Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Second 8-Pointed Star Quilt Block Option

The second method of making 8-pointed stars I tried comes from Nancy Johnson-Srebro's book Stars by Magic. I bought this book shortly after I began quilting but this is the first time I have used it. I tend to be aspirational in by quilt book and pattern buying - I liked star quilts and figured I would have the courage and skills eventually to try these.

One of the pluses of this method (if you are wary of working with 45 degree angles) is that you start with squares and rectangles, not diamonds. Another plus is that the book includes listings for a wide variety of block sizes (from 4 to 18 inch blocks) with the corresponding cutting instructions.

After you cut all your pieces follow the instructions to put them together. Again I was alternating blocks so I had to be careful to layout and sew the sections the same way each time.

While you start with squares and rectangles, you will need to mark and sew diagonally a few times for each quarter section. My machine tends to like to eat those first diagonal corners so chain piecing helps minimize this problem.

As with the last method, working in quarters is best. Here is my first quarter and next to it is the 'waste' left over from the block construction.
So this is one of the negatives - quite a bit of waste.

Another consideration is the direction of the prints. With fussy cutting diamonds you have a bit more control, with this method it would be a bit more difficult to line everything up the way you would like.

Here is the finished block. I was a bit shy on one quarter so it is not exactly 12 1/2 inches, but it was within a 1/8 inch fudge factor.

I also think the center points on this version came out a bit bulkier than the previous method.

One other issue for me was the need to keep changing the needle position to alternate between centering the needle for sewing on the diagonal lines and the 1/4 inch setting for sewing the regular seams. (I usually don't catch that I need to change the setting until the needle starts going through the fabric).

The points did come together as well as the other method.

Not sure I would use this method just for a plain 8-pointed star because of all the waste. One of the strengths of this book though is that she has lots of alternate styles for 8-pointed stars (multi-colors and different layouts) that would be worth making using this method.

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