Supernova Quilt-Along: Completing the Top


Welcome back to the Supernova Quilt-Along. Are you dying to finish that quilt top yet? Well, your wait is over, because that’s what we’ll be doing today! But before I get to that, thanks for all your comment love about my own Supernova. I had quite a few comments about my color selections, and at least one question about it. So before we dive into assembly, I thought I’d give you a few quick thoughts on choosing colors and fabrics.

There are a lot of ways to go about choosing fabric and colors, but in this case, I decided on a basic color palette first, before I even chose a single print. The palette I had in mind was golds, oranges, deep plummy pinks, and aquas, on a charcoal gray background. How did I come up with this palette? It was inspired by a line of fabric that I love, but of which I don’t own a single scrap: Heather Ross’s Mendocino line. Beautiful prints in gorgeous, rich colors—and since I don’t own any of the prints myself, I thought a quilt in those colors would be the next best thing. Once I had my palette nailed down, I pulled prints from my stash that fit, and ordered a few more to round things out.

So how can you apply this strategy to your quilting? First, for color inspiration, just look around! Your palette could be inspired by a line of fabric, like mine was, but color inspiration is everywhere. Think out-of-the-box when you’re looking for colors! Home decor magazines, the paint color chips at Home Depot, even one of my 4-year-old daughter’s dresses have all served as inspiration for me in the past. There’s also a fantastic blog called Design Seeds that is nothing but color palettes—4 or 5 new ones each day, all based on gorgeous photos, and all just begging to be made into quilts. : )

Once you’ve decided on your colors, go to your stash and/or your local quilt shop and pull everything you see in those shades. Then start narrowing down prints from there, being sure to keep scale and pattern in mind (but that’s a whole different subject for a different post!). And of course, you can also order fabric online, but be aware that colors don’t always look the same in person as they do on a computer screen, so you run the risk of your prints not matching up as well in “real life” as you thought they would when you ordered them.

If you’d like to learn more about this, I highly recommend Jeni’s series “The Art of Choosing,” on her blog In Color Order. There are some great strategies here, and I don’t think there could be anyone better qualified to write such a series than Jeni, who always pulls such beautiful fabric stacks. And if you’re still having trouble, you can always let somebody else pick your fabric for you! Order a custom quilt-ready fabric bundle from one of the many online quilt stores that carry them. My favorite source for custom bundles is Fabricworm. This has the added benefit of taking the guesswork out of on-screen color matching.

Okay, I hope that helps. Now let’s finish those Supernova tops. : )

Our first step, obviously, is to assemble the blocks. This is pretty straightforward—sew your blocks together in rows of three, then sew the rows together. As you are pinning together your blocks, start by matching up your straight seams in the center of the blocks (the part that makes up the vertical/horizontal part of the supernova). Then work your way out toward the corner of the blocks and the bias seams.

In places where straight seams meet bias seams, keep an eye out for a little triangle of your background fabric that should show up in the seam allowance (shown here with the dark gray of my background). Make sure your bias seams are lined up just as you did in the first part of the block-piecing isntructions. Then, as you sew, the new stitches should just nick the bottom of that little triangle. If you can manage that, all those seams should come together quite nicely.

Once you have your blocks assembled, it’s time for the borders. This diagram shows how to piece the border strips—two long background sections, connected by your small pieces of constrasting solid, and a short or medium background section on each end of the strip.

Attaching the pieced borders to the quilt is also quite straightforward. Starting with the borders with the short (5″ x 8″) sections at each end, pin the borders to your quilt top. The contrasting strips in your border serve as a handy way to accurately align the borders with the rest of the top. Match up the contrasting strips with the vertical part of your Supernova, as shown above.

Once those three strips are aligned and pinned, go back and pin the rest of the border, then sew. (If you have trouble getting everything to align correctly, you may want to consider using your walking foot.)

Repeat with the other three border strips. And there it is, a completed Supernova quilt top!

Tomorrow I’ll be bringing back “Friday Flickr Finds” after a long absence (during which I didn’t have much time to scour Flickr!). Tomorrow’s finds will be Supernova-themed, so check back for all kinds of eye candy. And just a reminder: There’s a FQ bundle of Castle Peeps that’s currently burning a hole in my stash, but it’s reserved for one of my Supernova participants! To enter the giveaway for the Castle Peeps, just complete your Supernova quilt no later than May 12. That means there’s still plenty of time to join the quilt-along and catch up! And for those of you who are comfortable working ahead and would like to get a jump on that giveaway deadline, please feel free to do so.

Thanks for quilting along with me! This continues to be such a blast. Come back next week for some ideas on pieced Supernova backs. Until next time!

13 replies
  1. Kiera
    Kiera says:

    Just wanted to say that even though I didn't join in this (didn't know if I was good enough yet to pull it off) I really appreciate all the time you put into posting and sharing this.

  2. Marjorie's Busy Corner
    Marjorie's Busy Corner says:

    Morning Lee…looking good there…and so quickly to a finish….I didn't have the time to work with you guys this time…but when I do make the supernova quilt; I will show it on here…I really love the pattern…thank you.

  3. Lee Heinrich
    Lee Heinrich says:

    Very exciting! I'm so excited to get this finished. And I see you used a neutral print as the accent in your border. I'm thinking about using the stone-colored Cobblestone print from Central Park for mine.

  4. Linda
    Linda says:

    I hate to admit that I'm the Linda who asked, but gosh, I'm grateful you took the time to reply. Sometimes I just can't believe I've been making quilts since 1976, and still don't "get" color basics. It's more than a practical skill, I think. There's got to be an extra ounce of giftedness in one's ability to choose, and you have at least two or three ounces!

    I have a dark green block in my Supernova that has got to go. I'm having trouble finding the right color and prints to make a new block, but am thinking to go with something completely different – purple. So, aqua, orange, yellow, olive green and… purple. Hmm. Or maybe just another yellow.

  5. Caroline@ToffleCraft
    Caroline@ToffleCraft says:

    Well done with running this quilt-along. It looks as though you've inspired a bunch of beautiful projects.

    I wanted to say thank you for the link to Design Seeds. It's a beautiful site and feels very exciting to me right now 🙂 The right combination of beauty and quilting love all at once. Have you ever used their palate suggestions to make a quilt?

  6. Leanne
    Leanne says:

    Thanks for the great discussion on choosing colours. And the give away. When you say finished, do you mean sandwiched, quilted, bound and washed or just the top done?


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