Friday, 16 September 2011

A daft exercise

Last week when I was teaching my Thursday group one of the students wanted to do a quilt using the Raising Star pattern by Judy Martin.  She had half metres of fabric and we duly cut all the strips.
The pattern is basicly a star within a star
Sorry about my crude drawing.  The point of the block was to use five different fabrics with no white tone on tone.  While I was helping her cut it, we both noticed that she would have a lot of extra fabric over - I said that that was the reason every quilter I knew had a stash BUT it got me thinking.

I have a mass of fat quarters which I am always keen to use up but I wanted to use ALL of the fat quarter up - or at least have so little over that I could chuck the remainder without feeling guilty (I know some of you keep every last scrap but for me life is too short!).

So I decided to redraft the block and see how many blocks I could get out of a fat quarter.
This was my cutting plan for an 8" finished block. Knowing that some of my fat quarters have come from the States over the years I worked on a 19" x 18" fat quarter size.  (It is very confusing when over here in Europe our fat quarters are on average 1 1/2" longer and measure about 20" wide x 19 1/2" deep.

First cut was three strips of 3".

Then cut into 3" squares and finally cut diagonally to produce 32 half square triangles.

The next strip was of 2 1/2" squares for the outer corners and the centre square.
The next strip was 1 1/2" for the inner corner pieces

And the final two strips were cut 2" for the inner half square triangles.

I find that when I am chain piecing a lot of triangles, I am quite happy if they are a bit oversized as I like to square up each one individually. That way all the elements are the same and you don't have to waste so much time squaring up the blocks at the end.

So it was all cut out and then I started to lay it out on a piece of uncut fabric to get an idea of what it would look like.  Well imagine my surprise when I could get four blocks instead of two.

I know that my placement of the patches is not perfect but you get the drift. Actually I thought this was quite good for a first attempt.

But the original block required 5 different fabrics so I am not thinking that if I cut all five together in the same way I will be able to make 10 blocks (referring back to my sketch at the top)
1 fabric for the centre square
1 fabric for the inner star points
1 fabric for the star indents and corner patches
1 fabric for the outer star points
1 fabric for the outer indents and corner patches.

Oh dear I feel another quilt coming on - don't have time to actually do the sewing of it at the moment but  a really good mental exercise and worth pursuing in due course I think.  You have no idea how many tries I had to work out the cutting plan - up to 1am on two nights and again at 7am when I realised I was doing it all wrong!!!!

The initial object was to see if I could get 2 complete 12" blocks out of a fat quarter - I can tell you now the answer is no you can't but and 8" block can be quite delicate and you only need about 49 blocks for a lap quilt and that would reduce the stash nicely.

And here are the bits you are left with
and if you are using American fat quarters you won't even have the long strip at the bottom to throw away.

Happy quilting!

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