January 6, 2016: “We Are Stardust” top center (sans border) complete!

Greetings!  I worked very hard the past few days to sew together all the pieces for the center of “We Are Stardust.”  Counting the 145 stars and the 40 setting triangles and corners, there were 185 pieces to sew together – a significant task!  In reality, the “sewing” part is the easiest of the steps.  Much more time consuming and at times tedious was all the pinning before and the pressing after, especially the pressing!  I shudder to think how many seams there are in this quilt! Every star had to be sewn to other stars, then every row had to be sewn together.


1616 stardust pinning


1616 stardust sewing


1616 stardust pressing

And finally after many, many hours:

1616 stardust center finished

The top center is complete!  Click to enlarge.  I’m very happy with how this turned out!  I think it’s beautiful!  Now I have to decide on a border.  The border background is going to be the same black as the setting triangles.  I think it will be in the 10 inch wide range and I am now rethinking the idea of some sort of applique vine even though I rejected that earlier.  Because the center is so busy, I don’t think the border should be too busy, but I definitely don’t think it should just be finished with the black fabric with nothing on it.  I want this to be a “wow” quilt and the quilt is telling me it needs an applique border.  I’ll think about this as it perches on the design wall over the next several days.

Here’s a reminder of where the title “We Are Stardust” came from (I posted this last winter, but it bears repeating, esp. for my new readers).  It was a phrase in a short article in the NY Times newspaper early in 2015 that caught my attention:

“Joni Mitchell beat Carl Sagan to the punch.  She sang “we are stardust, billion year old carbon” in her 1970 song “Woodstock.”  That was 3 years before Mr. Sagan wrote about human beings made of “star stuff” in his book, “The Cosmic Connection” – a point he would later convey to a far larger audience in his 1980 T-V series, “Cosmos.”  By now “stardust” and “star-stuff” have nearly turned cliche.  But that does not make the reality behind those words any less profound or magical:  The iron in our blood, the calcium in our bones, and the oxygen we breathe are the physical remains – ashes if you will – of stars that lived and died long ago.  That discovery is relatively recent.  Four astrophysicists developed the idea in a landmark paper published in 1957.  They argued that almost all the elements in the periodic table were cooked up over time through nuclear reactions inside stars – rather than in the first instants of the Big Bang as previously thought.”

I love this sentiment, especially as a physician.

Meanwhile, I am continuing to work on my circles.  I decided to take stock of what I have up to this point.  All my circle blocks are not the same size since I started this as an improv project and was not wedded to a particular size block, thinking I’d figure out how to put them together later.  So my block squares are 4 inches, 5 1/4 inches, 6 inches, and 7 1/2 inches.  I have a total of 60 so far, but only 4 of the larger size ones.  Here they are laid out on the floor:

1616 circles all together

Here are the newest stars since the last post:

1616 circle new#1 1616 circle new#2 1616 circle new#3 1616 circle new#4 1616 circle new#5 1616 circle new#6

I discovered that the 6th block above is only 5 inches square.  I played around with it and I like the arrangement (not sewn together) below:

1616 circle play

I’m going to have fun playing with these blocks and trying different combinations and ways to arrange them!  I’m almost positive I won’t need 365 of these so am definitely thinking of branching out into using circles in a couple of other projects to keep the idea going for the year, probably a doll quilt and maybe a crib size quilt too.  It will be fun to make some circle blocks in completely different fabric styles from what I am using in this one.

