October 31, 2017

Path of Totality + Celebration Challenge

My guild celebrated it's 25th anniversary this year and issued a challenge to its members to create a quilt with the theme, CELEBRATION, along with some other rules listed in October's One Monthly Goal.

I decided to commemorate the total solar eclipse which took place on August 21, 2017.  The path of totality crossed the entire state of South Carolina from the mountains to the sea.  It is estimated that 1.6 million traveled to or within the state to see the total solar eclipse according to this article by the State.



I found the inspiration I needed when I opened the OnPoint newsletter on day from the American Quilter's Society and a free pattern, Luna, by Betsey Langford was included.  I immediately emailed them was granted permission to use the pattern or a variation in my design.  

There was serious pattern matching to piece the partial medallions in order to make a circle for the total eclipse.  I was lucky, no seam ripper was required, it came out perfect the first try.



There was a lot of measuring for the placement of the partial eclipses before fusing and appliqueing in place.  Karen Kay Buckley's Bigger Perfect Circles (affiliate link) aided in placement.


A partial eclipse appliqued in place before adding the darker fabric.  


The pattern was much too small to fill the space of the quilt interior so I added a super-size applique of the state of South Carolina.  It was nice using Soft Fuse Premium (affiliate link) fusible web as it comes in an 18" wide roll and is light weight so quilting right over it was a breeze.

I had the idea of adding a sheer fabric to create the path of totality but where would I find such fabric.  I found the perfect fabric to plunge South Carolina in total darkness at Hobby Lobby one day.  I do not remember what it was called but I remember it being 100% polyester. 

I needed to added a border(s) to bring it up the required size of 35" x 35".  Here, I'm auditioning a solid black with Essex metallic linen in fog I purchased on etsy.



I ended up with a 3/8" inner black border and a  1 3/4" outer border.  And now the usual dilemma, how to quilt it?



Since I couldn't solicit quilting ideas from my own guild members because it was a secret challenge, I consulted with and sent in-progress photos to more distant friends,  Linda, Connie and Patty for feedback.  Thank you all!  

I ended up quilting concentric circles around the center total eclipse.  At first, I was going to to quilt right over the black inner border, but in the end, I thought it might be too distracting and ended up stopping and buried all the threads.  Although time consuming, it was the right decision.

Here, Path of Totality is blocked and drying.


Once quilted, I thought the bottom left corner was a little empty.  The bottom right corner would have the sheer applied so if would be fine.  I had the idea of adding the palmetto tree and crescent like The Palmetto State's flag.  It was much too detailed, so I simplified it and added it after quilting and blocking.



Now the scary part, adding the sheer overlay.  I modified the path slightly as not to interfere with the partial eclipse on the left.  I first used a narrow zigzag to secure the sheer in place on the edges.  I surely did not want the temperamental fabric to fray after adding the bias.  It was a risk as I knew the back would be less than attractive.  But to prevent pulling or shredding of the sheer fabric, I thought that would be best.

  

I added dark gray bias tape on the outer edges and used black down the center of the path of totality.  I secured the center before adding the bias, again to secure the fabric in place to prevent any shifting.



Here, the bias is sewn in place and a 3/8" binding to match the inner border.  The judge thought it was a good decision as well and expressed that in a comment.  

A lot of thought went in to the making of Path of Totality as I strategically placed the center of the stared medallion over Easley, SC exactly where I live.  



Quilt Stats
  • Finished size: 35 3/8" x 35 3/8" 
  • Pattern: Inspired by Luna by Betsey Langford
  • Fabrics: Background - Sound of the Woods Mottled Ice by James Wiens, licensed by Wild Apple for Robert Kaufman; Essex metallic in fog by Robert Kaufman; Challenge fabric - challenge fabric is the main focus print (style 4590B) from the Starburst collection by Michele D'Amore Designs for Benartex; unknown black solid
  • Thread: Aurifil 50 wt. in Dove Gray 2600; Natural White 2021; Black 2692, and Asphalt 5013 
  • Quilting design: concentric circles and straight lines in the border
  • Batting: 100% Cotton Warm & White by the Warm Company
  • Completed: October 2017

My husband and I went to a nearby church for an unobstructed view and this is the panoramic photograph I snapped during totality.  Ahead of time I had read about birds returning to their nests and the crickets chirping and that's exactly what happened.  It was quite an experience.



