Sunday, April 11, 2010

St. Hilary Star

I thought it about time I showed you the Stack-n-Whack stars I've been talking about. These are the two I finished eons ago (you can see part of the other top using a different pattern but same group of fabrics). The blocks are huge, finishing to about 20 inches, and while not difficult to piece, they have many pieces and require a bit of attention in order to get those pieces in the proper spot. More about that later.

The inspiration, if I remember correctly, was a yard of a reproduction print based on the "St Hilary" silk damask designed by John Henry Dearle for the William Morris collection by the Woodrow Studio London. Follow this link to see the actual design as shown on the cover of a Dover Book. While not the typical large motif suggested by the stack-n-whack method for making kaleidoscope blocks, you can see in the above picture, it worked nicely in the Medallion Star and also the Venetian tiles patterns in Bethany Reynold's second book, Stack-n-Whackier Quilts. I cut as many pieces as I could from that yard of fabric, which determined how many blocks I would have for each of my versions of Bethany's quilts. I'm used to altering patterns to fit the fabric on hand, rather than buying exactly what I need for a particular pattern.

I'd pieced all the kaleidoscope centers for the stars before packing this project away so long ago. Thank goodness, because even with some of the other piecing started on the star I worked on today, it's the only one I finished. Yeah, West Country Buddha, these are not speedy blocks so no finished top today! Here you see some of the major units laid out to get an idea of the sequence. Notice all the triangle units that look the same size although they are added to different shapes in the block. They are all the same size so you'd think they are all cut the same, right? Wrong...and thus the need for careful attention in the construction process. I think I'm remembering why I set this project aside...

Here is the layout diagram from the book. Note that some of the triangles are half square triangles (the bias edge runs along the angle) while others are quarter square triangles (the straight of grain runs along the angle). There are left side points and right side points, mirror images in terms of which side the half-square and quarter-square triangles are on. The triangles added to the corner units are also a mix. This is all done so that when the block is sewn together, all the grainlines run parallel to the block's edges. I've heard of quilters who plan and cut their blocks this way to eliminate any grainlines on the diagonal. I may be pretty fussy, but I decided long ago I wasn't THAT fussy. However, since Bethany went to all the trouble to figure it out and present so well in her patterns, I followed her instructions. She also gives pressing directions, and I have yet to find an error in any of her patterns. I so appreciate that attention to detail.

I'll keep pecking away at this as the week progresses. I think a block a day is a reasonable goal at this point, so the remaining three will soon be done. Then I have to figure out how I thought I was going to set them. The mind is very foggy on that.

1 comment:

Deborah said...

Gorgeous work!