Autumn Term at Quilt School: A New Quilting Technique and Re-Sizing Quilt Blocks

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It’s back to school for you, dear quilter! Time to learn a fresh new quilting technique—Quick-Pieced Split-Point Units!

This quilting technique came about through a little experimentation. We were working on the pattern for Winds of Autumn, a gorgeous quilt designed by Jennifer Schifano Thomas for our September/October 2018 issue of Love of Quilting The full-sized quilt features 20 Missouri Star quilt blocks. At first, we used a standard approach for the Missouri Star block’s star points, which involves sewing multiple triangles together.

<strong>Sewing Triangles </strong> This method works, but so many unsecured bias edges and loose triangles, accuracy becomes harder to achieve.

Sewing Triangles This method works, but so many unsecured bias edges and loose triangles, accuracy becomes harder to achieve.

Triangles are fussy things. As quilters, we use the shape all the time, so it pays to get to know them. When we write instructions here at Love of Quilting, we do our best to minimize the stretch from unsecured bias edges. For example, when we write patterns using setting triangles, we work the cutting direction to ensure you have the straight of grain along the outside edge of the quilt, eliminating the risk of stretching or wavy edges (even if you aren’t using our Easy Diagonal Sets Ruler). And in many of our quick piecing methods, we instruct you to sew first, then cut; not only is this approach often the fastest, it’s more secure.

We do all this calculating so that you can enjoy accurately sized quilt blocks, without having to work through the math.

We’re just nice people that way.

For this Missouri Star quilt block, we wondered if we could do something similar. After all, the star points are essentially Flying Geese units, except with split colors in the points.

Could we adapt our Quick-Pieced Flying Geese Units method, incorporating Triangle-Squares? That would eliminate the need to cut so many loose triangles…

<strong>Experimenting with Triangle-Squares</strong> If it looks like a Flying Geese unit, and quacks like a Flying Geese unit, could we use our Quick-Pieced Flying Geese method?

Experimenting with Triangle-Squares If it looks like a Flying Geese unit, and quacks like a Flying Geese unit, could we use our Quick-Pieced Flying Geese method?

Let me tell you, we struggled with what to call these pieced-together units—Split-Point Flying Geese? Quarter-and-Half-Square Triangle-Square Units? Split Star Points? What if we didn’t use them in star-style quilt blocks…?

We decided “Quick-Pieced Split Point Units” should do the job nicely.

It can get a little tricky, because you need to ensure that the like colors of your Triangle-Squares mirror one another. In my own tests, I used a bright pink print and a bright coral-ish orange print, which were too similar in color; I had to un-sew a few times. (Lesson learned! We definitely used contrasting red and blue prints in our print tutorial to keep it clear!)

<strong>Does It Work?</strong> Yes, the Triangle-Squares mirror one another! Next time, we should use colors with a stronger contrast…

Does It Work? Yes, the Triangle-Squares mirror one another! Next time, we should use colors with a stronger contrast…

I originally over-calculated the size of my triangle squares, which caused them to be too large overall. If you peer closely, you can see where some extra, overhang fabric got caught in the seam on the right-hand unit. But you know what? We were on the right track! This technique works!

<strong>The Technique Works! </strong> We needed to tweak some calculations, adjust the colors for contrast, and then incorporate the technique into the instructions for <em>Winds of Autumn</em>.

The Technique Works! We needed to tweak some calculations, adjust the colors for contrast, and then incorporate the technique into the instructions for Winds of Autumn
.

Some re-calculating, some double-checking, and a photoshoot later, and we had a new technique ready for Love of Quilting’s readers!

<strong>It Comes Together</strong> With better contrast in the fabrics, accurate math, and better lighting, you can see how nicely these come together!

It Comes Together With better contrast in the fabrics, accurate math, and better lighting, you can see how nicely these come together!

Follow the steps in the tutorial, reference the pictures, have your seam marker at the ready, and I guarantee you’ll have lovely Split Point units for your Missouri Star quilt block.


Re-Sizing Quilt Blocks: Missouri Star Quilt Blocks

 

For a little extra credit, we’re providing you with bonus measurements for re-sizing quilt blocks. Using our two tutorials, Sew Easy: 8-at-a-Time Triangle-Squares and Sew Easy: Quick-Pieced Split Point Units, these measurements will yield blocks for three of the most common finished block sizes—6”, 9”, and 12”.

missouri star diagram

For 2 Missouri Star quilt blocks, you’ll need:

• 1 red print A Squares for Split Point unit’s Triangle-Squares
• 1 pink print A Squares for Split Point unit’s Triangle-Squares
• 4 light brown B Squares for Split Point units
• 8 light brown C Squares for corners
• 2 tan print D squares for center

Finished Quilt Block Size Unfinished A Square Unfinished B Square Unfinished C Square Unfinished D Square
6″ 5-1/2” 4-1/4” 2” 3-1/2”
9″ 7” 5-3/4” 2-3/4” 5”
12″ 8-1/2” 7-1/4” 3-1/2” 6-1/2”

Happy quilting!

Vanessa


Check out more of our Sew Easy techniques for accurate, fast patchwork!


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