Thursday, November 24, 2011

Autumn Star

A few months ago I stumbled across a used book called Strips That Sizzle by Margaret Miller.  I was intrigued by all the things you could do to create great illusions and color play, 2 things that attracted me to quilting in the first place.

Basically you select at least 5 values from two color families.  The values should range from very dark to very light.  I selected browns and orange/yellow (okay, I know that’s 2 families, but it worked).  You cut a sequence of variable width strips across the width of fabric that range between 1.5 and 2.5 inches.  Then you randomly sew a strip of each value together, going from dark to light, to form panels.  I wanted 6”blocks, so the panels had to end up no less than 7 inches wide – not remotely hard to do.  You can use fat quarters or whole fabric width.

Taking a panel of each color family (let’s call them A and B), you lay panel A right side up with the dark strip towards you.  Lay panel B right side down on top of it, again making sure the dark strip is closest to you.  Now cut squares (finished size plus 1”).  Leaving these squares together, cut them diagonally – always make the diagonal in the same direction.  It’s best to move the squares as little as possible, so you don’t inadvertently rotate them.  Now sew along each diagonal using a ¼ “ inch seam: you are forming  Half-Square-Triangles.  Either press seams open or to one side, as preferred.  Trim to the desired block size.  I cut 7”blocks which I then trimmed to 6.5” blocks after sewing.

Now the fun begins.  This is where owning the book is good: Margaret Miller does a great job showing you the possibilities and how they work.  It’s out of print, but Amazon shows plenty of used copies available and apparently it is a print on demand book.  Visit her website as well.
I opted for a central Ohio Star pattern and as I wanted a rectangular quilt, I extended the top and bottom using some other placement strategies.  The outermost rows look a lot like Attic Window.
I quilted mainly feather motifs (see my previous blog about them). 

Autumn Star: 50"by 64"

Close up of some of the quilting

I love the overall result and my daughter is now begging for one.  It’s a great way to burn up stash.  Some examples in her book show quilts that used over 50 fabrics!  You also can do more than one color family – look at more examples of her website.

Autumn Star is a gift for a friend and is going to its new home in Germany in a few days. 


Erilyn said...

This looks pretty cool - I think even I could manage it - sewing strips and then EASY cutting to get a quick finished block is what I really like! Love the quilting!

Monica said...

Thanks, Erilyn!

You so could manage it. This was the very first one I tried. It's all a matter of getting the minimum five fabrics from each family and then making sure you have a good value range. It is a really quick way to get a dynamite effect.