These nine patch star blocks were started last October at an overnight retreat, and then I set them aside for completion later. I had managed to get the stars mostly done, but had to bring them home to complete them as I didn’t have the corner white squares with me. I made 20 stars in all with nine-patch centers using a jelly roll in patriotic colors.
At the end of February, our local group held its bi-annual quilt retreat, where we can leave our machines for three days, but we sleep at home. Due to travel, I could only go one day, but it was super fun, and as usual I got a lot done. This project was my main focus, but I also did two other small things, and sneaked in a step for my mystery quilt and no one knew, LOL!!!
I wanted to do sashing on these blocks, to make this quilt different than the To The Nines pattern. We have seven of that pattern to give away now, so this one needed something different.
This is a good time to talk about sashing, and the two methods to do it. First method is to put strips between the blocks in rows, then do long strips between the rows. This isn’t my favorite way, as it has several long strips that can easily get distorted unless they are pinned well. It is like adding borders to several quilts at once, and is a recipe for too much fullness unless measured really carefully.
I like the method of adding strips to two sides of the blocks, then putting the blocks together. It makes adding cornerstones easier too. The big benefit of this method is that you cut your strips to the measurement they should be, in this case, 12-1/2-inches. This will help corral any fullness in the blocks and ensure that the top lays flat. In this photo, the top strip was cut 14-1/2 inches, and I moved it over to see what the cornerstone would look like. I cut it off to the proper measurement before I began sewing.
Laying it out, the blocks will be sashed on the upper side and the right side, then one block will get sashing on the left end. The only long strip needed will be across the bottom.
I chain-sewed all the upper strips with cornerstones that I would need. Then I began attaching them to the blocks.
The next day at a QOV sewing day, I laid out the blocks on one of the design walls and finished the individual block sashings. I cut the additional strips and squares I would need as well.
Then back at home, I began construction of the rows.
Because I had 20 blocks and would be making the top 4 x 5 blocks, I started with sewing the blocks in pairs.
Then I sewed set of two pairs into rows of four. You can see the sashing is almost done.
Next, I made cornerstone strips for the left edge of the rows. These will be put onto individual rows.
The only long strip will be across the bottom. I sewed that strip first.
Then, starting with the bottom, I put the left edge strip on. Next, I added the bottom strip. This is easier to do with just one row, instead of waiting until the whole top is constructed.
The side strips were added to the other four rows. I pressed the seams in opposite directions to make joining the rows easier and more accurate.
Then the rows are put together, carefully pinning all the sashing seams.
At this point, the quilt is big enough to meet the minimum, but I think it needs a small outer border to frame it nicely. So, I’ll add that before I quilt it. The quilt will come out to about 66 x 78 at that point. This one will be designated for a special event later in the year honoring military nurses.
How do you do your sashings, by the block or by the row?
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