Alrighty, ready to sew?! This week, we’ll make the center star of the Merry Medallion quilt. That’s the section highlighted below:
What You’ll Need
– all of your 7″ squares (five red, three green, eight low volume)
– all of your 6.5″ squares (four low volume)
– general sewing stuff
Making The Pieces
First, we’ll make half square triangles from our 7″ squares. (I’m basically repeating this from my Huge Honking Churn Dash Tutorial, pardon the re-run.) On the wrong side of one low volume square, mark a diagonal line from one corner to the other.
Pair the marked low volume square with an unmarked colored square (green or red), place right sides together, and sew 1/4″ away from the line, on both sides of the line:
(If you have a 1/4″ foot, that’s handy for this step. I use the left side of my foot on this machine, which is exactly 1/4″ away from the needle. You can also mark lines 1/4″ away from the center line if that’s easier.)
Cut down the drawn line with a rotary cutter or sharp fabric scissors, and you’ll end up with two new squares, each made of one light and one dark triangle. Yay!
Press seams towards the darker side.
Now, you might notice that your new square is a little wonky. Don’t worry, that’s totally part of the magic. We made those squares a teensy bit bigger than they had to be, so that we can trim them nice and perfect before the next step.
Line up the 45-degree diagonal on your ruler, or your cutting mat, with the diagonal seam, and trim each of these blocks to 6.5″. You’ll only end up shaving a wee bit from each side, but you’ll end up with a nice, neat square.
To make the rest of our HSTs, we’re going to chain piece them. This concept is key to making the Merry Medallion doable in a month without difficulty. Chain piecing means that instead of starting and stopping for each individual HST, we’ll feed them right into the machine one after the other.
This technique saves a shocking amount of time (and thread) – chain piece a handful of HSTs and then consider how long the same would take if you’d stopped, removed the fabric, clipped the thread and then started a new one fresh each time. I’m sure you’ll immediately see why this is such a great concept for speedy piecing. (You all know I am not normally one for quik-n-ezee projects, and I’d never choose chain piecing over hand-stitching for most projects. But there is a time and place for breezing through a stack of squares!)
So, when you get to the end of one diagonal HST line, don’t lift the presser foot or anything, just feed your next HST pair in right after it (like in the photo above). You’ll probably have a few stitches between the two pieces of fabric, and they’ll connect to each other like bunting. Try it out with a few scraps before your HSTs, if you’re unsure.
When you’re done, just carefully clip them apart. You will end up with ten red/low volume squares and six green/low volume squares. Trim all squares as described above.
Center Star Layout / Assembly
Now lay out your low volume squares and your HSTs as shown below:
You will have extra HSTs (one extra red square and three extra green squares), so you have a little flexibility with your arrangement. Play with the layout until you’re happy!
To assemble the center star, now that you have all the pieces ready, you will simply sew the 16 blocks into four rows, then sew the four rows together to make the star. You can chain piece these rows too, by the way, just take care to keep everything in order!
Press your block seams in alternate directions (top row to the left, second row to the right, and so on) and then the longer row seams all in one direction (it doesn’t really matter which way).
Your finished center star block should measure 24.5″.
We’re on our way now! Next Friday: round 2 – see you there!