A scattering of rustic stars from thrift shop
(Quilt size approx 64"X72")
I have an addiction to second
stores....not for anything for ME really, not in the sense that a lot
of people shop thrift shops! I haunt the men's shirts aisles
for mark downs, bargain of the week, 100% cotton shirts in plaids
The Good Will that is near me has a 'sale tag color' of the
sale, so any shirt with the color tag of the
week is 1/2 price. At this price most shirts run me about
There is quite a bit of fabric for $1.99 if
it is a long sleeved size XXX men's shirt!
It got so bad, this shirt
collecting, that I've got about 3 bins full of shirts that
I've taken apart. I've made a couple of quilts with them...and
I love how soft the fabric is, and the look of all the
plaids mixed together. I have really had to BAN myself from
going to Good Will, because I know if I go I'll come home
yet another bag of plaid and striped shirts!
These are just two of the
shirts that I've taken apart...you can also see a UFO in
progess...Jacob's Ladder blocks that I've started, I've already named
that quilt "Jacob's Shirts!" (Or is it the Shirt Off Jacob's Back???)
I'll get around to getting back to those another time! On with the
stars! These plaids were just calling out to me to be used in this star
This is probably the easiest
star quilt you can ever make. The pieced
block units themselves are traditionally known as "indian hatchet"
blocks! These blocks can be set all kinds of ways, and with other units
like 4 patches or 9 patches to make a variety of quilt designs. I have
done stretched star quilts before, but usually the stars are always
touching each other. I wanted the stars to be separate, not touching,
but lined up as in blocks. So this is where EQ 5 came in really handy!
I drew and colored the block units I thought I'd need
and came up with this layout. This drawing is not plaids, I
whatever fabric colors were already in my EQ 5 palette:
This quilt is built out of
4.5" cut squares! All the blocks finish at
4" and there are four variations of the basic block that make up this
The first pic shows you the building blocks...the second pic
the units you will have!
(And the little 1/2 square
triangle squares are a bonus if you choose
to double sew the seam while sewing the corner triangle squares on the
blocks) In the real plaid quilt, I used two different light prints,
this gave some variety to the background. You can use as many light
prints as you want, or make all the light squares from the same light
fabric if you choose. I will be listing the cutting as using 2 fabrics
for the lights.
So let's start cutting!
(42) 4.5" dark plaid squares
(97) 4.5" light squares (light #1)
(56) 4.5" light squares (light #2)
(304) 2.5" dark squares
First thing, set aside 30 of the 56 light squares from light fabric #2.
These are your "plain" spacer blocks! You already have 30 blocks done!
How's that for quick? ;c)
I stitched these in sets so I wouldn't drive myself crazy trying
to remember how many of this, or how many of that. I started with the
remaining 26 light squares from light #2. These only get one corner
triangle sewn to them, and they are all used in the outside edge of the
quilt to complete the spaced sawtooth border at the edge of the
quilt. The piecing for all the units is the SAME, only you will have
some with dark centers, some with light centers, and these little fill
ins that we are doing now from light #2, with ony one triangle square
in the corner.
Place a dark 2.5"
square with right sides together on top of the base square. Starting in
one corner, stitch diagonally down the square from corner to corner. I
just "aim and shoot" when sewing these because I have done them for so
long. If you don't feel you can be accurate, draw a pencil line down
the 2.5" square from corner to corner to give you a guideline to sew
When you get to the corner, don't remove the unit from the machine!
Leave it under the machine needle, and feed the next pair
through....sew them all through this way until you have them all in one
big chain as in the second pic!
This is another nifty trick I
to do. Waste-not Want-not and save every bit! I like to "double sew"
these seams so I can cut between them and give myself bonus 1/2 square
triangle squares to play with later. Believe me, this quilt gave me
of already pieced triangles ready for a scrappy project! You want to
know how many? As many as there were squares to cut for this
quilt....304 little 1/2 square triangle squares! Now..these are small.
And because they are small, I use a bit smaller seam allowance between
them. I move the needle one notch over to the right on my bernina.
Usually you would use a 1/2" seam between something so that when you
cut between the two, there is a 1/4" seam allowance for each side.
Moving my needle to the right gives me just a bit less than
1/2"...more like 3/8"...so the seam allowance when I cut between is
1/16" smaller than 1/4". I do this because I need as much of the bonus
triangle as possible to be a useable size to square it up to. If I do
the 3/8" seam, I can square them up to 2"....and they will finish at
1.5"! Perfect for mini piecing. If I did 1/2" seam? Well..they square
up to something like 1 7/8" and that just isn't as useable to me. The
quilt police might come after me for using less than 1/4" seam
allowance, but I learned that on minis that the seam needs to be
trimmed down after sewing anyway..I just do it before.
After you are done double stitching and trimming off the bonus
triangles (or not! It's your choice!), take the "one corner triangle"
blocks to the ironing board and press the seam towards that triangle in
the corner. Set these aside, and onto the next batch!
After I pieced the ones with one
triangle in the corner, I went to the next set...which were the units
with the dark plaid base (all 42 of them) and the two plaid corner
triangles on opposite corners. Chain these through the machine, double
stitch if desired, trim the corners on both sides that you sewed the
triangle squares to, and press them with the seams going towards the
triangles in the corner.
This is what's left! And you
need to do 97 of these. They are pieced the same, there are just more
of these than anything else and it might seem like it takes a LONG time
to stitch (and double stitch) and trim and press them all...but once
they are done, you are ready for lay out!
I laid this out on the floor
to get the layout that I wanted, I tried
to have a good mix of colors and different scale in my plaids and
stripes. Use this picture or the EQ5 drawing above to help you lay out
your blocks. You can also make the quilt bigger by adding more rows in
length, and also adding to the width. Before you
begin sewing, you might
want to check out how I keep things in order while assembling the
blocks continously. I call this Webbing The Top!
This will help you chain stitch the blocks into rows that are all
connected together so nothing gets turned around, and then you can
easily stitch the rows into the quilt top.
I framed the quilt with an
inner border from a taupe/black stripe, cut
2", and a plaid outer border, cut 5". Both borders have scrappy
cornerstones from various plaids,and I really like the look. The pic
above shows the quilting in progress with pine boughs and berries in
the outer border, curling tendrils in the inner border, and swirling
wind in the quilt center.
More shots of the quilting
I love the pine bough and berries quilting in the border. I know it's
hard to see it in that plaid, but it was so fun to quilt and it is so
Another variation! This one I actually made
years ago. It uses 4.5" squares, 2.5" squares, and 4.5" X 6.5"
rectangles! The layout makes it look like a strippy set quilt!
I bet you can figure out how to do this one just by looking at it now!
If you make Smokey
Mountain Stars, I'd be happy to post your
or Comments? I would love to hear from you!!
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