance you’d make the paper-piecing pattern available for sale (with the adjustments you talk about in your post)? I would love to try this but just know I’d make a hash of it if I tried to draw it myself.

    • anne Post author

      Thank you so much! It did do quite well in auction. πŸ˜€ There was a bidding war, and the person who won had gotten into a fender-bender on the way to the auction, and she said winning the quilt made it worth it. How sweet is that?!

      I’d be happy to send you my pdf file, although it requires a big format printer to print (or a whole LOT of taping). Or do you just want the measurements to draw your own?

  • Janda

    Hi there — I absolutely LOVE this quilt! It has such a huge impact! You did such a beautiful job on it and I really love the straight line quilting. I would be interested in your pdf file for the pattern, too, if you’re still willing to share it. I did something similar for a Christmas tree skirt I made last fall. I took a small paper piecing pattern to Office Max and had them blow it up so that each piece was 30″ tip to tip (I wanted the tree skirt to be 60″ around) and then had to make 10 copies. At first, they were going to charge me $30 for the copies, but then gave me a couple of discounts and brought it down to $16. That was much more manageable, but is that about in line with what you were charged at Kinko’s? Or did I get ripped off…. lol. Anyway… here is the tree skirt I made, in case you’re curious: Thank you!

    • anne Post author

      Thanks so much, Janda! I’ll see if I can find the PDF and send it along. πŸ™‚
      Your Christmas tree skirt is amazing, I love it!! I really need to make a Christmas tree skirt this year, so I might borrow your idea. πŸ˜€
      $30 is about what I paid for my pattern (I forget the exact amount but I remember thinking that it was really expensive) so getting them down to $16 is awesome! I’ll have to try Office Max next time. πŸ™‚

    • anne Post author

      Thank you! πŸ˜€ I’ve included the pdf in the email. I’ll forewarn you, it prints out pretty darn big! But it’s a lot easier than drawing it. πŸ™‚