Modern Quilts, Home Decor, and Handcrafted Clothing

Solstice Stars Series : Another Star

We are now at week 3 of the Solstice Stars Series! Today we will be making a star with a very unassuming name, Another Star. This star is from Barbara Brackman’s book The Encyclopedia Of Pieced Quilt Patterns,page 347 and is attributed to Beth Gutcheon’s Perfect Patchwork Primer.

When I first picked this star, I thought it looked simple enough. I didn’t anticipate any trouble figuring out the pattern. Then I sat down on Saturday and looked a bit closer. Hmmm, look at those pieces around the center, they are all equal length. Which one to sew on first? Looked like a y-seam situation. I weighed the option and decided to allow a bit of cheating for that. (You’ll see in the tutorial, hopefully the quilting purists aren’t too upset with me!)

Then I continued on making the block according to my measurements and at the end, discovered by blocks was 1/4″ to 1/2″ too small. Back to the drawing board. After another failure, I turned to Photoshop to try figuring out the exact sizes that way.

That’s where my “friend”, Mr. 1/8th of an inch came in. Normally when I see a pattern that has measurements down to the 1/8″, my eyes start to glaze over and I begin thinking of happy pursuits…like Downton Abbey. I don’t know why, it’s just another mark on the ruler. But if you want this block to be exact, you will need to use those 1/8″ markings. Once I did, my block did indeed come out to measure 12.5″ and look lovely. So on that note, let’s get started!


Another Star Quilt Block Tutorial

Please note, all seams are 1/4″; Final block size 12.5″ unfinished

Step 1. Cut your fabric:

Pattern Piece Fabric
Center Cut 1 4-1/8” x 4-1/8” Background/White
Strips Cut 3 5-1/8″ x 1-1/2” Print/Color
Short Strip A Cut 1 4-1/8” x 1-1/2” Print/Color
Short Strip B Cut 1 1-1/2” x 1-1/2” Same color as Short Strip A
Block Corners Cut 4 4-1/2” x 4-1/2” Background/White
Star Points Cut 4 3-5/8” x 3-5/8” Print/Color
HST Background Cut 2 3-5/8” x 3-5/8” Background/White

Take all of your 3-5/8” x 3-5/8” squares for star points and the HST background and cut them diagonally into half square triangles.

Step 2. First we will sew the strips around the 4-1/8” x 4-1/8” center square. This is the part where I mentioned we were going to cheat a bit. Hopefully everyone is ok with that. :)

Layout your strips around your center square.

Take your shorter strip (Short Strip A, 4-1/8” x 1-1/2”) and sew to the bottom of the center square.

Continue to sew on the left and top strips, as you would a log cabin block.

For the final side, sew the 1-1/2″ x 1-1/2″ square to the end of the remaining side strip. Then sew the final side strip to the block, making sure you align the matching fabric seams.

At this point your center square should measure 6-1/8″ x 6-1/8″.

Step 3. Since I am a visual person, I find it helpful now to layout the rest of the block pieces before we continue.

Step 4. Let’s sew together the top left and lower right points. Take your corner square. Gently iron press the block in half and then in half again the other direction, so you can see the center of the block. You could also make a mark using a water soluble pen.

Step 5. Place one of your half square triangles (HSTs) right side together with the corner square. Align your point to the center line you marked. Sew together. Make sure you are sewing along the long side of the HST, and not the short side which you are probably used to doing.

This is what your corner should now look like.

Step 6. Repeat with the other HST.

Repeat for the other corner. Your block layout should now look like this.

Step 7. Now we will make the top right and lower left corners. First repeat the previous steps and sew on your HSTs to the corner squares.

Step 8. Take your background HSTs and sew them to the sides of the star point section.

Your section should now look like this.

Step 9. Repeat for the other side. Your layout should now look like below.

Step 10. Almost done! All that is left is to sew on the corners of the block to the center. First sew the top left and lower right to the center.

Step 11. Next sew the remaining top right and lower left to the block. Square your block to 12.5″ x 12.5″ if necessary.

Congratulations! You are done!

