Hey, quilters! It’s Jen from Dizzy Quilter, back with more tips and tricks for a quilt that I designed for AccuQuilt! This one is different from my usual projects since it only uses four fabric colors and two different Block on Board (BOB) Dies.
Creating the GO! Glorified Star of the East Throw Quilt
A BOB die is a very special die because it has all the pieces you need for a complicated block on one die board! For this quilt, I used the Glorified Nine Patch and the brand new Star of the East blocks.
I’ve admired quilts that blend the Glorified Nine Patch with another block, making that lovely circle with something special set in the middle. I was delighted when I realized that the new Star of the East die was the same size as the Glorified Nine Patch (9” finished). To design this quilt, I pulled up Electric Quilt 8 (EQ8) Quilt Design Software and got to work playing with colors.
I decided to use a deep purple for the background, rather than a standard neutral color, like white. Sometimes it is fun to try something new. Doesn’t the purple look amazing?
- GO! Glorified Nine Patch-9" Finished Die
- GO! Star of the East-9" Finished Die
- GO! Strip Cutter-2 1/2" (2" Finished) 3 Strips Die
- GO! or GO! Big Electric Fabric Cutter
- Sewing machine
- Spray starch
The full pattern instructions for this quilt, including fabric requirements, is available on the AccuQuilt website. This quilt finishes at 45” x 45".
A Note on Fabric Selection
Like I mentioned in my blog post about the GO! Rainbow Road Throw Quilt, the fabrics I used in this project are also Peppered Cottons, generously provided by Studio E Fabrics. Peppered Cottons are my favorite fabrics to play with because they are soft and make quilts with the most wonderful drape. The downside is that they can be a little tricky to work with, so I encourage the fabric to cooperate with me by using Faultless Lux Finish Fabric Spray.
Cutting & Assembling Glorified Nine Patch Blocks
I recommend making a sample block of any die you haven’t used before using scraps. It helps with understanding the construction process, and sometimes, you can find a way that makes more sense to you than the original instructions.
I press all of my seams open, and give the block a spritz of starch if seams start to open up. The starch really helps control things and gives me a flatter block. Once the sample blocks are together, I cut the rest of my pieces. I made the Glorified Nine Patch blocks first since it requires curved piecing. These are lovely, gentle curves, and the built-in notches in the die make piecing so easy.
Lay out the pieces for your block next to your sewing machine. I have the entire quilt here. I like to chain-piece when possible - I save time and thread. If you haven’t heard of chain-piecing, it is when you feed through sets of blocks without cutting the thread in between each set. It is a great process, unless you make a mistake.
And don't worry if you do something like stitch Shape C to the wrong side of the A/B unit and make that mistake on ALL your blocks at one go without realizing your mistake until you get to the next step. I won’t admit that I, a professional quilter, would make such an amateur mistake. Instead, I’ll show you a photo of me having fun with my doggie. Seriously, though, the seam ripper is your friend, not your enemy, and we all make mistakes!
Here are my Glorified Nine Patch blocks coming together. It feels a little weird with all the skinny "legs" flapping around. You construct the center of the Nine Patch first and then attach the arcs. I start with five pins: one at each notch and one at the start and finish. If the fabric is being uncooperative, I will put in additional pins between each notch, too. If the pinning is too much for you, use your web browser to search for “glue basting curves.” There are lots of tutorials available. I mostly avoid glue, but I know a lot of people love it.
You will hear some quilters say to keep the convex side of the curve on top, and others recommend keeping the concave side up. I like to keep the bumpier side up, so I can control where the bulk goes and prevent puckers. I recommend trying it both ways and seeing which you prefer.
I attach the opposite sides of the blocks together, to keep things consistent as I go around. Once all the Glorified Nine Patch Blocks are done, it's time for the Star of the East Blocks.
Cutting & Assembling Star of the East Blocks
The first step is so easy: just attach all of the center blades together and press them open. Then, lay out the pieces you need for one block to put together your sample block. Notice that there are two sizes of triangles - the larger ones go on the corners and the smaller ones along the side of the block. Next, attach the triangles to each set of fan blades. Notice that they are not always positioned the same way around each blade.
The block comes together so nicely. I don’t do much pinning until I start joining the wedges together. When I line up my blocks, I make sure the purple edges are matched up, and I’ll drop a pin in to keep them that way as they move through the machine. When it is time to match up the two halves of the blocks, I go back to using a lot of pins. I want the centers to be as close to perfect as I can manage.
First, I will insert a pin through the very center point where I want all of my seams to meet on each half of the block. I leave this pin sticking out through the fabric horizontally. Then, I use a pin on either side of that one and take a small bit of the fabric, fastening the block halves in place. I also use a pin at the point where the background joins the star. Then, I stitch my seam together. There is a lot of bulk in this seam, no matter how you press your fabric. Take it slow and be gentle with your sewing machine to keep broken needles to a minimum.
Now it’s time to lay out the quilt! I was so delighted to watch this one come together. Alternate Star of the East blocks with Glorified Nine Patches to form circles around each star. The secondary pattern of circles is so cool!
Stitch your blocks into rows, then stitch the rows together. Continue to press carefully. Now isn’t the time to skip steps.
Since I was out of town when I put this quilt together, I had to layer it on the living room floor. It’s been a long time since I had to assemble a quilt without the help of my longarm. I haven't missed this part of quilting.
I kept the quilting relatively simple since I was using my domestic sewing machine - and my travel machine at that. I quilted diagonal lines across the quilt, going through the centers of each block. Picking an easy line like that means it is easy enough to keep it straight without marking.
I bound the quilt using the teal color, and I think it brings the whole piece together. I just love this quilt!
GO! Make Your Own!
II hope you enjoy the pattern! If you make it, please use the hashtag #AccuQuiltBuilt and tag @jenstrauser and @AccuQuilt on social media so that we can see your great creation!