Friday, March 29, 2013

Solving the Puzzle~A Star Crossed Tutorial

I needed to let my sore shoulders rest after my marathon of machine quilting 4 large quilts. So I pulled out a long neglected UFO I started a few years back. It is a new version of the quilt in my header and is one of my favorites. It was the first large quilt I ever made. It spent years hanging on a wall so it is very faded. It was used on a bed and on a sofa and has been washed too many times to count. It doesn't have a lot of years left and it's survival is iffy. I want to make a new one before it disintigrates completely.

Because I didn't label it, I have no idea when it was made. (Note to self: always label your quilts. You will be glad you did someday.) My fuzzy recollection is that I took a class at the local quilt shop. It must have been in the mid-eighties. I vaguely remember it was called Coat of Many Colors or something like that. I've named it Star Crossed. Although I have saved lots of stuff from my early years learning to make quilts, there is nothing in my files about this quilt, no notes, no pattern, nothing. I measured the pieces & figured out that there are four basic parts. The easy one is a plain 4"(finished) square. The other parts are:

                                                       2X4 (finished) Flying Goose

                                                     4X4 (finished) Square in a Square

                                                     6X6 Whatever the heck this block is. I have no clue.

Once I figured that out, I just dove into my scraps & started making blocks. Then somewhere along the line, I packed the parts away & forgot about them. Yesterday, I dug out the bin of parts & put them up on my design wall to assess what I needed to complete the top. Here is the chaos that met me.

Lots of parts still missing. And how do I assemble all those parts without going crazy? I remember that when I made the original I laid all the parts out on the living room floor and stayed up all night and all the next day sewing them together. My family thought I had gone off the deep end. Surely there has to be a simpler way to assemble this top.

As I stared at all those parts trying to count how many more I needed to make, I felt like I was in the middle of a Bonnie Hunter mystery where you make a gazillion flying geese and then a bazillion square in a squares and then cut several thousand squares with no idea how all those parts will ever fit together. Then it suddenly dawned on me that there is really only 2 basic blocks in this quilt.

                                                                         Block A (finished 10")

                                                                          Block B (finished 10")

Just alternate the blocks ABAB etc.  Row one starts with Block A and row two with Block B. Repeat. Easy peasy.

Once I had solved that puzzle, it was easy to count how many more parts I needed.  All the square in a square & flying geese blocks are sewn together the same way like this:

There are 2 of these units in each 10" block. Just pay close attention to the different placement in Block A & Block B. The square in a square blocks have always given me fits. They generally turn out a skosh too small. I found a chart here  that solves the problem. There is a lot of trimming involved but the results are a vast improvement. Thanks, Bonnie. I can always count on you when I'm searching for anything quilt related.

The original quilt is square and I want to make the new one bigger so I'm adding another full row and a partial block row on one side so it will be rectangular. Then I'll add a border so it will fit my bed. Using the 2 basic 10" blocks and partials, this quilt can be made almost any size you want.

When I posted about this top back in 2010, I received a few emails asking for instructions. One non blogger gal even sent me her mailing address. I promptly lost both the email and her snail mail address. I have been riddled with guilt ever since. I hope she finds this post and forgives me for never sending her the instructions.


Sharon said...

This looks great, good for you to stick to this, find the solution and move towards finished, I love it!

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

Wow - amazing quilt!!!

Crispy said...

Ooooo a beautiful quilt! All the quilting experience you have accumulated since you made the first one certainly helped you figure out how to complete this one :0)


Janet O. said...

Love this scrappy star quilt. Nice tutorial!

Cathy said...

WOW!!! I really love your quilt. Aren't you glad you pulled it out of the bin. Hugs

callie brady said...

What a lovely quilt to make to use up my quilting leftovers. How great that you figured out the two blocks that are needed. Thank you for the tutorial!

AnnieO said...

This is a gorgeous quilt! I love all the colors you brought into it. Scrappy is best! Glad the units finally settled into their spots well enough to make sense of the blocks.

I'm sure the person who wanted the directions promptly forgot about it two years ago!

Purple Pam said...

Congrats on solving the mystery of the building of the blocks. You are so smart! It looks like a wonderful quilt. I like your fabric choices.

Happy Easter

McIrish Annie said...

This is a beautiful quilt! don't know how you sorted out all of these blocks withoug losing your mind but you are well on your way to another wonderful finish

Gayle said...

Looks like you've got it all figured out - once you get a system going it makes things MUCH easier! What a fun pattern - can't wait to see it all sewn together! Don't forget to label this one! (I'm feeling real proud of myself cuz I just labeled MY new quilt!) LOL

Karendianne said...

Well hmm. I thought I left a note but looks like I didn't. It's a gorgeous quilt and I'm so impressed how you were able to dive back into it. Takes a bit of reorientation I should think. A bit. Ha!

Sharon said...

Congrats on solving your puzzle - what a job! And thank you so much for sharing it with all of us. I think you've made it easy now. And I like what you've got so far - good colors! This will be a beautiful quilt, and hopefully it will make you as happy as the first one you made!