Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Tip Tuesday! - Stress-Free Star Blocks Piecing

Welcome to
"Tip Tuesday!" - Stress-Free Star Block Piecing

I love learning new things and then sharing that knowledge with my quilting friends. So, every Tuesday I'll provide some tips, hints, tricks, tutorials, shortcuts, etc. that I've learned over the years and share them here on the blog. 

"Tip Tuesday" will be a collection of information about a wide variety of subjects garnered from a large variety of sources.  I am not an expert by any means and do not take credit for being the great wizard behind all of these hints and tips. I will gladly give due credit whenever possible.

These tips will be archived and accessible to you just by clicking on the "Tip Tuesday" tab above. 

Read, enjoy, and be inspired! 

Over the last several months, I've talked to a number of quilting friends and acquaintances who've said that they find themselves stressing out when they try to piece stars. They are worried that they'll cut off the points or that the overall block size will be wrong. They all love the look of star quilts, but just seem to have problems with them.

Quilting is supposed to be fun, and not stressful so I usually share my wonky star block tutorial with them. 

This was a tutorial I put together back in 2012 as part of my contribution to the Dots of Dots Blog Hop organized by Madm. Samm of Sew We Quilt!

Dots on Dots Blog Hop

                        Sew we quilt

In case you struggle with piecing star blocks, maybe this will work for you too. I have another, more traditional star block that I will share next week. It is so easy and quick to make that I think you'll just love it. 

So without further adoo, here's my block.  A Wonky Star!

I love this block and thought the dottie fabric would be perfect!

Have you ever made one? If not, here's a tutorial to help you create your own . 

First I started with a 2 1/2" square and added 1 1/2" sashing strips.

Sew the sides on first and press to the sashing strip. 

Next add your top and bottom sashings. I like to have the sashing strips on the bottom close to the feed dogs. This allows me to control the seam allowance in the first seams. (I really hate it when they get sewn in the wrong direction and cause bulky seams.) I've used red thread so you could see the stitching lines. Normally I would use something more neutral. 

Press these toward the sashing strip as well and trim to 4 1/2", as needed.

It's time to create your wonky star points! Cut 8- 4 1/2" squares of your background fabric (white). Set aside 4 of these squares to use for the block corners. Also cut 4 - 4 1/2" squares of your star point fabric(dottie fabric).

 Cut the star point squares one time on the diagonal to create 8 triangles.

Stitch one triangle to the right side of each of 4 background squares, at any angle you want, but.....(there's always a but, right?)

Make sure that when the triangle is flipped and ironed to the correct side, it extends past the edge of the background square. I cut a small piece of heavy duty template plastic and marked 1/4" lines on both of the long edges. I use this to "audition" my angle and make sure it extends past the edge.

Check out the picture below.You don't want this to happen to you. You will have to rip out the seam and resew it. After doing that a couple of times, I decided to use the template plastic.  :-)

Much better!
Here are four triangles added at different angles. (Changing the angle of the triangles will help create the "wonkiness" of the star and make these really fun!)

Trim the excess background fabric, flip the star point to the right side and press the triangle out. The star points will extend past the edge of the background fabric and look pretty ragged.

Follow the same technique and add the second triangle, only this time add it to the left.
These 4 are ready for trimming! 

Trim background pieces and press as before.

Trim this unit to 4 1/2" square. Here's the first cut.

And the last cut.

Now you have the necessary 4 star points. Don't they look fun?

Lay out your star as follows:

Sew the pieces together to create three rows.

 Sew the rows to create your wonky star block. Trim to 12 1/2", as needed.

 I made eight of these blocks and put them together to make this small quilt (about 49" x 49"). Isn't it fun?

Here's a close up of the quilting in the center. It's the only non-wonky star in the quilt.

This was so much fun to make and the Blog Hop was a blast! I had a couple of giveaways too and that makes it even more fun. I gave away some fabric and a single block mini quilt (the first picture of this post). In order to win the mini quilt, you had to suggest a name for the larger quilt (circle of stars). 

The winning name was chosen by my husband and he chose Winkle, Winkle, Wonky Star. I think that's fitting and I still LOVE this quilt.  

Have a great day and remember, quilting is supposed to be fun. Enjoy yourself!

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