Patchwork Star Quilts: Simply Stellar Advice for Star-Crossed Crafters

Simple and scrappy, Double Star captures Amber’s quilting philosophy: it’s all about creating something warm and beautiful, and made by hand.

In the January/February 2019 issue of Quilty, inspired as it is by the stars, we chose to talk to Amber Corcoran of Fancy Tiger Crafts about her star-inspired quilt patterns. The following is an excerpt from a larger article about her star quilts. 

Amber Corcoran, partner-owner of Fancy Tiger Crafts in Denver, Colorado.

Amber Corcoran, partner-owner of Fancy Tiger Crafts in Denver, Colorado.

“Start simple,” advises Amber Corcoran. “Allow yourself to enjoy the process without focusing entirely on the finished project. Experiment and just see what happens. In the end, your quilt will be a warm and beautiful thing that you’ve made.”

It’s sound advice, coming from years of experience developing as a shop owner, teacher, and designer. As partner-owners of Fancy Tiger Crafts in Denver, Colorado, Amber and Jaime Jennings have grown with their customers. Both were experienced knitters, knowledgeable about textiles and most crafts, but were beginning quilters.

“We’ve learned as much from our customers as they have learned from us, and that joy found in the sharing of knowledge is one of the magical things about the community we’ve created here,” says Amber.

Constellation Star Quilts

Sometimes inspired by technique or scale, or the play between negative space and the design, Amber’s design for the Constellation quilt series was initially inspired by color.

Inspired by color and stars, the 12 Constellations quilt pattern by Amber Corcoran is a striking design.

Inspired by color and stars, the 12 Constellations quilt pattern by Amber Corcoran is a striking design.

“We have a beautiful Japanese linen canvas in the store, and I fell in love with the way the indigo and mustard colors looked next to each other. I kept sketching designs, wanting something with lots of negative space and little pops of mustard,” she says.

“After a few sketches, I realized the mustard looked like stars on the deep indigo. And it hit me that I should make a constellation patchwork.”

She chose to create her astrological sign of Taurus, mapping out the stars and charting them into patchwork segments for a pillow. The pieces came together quickly, and Amber found the process to be both methodical and fun.

When she brought it into the shop, of course, everyone wanted their own astrological signs charted out in patchwork.

Another Kind of Star Quilts

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The Double Star design was inspired by multiple factors. The color and texture of a particular fabric collection—large-scale soft prints, mostly pale with just a few pieces in charcoal and indigo—created striking color contrast that appealed to Amber. Scale played a part, too. Amber enlarged a typical eight-pointed star, creating a large indigo-hued focal point in the center of the quilt. “In designing it, I thought about how the quilt would be viewed when on a bed,” says Amber. “The star is scaled to fill the center of a bed, with the negative space surrounding the star falling over the edges of the bed.” A smaller star graces the center of the large star, adding a bit more detail to an otherwise simple quilt.

The simplicity of the Double Star design is intentional. “One of my goals in designing patterns is to make interesting quilts that are simple enough for beginners” she says. “I want new quilters to achieve a finished project while enjoying the process, and fall in love with the craft. As a bonus, experienced quilters are able to finish these simple quilts relatively quickly!”

To read the more about Amber’s star quilts, check out the full article in Quilty January/February 2019.

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