And let me tell you, this alligator had teeth!
Phase 2 of my Christmas star started out well enough - I made my quilt sandwich and trimmed everything to size, and while I was playing with which way I wanted to orient my star (on point or traditional lone star position, center or offset) inspiration struck: why not take a couple of my leftover diamonds, and make it a *shooting* star - that would eliminate the need for fussy placement tactics, right?
Right. So I played with the layout a bit, and then pinned my star in place. I set my pins perpendicular to the edges of the star rather than parallel (as the instructions had shown) mostly because it was hard to manipulate them into a parallel position while keeping the quilt flat. And... enter the problem(s).
First off, I (in my infinite wisdom), had selected Quilter's Dream Deluxe loft batting for the center of my quilt. It's a gorgeous batting, and great to cuddle under, but it's also *heavy.* Which was the intent - I want a nice winter quilt that goes to Colorado to have some heft to it - but I hadn't considered how that would interact with my walking foot. Also, it's pretty thick, so when I added it, plus a back and front, plus 2-4 layers of star fabric depending on how many folds were under the seam at the time, the long story short was, my walking foot did a lot of slipping and inopportune backwards-grabbing while trying to advance the quilt by itself. Sigh.
Also, I work off a little Janome DC2007LE which I love, but which only has maybe a 6" throat. And of course, when you're quilting with a walking foot direction matters. So trying to rotate the quilt around its tiny axis - and shove it through that throat as I worked - well, it wasn't working out for me. Especially when you consider I had all those pins in there, making it both bulky AND poke-y. I had to stop twice for fear of bleeding on my quilt. Oops.
Eventually I had to give up quilting with the walking foot (which wasn't really saving any time anyway) in favor of free-motion quilting with straight lines. Which... I don't think is anyone's idea of efficiency, or a good time; but it did work out better for me. The tradeoff in straight lines was well worth the increase in my sanity.
Quilting the straight lines for the "star echoes" and the shooting star effect was trivial by comparison; And I was very VERY glad to zoom through that after all the trouble the star had caused on my still-on-a-deadline project. So while I may have bled for my art - literally - now I have the quilt quilted and two weeks to bind it!