Lessons my book taught me

Well, nothing like a good lesson… made all the better when you can self-teach.  Lately, Ive been reaching into my book, “Out Of the Box With Easy Blocks,” and making a block to two that I either hadn’t before (because Mary Lou did & I didn’t have to) or I was just out of practice.  Recently, I made the star block, from the princess quilt, “Her Royal Highness,” pages 58 – 66.  The star is at the tip of her wand.  This is a different way to construct a star, with fewer seams (and I think, less fabric!)  Here are some step-by-step photos that might explain the process better.

First, I draw the shape of the star I want, with an air-soluble pen, within the parameters of a pre-cut rectangle

I like to get an idea of the overall size of the star first.  This one is cut approx. 4 1/2″ x 5″.  There is a hint of the size, from the pen laying next to it, and the ruler at the top edge.  The width measurement is important to consider.  About 1″ is lost, in the seaming of the star, yet the height changes very little.

Cut the star apart, on the 3 major interior lines

I love using the air-soluble marking pen as the ink disappears within 24-48 hours.  Just don’t take any phone messages with it or you will be surprised later!

Sew “hoochy” strips to either side of the star points, using the drawn lines as a guide. This is the upper most star point.

This is a wrong-side-up view.  Follow the basic “hoochy” instructions from the book to create the star points.   Do not trim the sides of the star back to the original square!  Yes, this is different than the usual instructions.  Only trim the seam line that will be stitched back together.  In the above photo it will be the angled horizontal line, not the sides or top edge.

Lower left star point, viewed wrong-side up. Oops, I sewed the left seam 2x, for a better appearance & smaller start point!

In the above photo, I would only trip the upper seam line, not the angled lines at the bottom and right side.

Tiny right side star point

The right side point (always looks like an arm to me) has the shortest seam.  In the above photo you would trim the upward-angled seam on the bottom edge, right side.  Below is a view of the star placed back together, so the shape is more apparent.

Upside-down view of the star – ready to sew together. Note only the seams to be sewn are trimmed to original shape!

In the above view, see how the block resembles the original cut rectangle again?  This is an easy way to ensure you are putting it all back together again correctly.

Same star block now right-side-up view. I have rotated the block so that the “arm” is viewed as the top point.

Putting it all back together is easy.  First you sew that little “arm” to the middle, untouched part of the star by aligning the left edges together, auditioning the placement of the points on the right.

After sewing the right “arm” to the main body. Note the jagged seam along the upper angled horizontal line.

The “tail” hanging after the seam is sewn may be cut off, too.  Next, sew the upper point to the body, auditioning the placement, if necessary.  The drawn ink line can be a handy guide.  Last, sew the lower left point. using the drawn ink lines as a guide.

Completed star with additional piece sewn to top edge, to be pieced into quilt.

The drawn ink lines are still visible in the above photo (assuredly, they are now gone.)  The points can get very small, so it’s important to experiment and have fun while doing it.  They can get funky, especially if you make the points chunky, rather than pointy!  Or make the “arms’ go in different directions. Make a whole constellation.  This construction method will open you up to all new possibilities.

These star ‘arms” are headed in different directions. Love that chunky left leg!

All these stars are part of a new cow quilt… titled, “Red, White & Moo.”  Here’s a sneak preview:

More work to be done… making more stars next week while off to Whidbey Island with friends.

Just in time for a fabulous fourth… Happy Fourth of July everybody & thanks to all our service men & women!