Friday, March 28, 2014

Diamond Stars Playtime Sew-Along -- Step 3 -- Working with Stripes

So how many stars have you made this week?  And are you feeling more comfortable with chain-piecing through the set-in seams?  If you haven't tried it yet, you need to!!  Don't have a copy of my DVD workshop, Set-In Piecing Simplified?  Order it HERE!

If you are just joining the fun, you can find Step 1 here and Step 2 here.

I keep a UFO handy so the chain-piecing never ends.  If you have more than one project going at a time, just keep a stack of pieces handy and use those for your "leaders and enders" (ala Bonnie Hunter).  I am currently piecing some hexagons into flower motifs for another project and that's what fills the chain-piecing gaps between the steps of the stars.

I found a stripe that works nicely with the colors in this assortment and so here are some tips for cutting stripes for your 60 degree diamonds!

You get to use those mysterious lines that criss-cross many of your rotary rulers.  Quilters use the 45 degree lines off and on, but using the 60 degree lines may be new for you.
The first step is to determine how you want to align the stripes with the shape you are cutting.  I'm going to cut a few where the stripe goes up and down the length of the diamond.  My stripe is an uneven one so the stripes won't repeat or mirror image as the eye moves across the diamonds.
With the template laying on the fabric centered lengthwise on a stripe, push the rotary ruler up against the edge of the template.   Notice that the 30 degree line is lined up with the selvedge of the fabric.  Use that to assure accuracy of the cut.
Pull the template away and cut along the edge of the rotary ruler to create an angle across your fabric.
Then use the template to set up your rotary ruler (as shown in Step 1).
Once you are sure the rotary ruler is positioned correctly, cut a strip.
Now use the template to cut the number of diamonds needed for the block you are making.

 Each diamond will have a different cluster of my stripe, but the stripes will all be oriented the same way.

Here are my stripped diamonds with a set of 3 floral diamonds from my "stack and whack" cutting last week -- this set of florals didn't make a very pretty star together, but I like the way they look with the stripe in this star.
I did an experiment to see if I could get a chevron by cutting diamonds with identical placement on the stripe.  I cut a strip wider than my diamond and folded it in half lengthwise with the wrong sides facing (so there are two layers of fabric under the template in this photo).
Then when I opened the pairs of diamonds out, I got chevrons!  I photographed this star at both angles (points north and south was the other one) but like this orientation better.  Seems a little unbalanced going north and south.  Tilt your head and see what you think.

I also flipped every other one around so the yellow stripe is on the right edge of each diamond -- not too bad. 
Here's another stripe that matches the blue/green star I fussy cut in Step 2.  It's a consistent repeat, but very wide and it's doesn't mirror itself.
Another experiment -- I cut a repeat of the stripe down the length of my yardage.  Once again, I folded it in half lengthwise, wrong sides together.
Before cutting, I laid the template in several different positions on the stripe.  I'm paying attention to where the dashed line (indicating the stitching line) is hitting.  I don't want it in the white because that would melt into the background fabric.  I finally settled on the orientation in the photo -- study it for a minute.
One, two, three cuts, trim the points and I have enough diamonds for a star.
First option for stitching?
Second option?
Third option?  I'm leaning towards the first option but will let it simmer for a couple days before finally stitching it.
I didn't cut the option below because I'm saving it for the next step which will focus on splitting the diamonds.  If I were going to cut it though, I would begin with a strip a bit wider than my template cut across the stripe and then use the flat tip of my template to align the color stripe that I want at the center.
So do you have a stripe in your fabric assortment?  If you do, experiment with it this week and make at least one star.  If you don't, you might want to pull a stripe out of your stash and play with it a bit just for the experience.  And remember if you don't like it at the audition stage -- don't stitch it up.  Set the diamonds aside and you may be able to repurpose them at another stage of our quilt.

As always, if you have questions, post them in the comments below so everyone can see the answers.  Now that we've addressed all the cutting options, we can begin to play more with the diamonds and their relatives to create interesting six-pointed stars.

Mary Huey

All material Copyrighted by Mary Huey Quilts!

If you are having trouble finding the templates locally, you can order them directly from Marti!