08 August 2011

Sampling of Stars

For my second block for August's Seams Perfect Scrap Bee I decided to play around with a star sampler within the 12" finished block.

The larger star on the lefthand side is from a pattern in an older Alex Anderson book, Simply Stars - Quilts that Sparkle. I used the 6" Variable Star pattern, found on page 48.

In addition to that I decided I wanted to try a 6 point star, a cross between a Star of David and a Seven Sisters. I started with a sketch in my sketchbook and went from there. I had no finished size worked out, just aiming for smaller than 9".

I began with a hexagon for the center of the block. I was lazy and used a template I had cut a couple of months back to make these blocks for Cruz (knitla), for the same bee. With seam allowances, the hexagon measures approximately 1.75" on each side. I estimated that the equilateral triangle star points should be about 2.25" on each edge, and so I cut (2) 60 degree triangles each from 3 different fabrics. It took me a while to figure out a way to piece this block WITHOUT any inset or Y seams, but doggonit, I figured it out! Again, there is little that is precise about these instructions, but I got to where I needed to be.

After cutting my 6 itty-bitty triangles, I cut background pieces from the Bella Solid fabric that Theresa supplied. I cut (4) each at 2.5" x 4" for the top and bottom "corners" of the block, and (2) each at 2.5" x 3.5" for the side settings.

I began the piece work making a top and a bottom row using the 4 corner background pieces and a pair of matching triangles. I began by placing one of the triangles face down on one side of the 2.5" x 4" rectangle, making sure the triangle corners overlap the edges of the rectangle at a 60 degree angle. Stitch along the triangle edge using a 1/4" seam allowance and trim off the excess on the background piece.

Flip the triangle open and press seams toward the background.

Now, take this unit and place it face down over another of the background rectangles, matching the opposite edge of the triangle across the corner of the rectangle.

Press seam toward background piece. Repeat with matching units.

Next, piece a second pair of the little triangles directly to opposite sides of the hexagon. Press seams toward the triangles and trim. At this point you should have 7 total units, the triangles centered in background pieces, the hexagon with 2 triangles attached, the 2 remaining triangles, as shown below, plus the 2.5" x 3.5" background pieces for the side settings:

With that last pair of triangles, it's time to start the tricky stuff! Place the rectangles for the background side settings just alongside the hexagon and other pieces for the star. Take one of the last pair of triangles, place it face down across the corner of the background piece, along the edge of the hexagon still unoccupied be a triangle unit. As you did with the top and bottom rows, be sure to have your corners overlap by approx. 1/4" for seam allowance, with the seam at a 60 degree angle to the bottom edge. Stitch in place, flip open and press.

Place the hexagon unit face down over this last section, lining up the edge of the last triangle with the open edge of the hexagon, and extending the triangle already attached onto the background block. The seams on the respective triangles should overlap by 1/4".

Press open. Repeat for the opposite side. You see you will have tails of excess on the background pieces. Just trim those off to be even with the upper and lower edges of the center hexagon.

Now you are ready to add those original top and bottom rows, respectively.

From here, trim your block to your desired size, just keeping in mind you need at least 1/4" of background beyond the star points.

Mine ended up measuring about 4 7/8" x 5 1/4". Given the improvisational approach to this whole block, I was not too concerned with ending up with a perfect square - I just got to make up the difference in bits and pieces of the background later on...

And after working through the two main stars in this block, I decided to use the classic Friendship Star for the smaller sparklers. Based on a standard 9-patch construction, I worked with 1" units to get two different blocks that would finish at 3" and work as filler in the larger block. All in all I had a lot of fun playing around with this one! Don't know if I'll be rushing to do more like it, but I am certainly glad I tried my hand at something new! Thanks for the impetus, Theresa!

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