Saturday, December 28, 2013

Friendship Stars in February 2014

I thought it made sense to start off the year with a simple happy block:  the Friendship Star.  You can find a gazillion ways to make these & if you prefer your way to my way, have at it (the method my lovely co-host suggested can be found here).  All I ask is that your components work out to the same size (each of the nine squares that make up the star should be 3.5" unfinished, resulting in a completed block that is 9.5" unfinished/9" finished) & that the stars all have the same orientation, specifically the long edge of the star point should be on the left, & these points should work their way around the center uniformly.  Yes, that probably took longer to write than to just look at.

You will need THREE fabrics:

One of these fabric should be a DARK.  It can be solid or patterned, a single or multi-color.  It must contain a red or blue or black, or all three or just one of these here & other colors besides so long as it is primarily red &/or blue & or black.  There must be NO WHITE in your dark fabric (in most but not all cases, white moves a dark to a medium so this is probably moot but I wanted to be clear). 

One of the fabrics should be MEDIUM.  It also can be solid or patterned, a single or multi-color.  It must also contain red &/or blue &/or gray.  Many medium fabrics have black, so that may not be voidable, but black should not be the primary color.  There may even be some white, but this fabric should be primarily a color or colors. 

One of the fabrics should be LIGHT, specifically white or cream or gold or some combination of these three.  It should NOT contain any other colors than white &/or cream &/or gold, no matter how light they might be. 

The center square (which is just a single 3.5" square) can be either the medium or the dark fabric. 

The star points should be the other (if the center is dark, the star points should be medium; if the center is medium, the star points should be dark) You will need two 4" squares of this fabric OR if you want to try making eight half square triangles all at once (instructions below) you will need one 8.5" square. 

Let me repeat that:  one of these fabrics should be a medium & one of these should be a dark.  These to components should NOT be made from the same fabric (I know that seems obvious, given that one is a dark & one is a medium but some fabrics have enough variation that some parts could be called medium & some parts called dark). 

The background should be light, primarily white, cream or gold.  A bit of pattern in a white &/or cream &/or gold  is fine, so long as there are no colors except white, cream &/or gold.  You will need two 4" squares (or one 8.5" square) & four 3.5" squares of the background fabric.

& that's it for fabric. 

You can make the star points in pairs (two 1/2-square triangles at a time)  That method is outlined many places on the internet including on this blog here & here & here.  That method works just fine; it uses up smaller scraps which is never a bad thing BUT earlier this year I learned another method for making 1/2-square triangles in bulk- you will end up with eight which is enough for two of these stars, so three of these larger sets would be enough for six stars (five to swap & one for you). 

  • Begin with two 8.5" squares (as you get more comfortable with this method, you can knock it down to 8" squares, but that is unforgiving & if you are not very precise, you will end up with too-small 1/2-square triangles).  Just as in the other method, make a line from one corner to its opposite & then make a similar line from another corner to its opposite:  you will have an X across the square.

  • Stitch just as you would for the 1/2-square triangle above (1/4" on either side of each line), for a total of four lines of stitches.

  • Cut along each line.  Then cut from the tip op the triangle to the center of the base for each of the isosceles triangles you have made.  I realize this is the wordy way to go so you can find more pictures & detailed instructions here (& many other places besides, just search on "make eight half square triangles at once" in whichever search engine works best for you).
As I said above, you can make the 1/2-square triangles any way you want to so long as each one measures 3.5" when you begin assembling the block. 

Once you have your four solid background squares, you single solid center square (all 3.5") & your four 1/2-square triangles (cut down to 3.5"), lay them out thusly.  Please please please please be sure your star is spinning just like this one.  A star spinning the other way would be disruptive (& if you like that you can always make a backwards spinning star & keep it for yourself).  To make it wordy:  the correct layout will show the top 1/2-square triangle with star fabric on the lower left half of the square, background fabric on the upper right.

As always we swap in sets of FIVE, send five blocks get five back.  You have the option of including a 6th block.  6th blocks go to the member of our group who asks for them first & commits to making a quilt (or tote bags or what have you) for a person or persons in their community.  Please don't ask for the blocks to make a quilt for your grandson or a school raffle, etc. (although you are of course free to do whatever you want with your own swapped blocks); the idea of the 6th block was for someone who would not otherwise get a quilt get a quilt.

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