Threaded Quilting Studio

Fierce Feathered Star

Fierce Feathered Star One Block Lap Quilt

Jessie Zeigler2 Comments
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I’d love to show you how to use my Fierce Feathered Star block in this lap sized layout! It’s kind of fun only making one main block and getting a whole quilt out of it! :)

Let’s start with the fabric requirements using the 2-tone option you see here. I bought 3 yards of each light and dark fabric and had enough for the binding and part of the pieced back.

Quilt Center:

Make the 36” Fierce Feathered Star as per the pattern directions.

Setting Triangles:

Cut two 27” squares out of light fabric.

Fold the square in half diagonally as shown below, aligning all edges.

Use a long ruler to cut the large folded square in half, yielding 2 large half-square triangles.

Repeat with the other 27” square.

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Very gently crease the bottom edge of a large triangle to find its center.

Find the midpoint of the Fierce Feathered Star block by folding it in half and marking its center.

Align the light triangle RST atop the FFS as shown below, matching the midpoints of each.

Carefully pin from the center outward. Be really careful not to pull or stretch the bias edge of the triangle.

Sew using 1/4” seam. Press (I like to press open).

Repeat with the other 3 triangles along the other 3 sides of the center block.

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When all the setting triangles are sewn into place, the FFS will “float” in the center, meaning the center block does not extend all the way to the edge. As you can see in the photo below, there is a bit of a margin there.

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First border:

Cut eight 2.75” x WOF strips of dark fabric.

Sew strips end-to-end (RST) in pairs to make four border strips. Press seams.

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Trim two of the borders to 52”.

Tip: When I have to measure and cut pieces that are longer than my 36” cutting mat, I place a pin to mark the end of my mat (in this case 36”).

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Then, I slide the pin to the 0” mark of my mat and do the math to figure out where I need to make the cut.

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In this example 36” + 16” = 52”, so I make my cut at the 16” line of the mat.

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To get nice, straight borders that don’t wave, ALWAYS measure & cut to the exact measurement first, pin and then sew to the quilt top.

Align border strip RST to one side of the quilt. At this point, the top is still square so it doesn’t matter which side you start with.

Pin each end of the border to the quilt top. Pin the center and continue pinning every few inches until the whole border is secured to the top.

Sew using 1/4” seam. Press.

Seam the 2nd border strip to the opposite side of the quilt top.

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In the same manner as you attached the first two borders, cut the two remaining untrimmed border strips to 56.5” and sew to the other sides of the quilt.

Second border:

The second border is only applied to two (opposite) sides to make the quilt rectangular. The top and bottom border are each made of fourteen half-square triangles (HST).

Cut four 10” squares of each the light and dark fabric to make a total of 32 HST using the Magic 8 method. Refer to page 11 of the Fierce Feathered Star pattern if you need a reminder.

Press and trim 28 (the remaining 4 won’t be used) of the HSTs to 4.5” square.

Arrange and seam together as shown. Attach to top and bottom of the quilt.

Top border:

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Bottom border:

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That’s it! “Quilt as desired” and bind… as they say in the biz. :)

Snowflake QAL: Week Nine

Jessie ZeiglerComment
Joan Cumming has been working ahead on her Blizzard quilt! Isn't it spectacular?!?! She added even more stars to make the whole top bigger. Beautiful!!

Joan Cumming has been working ahead on her Blizzard quilt! Isn't it spectacular?!?! She added even more stars to make the whole top bigger. Beautiful!!

Welcome to Week Nine of the QAL!

Snowflake Sampler: two 36" Fierce Feathered Stars

Star Flurries: one 20" No Y Seam Feathered Stars or Fierce Feathered Stars (your choice of construction method)

Feathered Star Blizzard: two 16" AND two 8" No Y Seam Feathered Stars

Can you believe there is only one week left? Time flies when you're piecing one million tiny bits of fabric together... isn't that how the saying goes? ;)

Congratulations if you are caught up! Congratulations if you're still hanging in there! Congratulations if you're waiting for the right timing to dig in! The point is, you've challenged yourself to do a difficult thing and I admire that. It's so worthwhile to push yourself and learn new skills, I salute you!

Sampler folks: I have a video tutorial series now on how to construct the Fierce Feathered Star. If you feel safe and cozy within the confines of paper piecing (no shame in that) and are nervous about tackling the non-paper piecing star, watch the videos! They'll give you the boost you need to begin.

