Friday, February 14, 2014

Diamond Star Playtime Sew-Along -- choosing templates -- Part I

I have worked as a certified educator for Marti Michell's rotary cutting product line since 2006 and my favorite templates require set-in (or y-seam) piecing.  Many quilters avoid those like the plague but after a clever student shared her technique of chain piecing through them I began to include it in my workshops.  Students everywhere have been so impressed with this idea that I produced a DVD workshop, Set-in Piecing Simplified, to make it available to more quilters.  
In this post and the following one, I will introduce you to Marti's templates so you can decide which ones to use for a Diamond Star Play Sampler of your own!

I'm going to show you three sets of templates today -- each covers two size ranges, so there are several choices for the sizes of the stars.  In the following post, I'll review several multi-sized tools that will also work.

One of the features I appreciate about these templates is the method Marti has chosen to size them.  She identifies them by the FINISHED measurement of an outside edge of the shape.  In most cases, that number is the measurement of all the outside edges of each shape.  This makes it easier to see how a set of shapes relate to one another. 

Set G was the first hexagon based set and it includes 9 templates.  (This is the set that Kerry Dear of Candied Hexagon fame used.)  Four of the templates work together to make hexagon based designs that are 2" finished on the outer edges of the shape.  The other five templates work together for 1" finished edges.  The shapes include a hexagon, a half hexagon, a 60 degree diamond and an equilateral triangle.  The 1" group also includes what I call the "cone-head". 
Here are the 3 basic motifs in each size range for Set G.  This is the set I used for Pieceful Constellations -- I worked with the 2" templates and the finished star blocks measure 6 3/4" from flat side to flat side and 7 3/4" from point to point.  (The hot pink star in the lower right corner is this size.)   Using the 1" template would give a star (the red one) about half of that size.  As we explore the design options, you'll be able to use the 1" templates to add detail to the 2" units.  For example, four 1" diamonds make a 2" diamond.
Set H is the second hexagon based set and at first glance it doesn't look like there are as many templates.  There aren't as many pieces, but there are the same number of shapes as several of the shapes share a template.  The size ranges for this set are 3" finished and 1 1/2" finished.  Template 52, the larger 60 degree diamond template has extra lines which allow you to cut 5 more shapes -- a hexagon and half hexagon, a conehead, an equilateral triangle, and a long skinny half-diamond.
Here are the same units stitched out using Set H.  The 3" templates were used for the lower three and the 1 1/2" ones for the upper row.  I used the 3" templates from this set for my Diamond Star Playtime Sampler.   Stars made with the 2" template measure 10" from flat side to flat side and 11 3/4" from point to point.   Using the 1 1/2" template would give a star about half of that size.  And again you can use templates from the smaller range in the set to create sub-units that will fit into the larger sub-units.  And we'll explore this as we move through the sew-along.
Both Sets G and H include clear instructions for cutting and piecing with the templates in addition to a starter set of design ideas.  In addition, Marti has written Six is For Hexagons, a book full of ideas and patterns to help us get the most out of our templates. 

There is one more set which can be used and many of my students already own this one.  It's the
 2 1/2" Stripper Set.  These templates were designed to fit onto pre-cut 2 1/2" strips (i.e. - jelly rolls).  Two of the three templates are 60 degree shapes and can be used to cut a diamond , a hexagon, two sizes of equilateral triangles, and a cone-head.
You can construct the same three basic units with this set and a finished side is a bit less than 2 1/4".  The six-pointed star will finish at 7 3/4" flat side to flat side and 9 1/4" point to point.
I've given you a lot to think about -- but just let it roll around in your head for now.  No need to make a decision today.  You might want to start looking through your stash for an interesting focus print that you would enjoy using as the starting point for the fabric pull.

  I suggest you revisit these two posts -- and  -- to look again at my finished quilts and read again about the Set-In Piecing Simplified teaching guide that is available in my Etsy Shop.  (Just click on my face up there at the top of the right side column to get to the Etsy Shop.)  The sew-along will be more enjoyable for you if you invest in it.  As always, if you have questions, please don't hesitate to contact me via the comments below or via e-mail to

Now while pulling all my samples together for this post yesterday, I stumbled onto a great idea for an overwhelming stack of tumbling blocks that keeps growing as I demo the set-in piecing technique in workshops and at shows!  But I wouldn't allow myself to be distracted by it until I finished writing today's post! 

I'm done here and I'm off to my work wall!!

Mary Huey

All material Copyrighted by Mary Huey Quilts!
If you can't find the templates locally, I suggest you go to to order them directly. 


  1. beautiful! your fussy cuts look great on that green star block!

    I'm so glad you shared at Needle and Thread Thursday!

    :) Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation

    1. Thanks for the compliment, Kelly -- the green star is suppose to be a teaching sample, but I think it might become a "small" quilt, too!