Sunday, March 11, 2012

Exploring 8-Pointed Star Quilt Block Construction Options

I have wanted to start working on making 8-pointed star blocks for a while. The Y seams technique is a bit intimidating so I have been looking at alternative construction methods. The 8-pointed stars are made of 45 degree diamonds. These blocks are also sometimes known as Lemoyne Stars. There is a method using half square triangles, but I am more interested in using the full diamond shapes.

To start I used the Fast 2 Cut 3 inch Diamond Ruler. Pictured here. I went through my scrap bag and alternated a yellow star fabric with other colors.

This first construction method experiment is based on one of the techniques in Jan Krentz's Quick Star Quilts & Beyond book called "Stars without set-in seams". Unfortunately the book does not provide cutting or size guidelines unless you are using one of the patterns. So I made some estimations based on my original diamond shapes.

For the background pieces I used a 3 1/2 inch square and a 5 inch square, both cut diagonally.

It helps to work building this block in quarters. The block is made up of 4 quarters, each with 2 diamond shapes, and 2 each of the background pieces (a total of 6 pieces).

Take 2 of the smaller background triangles and sew them to the outside edges of the diamond shapes. You are using the center of the cut shapes lined up with one edge of the diamond.

When these were sewn on I pressed toward the diamond.

For the other background pieces you will be using the side edge along the diamond (see photo). These pieces are slightly over-sized, but I would much rather have a little extra to trim than to have to seam rip and re-sew.

This time I pressed the seams towards the new background pieces. (Note my pressing is not the same as recommended in the book).

I then used a ruler to trim the extra background to match where the yellow and red diamonds come together.

I then sewed the center seam together. For this block, since I was alternating every other diamond, I always pressed the seams to the yellow diamond side at this stage of the construction.

I left the extra fabric on the outer edges for squaring up once the entire block is together.

Here are the 4 quarters I made using this method. From here I joined the 2 blocks on the left and the 2 on the right to get 2 halves. In this case I again pressed the seams to the yellow sides.

Then sewed the 2 halves together and then trimmed the final block down to a 13 inch unfinished block (giving you a 12 1/2 inch finished block).

Ta Da! Here it is my first 8-pointed star block.
The points all come together nicely and it was easy to keep the colors in the order I wanted them in.

The down side to this method is that I don't have any alternate size calculations so making a different sized block like this will mean further experiments to be sure the sizes are correct. But then again 12 1/2 inches is a pretty good size to work with.

1 comment:

Mrs. Martin said...

This is perfect... exactly what I needed. I love star 8 point star quilts and have wanted to do one for a while as well. But I too was intimidated by the y-seams! Thanks so much for explaining it!