Next week, we'll sew our tops together! If you want to get yourself prepped, make sure all of your papers are removed. You could also begin cutting out any sashing strips if you have them (Sampler and Blizzard) and sewing them to the appropriate stars. Again, not part of the challenge this week, but if you're looking for ways to get ready, those are good places to start.

I cannot tell you how satisfying this is to seam together! FUN! This was my Sampler top from the first QAL I hosted last summer.

I cannot tell you how satisfying this is to seam together! FUN! This was my Sampler top from the first QAL I hosted last summer.

Hop on over to my closed Facebook group to join the discussion, share pictures, ask questions, get encouragement. We are a community and we'd love to help you out!

Snowflake QAL: Week Eight

Jessie ZeiglerComment
Cara (@sew_colorado_quilting)  is making beautiful progress on her Star Flurries quilt!

Cara (@sew_colorado_quilting) is making beautiful progress on her Star Flurries quilt!

Welcome to Week Eight! 

Snowflake Sampler: two 20" No Y Seam Feathered Stars or Fierce Feathered Stars (your choice of construction method)

Star Flurries: one 20" No Y Seam Feathered Stars or Fierce Feathered Stars (your choice of construction method)

Feathered Star Blizzard: four 20" No Y Seam Feathered Stars

**NOTE** Last week I had originally challenged the Star Flurries participants to make two 20" blocks. I should have only had you make one. There are only 13 star blocks total, nine 20" stars and four 12" stars. Please adjust accordingly if you made 2 last week!

The 20" stars will be NEW this week for both the Sampler and the Blizzard folks. Those sewing the Sampler quilt will have the choice of whether or not to use paper piecing templates as per usual OR... maybe they'll will want to take a break from paper piecing and try the Fierce Feathered Star construction??? 

Stacy (@sgarrett0871)  has all her Blizzard blocks neatly lined up and ready for action!

Stacy (@sgarrett0871) has all her Blizzard blocks neatly lined up and ready for action!

If you do plan to go "Fierce", try to be as exact as possible with cutting and with your 1/4" seam allowance. We've been paper piecing for so long that it might take an extra-focused effort to do conventional piecing again! :)

Other Fierce Feathered Star notes:

  • It's very easy to get "turned around" when sewing the block components together, especially when it comes to the direction of the half-square triangle units. For as many times as I've made the blocks, I STILL match up my pieces to the pattern photos EVERY TIME to make sure I'm sewing them correctly.

  • Pin a lot! I'm okay with being a broken record on this point, it's really important for matching points.

  • I have a new instructional video series about how to make the Fierce Feathered Star! In the video, I demo making the 36", but the methods and steps are the same.

  • Don't forget to take one step at a time. This isn't fast sewing, each block takes several hours to complete. Enjoy the process - you can do it!

Hop on over to my closed Facebook group to join the discussion, share pictures, ask questions, get encouragement. We are a community and we'd love to help you out!

Snowflake QAL: Week Seven

Jessie ZeiglerComment
Lisa's progress!  @duhquilts  on Instagram.

Lisa's progress! @duhquilts on Instagram.

Welcome to Week Seven! 

Snowflake Sampler: two 8" No Y Seam Feathered Stars

Star Flurries: one (this is a correction) 20" No Y Seam Feathered Stars or Fierce Feathered Stars (your choice of construction method)

Feathered Star Blizzard: three 8" No Y Seam Feathered Stars

I'm continually inspired by all of the progress photos I see! I say to myself "That's my favorite one!"... for every single star or group of stars I see! :) haha

What I LOVE is the diversity of color palettes. This group is making the patterns their very own!

JessicaQuilter  made her own layout design using the 20" feathered stars. Look at her beautiful quilting!

JessicaQuilter made her own layout design using the 20" feathered stars. Look at her beautiful quilting!

Lisa  @shiraz_and_sewing  is using soft pink and blue tones (see her Instagram feed for more) and they are fabulous!

Lisa @shiraz_and_sewing is using soft pink and blue tones (see her Instagram feed for more) and they are fabulous!

YOU CAN DO IT! Keep going, I promise it'll be worth it in the end!

Hop on over to my closed Facebook group to join the discussion, share pictures, ask questions, get encouragement. We are a community and we'd love to help you out!

In the Facebook group last week, I posted an option of adding a flying geese border which increases the size of the Sampler & Blizzard quilts to 90" square. Check it out if you are interested!

Video series for the Fierce Feathered Star pattern is now available!

