We want to thank designer Kay Gentry for guest blogging for us today. She is showing you how to get the best use out of our versatile strip cutter dies, which you can use to make a variety of different shapes quickly. Kay is also giving you tips on how to make her new GO! Strip Star Sampler pattern.
Before we dive in, check out this video in which Erica shows you how to use your GO! Strip Cutter to cut diamonds.
Note: If your GO! Strip Cutter-2½” (2” Finished) (55017) is not marked with angled guidelines (see below), you will need to use a permanent black or silver marker to add placement lines. Place a ruler on the die, aligning lines on ruler with blades to mark a 90° line at the left end of the blades and 2½” from the right end of blades as shown. Align the 45° line on the ruler with blades and then mark. The other two angled lines are 30°and 60°. The 45° line will be used for this project. Be sure the ink is dry before placing your fabric on the die.
Learn more about the GO! Strip Cutters with Angled Guidelines in this video.
Kay Gentry here . . . happy to share some insight and details about my new pattern GO! Strip Star Sampler for AccuQuilt. See more of my quilt patterns available for download and photos of all my patterns at Noble Needle Quilting and Sewing.
AccuQuilt challenged me to design a sampler style quilt using just one or two strip cutter dies. The emphasis was to show the versatility of strip cutter dies. This quilt started with the design of the blocks using squares and rectangles. I chose to work with 8” finished blocks. The perfect die would be GO! Strip Cutter-2 ½” (2” Finished) (55017 or 55014) to cut strips for borders and binding plus strips that could then be cross cut into squares with the same 2 ½” strip cutter die. I use the GO! dies on my Studio with the white GO! Die Adapter for Studio (506504).
Strips laying crosswise on GO! Strip Cutter-2 ½” (2” Finished) (55017)
Then I added GO! Strip Cutter-4 1/2” (4” finished) (55054) to cut rectangles and borders. Lay the 2 ½” cut strips across the 4 ½” strip cutter. It is important to align the strips with a marked line perpendicular to the blades. The photo shows this perpendicular line marked with painters tape on the Studio Super Giant Strip Cutter-4 ½” (50013).
Strips laying crosswise on Studio Super Giant Strip Cutter-4 ½”
The star is the “star” of this quilt. I knew I could cut diamonds by laying a strip along a 45° line but wondered if there was a faster way to die cut the needed shapes. I pieced three 2 ½” strips together and laid them on the die along the 45° line. I die cut these strips one layer at a time to assure perfect accuracy. This gave me three diamonds pieced together and ready to assemble for the star.
Diamond strips ready to assemble
Labeling is so important!! I suggest making six diagrams of three rectangles as shown on page 5 of the pattern. Label these N through S and add the arrows for pressing seams in the right direction. Glue snippets of the fabrics you have selected. Use this as a handy guide as you cut and sew.
¼ of the star laid out and labeled
Sewing the pieced diamonds together can be tricky. The end points will overlap as shown. Fold back the seam allowance at the intersection of the seams to check for matching and pin. You can baste the seam to check for accuracy. Remember exact match is perfect but close is good, too.
Diamond strip N & O overlap at end point
Take care to press all the seams in the directions suggested in the pattern. Whenever possible seams should go in opposite directions at an intersection for the least bulk. I work hard to make this happen.
Next, sew the pieced diamond sections together. This involves often dreaded Y seams. Yes this can be challenging, but with practice it can become “no big deal.” To be able to add a third piece to the Y you need to stop stitching ¼” from the end of the seam. On diamond or angled shapes this can be hard to eye. I suggest using a ruler and marker to draw ¼” seam lines along both edges. Where the drawn lines intersect is the sweet spot. Note: always test marker for removability on a scrap before using on project.
Red sewn seam stopping ¼” from top edge
You will notice in the photo that the red stitching line stopped and was reinforced with a few backstitches ¼” at the outside Y seam. We don’t often backstitch in quilting, but in this case it is important.
If you sewed all the way to the inside point (off the bottom of the photo) the star would be a typical eight pointed star. This intersection can be troublesome with bias edges stretching and lots of bulk to try to press flat. I chose to add a four patch in the center of the star to add design interest and keep the center nice and flat. This meant another Y seam and stopping the stitching at the first inside seam intersection as shown.
Use template plastic to trace the trimming template included in the pattern. Align the edges of the trimming template with the edges of the center diamond and trim.
Template and pattern
First the P point. Then the S point.
P and S with plastic template
Now the Y seam is ready to add the square. One square on each quarter of the star will form the 4-Patch in the center with easy straight stitching and easy pressing.
P and S with cut out square
Pin the square to one side of the Y seam. Start stitching at the end of the previous stitching adding a few backstitches to reinforce the seam. Photo shows needle placement. I took off the presser foot for the photo.
Sewing machine with presser foot removed for photo - blue fabric in front of needle
Complete the Y seam by sewing the second side of the square. Start sewing at the same point again. Make sure all the other layers are folded back behind the needle and out of the way.
Sewing machine with green square in front of needle
Back side of combined unit
Notice the dog ears along the edge. Trim them off. This completes one quarter of the star. Make three more to complete the star.
Front side of full combined unit
A few more Y seams and some borders and you can stand back with pride for a job well done.
Hope this shows that GO! Strip Cutters are indeed versatile for cutting strips, squares, rectangles and even diamond strip units.
See other creative quilt patterns using GO! and Studio Strip Cutter dies!