Judi's Reach for the Stars Quilt

Now this quilt has a funny story. Last summer I got an email from Judi wanting to send me this quilt but it's HUGE and the backing she chose was directional so we needed to formulate a plan to make it work and get it large enough to fit the quilt AND match the pattern as best as possible. Well, after a few emails and phone calls back and forth, we had success and this amazing quilt showed up at my doorstep.
 Judi made this version of Reach for the Stars and I can't even begin to describe to you how rich and vibrant this quilt was in person since it's basically a neutral quilt. It's creams, grays, tans and black, but it was sooo captivating.

I knew early on before I began that a few of the busier fabrics would be challenging to plan a design because they were so contrasting and so busy to the eye (like the grey borders - well, they read grey in pictures). For those areas we planned simpler quilting, because let's be honest, you're probably not going to be able to see the quilting 80% of the time anyway. That then allows for stand-out quilting to be in the lighter areas where you will see the quilting more.

We tried to keep the elements simple, straight lines, pebbles, swirls, and some fleur de lis by request of Judi. This quilt was inspired by a trip she took with her girls to Italy and we wanted to keep that same vibe in the quilting.
 Some of the blocks were quilted simply and let the fabrics do the talking, some had a bit more interest in plain areas where the quilting could be a bit "louder". All of the blocks were framed in one of three different fabrics, we chose three different fillers and kept the designs consistent throughout the quilt.
 Here you can see the crazy bold fabrics a bit better that I was talking about. Every part of this quilt has quilting in it, you just can't always see it all.
 And the fabric that started it all - the center of this block was the fabric that Judi picked first to use as color inspiration and it also happens to be the backing too. Whenever it came into play on the top of the quilt, I just followed the motif and let the fabric talk. There's no sense taking away from it at all.
 It took me awhile to figure out what to quilt in these complex side setting triangles, but I was so happy with the results, I'm grateful I waited to see how the rest of the quilt was coming along and see what areas or designs I could play with more to fit the space the best.
 The center of the quilt is this huge medallion type block and I tried to tie in a little of every quilting design in the spaces where I could.
 Here's some more close ups of the blocks - I'll take a narrative break and just let the quilt speak for itself.

 Now, the border. I came up with this crazy plan for these wild feathers to fill the borders and I'm so glad Judi agreed. They're complex and beautiful and fit the feel of the quilt wonderfully. If my memory serves me correctly, not all the borders were the same width so this type of feather allowed to fill wider and narrower spaces and still feel right.
 This quilt was massive and just barely fit on the machine with the way it needed to be loaded (the way you piece your backings determines how it gets loaded onto the machine, more on that in a later post).
 All in all, this was so much fun to work on and see it come to life as I worked. With so much contrast within the fabrics, we kept the thread colors as close to the fabrics as possible using grey and tan both top and back. Maybe there was a cream in there too, I don't remember - it's on my notes, but not important for the blog...

 I really really LOVE those feathers and need to find more excuses to quilt them!
 Here's the backing fabric once the quilt was done and all folded up to go back to Judi. Aside from a shadow here or there, the fabric is so busy you can't really see the quilting, can you?
Here's a close up. See the different threads. There's a tan and a grey, I promise. This is why you hear quilters say busy backs are best because they are! Especially when the top has so much going on and every color from black to white. It makes matching threads and getting the perfect tension/thread pairing so much easier to achieve.

Thank you Judi! This was one of my favorite quilts to work on last year - granted almost all of them are my favorites, but once again this was another quilt I wanted to hold hostage and never send back! It happens a lot...

If you have questions about my quilting services, you can read all the info you need by visiting the Machine Quilting Information page (at the top of the blog if you're on a desktop, follow the drop down menu at the top of the blog if you're on a mobile device) or by emailing me at rubybluequilts (at) gmail (dot) com. I'm still taking in quilts at this moment, but I may only have a spot or two left before I can't reach the machine anymore and quilting may have to wait until Little Miss arrives in March. I'll be posting updates in the mean time and feel free to contact me to schedule a spot (or spots) or send me your quilt now so I can get to it when I can. I'll be working on a first come/reserved basis, so please plan ahead if you have deadlines. I will try to be accommodating, but no guarantees as I settle into motherhood and hopefully a new house in the future!

Well, thank you all for the comments on the other quilts I've posted! It's been fun to reminisce and see these beauties once again. Have a great day and if you're snowed in - have fun quilting!


  1. Beautiful quilt and great use of the colors.

  2. Beautiful quilt and your quilting, as usual, totally enhances it's beauty. That one could easily get "lost in the mail" in my bedroom :)

  3. Seriously I don't know how you do it! I soooo love this quilt.
    It's by far my fav!! Thanks again:)


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