Happy New Year! At the studio, we are getting back into the swing of things after a lovely couple of weeks of family and friends. If your home is like ours, it looks a bit bare after taking down the holiday decorations, though it is too soon for the bright spring décor I love to put out. So for this month’s project, I designed a soft runner to decorate the table and add a touch of color to our dining room.
Early Blossoms featuring Contours from P&B Textiles
60” x 24”
Designed by Heidi Pridemore
This runner features blocks made from the GO! Hunter Star die. This die makes this challenging block a breeze to make. We made this runner using the AccuQuilt GO! Big Electric Fabric Cutter and Contours fabric from P&B Textiles.
This month’s featured dies are the GO! Triangles in Square- 4” (finished) (55409), GO! Hunter Star- 6” (finished) (55166) and GO! Quarter Square Triangles-4” (55047). Download the GO! Early Blossoms Bed Runner now. The pattern will have all instructions to make this contemporary runner.
If you are like me and working in a very small studio, you may not have the room to keep your GO! Big Electric Cutter out all the time. So I do plan a couple of projects and cut them at the same time. This month I was cutting the Early Blossoms runner and felt pincushion kits. I was pleasantly surprised how well felt cut on the GO! Big. I was able to cut four layers of felt at a time.
Now back to this month’s project. I have always loved the look of the Hunter Star, but never been a big fan of cutting by hand the diamonds needed for this block. So when they showed me this die, I jumped at the chance to make a project with it. To add some interest to the outer border I used the GO! Half-Square Triangle 4” finished.
One thing about this quilt is that all the pieces have bias edges, so be careful not to stretch or distort the pieces as you work. Here are some tips for working with bias edges. First, starch and press your fabric before cutting, this will add some stiffness to the fabric and makes it easier to work with. Second, when pressing your pieces, do so lightly and do not starch while pressing your pieces. This will also help keep down the distortion.
For the blocks, to mix it up a bit, I make the dark star points with a teal dot fabric and the main dark print with the Multi Flowers. So when you cut Fabric A, you will only need the larger triangle and long Trapezoid as shown here. By switching out the points and adding a third color, it added a contemporary feel to a block that is normally shown in two colors.
When die-cutting the fabrics for the half-square triangle units, before cutting, I layered the dark fabric right sides together with the light fabric. By doing this extra step the pieces are already sandwiched together and ready to sew once die cut. If you do all the lights together and then all the darks together, you have to take the time to pair up the pieces. Now for a runner, this is a small time saver, but on larger projects this can definitely move things along.
When layering the small diamond on the long Trapezoid, be aware that there is a wrong and right way to line up these pieces. In the image above, the top example shows the wrong way to layer these two pieces and the bottom image is the correct way to layer the pieces. The beauty of these shapes is that you can just flip over the diamond shape to correct this issue. You do not need to worry about this issue when die cutting the shapes.
I also wanted to share with you a few photos of assembling the triangle unit. It is all explained in the pattern, but sometimes it is easier to see it put together in photos. The die cut shapes have these lovely slanted ends that makes aligning the pieces a breeze. Really that is half the battle when piecing diamonds.
Once you have the two halves made, sew them together to make one unit as shown in the first image above. Once you have four units, you are ready to sew the block together. I found it very helpful to piece the halves together to make sure the center point lines up correctly.
And here is the finished runner top ready for quilting! This is my first project for 2016 completed! I hope they all go together as easily as this one did. As we move forward with this year’s AccuQuilt projects, I would love to hear what type of projects you would love to see us make.
Make sure to visit my blog each month where I will share with you some tips and tricks on cutting and assembling of the project of the month along with posting the free pattern on our website The Whimsical Workshop.
Until next time…..