We are piecing the blocks for the Seeing Stars Handi Quilter quilt-along this month. There are a lot of half-square triangles in this quilt, which means there are bias edges. You have to be careful when working with bias edges because they stretch very easily.
Last week I told you I make my half square triangles (HST) two at a time. I draw a line from point to point on one square and match it up with another square. Then I stitch 1/4 inch away on both sides of the line. I cut on the line and I end up with two matching HST. I am very careful to PRESS (not iron) the the HST. Then I trim them using the BlocLoc ruler.
The Seeing Stars pattern is made up of two very large blocks.
A pinwheel block:
and a square-in-a-square block:
Both blocks utilize pieced triangle units.
For my fabric choices the pinwheel triangle unit has a coral triangle in the bottom right corner. I cut squares on the diagonal to get these pieces. This results in dreaded bias edges.
The square-in-a-square unit has turquoise triangles in the upper point, and both the bottom corners.
When I made these, I laid out my HST units with individual triangles and sewed them together.
The long bottom edge of the large triangles are all bias edges. So I had to be super careful with pressing. It is so easy to press these out of kilter.
Pro-Tip for large triangles
Any time I have units like these in a quilt, I use this pro-tip: Draw the shape and size of the unit, including seam allowances. You can use muslin or parchment paper to create this template. Use a permanent marker to draw the shape so that your marks won’t transfer to your fabric as you press. I used parchment paper this time. If I’m making a LOT of units, I prefer muslin. It lasts longer. And you can save it for future quilts that might have the same size units. Parchment paper gets kinda wrinkly with all that pressing and steam.
Lay your pieced unit on top of your template. Make sure the edges line up as you press. Use steam if necessary to make the fabric behave and align with the template.
Perfect triangles every time!
Once I had all the triangle units assembled and pressed, I could assemble my big blocks.
For the square-in-a-square blocks I sewed a triangle to each of the 4 sides of the large yellow diamonds. I sewed opposite sides, and then the other two.
For the pinwheel blocks, I twirled the seam allowances at the center to eliminate bulk. This will be helpful when I am quilting.
Don’t you just love that little tiny pinwheel that appears when you twirl?
If you haven’t done this before, google “twirling seam allowances”. There are plenty of tutorials out there for you to learn this technique. Basically, you start by nesting your seams. Then when pressing, take out a few stitches in the seam allowance and press the seams in a twirl, in the counterclockwise direction. The result is a much flatter seam allowance. And a nice point in the center of your pinwheel.
I put my blocks up on my design wall as I got them finished.
When they are all done, I will re-arrange until I am happy with the layout. I especially look for the same fabrics touching each other.
In May we will be working on sewing the blocks into a quilt top and preparing the backing. And June is the best part, THE QUILTING! Are you thinking about how you are going to quilt it?
How are you coming with your piecing? Be sure to post on Facebook and/or Instagram using the #handiquilterqal We will share some on our HQ Watch and Learn videos.
Be sure to join the Handi Quilter Community Facebook group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/55512746323 It is a wonderful community of quilters who share and help one another.
Quilt Every Day!
by Mary Beth Krapil