Al and I went to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston on Monday to see the special exhibit of 17th Century Dutch paintings featuring the different “classes” – upper, middle, and lower.  It shows that the inequality in wealth that we are now seeing in current times is not new.  Wow!  What a fantastic exhibit!  I highly recommend that if you like art and live anywhere near Boston, make sure you see this exhibit which ends on 1/18.  There are paintings by Vermeer, Rembrandt,  Hals, Van Dyke, and many other Dutch painters too numerous to mention depicting how the different classes looked and lived.  I was in heaven!  Unfortunately no pictures were allowed.  However, we made one other stop while at the museum and that was to see some textile art from early America.  I saw the most fantastic palampore I have ever seen!  It was made in India, early 18th century, “tree of life” style and all embroidery is silk.  I was allowed to photograph this one and here are several pictures for your enjoyment (again, click to enlarge):

1616 palampore #1 1616 palampore#2 1616 palampore#3 1616 palampore#4 1616 palampore#5 1616 palampore#6 1616 palampore#7 1616 palampore#8 1616 palampore#9 1616 palampore#10

Some of the motifs would be fantastic for applique!

After my last post about my quilting plans for the coming year, I realized I had not mentioned anything about wanting to learn new techniques.  If possible I would love to take a class on shibori dying.  I have always liked the look of shibori dyed fabric.  Even better if it could be indigo dying.  I would still like to try trapunto some day!!!  That goal seems to get carried from year to year, but now with more time on my hands, who knows – maybe this will be the year.

If all goes well, I plan to drive to Lowell tomorrow to see the new exhibit at the New England Quilt Museum of Japanese quilts and am hoping I can get some pictures to share.  Stay tuned!

Be grateful, be kind, and cherish each day.   Gladi



11 thoughts on “January 6, 2016: “We Are Stardust” top center (sans border) complete!

  1. Marie Tymrak

    The hardcover catalogue of the art show you mentioned, “Class Distinctions” brought much of the show to myself, unable to travel to Boston. I have a love for many Dutch themes, after living there in the mid 1980s, with an infant and kindergarden child. That culture gave the world donuts and Santa Claus, as well as Rembrant and Vermeer and Van Gogh paintings! You might like a 2015 publication, “Travels in Vermeer: a Memoir” by Michael White. I have only started reading, but the first few chapters bring strong memories of the Netherlands. Thanks for sharing your thoughts as well as your quilting, musical and family activities as you transition from full time medical practice at the university health center.
    I also want to note that the trees portrayed in the latest blog pictures remind me of the tree and bird motifs of some traditional Navajo weavings, in the Southwest. It is truly a universal symbol, lovely in many artistic styles.

    1. gladiporsche

      Thank you, Marie, for commenting. We didn’t go into the gift shop while at the Boston exhibit so I didn’t see the catalogue, but glad you were able to enjoy the paintings because of it. 17th century Dutch paintings have always been a favorite. I love the idea that some motifs – like birds and trees – are universal in art and thanks for pointing that out. Glad you enjoy my blog! Gladi

  2. Paul McKenna

    Gladi, the new year has brought with it an apparent burst of quilting activity…’We Are Stardust’ is a truly beautiful work of art & Lee said she hoped Joni Mitchell could see the creativity her song had help inspire. The movement from stars to circles is interesting and some of the work-in-progress building blocks look great. Also nice that you and Al are able to do more traveling these days with a visit to Boston being a prime example. Happy trails to you in your new life and trust you got to Lowell for the show! Take care & we shall keep in touch…Paul & Lee

    1. gladiporsche Post author

      Thank you! I’m very happy with the look of the quilt top so far. It’s been wonderful for me to have Barbara share it on her blog. I don’t have a google account so can’t respond to the Civil War Quilts blog posts so let me take this opportunity to thank Barbara again for showcasing my quilts!!! Gladi

  3. Nann

    Barbara B. posted photos of your star flimsies (unquilted tops) and the link to this blog post. The simple setting shows off the stars so well! I was in Boston two weeks ago for the American Library Association conference and had extra time to see the “Class Distinctions” exhibit. The paintings were magnificent, of course, but I also enjoyed reading the text (and hearing the commentary) about the social milieu depicted.

    1. gladiporsche Post author

      Thank you for commenting. I agree that the simple on point setting shows off the stars very well! I really like the look of them “en masse.” I also agree that the social commentary and information accompanying the exhibit of dutch paintings made the exhibit extra special and interesting. Gladi


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