When I decided to figure out how to expand the feathered star pattern that I love so much, I knew I wanted to go BIG!
When I created the free No Y Seam Feathered Star paper piecing pattern, I explored the idea of going small. The 8" block is a thing. Eight inches doesn't seem that small... unless you're talking about fitting 100+ seams in that space... Then it seems slightly cramped. :) Super-cute, don't get me wrong! But super-cute AND tiny. Don't worry, if you are interested in downloading the pattern, it also comes in a 12" and 16" version.
I loved the idea of creating one huge star as a stand-alone baby quilt. Baby quilts are my absolute favorite quilts to make! Have I mentioned that yet today? If not, baby quilts ARE the best. Exploring a new idea without a significant investment in materials and time is SO appealing to me. I mean obviously it's still more expensive and time consuming than buying a baby gift from a registry like a normal person. But, compared to what it takes to make a large bed quilt... it's a walk in the park!
Then I had this crazy thought that making only two of the huge blocks would cover significant "real estate"... but how would that layout work? A 36" x 72" masterpiece? Hardly! But what if I *shudder* cut up one of the blocks? If I set my main block on-point and then placed the cut-up star pieces in the corners? What would happen?
This is what happened. :( I didn't realize that what I needed were triangles and not squares. Clearly, my spatial reasoning skills leave something to be desired. I'm glad I used my brown scraps for this prototype, I didn't feel bad about cutting it up. Sorry, brown, it's not you, it's me.
Oddly enough, I got more confidence after I messed up the first block. I thought again and again about it and decided that cutting up a second block would work.
I worked up the nerve and cut into my "good" block! I used a 24" ruler and aligned it exactly from the corner of the block to my first "reference point" which was intersecting the "capstone square" in its path. And then I aimed for my next patch (a triangle accent) to bisect. The cutting became easier after that initial slice was made. I kept going until it was in two pieces. I had to carefully reposition the block and my ruler several times to do a good job without stretching the bias edges I created. And then I cut diagonally in the other direction to get my four triangle corners.
The biggest question mark for me while I was piecing the top together: How bad are my points going to look?! Because I'd worked with on-point settings in the past, I knew that the setting triangles had to be longer than the main blocks in order to preserve the points. Since I was starting with two blocks the exact same size, I knew I was going to have blunted points when I seamed it back together, I just didn't know how much it would bother me.
In the end, I realized that it didn't bother me at all! The ease at which you can make two identically sized blocks and come up with this interesting lap quilt layout was much more appealing than a few triangle point "nubs". It's made even less noticeable when using the same or similarly-valued fabrics.
I knew I would need some kind of border to stabilize all of the outer bias edges. Borders are something I don't generally add if I can help it. In this case, the borders were necessary and I added two: one to blend in with the main part of the quilt top and one to frame the whole thing. I was surprised by how much I liked the bold pink (almost red) color along the perimeter. I decided to use the same fabric for the binding.
Overall, I'm so happy with this experiment! I'm glad I took the risk of cutting up a pretty block. The reward was pretty sweet. One last thing: How adorable is that gingham for the back??? Soooooo adorable. I would have also accepted "very adorable" as an answer. ;)
If you are thinking about making this quilt or using the Fierce Feathered Star block in your own quiltmaking, you can download the pattern here. You'll get detailed (and photo heavy) instructions for making either the 20" or 36" block. There's no paper piecing and no y-seaming! :)