Jessie ZeiglerComment
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I love the Fierce Feathered Star block! There is no paper piecing involved, there are no y-seams to negotiate. But even so, it has intimidated some quilters. I know because they tell me. :) Haha. I'm here to remove the mystery about sewing this block. What better way than to show you every step?

The videos are all completely free, you just need the Fierce Feathered Star pattern for your own templates and cutting dimensions.

Click here for the entire video playlist.

Here's a breakdown of each individual lessons:

Part 1: intro, templates and sewing the star tips

Part 2: making HSTs the Magic 8 way

Part 3: making the corner units

Part 4: making the side units

Part 5: making the center unit and assembling the block

BONUS: Making a 60" lap quilt (shown below) using two 36" FFS blocks

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Before quilting...

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After quilting!

I hope watching the steps will you give you the confidence to tackle a project that might challenge and grow your current skill set. That, my friends, is so exciting to me! 

Happy learning! Happy quilting!

Snowflake QAL: Week One

Jessie ZeiglerComment
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*** Minor, little baby pattern errors found! ***

Special thanks to Jan Kaye for spotting this error, it affects the 16" blocks for both the Snowflake Sampler and the Feathered Star Blizzard patterns:

Pages 22 & 23 referenced incorrect square measurements in the color guide, it's not material to the pattern, but it could be confusing, so my apologies! NOTHING NEEDS TO BE RECUT! To update the pattern, I removed the exact dimensions on the color guide, all you really need to know is whether to use the bigger or smaller square sizes where referenced.

 

We've FINALLY arrived! Week One is here!

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to make:

Snowflake Sampler: two 16" No Y Seam Feathered Star blocks

Star Flurries: two 20" No Y Seam Feathered Star blocks or Fierce Feathered Star blocks*

Feathered Star Blizzard: three 16" No Y Seam Feathered Star blocks

*Star Flurries people: any time I refer to the 20", please know that you have the choice of constructing the blocks with paper piecing (NYSFS) or conventional piecing (Fierce Feathered Star). Use whichever method makes you happy and since there are 9 blocks, maybe you'll get bored and want to try both ways!

Let's begin, shall we?!

Printing: You'll need to print the paper piecing sections onto your preferred foundation paper. I use regular printer paper, but please use what you're most comfortable with. The most important thing to remember is to print at 100% or "actual" size, making sure your print dialog box is not set to auto-scale. A test square of 1 inch is provided on every page so that you can ensure accuracy.

You may want to get all of your printing out of the way at once or you may just want to print one week's worth at a time. For me, I printed one star at a time so that I wasn't emotionally overwhelmed with ALL THE PAPER! :) You do you, as the kids say.

TIP! If all of your blocks will have the same coloring, you may want to print one set, note the colors on each section and then make your required number of copies.

TIP! Using a marker or colored pencil to note the section also works well (not really applicable before making copies unless you're using a color copier).

Cutting unit templates: Make sure to cut around the templates outside of the dashed line. The space between the solid line and the dashed line is the seam allowance. I use a dull rotary blade to cut my templates apart.

Cutting fabrics:  I've written the cutting instructions by block so as to not overwhelm you with ALLLLLLL of the fabric cutting at once, but again, this is your preference.

There are a few square sizes that are very similar, it might help to label them. 

Sewing: If you've never foundation paper pieced before, I highly encourage you to watch my video tutorial series that will show you step-by-step how to complete this pattern. If this ain't your first paper piecing rodeo...  well, giddyup! ;) You should be just fine following the instructions in the pattern.

USE A SHORTENED STITCH LENGTH! Sorry to shout, but this is important. I'm using a 1.2 stitch length which is tiny, tiny, tiny. Anything 1.5 or smaller is okay. I'm also using the aforementioned regular copy paper which is kind of thick. I also use a strong poly thread, so I don't have thread breakage issues, and I use a 90/14 Microtex needle from Schmetz. Feel free to adjust any of these factors until you're happy with sewing and how the papers tear away.

Does your sewing machine have a thread cutting feature or button? If it functions properly: USE IT!!! I paper pieced for years before I started using mine and it was a game changer! The nature of paper piecing is sewing a bunch of small lines, starting and stopping frequently. You could chain some pieces together, but it's a little awkward. When you use the thread cutter, you don't have to hold your threads as you begin the next seam. That is a wonderful thing! You'll end up using less thread, too.

