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January: Wayward Star

January 2014
January 2014

I wanted to start the year with something small.  This would guarantee at least my first month would be successful.  I call this Wayward Star.

First I needed a pattern.  I was interested in the Carpenter’s Star, but didn’t want to make a full size quilt.  This is a very easy pattern made from half-square triangles and squares.  The beauty of the design is in the color placement creating dimension.  I went to Electric Quilt 7 to lay out my pattern.  Not being versed in the software led to some challenges; like saving.  (*note to self: sign up for EQ7 classes.) Fortunately I had taken a picture of my computer screen so all was not lost.  With this picture I was able to come up with the amount of each color combination I needed.

Next was the cutting.  I used to be afraid to cut fabric.  I still have a collection of 24 fat quarters I received as a gift more than 10 years ago that I still I haven’t cut.  Some of been washed, some not.  They have been folded and refolded numerous times, but never cut.  I’m still waiting for the perfect project.  That’s what I tell myself.  But fabric is meant to be cut.  That’s what we do.  We cut fabric and then sew it back together.  So just cut.  I know there are a lot of teachers out there that preach accuracy.  Accurate cutting, accurate 1/4″  seam allowances, etc.  My philosophy is consistency.  Once you get that down, you can focus on those perfect measurements.

Finally, it was time to sew.  My finished block size is 1.5.” The finished quilt is 13″x13. ”  There are a few tricks I have learned not only from others, but from my own trials regarding miniature quilt blocks.  A little off here and there really shows; so be consistent.  1/4″ seams can be bulky in a miniature.  Sew the 1/4″ and then trim to 1/8.” I like to finger press before trimming and then press with the iron.

My top was done; it was time to quilt.  Quilting is connecting together the top, backing, and a batting in the middle.  I chose a fusible fleece for my batting.  I still wasn’t sure how I was going to do the quilting, but I knew it had to be small and my theory was that the fusible would hold better than more traditional methods of basting.  I settled on using the stippling stitch on my machine for the quilting.  I love the way it came out.  You really have to look closely to find the rows of stitching. I think this would be a great way to make an area rug or carpeting for a doll house.

I have heard that the binding on a miniature should be 1/8.”  I’ve never done binding that small before, and I wasn’t ready to try.  Must put that on my list. I ended up using a satin stitch over a few layers of Perle Crown cotton thread.  Overall, I’m pleased with the finished product and it is now sitting on my dresser.