Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Road to Camp Gravatt!

Road To Camp Gravatt!!
here for printer-friendly version!)

A weekend away at a quilter's retreat gave me the opportunity to turn a stack of long time UFO Puss-In-The-Corner blocks into a really fun quilt set with wonky stars!

To make this quilt, you will need 72 6" Puss-In-The-Corner blocks and 127 sashings with wonky star points! You can make the quilt bigger or smaller depending on how many blocks and sashing units you want to make.

These are the UFO blocks that brought about this project! Boring little things, aren't they? They aren't even REALLY scrappy! Maybe that's what stumped me about them. I didn't make them from my scraps.....the middles of the blocks and the 4 corners are all the same fabric per block. Ho Hum and Hum Drum! You can make yours scrappier if you want, but here is how I made these...about 5 blocks at a time, by cutting strips from FAT QUARTERS! (yes..I wasn't using scraps...I confess!)

For each set of 5 blocks you will need:

1 cream/neutral or shirting print FQ
1 red FQ (colors for me ranged from pinkish red all the way through dark dark burgundy).

From the long side of each FQ, cut:
(2) 2" X 22" strips.
(1) 3.5" X 22" strip.

As above, match the two narrow light strips with the fat red strip, and the two narrow red strips with the fat light strip. With right sides together, sew the narrow strips to either sides of their middle strips. Press seams towards the red fabric. You will end up with two opposite panels like this!

Fold the "light in the middle" panel in half,and trim the ends even. From this panel cut 5 pairs (you are cutting through 2 layers) of end strips at 2" wide. If you can get 6 pairs, fine! There may be some left over from the panel..that's okay, set leftovers aside.

Fold the "red in the middle" panel in half and trim the ends even. From this panel,you are going to make subcuts at 3.5". This is the middle of the "puss" block. You need as many middles as you have pairs. In my case, I cut 5 middles to go with my 5 pairs of ends above.

Match end units to the middle units with right sides together. Because you pressed towards the red fabric, the seams should just oppose each other nicely so you can butt them up without having to pin. Pinning is okay if you like to though! (I'm just lazy!) Feed one pair through the machine, and without lifting the presser foot, or clipping threads, simply feed the next pair under the foot and needle so you have a whole line of units continually pieced together. Take to the ironing board and press the seams towards the end units. Clip threads between the units. Sew remaining end units to the other side of the block middle section in the same way. Press seams towards the end units, and clip threads.

Repeat this little process making blocks in batches until you have enough to make the quilt the size you want it.

Wonky Star Point Sashing Units!

This was the best retreat sewing project! I had all my pieces rotory cut and in baggies, so when I set up at retreat I could just shove pieces through my machine and power sew my way through the sashings.

For this quilt I cut:
(127) 3.5" X 6.5" gold base rectanges.
(254) 2" black squares
(254) 2.5" black squares.
(56) 3.5" black squares

My squares came from a few sources! The first thing I did was go to my 2", 2.5", and 3.5" scrap square boxes and pulled out all the black/grey squares that I had. I was still needing more, so I went to my 2", 2.5" and 3.5" strip bins and pulled out scrap strips in these sizes, and cut more squares from these widths. I was prepared to have to go cutting into FQ's to get MORE if I needed them, but I was able to come up with all that I needed from the squares and the strips! What you see here is two piles of strips in the 2" and 2.5" size...all ready for trimming into squares to give me the amount I needed.

Take your 2" black squares, and following the pictures above....lay the squares in the upper left corner of the rectangle with right sides together and sew across the diagonal from corner to corner through both layers. If it helps you, you can draw a diagonal line on your black square and use that line as your sewing line. I just aim and shoot :c) This doesn't HAVE to be perfect because they are wonky!

Chain piece all the upper left corners. Trim excess approx 1/4" away from seam line. Repeat for the bottom right corners. Press seams towards star points. You should end up with a whole pile of sashings looking like the picture above!

I'm sure you can guess what comes next! Lay the 2.5" squares in the remaining empty corners. Sew these on the diagonal as well. These are larger squares, and this is what gives the star it's wonky appearance! I didn't save the "bonus" triangles from trimming the 2" corner squares. By the time they are trimmed, there isn't anything worth saving...but these 2.5" corners? oh YES!! These make me so excited. I just move my needle one position to the right on my bernina which gives me a bit wider seam allowance, and I double sew these corners...and trim between the seam lines. I now have 254 little 2" unfinished half square triangle squares to trim up and make into something fun! My guild is doing a minature challenge this year, so I might use them in that. I"m not sure yet!

After trimming off your bonus triangles, press the star points outward. (seams towards the star points) At this point, if you feel your piecing was really questionable, you can square up and trim all your sashings so they still measure 3.5" X 6.5".

There wasn't room at quilt camp to get pics of the quilt blocks laid out before I sewed them together. Here is a mock-up showing you how the blocks are laid with the sashings in between. The cornerstones are the black 3.5" squares that you cut above. Sew the quilt in rows, and sew the rows together to complete the quilt top.

Here is a close up of my piecing! (Complete with wayward threads!) You can see that I used a variety of reds from pinkish red to a nearly black red. I also used blacks from grey to jet black. My blacks weren't all tone on tones or solids. Some had other colors in them and this added some more interest to the quilt. I even used a black/white check and some stripes! When you sew the blocks and sashings into rows....don't worry about matching star points. The point between the two star triangles will NOT be positioned to touch the corner stone square. The large triangle will overlap the small triangle, adding fun motion to the stars.

I added a black 2" cut inner border, and a red 5" cut outer border!

Here is a detail shot (a bit blurry, sorry!) of the quilting!


  1. Anonymous10:54 AM EDT

    bonnie i remember visiting your site before and seeing beautiful quilts that people had made using your wonderful patterns and i can't seem to find those pictures now. can you help me....tipper@kpunet.net

  2. Anonymous8:15 PM EDT

    Please,please help me. I need a fool proof way to make half square triangles. I need to make alot and so far cannot make them accurately. Help!


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