Just while I’m finishing up measuring and labelling quilts and samples I thought I would put together some thoughts on a completely different topic – Antique Rose Star. I know several readers are about to start their own project and thought this might be helpful.
This stunning hexagonal block is one I first saw in a copy of Ladies Circle Patchwork Quilts magazine in the middle 80s (1980s that is). Rather more recently it has been given a new global lease of life thanks to its inclusion in “Material Obsession 2”, a hugely popular book from the Australian quilt shop of the same name. At Quilt Expo in Veldhoven I noticed that renowned Dutch quilter Petra Prins carried the template as part of her wonderful shop stock, so it was easy to acquire the wherewithal to begin.
As featured in the book, the block requires 5 fabrics plus a background. I used 5 fabrics plus two backgrounds because I wanted a very busy, scrappy look, and chose shirting style reproduction fabrics for the backgrounds. I also decided that I wanted to work within one style of fabrics – reproduction prints, and mostly one colour family – reds, browns and dark creams.
After that, decisions progressed to each block being a different combination of fabrics with no two blocks being identical. Fussycutting worked well for some of the centres and also some of the points, but was not a must. For the most part, I just wanted to make scrappy looking blocks from fabrics I already had. Health warning – there is a LOT of scope within this block for fussycutting if that is your delight………… and the whole thing is hugely addictive, it is very difficult to stop!
Here’s how I tackled my Antique Rose Star project –
Each block has 72 pieces and divides down into 6s or 12s of each fabric choice. The centres and points are 6 each, everything else is 12, and remember I used 2 backgrounds so there were 12 each of both backgrounds. If you use one background per block you will need 24 pieces from that fabric.
I cut lots of pieces in sets of 6 and 12, marking around the template onto the WS of the fabric and cutting out on the marked lines. This took time but was fitted into small gaps in the day rather than lengthy sessions. Because I wanted to use up fabric and be economical, I marked around the template as tessellating shapes and cut with scissors which meant very little waste.
The size of the template does lend itself to use with jellyroll precut fabric and rotary cutting, in which case you could be cutting through 3 or 4 fabric layers at once – it depends on your preferences and what suits.
All cut shapes went into one large ziplock bag – I probably began the first few blocks with shapes cut from at least a dozen fabrics and five background fabrics. More of everything plus new fabric choices were added in as the project gathered momentum.
Every shape in the large ziplock bag then had a seam line marked on the WS on two adjacent sides (one long side, one short).
You could easily skip this step if you prefer to mark your seam lines as required rather than in advance. I must say I felt it was time well spent at this stage.
So, lots of shapes cut out and marked – time to start laying out blocks. I laid out 3 blocks to begin with, sometimes using a pair of mirrors and just one triangular wedge of shapes to predict the final result.
This was a project I knew I would be stitching “on the move” so it was important that it could be accommodated in the smallest of containers and that the stitching was as straightforward as possible. I decided to gather each block up into its component sets of 3 shapes, put a few holding/tacking stitches through each set to keep them together, and then put all the 3s for each block into its own very small ziplock bag.
One block = one very small bag of tacked shapes. Add in a needle, small reel of thread, small chunk of beeswax and a thread cutter and its good to go.
You may be surprised at the speed at which a block can go together – each seam is short. I made up my 3s like this:-
First stitch one short seam then a pivoting seam to add in the third shape.
Completed sets of 3 went back into the bag, and you can probably finish the sequence for yourself………… sets of 3 come back out of the bag to be stitched into diamonds of 6. These leave the bag to be made into larger triangular wedges by adding first one background 3 and then the next. And of course, sets of 6 large triangular wedges have their own bag in which they await their final construction all neatly tacked together……….
After all that hectic piecing just a warning that one or two almost-forgotten quilts have been re-discovered during the ongoing Cupboard project – here’s a quick peek, more detail next time.