Tuesday, April 26, 2016

tiny star tutorial...


Had a few email questions about how I'm sewing my 2" stars and how on earth they could actually be easy so thought I'd post about how to make them. There are lots of funny coincidences that led to the start of what ambitiously will be a star quilt and not a cushion cover:)

My obsession with a certain antique quilt is well documented. Imagine my surprise to find it in the background of Anita Grossman Soloman in her Craftsy class! More exciting is that in this class she teaches a method of making stars without making geese. Using a paper template for cutting (not foundation piecing) she shows how to make a 6" inch star block. Before I was sewing stars this way which also works but requires more time, trimming and sewing prep. Both methods are effective but I wanted to modify and engineer an even faster method to make a much smaller star. I'm essentially a lazy and stressed sewer with little spare time these days...


Realized that instead of trying to reverse calculate and scale AGS's paper template technique down to get the size I wanted, I could use my die cutter specifically the 1 1/2" half square triangle and the 2 1/8" square dies to cut fabric and make hundreds of pieces for "square in a square" blocks very quickly. (If you don't have an Accuquilt or Sizzix simply cut layers of two 2 3/8" squares and slice them once on the diagonal for the triangles and cut 2 5/8" squares on point for the center.)

 

To make the block, sew each triangle in opposing pairs to the sides of the squares. Finger press the seams open to reduce bulk...


At this point the block is 3 1/2". Now comes the magic. You make cuts through the block and reverse the pointed pieces that have become flying geese. I learned this in the AGS class, but have been informed that Jenny Doan also uses this method in some of her MSQC tutorials for much larger blocks. I calculated that with 4 1" cuts around the perimeter my finished star would end up 2". A spinning or small easily turned mat is essential for this part.

 

After making a bunch,  swap the components to make different stars.

 

Finger press the seam allowances in the top and bottom rows towards the outer squares and the two flying geese blocks in the second row towards the center square. Everything nests together beautifully and can be sewn chain piecing 10 blocks at a time with no pins.

I'm mixing up all the prints randomly so that the top is not overly designed and am enjoying the surprise of each finished block. Some are more successful than others. Making these stars is actually quite fast and tremendously addictive. Guess you could call Mary Elizabeth Kinch a bad influence:)



22 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh! So cool. You make me want to start a star quilt right away! Probably won't do it right now, but I'll definitely use your tute someday. Yours look so great!

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    1. Thanks LeeAnn! They are super fun- inexplicably compulsively fun to sew:)

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    1. Thanks Kelly! I can only imagine how gorgeous your stars would look:)

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  3. Great quilt and thanks for the instructions. I want to try that now.

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    1. If you try, please let me know what you think!

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  4. WOW.

    Great method, and a super tempting quilt. SUPER tempting. Grrrr...

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    1. Thanks Monica! Give in to temptation:)

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  5. Your tiny blocks are beautiful. Love the method.

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    1. Thanks so much Gale! They are definitely in the potato chip category of being hard to stop at one:)

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  6. what fun and creates great movement!

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    1. Thanks Barb! It was something I really noticed seeing Mary Elizabeth Kinch's quilts. You'd think the small pieces would get lost but they actually kind of shimmer:)

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  7. What a great method! Love your fun little blocks. Makes me want to try this too.:)

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  8. What a great method! Love your fun little blocks. Makes me want to try this too.:)

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  9. As a worrier, I worry about the bias on the edges of the blocks with her method.
    But, I am crazy about your little stars! I may throw worry to the winds!

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    1. No need to worry! In my method, the center squares are cut on point so when the geese parts are turned there is no bias on outside edge. If you not using a die cutter, just starch and cut your squares on the diagonal:)

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  10. What fabulously tiny twinkling stars! Will try these right away. Thank you so much!
    T

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    1. Thanks T! Let me know how yours work out:)

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  11. Thanks for asking how they turn out: I love them but the pieces are soon tiny that they are not yet consistent in size. First is good size, rest are too small. Any tricks to suggest? Appreciate any help

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    1. Hi T:
      You are a noreply-comment blogger or I'd email you directly. Tips are as follows:
      Use a seam guide . It is less important that your seam allowance is exact and more that it is consistent. Don't press as you go or steam will distort. Lastly, starch the fabric before you start. I used Mary Ellen's Best Press. Hope this helps:)

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