It's the last day before the kids go back to school, and I'm having a bit of a clear-up, including putting the Christmas decorations away (finally), and finishing sewing together the bits of this quilt which have been floating around my sewing desk for a couple of months.
I thought I'd do a tutorial for how to make a really simple 'Wonky Star' block:
Each finished block measures 12.5'' (12'' once sewn together)
1. I started off with 9 x 4.5'' squares, and 8 rough triangles. I just cut the triangles (my star points) anyhow - I don't want them to be the same size or shape as each other (though you could just cut 4 x 4.5'' squares diagonally in half to get the triangles). As long as the bottom of each pair of star points will be more than 4.5'' wide.
2. I take one of my outer squares (right-side-up), and lay a triangle wrong-side-up, on top of it.
3. Flip the triangle over, holding about 1/4'' in place - this is just to check that when you sew the triangle onto the square, it will cover all of the corner of the square, and make a good star point. (See how you can't see any of the fabric square sticking out in the bottom left-hand corner.)
4. When the triangle is in the right place, flip it back, and sew along the long edge of the triangle, with a 1/4'' allowance.
5. Do the same for 3 more of your outer squares. I work on one side of each star first, so that I can chain piece them.
6. Cut off the sticking out corners of the squares.
7. Iron the seam allowance to the dark side.
8. Take one of your squares with half a star sewn on, and lay it right-side-up. Lay another triangle, wrong-side-up, on top of it.
9. Like you did before, just flip the triangle back over (holding about 1/4'' in place), just to check that once sewn on, the triangle will look right, and cover all of the bottom right-hand corner of the square underneath. Flip triangle back, and sew into place, as before.
10. Do this for all four. (Here they are, chain-pieced again)
11. Cut off the sticking out corners again, 1/4'' from the seams.
12. Open out the newly added triangle, and iron the seam allowances to the dark side.
13. Here is the back with the seam allowance pressed to the side of the darker fabric. (This is just so that you see as few seam allowances through the lighter fabric, from the front, as possible.)
14. Cut down to a 4.5'' square again. I line my ruler up to the top edge of my original square fabric.
15. Swing the piece round and cut the other edges.
16. Lay out your squares, as you want them arranged.
17. I sew the first 2 squares from each row together, so I can chain piece them. I then chop off the end piece from the chain, and sew on the last square in that row. (Here they are before the last square in each row is sewn on.)
18. And here they are with the last square in each row sewn on.
19. Iron the rows, with the seam allowances to the dark sides. Here are the backs.
20. I'll just show you how I sew my rows together, so that the corners of the squares match up perfectly. I pin 2 rows together (right sides facing each other), by putting a pin in the seam 1/4'' down from the raw edge.
21. Continue by putting the pin through the underneath row, directly through the seam, again 1/4'' down from the raw edge.
22. Keeping this first pin sticking directly through both rows, pin either side of it, through both rows. You can then remove the sticking-out pin. This just keeps the 2 seams of the squares directly in line with other, with no movement when you sew the 2 rows together. It sounds a bit faffy, but it works beautifully every time.
23. The two seams of the two rows pinned together, ready for sewing. (I don't remove the pins till after I have finished sewing the whole length. Sew slowly over the pins, so you avoid breaking your sewing machine needle on them.)
24. The three rows sewn together.
See how the corners of the squares meet perfectly! Thanks to my quilting friend Liz, for showing me this!
25. Then just make a load more blocks!
I'm going to sew quite wide, off-white sashing (the same fabric as the star points) in between and round the outside of my blocks, next...