What can I tell you?! The Skandi Star quilt makes me so happy! A friend joked that it's the love child between a Sawtooth Star and a Log Cabin block and I think they're right! It's inspired by my Danish heritage and the more samples I made in the run up to release the closer it became to my heart.
I'm going to take you back to Christmas 2021 and the fabric Skandi Star craze. Oon from Grape Soda Studios sent me one of her darling stars and since I didn't have time to make any myself I mailed her some homemade traditional Danish Christmas paper stars in return.
The Danish Christmas star is also an eight pointed star. Actually it's a sixteen pointed star because it has four more 'points' on the front and the back of the star. The stars are made by folding and twisting strips of white or red paper together and then they are hung on the Christmas tree. Christmas is a big thing in Denmark!
My Christmas stars are all in a box in the attic but here's a picture from a childhood Christmas crafts book. Love that Seventies style! Oon's fabric star lives in my sewing space all year round so and I think of her every time time I see it.
It's a family tradition for me to make some Christmas Stars every year. I used to make them with my mum and sister and now I make them with my son. Some inevitably get crushed each year and need replacing and, like quilting, it's as much about the making as it is about having the finished project. And as I made mine that year I began to think about how I could turn the essence of those stars into a quilt design.
The Skandi Star quilt pattern uses the age old 'log cabin' block which often uses a red centre square. When adopted by American settlers these red centres became a symbol of the protective warmth of the home or the hearth. Now, I bet you've all of heard of the Danish term Hygge (pronounced Hoo-gah). Hygge is the concept of creating a warm and homely atmosphere for your friends and family to connect in. And not just at Christmas! It's about enjoying the simple pleasures of just being. Sometimes Log Cabin blocks have also been made in yellow fabric to represent a candle in a window and the Danes also love a candle at any time of year! They also often leave their curtains or blinds open a little in the evenings to share the warm Hygge glow from inside.
I'm a very home loving person and somehow these ideas mingled and the Skandi Star quilt was born! I had intended to keep the design for a Christmas release but after playing around with colour combinations I decided I couldn't wait that long! Besides, the quilt looks awesome in ANY colours, not just Christmas reds and greens. My mum's family had a little wooden house by the beach that we would borrow when I was small. Many Danes spend their summers in these 'log cabins' enjoying good food and sunshine and I feel very nostalgic about those Summer times too.
As well as being a reminder of happy times for me I feel like the Skandi Star quilt has helped me explore my colour creativity. You kind of have to with ten colours! This orang and lilac version was the one that made me want to make it right away! I really tried to create a fabric pull that epitomised all the colours I think of when I think of Denmark but it was hard and I'm still working on it! Should I pick the lilacs and blue greys of the evening mists over the sea? Or should I choose the indigo night skies and the wild lilacs of the summer? Or the ochre yellow timbered houses with their red geraniums on the window sills?
The pale greys and beiges of the Skandi 'style' you see on Instagram is really just a minimalist confection to sell you a lifestyle that largely doesn't exist outside of social media. The colours I think of when I think of Denmark are all those above and more. The red brick architecture, the mid century designed furniture with its bright upholstery, orange cookware and Arne Jacobsen painted Series 7 chairs. And of course, the reds and greens of Christmas! (You bet I'm making a festive one too!)
While writing this I was looking through old photos to show you some of my Danish moments. Many of my photos are pre-digital and in storage but I did find this! It's the old church at Skagen which is being buried in sand bit by bit. This stepped front to the tower is a very traditional architectural shape in Denmark and doesn't it remind you of the steps of a log cabin? I wonder if it was in my subconscious somewhere when I was thinking about the log cabin block as an option?
Whether you make a Christmas or a summer Skandi Star quilt I hope yours will become meaningful and cosy to you, full of fond memories and Hygge times.