Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Cathedral Stars!

Cathedral Stars!

(click HERE for printer friendly version)

A Special Donation Quilt with a Special Purpose!
Quilt is a queen coverlet, measuring 91"X91".

I designed, pieced and quilted this quilt as a donation for Trinity Episcopal Cathedral's 59th annual
Trinity Bazaar held on Nov 3rd, 2007. The lucky winner is Melanie Grimm, of Frankfurt, Germany! Congrats Melanie!

Dean Linder drawing the winning ticket!

I love two block quilts! Especially when you are playing with asymetrical blocks, you can create diagonals, X's and when put on point, as the alternate block is in this quilt.....you get the illusion of columns floating behind the stars and checkerboards!

This quilt was inspired by the beautiful colors in the stained glass windows of Trinity Cathedral in Columbia, SC. The sun shining through those windows is a sight to behold.

The two blocks in this quilt are a modified "54-40 or Fight" star block, and a modified "Jacob's Ladder". You will need 36 star blocks and 25 ladder blocks to make this quilt. The blocks finish at 9" each.

All the lights and jewel tones for the 4 patches came out of my 2" and 3.5" scrap bins. I did use yardage for the blue star points, the black setting triangles, and the red/black half square triangles and borders.

You will need these special rulers!

This quilt is perfect to learn how to use the specialty rulers I love and use so much in my scrap quilting!

Tri Recs Rulers

These rulers make cutting the long skinny star points and tall triangles a breeze! The rulers are notched so the pieces line up perfectly. The seam allowance is already added to the ruler, so you cut your triangles based on the unfinished size of the unit. If I wanted my square to finish at 3", (two star points and one big triangle make a square unit) I would be able to cut all pieces from 3.5" strips! Since this is a strip size I use in my scrap quilting alot, these rulers really come in handy.

The  Essential Triangle Tool or Easy Angle Ruler

I use my Essential Triangle Tool  to cut 1/2 sq triangles from strips without having to add that 7/8" to the finished size! You just add 1/2" to the finished size to cut your strip, and the rest of the math is added in for you on the angled side. Cut matched sets with your strips right sides together and you are ready to just feed the 1/2 sq triangle pairs through your machine. This works GREAT with my scrap strips, because I don't have that 7/8" to worry about. It works with the sizes of strips I have already cut.

You may also use the Easy Angle Ruler.

So Let's get started!

Both blocks have five 4-patches made from jewel toned scrap strips. You will need 305 4-patches! Does that sound a bit daunting?

It really does go fast, and you can do them a batch at a time until you have enough. Match 2" light strips with 2" jewel toned strips with right sides together. If one strip was shorter than the other, I just matched a new strip up to the long one and kept sewing in one continuous chain until I had about a mile of strips piled behind my machine! Trim between the pairs and take them to the ironing board. Press the seam allowance towards the darker fabric.

Use your rotory cutter and ruler to trim the end even and then subcut into 2" sections. I ended up with a whole bin of pairs!

Match the pairs right sides together into 4patches and feed them continuously through the machine. Press.

Jacob's Ladder blocks and Half Square Triangles:

Each Jacob's Ladder block uses 4 black/red half square triangle squares so you will need a total of 100 triangle squares! The Easy Angle ruler makes this easy. Cut 3.5" strips of both your black and your red fabric. Iron the strips, and lay them carefully with right sides together, black on top of red. Use the ruler to square off the end, and use the 3.5" marking on the ruler to cut your matched pairs of triangles. I like how one point is nubbed off when you cut with the ruler. It makes it very easy to feed the pairs through. There will be only one dog ear you will need to trim after pressing the seams to one side.

Now you have a nice little pile of 4 patches, and a pile of half square triangles to go with them. We are ready to construct the jacob's ladder blocks so you will feel like you are getting somewhere :c) In these blocks all the jewel toned chains will go in the same direction so that when you lay them with the star blocks, they will make 16-patch units between the stars.

The chains are going the right way in this picture!

Can you see why this one is wrong? Look at the bottom right corner....it needs to be rotated so the chains all go from the bottom left to the top right of the block. Be careful when you sew, I almost sewed this one this way! Sew the units into rows, and sew the rows together to complete the block. Here are 25 blocks laid out on the floor. You can see how the red/black triangles make a "floating" strippy set!

Tri-Recs Star Points!

You will be cutting the star points and the background from 3.5" strips! Let's cut the backgrounds first.
There are 36 stars and each star uses 4 star point units. So, we will need a total of 144 background triangles cut from the 3.5" neutral scrap strips.

The star points themselves require a bit of thinking! We need half the pieces in reverse image. So when you lay your 3.5" star point strips down, fold them in half with right or wrong sides together before trimming and cutting. This way you will have pairs of opposites and your star points will come out right. You need 144 pairs of opposing triangles!

There is only one way the star point triangles will work on your background triangle! Start by folding the left hand star point down on top of the background triangle. See how they line up so nice? Continually feed these through the machine until you have all the left hand triangles sewn on. Clip between them and press towards the star point.

Now you can add the right sided triangle to the remaining side of the star point unit. Trim between the units and press towards the star points! Look at the pile of them!

Once you lay your units out like this, assembly is as simple as sewing a 9 patch together. Sew the units into rows, and sew the rows together to complete 36 star blocks. Be SURE all the chains are going in the right direction, the same direction they went in the Jacob's Ladder blocks!

Here they are, all laid out on the floor of my den!

Setting Triangles:

For the large triangles, cut five 14" squares. Cut the squares from corner to corner with an X to yield setting triangles with the straight of grain on the LONG edge of the triangle. This will minimize edge flaring. For the 4 corner triangles cut two 7 1/4" squares. Cut once from corner to corner to yield 4 corner triangles.

When assembling a quilt on the diagonal, you will start at one corner, working in increasing rows across the diagonal of the quilt. I like to sew the rows to each other as they are assembled because it keeps the pieces in order for me (less messing up on the floor) and I can't wait to see progress by this time! I generally sew the quilt top in two diagonal halves, and then sew the two halves together to complete the top. This keeps the quilt sections from being too unweildy as you are working towards that oppsite corner.

I added a 2" cut red inner border to the quilt center, and then framed the quilt with a 5" cut blue outer border to finish the top.

Quilting was done with signature variegated thread using "Fay Feathers" by Lorien Quilting .

Another close up of the quilting! 

No Quilt is complete without the label!

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  1. Hi, Bonnie

    I read your post of today about your workshop in Fort Myers doing the cathedral star. I love this block and as I'm so far away from you (I live in Spain) and I can't attend the workshop I went to your web to see if you had a tutorial and yes, here it is!!!! I love this quilt, it's so colourful !!!! I think I'm going to do it myself, at least I'm going to start it.

    Do you use only solids? Can you tell me how many different colours did you use?

    Thanks for your help.
    How I would love to attend one of your workshops!!!!

  2. What a fantastic website. Thank you for showing all the details on how to make your quilts. I will definitely be back.


  3. It sure does take a lot of stars and squares for this quilt. I'm working on one for a quilt of Valor. Just keep sewing on.


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