Sunday, January 17, 2010

Spinning Stars Test Block

Do you do test blocks? I do, especially if I'm going to be making  a lot of the same block. I want to figure out the most efficient way to make the block. For example, can I strip piece and then sub-cut some of the units? Should I cut some of the pieces a tad bigger and then trim the unit to size after it's been sewn? Which way should I press seams to make construction clean and easy? Where will I want to carefully pin so points and seams all match up? You get the picture.

So, I made a test block of my Spinning Stars quilt since it was a block I drafted in EQ6 and I wanted to make sure I had worked out the best way to approach it before getting too far into the quilt. In fact, I ended up making 1 test block out of scrap fabric, and then another using the background fabric that I'm using throughout my quilt -- in hopes that the block will be a keeper. I'm glad I did a test because even though the block is fairly simple, I found that there are lots of places where I'll need to match points on both units being sewn together. Then I realized that I would have to match two points for every block joined to another block -- and with 32 blocks set on point that was going to be time consuming.

The result? I ended up re-drafting the block so that the star points "float" in the background fabric. I'll still need to match where the flying geese units join up to the square-in-square blocks, but I won't need to be as precise when sewing the blocks into rows. You can see the before and after below:

 Block before

Block After

I'm still working out the dimensions for how far the star  will float in the background fabric -- so it may only be 1/2 inch from the outside of the block, rather than what I think is 1-1/2 inch in the picture.

Quilt Before

Quilt After

I actually think I like it better after -- because the stars seem to float even more. (I didn't take the time to change the colors in each of the blocks -- but each block will use two fabrics that are unique. So the entire quilt will use 64 fabrics + background + borders + backing.  And, as I mentioned  in my original post about this quilt, I'm still going to figure out something different for the borders.

I guess I'll be making another test block!

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