Happy to have finished Path of Totality be the deadline of  October 24th, I'm linking my finish to October One Monthly Goal link-up with Patty at Elm Street Quilts and Finish It Up Friday with Crazy Mom Quilts.  





24 comments :

  1. So creative and pretty. The quilt is really nice. The sheer fabric really expresses the total darkness.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Danice! I was fortunate to find the sheer fabric that worked so well

      Delete
  2. This is amazing, a lot of thought and time, The curved lines make me think of our world that is in a circle, and here you have that significant event chosen, and your own part of the world there too, Love it all.

    ReplyDelete
  3. What an interesting way to celebrate the eclipse! Nice fabrics and use of sheer material.!

    ReplyDelete
  4. The sheer fabric is perfect! I love how it continues through the borders too. We experienced totality in Missouri too - and are in the path for the next one in 2024 too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Laura, I had originally planned to add the sheer to the interior, but since it was so delicate I didn't want to risk snagging it during the rest of the construction. Oh, I hope I can travel to see the next eclipse too, it was incredible!

      Delete
  5. This quilt is just wonderful. What a beautiful way to represent that incredible eclipse. Thanks for sharing all your process and thinking in the post too. Thanks for linking up with Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal and congrats on your finish!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Paige, it is perfect. Your vision is wonderful. I enjoy the creative pieces you do.

    ReplyDelete
  7. You challenge well like you always do. What a concept and I love how you put it all together-especially the eclipse to commemorate this event. I hope you win!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Paige, I really enjoyed reading your thought process for this outstanding design! You REALLY put a lot of thinking into this one and it shows. I love the fussy cutting you did on the moon/sun and the idea for the path was genious!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I am always inspired by your creativity around challenges, Paige, this is stunning! Lots of detail, thought, and planning, and thank you for explaining it to us so well. :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. It's a very creative way to deal with the challenge Paige ! I'm glad I have not to make a quilt on such a theme ... ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  11. This is a great interpretation for the eclipse. I think putting the state and all those other little touches. Lovely work, Paige.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Paige, this is so wonderful! I saw the totality in South Carolina, too, and your quilt reminds me of how wonderful the experience was. Cleverly designed, beautifully executed piece.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Paige, this is almost as amazing as the eclipse itself! (I was one of those 1.6 million who traveled to South Carolina!) I especially love the eclipse stages at the top and the South Carolina symbols from the flag in the bottom corner. That sheer fabric really makes it! You and your work are simply amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Goodness! What a process! This turned out brilliantly Paige and I'm amazed at how you worked through all the steps.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Beautiful quilt and isn't it the strangest thing during an eclipse how the birds go quiet

    ReplyDelete
  16. Beautiful design for your challenge!!

    ReplyDelete
  17. It's lovely to remember that haunting day by viewing and reading about your incredible quilt. Great choice of fabrics, as always, and I love that you centred the one medallion over your hometown. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  18. This is a most interesting piece and with a bit of history as well. I really enjoyed reading about your process. A great post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jocelyn, thank you for stopping by to read about the making of Path of Totality. This one was definitely challenging but fun!

      Delete
  19. Oh Paige! This turned out so beautifully! I think the piece is a great use of that large print, and how you made the eclipse and state of South Carolina the focus is just perfect. I'm sure this piece could hang in the state government offices. How cool would that be?! I'm honored you shared it with me while you were working on it. It's great to know how you process your work. Fabulous job!

    ReplyDelete
  20. WOW! What an amazing quilt. I love all the little details that you made sure to add, centering the medallion on your hometown. What a great memory that you can keep.

    ReplyDelete