Whew…this block kinda kicked my butt. I thought I had it all figured out on Thursday when I sewed up the test block. But when I tried to sew up the final version on Friday, things suddenly refused to line up. Grrr… There was much cursing and seam-picking and pulling out the calculator, again, to figure out where things were going wrong.
In light of that, I’m going to begin with a bit of advice. First, be sure that you are cutting as accurately as possible, and squaring up your components before you move on to the next step. Second, and I know that I’ve said this before, be sure that you are sewing with scant 1/4″ seam. Because this block is constructed on the bias, any little inaccuracies seem to multiply pretty quickly. And speaking of bias, because this is the first time during this quilt-along we’ve come across using pieces cut on the bias, it feels like a good time to mention spray starch. I discovered the joy of spray starch last fall and I’m a complete convert. It helps so much with accuracy and, especially with bias-cut pieces, holds shapes stable as you sew. You can buy starch or make your own (Google will provide lots of information), but either way I would really recommend it, both in general and especually for this block. Finally, be really careful not to stretch the triangles along the bias edge.
Alright, so let’s get on with it, eh?! The dimensions for the triangular pieces given below represent the size of the square from which the half-square triangle (HST) is cut. If you don’t want any waste then use two fabrics, otherwise save the leftover HSTs because they will come into play in some of the blocks which are coming up in the next few weeks. Also, the large square of background fabric will be used to make four (4) quarter-square triangles (QSTs) by cutting it in half diagonally, and then in half again.
We’re going to begin in the centre and work outward. I really recommend laying all your pieces out somewhere so that you don’t get confused, or do a little drawing which you colour in so that you know where all the pieces go. First take the four (4) 2″ squares and join them into a 4-patch.
Square up the centre to 3-1/2″ (or 2-1/2″ | 1-1/2″ for the other block sizes), and then add the 3″ HSTs. Because I wanted my fabrics to look woven together, I placed this layer of triangles opposite their corresponding squares. However, if you rotated the centre 4-patch so that the squares and triangles of the same fabric touch, then your final block will look more “swirled” than “woven.” The choice is yours!
When adding the HSTs, line up the edges and make sure that the point on the triangle goes through the centre of the 4-patch. Once you’ve added two opposite HSTs, trim off the little wings before proceeding to keep the bulk in the seam allowances to a minimum.
Once again, square up the centre to 4-3/4″ (3-3/8″ | 1-7/8″) before continuing. At this stage return to your complete layout to make sure that you still know where things are going!
Now we’ll start to put together the points. Take the 3-1/2″ corner blocks and sew them to the adjacent 4″ HSTs, lining up the right angles as shown below:
Now add the 5-1/8″ HSTs, lining up the long side to the unit you just completed. I found that I had the best accuracy when I made sure that the tip of the triangle went through the seam between the corner square and the smaller HST.
Once these components are finished and pressed, they should look like little envelopes. Before moving forward, trim off the wings and make sure that the “envelope” is 4-3/4″ wide, (3-3/8″ | 1-7/8″), the same as the centre unit.
Now we’re going to add the large QSTs of background fabric. Pick two of the “envelopes” from opposite sides of the block and sew the QSTs to each side. (At this point you can add the remaining two “envelopes” to the centre unit…I forgot to take a picture of that.)
Finally, sew the three large components together and breath a sigh of relief. You did it!
If you have any trouble (I hope you don’t…but I have a feeling that some of you might) please post any questions under the thread I’ve started on the Flickr group.
Good luck, and happy sewing!