“Make visual decisions visually!” Lorraine Torrence
“Passionflower” began in a class taught by Jan Krentz who is the best teacher I have experienced. She taught from her book Lone Star Quilts and Beyond. The book contains careful instructions on how to strip-piece the accurate diamonds needed to create each of the eight section of the star. Another section of the book gives multiple ideas on possible designs to fill out the eight spaces around the star. We were encouraged to mix and match the techniques to create our own unique Lone Star!
Because each individual diamond forming the star has multiple bias (and very stretchy) edges this can be a difficult quilt to create and to lay flat. Historically many quilters have abandoned their unfinished top because it would not lay flat. The other innovation I appreciated using in Jan’s class was a hinged mirror placed by the tip of a small mock up we each created of the fabrics we proposed to use in the large diamond. The mirror reflected the mockup into a full star allowing us to preview the color combinations. If we did not like the reflected image we could adjust our fabrics before piecing.
Each step of the way Jan showed us how to avoid potential problems and how to double check our work insuring that we would not be disappointed with the outcome. She brought lots of useful tools to class for us to experiment with. Jan provided helpful insights when her input was requested. In fact, the orange accent color around the star points was her suggestion. I appliqued that tiny line of orange to the setting squares and setting triangles behind the star points. The rest of the quilt I pieced on my vintage Singer Featherweight.
Since it was a one day class the other of the design ideas evolved later. I am pleased with my choices, especially how the spiky star points contrast with the enveloping circle composed of the same shaped star points. I believe those contrasts help keep the eye engaged. I also believe that introducing the orange and turquoise accent colors in that outer circle enlivened the color scheme.
Then there are the bold purple/indigo fabrics designed by Nancy Crow. These appear in the center, around the star points and a different version appears in the four corners. Using a bold, printed fabric in each of these spots is one mark of contemporary design. I began the quilt in August, 2002. The top was finished in October, and I finished the hand quilting in March of 2003.
I used a bold Hawaiian flower filled fabric with a black background for the backing. The label contains a passionflower printed on fabric. I named this quilt because it recalls the wild passionflower vines that I remember from my childhood in Miami Springs, Florida. The flowers of that vine are a delicate swirl of elements around a dark center.
This pattern intrigued me to create three more Lone Star quilts–all very different: