I am so excited to share with you this mini-quilt which I finished up this weekend at my quilt guild’s retreat. This is a foundation paper piecing pattern from Andrea Tsang Jackson’s quilting book Gemology. I actually pre-ordered this book when I first heard about it because I loved the idea of making gemstones. However, life happened and I didn’t get around to making anything from it.
Fast forward to this year when Quiltcon decided to run as a virtual event. One of the workshops was taught by Andrea and it was making her topaz block. Since I already had the book, this was an easy choice for me and a great motivator.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but the class was super helpful! I had done foundation paper piecing before and I was okay with it. Didn’t love it as I found it tedious. However, I learned so many little tips and tricks from this course, that now it’s so much easier and goes so much faster! It really changed my outlook on this technique.
The gem went together quickly. I think I did it in just a couple hours (wasn’t really keeping track of time). Admittedly, the ripping out of the little pages still takes a little bit so it’s good to do while watching TV or listening to an audiobook.
I loved how it turned out! In fact I was a little scared to quilt it because I was worried my quilting might not be up to the same level as my piecing and might take way from how cool it looked.
But this weekend when I was in a small group with some much more experienced quilters, I got several suggestions on ways to quilt it. A great one was to “audition” designs using Saran Wrap.
I didn’t like any of these which is why I keep switching it around and trying other designs.
But I was really happy with this one.
I used some Hobbs batting that I had leftover from one of my other quilts. I decided to double it up to give it a bit more depth and I feel that was achieved.
Originally I wasn’t going to quilt inside the individual facets, but my quilt guild mates said I should and I’m glad they did. I really like it much better than if I’d left them bare. I only had 3 different shades of blue thread, but they really blended nicely with the different fabric hues. This actually surprised me and was quite the eye opener for how one can use thread when quilting. The 2 lightest shades use the same blue thread, the next 2 darkest use the same and the darkest one is the only one to use its color, but you’d never know it. It really looks like I have 5 coordinating colors!
For all the quilting I used embroidery thread because I love the sheen it gives. The sparkles were my own brainchild and might be my favorite part. I used some iridescent holographic thread for them and, of course, couldn’t resist adding in the little rhinestone at the center.
For the binding, I finished it off with some gold fabric that I had that coordinated perfectly with the background and gave it that little bit extra. The blues are all Kona solids and the gold script background fabric is from AdornIt!. I really wish I could get more but it’s out of print now. If I could, I would do an entire gem quilt with that as the background. It’s so perfectly romantic to pair with the gemstones.
I love the whimsy of this piece combined with the precision and attention to detail. I’m quite proud of it and it’s probably one of my favorite makes to date — at least until I have a whole gemstone quilt 🙂