Friday, April 18, 2014

Diamond Star Playtime Sew-Along - Step 5

Welcome back!!  My collection of stars is growing -- how about yours?  While I intended to just make these stars for step photographing purposes, I seem to be building a new quilt.  The PDF for this step is here.  And if you are just discovering the Sew-Along, Step 1 is here, Step 2 is here, Step 3 is here and Step 4 is here.  It's not too late to join the adventure! 
Today, I'm going to share two star variations that bring hexagons into the mix.  This first one is very simple to piece -- no set-in seams again! 
If you are working with Set G, use these two templates. 
If you are working with Set H, use the large hexagon (#51) and the equilateral triangle (#52d)
Here's all the pieces cut and ready to assemble.  This big hexagon is ideal for a fussy cut. 
The piecing is all straight lines and I often make these as "leaders and enders" while piecing stars that require set-in seams.
The second star combines a hexagon for the center and the shape I call a "conehead" -- it's the 60 degree diamond with one point trimmed off.  Use these three templates if working with Set G
If you are working with Set H, all three of the shapes are combined on #52 -- you'll use #52a, the hexagon, #52c, the conehead, and #52 for the background diamonds. 
Study the "STRIP CUTTING CHART" included in the instruction sheet that came with your template set to determine the strip width needed and how to place the template on the strip.  That's a subtle way of forcing you to read some of the useful information that came with the templates so you'll be more comfortable with them in the future as you apply them to other projects.

This is one of my finished blocks -- you'll need one hexagon and six each of the coneheads and the background diamonds.  My coneheads are a set of "stack & whack" cut diamonds that I didn't yield an attractive center, so I trimmed them into coneheads.
You'll want to review the second half of the DVD workshop, Set-In Piecing Simplified to see how I work through dot-to-dot seams which is necessary at this stage.  So you'll need to chain piece into the first dot, pivot, stitch the seam to the second dot, pivot, and stitch off onto an "ender". 
Some instructions suggest you stitch every other conehead to the hexagon and then come back and insert the remaining three.  I prefer to work my way around the hexagon by adding a conehead, then the second adjacent conehead, and then attach the two coneheads together. 
Don't press any seams until the block is completely set together -- this makes it easier to keep seam bulk out of the way -- trust me on this one.
 Either approach is fine and has more to do with what you are comfortable doing.  So perhaps try both.  
The next few pictures will help you set-in the final conehead or if you are doing alternate ones.  I stitch the last conehead on one side first, remember it's DOT TO DOT.
Then I flip everything around and stitch the opposite "side" seam to the other conehead.  I have NOT joined the conehead to the hexagon yet. 
Then I come back and align the third edge of the conehead with the final edge of the hexagon. 

All the bulk shifts out of the way and you have a clear shot at the final seam -- DOT TO DOT!!  This is the same process I demonstrate on the DVD for setting rows of tumbling blocks together.
At this point, it only remains to add the six background diamonds and you have another finished star!!  To press this block, I alternate the swirls -- this is the center -- and press all the outside points towards the background diamonds.
 Here's a close-up of one of the conehead stars in my Pieceful Constellations quilt -- fussy cutting works very well with this design, too!
Time for you to try a couple stars of your own using these ideas! 

We'll take a two week break here and I want you to get the stars you have made so far all together and put them up on a work/design wall.  I'm not done with block ideas, but it's time to evaluate your progress so far and start to plan the setting of your sampler and decide what still needs to be added.  This is one of the sets I've been using as samples.  Putting them up will help me balance out the colors -- need to use more of the big floral and the greens.  And it gives me an idea of the scale of things thus far. 
 So next time, we'll look at setting options and decide on that before we move forward and learn to make a couple more stars and construct any fill-in blocks we might need.

As always if you have questions, post them below in the comments so everyone will learn along with you.  

Have a good day!

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!

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