Monday, November 20, 2017

Alicia's Stars - Tutorial

This quilt was a group project that was completed and gifted in the summer, but I thought I'd give a step by step on lining up columns of blocks with a full column of sashing.  You can see the block process HERE.  I might have also shown this quilt before, but this post is all about lining up the blocks.

First was the decision to use white strips between the blocks. This was based on a few things. These blocks were all made by different people and we didn't have a large enough pool of blocks for a lap quilt. Second, it gives the blocks some breathing room, and third, these blocks are a bear to get nested together along all those points. The last reason was that I was quilting it and since it was a comfort quilt, I wanted space to put some nice feathers for our friend.

Look closely, and you will see a little blue tick mark on the edge of this seam.  Since my blocks finished at 6" and I have 10 blocks in each column, my white strip needs to be cut 60 1/2" to account for the 1/4" seam allowance on the top and bottom block.  Now it's time to start marking my white strip.  

Here is a better shot.  The marks will be in the seam allowance, but I used a wash out blue marker.  Use a ruler to mark both sides of the white strip as that will keep things lined up properly.  Your first tick mark will be 6 1/4" from the top of the strip and then mark at every 6"  Your last tick mark should be 6 1/4" from the bottom of your white strip.

If you click on the photos, it will be easier to see, but in this photo.  Now you can pin your white strip to your strip of blocks, matching up the seams to your tick marks.  You can see how the blue tick marks are lined up with the seam where the blocks are joined together.

Once you sew the white strip in between columns of blocks, you will see how your blocks line up across the solid sashing.

This doesn't take much time at all, and the end results are definitely worth the effort.  Now your columns are nicely lined up. If you have any quilting motifs that require ruler work/line work, everything will line up.

I knew from the beginning that I wanted open spaces for some feather quilting, so that wasn't my concern, but I have had customer quilts that were challenging, bases on blocks not lining up straight across.

By using this method,  ALL the columns of stars will line up and this makes for a very nice finish.

Here is a shot of the solid columns.  I stitched a 1/4" from the seam on each side to frame the feathers, and used a continuous curve motif throughout the star blocks.

Keeping a straight visual line across the solid section to your pieced blocks is achieved using this simple method.  I wish I could remember where I heard/read/saw this being done.  I would definitely give credit back to them.  Since I can't, I shall defer to all the quilters before me, who have generously shared their lessons and knowledge. 

 By using this method it also helps keep your quilt top flat and squared up.

If you have a quilt in your future that requires this tip, give it a try. It works on any size quilt, even those mini's need to line up.

I'm wishing everyone a very happy Thanksgiving week/weekend. I hope you find time to pause and give thanks for the blessings in your life, big or small. Don't compare to others, just look at what you have and what you are thankful for. I have all that I need and then some, life is good and I count my blessings every day!

Keep stitching


Lori said...

One of my first quilts I didn't think about lining them up, and only after it was complete and I hung it up did I notice! It was a complete new quilter mistake and that is how I learn. Your method looks great!

taylorsoutback said...

Oh my stars!!! Wonderful piecing - everything lines up so well - and the quilting inbetween is gorgeous...
Loving your reminder to be thankful for what is right in front of us and not to compare with others...Thanksgiving blessings to you and happy stitching.

Kyle said...

Thank you for the great tip. It's one of those simple things that makes a perfect result in the end. Happy Thanksgiving.

Karen said...

I like your star blocks. I like that some have dark a dark background. That lights and darks placements are sometimes a surprise resulting in interesting designs.