Friday, July 11, 2014

FINALLY -- Diamond Star Playtime Sew-Along, Step 9 -- Filling in the Edges

So thanks for your patience while I procrastinated about how to organize this phase of the Sew-Along.  No doubt, I should have thought about this more at the beginning.  Yesterday I wasn't fit to be out among people for a variety of reasons, so spent the entire day in my studio and now I'm ready. 

By this time, I hope you've settled on the style of your setting -- honeycomb or straight.  In this step, I'm going to walk you through the process of organizing the units to create straight edges around the outside of the quilt. 

Let's revisit my set of star blocks -- I stopped at 11 blocks and after much moving around on the work wall, I've settled on this arrangement.  It feels balanced -- notice that the boldest star is in the middle -- no matter where I put it, it always draws my eye to it, so it needs to be centered.  The other stars are organized in "pairs" more or less that sit opposite one another and that keeps it balanced to my eye. 

There are two deep gaps at the center of the top and bottom edges and I'm going to fill them in with half-stars.
Happily, I didn't have to cut much to make these -- most of the pieces were left over from cutting the main stars.   These half-stars will make the top and bottom edges of the quilt straight so standard borders can be added.
Now I need to decide how to fill in the sides to make them straight.  I auditioned several prints since there is not much left of any of the fabrics in the stars.  I found one yard of this busy but subtle print (in my bulging stash) -- the colors are perfect, the scale and density of the print differ from the background print giving a subtle contrast which I like, and the motif is compatible with the theme of the prints in the stars.
When I pinned it up against the blocks and stepped back, I liked it right away! 
To minimize the depth of that space, I decided to add a diamond of the background print. You can begin to see the shape and configuration of the units that can be made to set into the quilt top -- in my experience, this piecing approach is simpler than appliqueing an edge full of points to the border fabric.   
Time to cut some fabric!  As I ironed the fabric, I realized it was a directional print, so the first cuts were 4" strips cut crosswise on the fabric for the top and bottom borders.  That may not bother most people, but it would bother me to have the roses going every which way.

I used partial hexagons to straighten the edges and create a border at the same time.  Since I used Marti Michell's 60 Degree Diamond Tool to cut the stars, I used the companion tool, the Multi-size Hexagon Ruler to cut the side pieces.
First, measure the depth of the partial hexagon from the tip (on the right) to any place on the left that gives the finished border width wanted (this will make sense as we go).  It's so close to 6" that I cut strips that width -- a little extra can't hurt, right? 
 Once the strips are cut (on the lengthwise grain to control the directional print), I measured the "width" of a 3 1/2" hexagon -- it's 6 9/16" -- or half way between 6 1/2" and 6 5/8".
 I cut rectangles off the strips -- one for each partial hexagon I need.
 Then I center the tool on the rectangle with the 3 1/2" lines aligned perfectly on the left and the right.  The point of the hexagon tool just touches the top edge.
And I trimmed the left and right top edges as shown.
 I'll need dots on those three corners for the set-in piecing process, so I did that while still at the cutting table.
Time to sew -- it's a set-in seam where the diamond is inserted between the two hexagons.
And these are the units I made -- 3 for the left side and 3 for the right side.  The diamond is the same size I used for my stars.  You can press the seams open between the two hexagons to make it less obvious.
This is how they will be positioned along the sides of the quilt.
I also needed corners units for the upper and lower ends of each side.  They were easy -- just use one of the partial hexagons and a 60 degree triangle -- be sure to position the straight grain of the triangle so it will be on the outside edge of the quilt.  Here are my four corner units.
So everything is in place and ready for me to assemble tomorrow . . . . or the next day
Once I have it assembled, I'll contemplate and audition for another border, maybe, and the binding fabric. 

While I work spontaneously on the work wall in my studio, you may find it helpful to use graph paper to lay out the edges of your version.  I find the "equilateral triangle" paper that can be printed from this website the easiest to use for that.  If you are stumped on how to proceed with the setting of your stars, don't hesitate to get in touch with me at  We can exchange photos and chat about ideas via e-mail.  It may just take one little idea to get you moving on your version again!

The final step for the Sew-Along is next -- contemplating the quilting!

Mary Huey

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