February 1, 2012   61 Comments

Solstice Stars Series : Whirling Star

Welcome to week 2 of the Solstice Stars Series! Today we will be making the Whirling Star. This star is from Barbara Brackman’s book The Encyclopedia Of Pieced Quilt Patterns,page 310 and the original source of the design is attributed to Nancy Cabot.

This block will be our first paper pieced block of the series. Some of you may now need to take a few deep calming breaths. I promise you, YOU can do it! I have taken lots of photos for the tutorial and we will be going through every step.

If you are completely new to paper piecing, I recommend reading through this tutorial and even making the sample block. It will really give you a basic understanding. And hopefully put your mind at ease. Second, I recommend reading through the entire tutorial for today’s block before starting. And finally, take your time making this one. We will be paper piecing 6 small blocks and then piecing those together.


Whirling Star Quilt Block Tutorial

Please note, all seams are 1/4″; Final block size 12.5″ unfinished
Reduce your stitch length so that the paper template will perforate easily. I used 1.4 stitch length.

Paper Piecing Templates
Print 2 of Template A below and print 4 of Template B below. Be sure to print them at 100% and check the scale icon with a ruler before starting.

Template A Template B

Prepare the templates. Cut out the templates around the seam allowance line. Here is a visual of what we are going to make with our templates:


Note: I updated the templates a bit after taking the photos. Your templates specify “A” and “B” on them, which will help you out during the directions.

Step 1. Cut your fabric. When cutting fabric for paper piecing, you will be cutting rectangles that will be larger than needed.

I recommend cutting 1 of each piece below, making a block, and ensuring it is enough fabric for your sewing style. Then you can make adjustments later for the rest of your blocks. These are the fabric sizes I used for my paper piecing.

Pattern Piece Fabric
1A Cut 2 4.5″ x 5.5” Print/Color
2A Cut 2 4.5” x 5.5” White/Background
3A Cut 2 4.5″ x 5.5” Print/Color
4A Cut 2 4.5” x 5.5” White/Background
5A Cut 1 4” x 4″,
then cut
diagonal
Print/Color
6A Cut 1 4″ x 4”,
then cut
diagonal
Print/Color
1B Cut 4 4.5” x 5.5” Print/Color
2B Cut 4 3.5” x 7″ White/Background
3B Cut 4 3.5” x 7″ White/Background

Tip: I like to write the fabric color name on the template pieces so I don’t get confused as I’m sewing. Yes, I’m easily confused.

Step 2: Let’s start with Template A. Take your fabric cut for Piece 1A and place it right side out on the back of your template, making sure to cover the entire template space 1A. Pin into place.

Step 3: Take your fabric cut for Piece 2A. Place it right side together to Piece 1A which you pinned into place in Step 2. Hold your template up to the light and make sure at least 1/4″ of the fabric overlaps into template space 2A. This will probably feel backwards and wrong the first few times you do it. Pin into place.

Step 4: Sew along the seam line on the template between pieces 1A and 2A. Be sure to also sew into the grey seam allowance. Remove your pins.

Step 5: Flip your block over. This is what your seam will look like.

Trim your seam allowance to 1/4″.

Your block should now look like this:

Press your fabric open.

Step 6: Take your fabric cut for Piece 3A. Place it right side together to Piece 1A and 2A which you have sewn into place. Hold your template up to the light and make sure at least 1/4″ of the fabric overlaps into template space 3A. Pin into place.

Step 7: Sew along the seam line on the template.

Step 8: Trim along seam allowance:

And press:

Step 9: Using the same technique, continue and sew on pieces 4A, 5A, 6A, in that order. Your paper piecing template should now look like this:

Step 10: Turn your block over and trim the excess fabric from around the template.

Before:

After:

You can see that some of my fabric was a bit too short. Ideally your fabric will cover the entire template. :)

Congratulations! You’ve made your first paper pieced block!

Step 11: Now repeat these steps for the second Template A.

Step 12: Let’s move on to Template B. I will do a quick walk through to get you started. Take your fabric cut for Piece 1B and place it right side out on the back of your template, making sure to cover the entire template space 1B. Pin into place.

