Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Kooky Scrap Star Blocks

There are so many times a "scrap project" comes up, and in the end it has just created more scraps. The Kooky Scrap Stars may actually help you use some up! I am so excited!
This is a "sew & flip" method and wastes a bit of fabric...well, that's the good part because the pieces are not too large to start with, so you have a real chance of actually throwing them away!
(I cannot be held responsible for any trash basket diving later...in fact, I may meet you there...)
What is a Kooky Star?

It's related to the long-pointed star blocks like "54-40 Or Fight" or "LeMoyne Star" (also known as Lemon Star!). The skinny and fat triangles used for the traditional block were made famous by the late, great Doreen Speckman who called them Peaky and Spikey.
These amusing contemporary stars are similar to Jan Mullins patterns,so  if you'd like to do some more fun piecing, look for those!
The All Star Quilters made these blocks at my workshop yesterday. We like to start off the year with a "free" pattern class...the real cost is you have to donate the block you make so it can go into a charity quilt (more on that later).
Here's how you can make one, too. This is for a 12 inch finished block.

Cut 8-- 4.5" squares for the background (4 are the corners and 4 get the star points on them).
Cut 1-- 4.5" square for the center of the star
Cut 8 rectangles 3" x 5.25" (that's 5 and a quarter inches...fractions behind whole numbers are tricky to typre here!).
As you can see, the points are different because they came right out of my scrap basket. What you can't see is that the four corners are also a different white from the ones with the points! Mix it up, that's what I say!

Fold one side of a square and finger press to mark it (use chalk or pencil if you need to).
The first rectangle goes on with the bottom corner just to the right of the mark.
The top corner can go off the square anywhere down the left side. The closer to the bottom, the shorter & fatter the point will be. Don't over-think this! They can all be different!

You have to turn this around to sew it.  Aim for a 1/4" seam allowance, but it doesn't have to be precise.

Press over the first rectangle, then repeat for the second. You don't have to turn that side around.
I am sure there's a smoother process, but this is the way I learned it and honestly, I just have not bothered to figure it out. It doesn't really matter which point you sew first.

Here it is from the back. The two points don't even have to overlap at the fold mark, either!
The square is the size of the unit. Use it to trim off the extra fabric....then you can leave the square in, or trim it out, too, but first trim the points fabric to be the correct size.
These points are more traditional-like, because there actually is a method for doing this in a precise fashion (for those who do not like to cut triangles) but it involves lots of measuring & marking of where 1/4" seams cross...much too fussy for me!
Make 4 units...each should have 2 star points, unless you are designing another block. If you are, send me a picture!
As in any nine patch block, sew the units into rows, then sew the rows together. I pressed each row with the seams away from the points, as there are lots of layers there.

Well, you may notice that these are some mixed up points! I trimmed off all my sample pieces to set this up.
In fact, the rows are not even sewn, just stuck up on the board. But I will finish this, and add it to the mix.

I like this B&W star made by one  memeber, She went with the all-the-same-fabric method.
Another person was inspired to make two blocks in reverse fabrics/ values:

These go pretty fast once you get used to how those rectangles lay on the squares. Wouldn't this make a beautiful quilt, with just these fabrics?
Here's how the class ended:

I think a few starts went home, too...and many promised to make more and bring them to the next meeting.
With  12" blocks you can make a nice size quilt. Setting 12 blocks 3 x 4 we'll get two tops (I know you are counting, and there are only 22 starts here! I have one more and I'm sure there was another not up on display). With some 2" sashing and a 4" border, a 12 block quilt would be about 52" x 66". That's a big enough lap quilt for almost anyone, and a nice big quilt for a child....and about the limit most people want to quilt on their own home sewing machine!

The All Stars had a fabulously generous donation of over 500 yards of fabric, mostly juvenile prints and a lot of flannel. So we've been passing it out like crazy. Here's what was left on Monday:

The main project is quilts for children going into foster care, and sometimes those have a pillowcase, too.
Then there are quilts for Safe Harbor (teenage boys) and this year they have added Wounded Warriors' retreat in the Fall. Not to mention placemats for Meals On Wheels!
There is no shortage of places where quilts can be comforting gifts.


Anonymous said...

I made three blocks this afternoon. I'll get them to you as soon as I can.


Anonymous said...

And I just made one with scarps from my Mile-A-Minute basked. Seamy but very festive.