Step 13: Take your fabric cut for Piece 2B. Place it right side together to Piece 1B which you pinned into place in Step 12. Hold your template up to the light and make sure at least 1/4″ of the fabric overlaps into template space 2B. Again, this will probably feel backwards and wrong the first few times you do it. Pin into place.

Step 14: Sew along the seam line on the template between pieces 1B and 2B. Be sure to sew a bit into the seam allowance. Remove your pins.

Step 15: Press your fabric open. Continue paper piecing piece 3B.

Step 16: Press your fabric open. Trim your template, just as you did with Template A.

Step 17: Repeat and create the other 3 Template B’s.

Step 18: You now have all 6 templates pieced you need to create the star! Here’s the layout:

Remove the paper from the back. This should perforate easily as long as you remembered to shorten your stitch length before sewing.

Step 19: Sew your 2 Template A’s together. Align the middle seam to ensure the center points align when you sew the block together.

Resulting Block:

Step 20: Now we will sew the 4 Template B’s to the corners to finish the block. Line up your seams again.

After sewing all the corners to the center block, you’re done! You should have a beautiful Whirling Star!

January 25, 2012   55 Comments

Tutorials From Across Quilty Land

One of the best parts about the online sewing community is how generous everyone is with posting free tutorials on their blogs. After finding a few new ones (to me) this week, I thought it’d be fun to share some links.

1. Crossed Quilt Block by Ellen at The Long Thread
2. Scrap Jar Stars by Amber at A Little Bit Biased
3. Japanese X and + Scrappy by Amy at Badskirt
4. Ribbon Star by Lee at Freshly Pieced
5. Texas Star by Jolene at Blue Elephant Stitches
6. Spiderweb Block by Heather at House of Ala Mode
7. Square Square Paper Piecing Template by Tamiko of Patchwork Notes (For those of you that have never paper pieced and want to make Tamiko’s block, you can find beginner paper piecing directions here or here.)
8. Herringbone Block by Holly at Bijou Lovely

Those stars above would be great additions to the stars we are making for the Solstice Stars Series. Aren’t we lucky to have such a talented group of friends online? Makes me very happy!

Have you written a great quilt block tutorial or have you found one that has inspired you? I’d love to hear about more in the comments!

January 20, 2012   20 Comments

Solstice Stars Series : Ribbon Star

Welcome to the Solstice Stars Series! Today is the first week of a series of five star quilt block tutorials. Our first block is the Ribbon Star. This star is from Barbara Brackman’s book The Encyclopedia Of Pieced Quilt Patterns,page 160 and the original source of the design is unknown.


Ribbon Star Quilt Block Tutorial

Please note, all seams are 1/4″; Final block size 12.5″ unfinished

Step 1. Cut your fabric:

Pattern Piece Fabric Color
Background Corners Cut 4 3.5” x 3.5” White
Background Half Square Triangles Cut 6 4” x 4” White
Top Left Points Cut 2 4” x 4” Blue
Top Right Points Cut 2 4” x 4” Purple
Bottom Left Points Cut 2 4” x 4” Red
Bottom Right Points Cut 2 4” x 4” Green

Take all of your 4″ x 4″ squares and cut them diagonally into half square triangles. Set aside one of each of your blue, purple, red and green half square triangles. You will only need 3 of each color for your star.

Step 2. Sew each of your remaining 12 colored half square triangles to your 12 background/white half square triangles, creating 12 squares.

Step 3. Trim your squares to 3.5″.

Tip: I like to use a small quilting ruler with a diagonal line, and line that up with the seam. I then trim the top and right of the block. Turn the block 180 degrees and line up the seam again. Trim the remaining sides of the square to 3.5″.

Lay out your resulting squares into the design of the quilt block, using your 3.5″ background/white fabric for the corners.

Step 4. Sew your squares together. You’re done!

Don’t forget to post pictures of your finished blocks, as well as any questions, in the Flickr group!

January 18, 2012   38 Comments