I could stop now and say "Go for it!", but... I want to do everything to make this super-enjoyable for you so I have in-progress pictures + captions from last summer's QAL.

While it doesn't really matter which order you sew all of the units (21 total), if you're just getting back into the groove of paper piecing, you may want to start with Unit I (as in igloo) shown in the next photo.

I used a dab of fabric glue to secure the center square positioned in the center of the template, covering the seam allowances on all sides. Place your folding aid (an expired insurance card here) along one seaming line, fold the paper back , align the Add-A-Quarter ruler and trim  before  adding your triangle accent pieces .  It makes the alignment of the triangles a bit easier.

I used a dab of fabric glue to secure the center square positioned in the center of the template, covering the seam allowances on all sides. Place your folding aid (an expired insurance card here) along one seaming line, fold the paper back , align the Add-A-Quarter ruler and trim before adding your triangle accent pieces. It makes the alignment of the triangles a bit easier.

When aligning a triangle piece along its bias side as illustrated here, imagine a straight line traveling from the corner of the area you will be covering, with the right angle of the triangle you're adding, like shown above. Use this technique with all applicable units.

When aligning a triangle piece along its bias side as illustrated here, imagine a straight line traveling from the corner of the area you will be covering, with the right angle of the triangle you're adding, like shown above. Use this technique with all applicable units.

Unit A (but this applies to all units that have pieces adjoining on 2 sides). Try not to stitch into section A8 (where my stiletto is pointing) because it'll affect how you fold and trim when the time comes to add the fabric for A8.

Unit A (but this applies to all units that have pieces adjoining on 2 sides). Try not to stitch into section A8 (where my stiletto is pointing) because it'll affect how you fold and trim when the time comes to add the fabric for A8.

BEWARE!  Avoid  lining up fabrics as shown above. This is Unit A, but it applies to most units. When adding a  lighter  fabric, make sure that it completely covers the dark piece beneath. Otherwise, you'll get shadowing (dark fabric in the seam allowance is visible from the quilt top through the light fabric). If the piece shifts while you sew and you do experience shadowing: Before sewing the next piece, carefully trim small amounts of the dark fabric away until it no longer extends beyond the lighter fabric on top.  Watch a quick video showing this.

BEWARE! Avoid lining up fabrics as shown above. This is Unit A, but it applies to most units. When adding a lighter fabric, make sure that it completely covers the dark piece beneath. Otherwise, you'll get shadowing (dark fabric in the seam allowance is visible from the quilt top through the light fabric). If the piece shifts while you sew and you do experience shadowing: Before sewing the next piece, carefully trim small amounts of the dark fabric away until it no longer extends beyond the lighter fabric on top. Watch a quick video showing this.

YES! This is the same piece from the previous photo sewn successfully. This is what you want. :)

YES! This is the same piece from the previous photo sewn successfully. This is what you want. :)

When I'm piecing spines, I think in terms of covering the "upright" triangle (outlined in red dashed lines). I make sure the new triangle is "leg-down". Also, it's important to note that I'm making sure I cover the 1/4" seam allowance on both the right (unmarked) and left side of this spine.

When I'm piecing spines, I think in terms of covering the "upright" triangle (outlined in red dashed lines). I make sure the new triangle is "leg-down". Also, it's important to note that I'm making sure I cover the 1/4" seam allowance on both the right (unmarked) and left side of this spine.

Once it's sewn in place and finger-pressed, you can see how it's in perfect position.

Once it's sewn in place and finger-pressed, you can see how it's in perfect position.

Most units will use the sewing sequences shown thus far. The exception would be Units J, K, L & M. I have a quick video here showing how to align those fabrics quickly and easily. For some reason, it's easy to get turned around in this unit.

Once all units are sewn, they'll need to be seamed together. Refer to the diagram in the pattern to arrange and seam the pieces together. Here's one short video tip showing how to avoid a common mistake when sewing the units together.

PIN!

Assembling sections: Pinning is important, if you're into accuracy. There's no other way around it. I've made sooooooooo many stars over the years and I still pin (a lot) every time. I promise it's worth it. Adequate pinning can make ALL the difference in not having to unpick seams. And let me tell you: It's not fun to unpick stitches sewn at a 1.2 length!

I start pinning at the point-matching places from one unit to the next. There is also a photo of what my pinning looks like in the pattern. I run a straight pin on and through the solid, black seaming line of one unit and match it up at the exact point on the other unit. I'll match several pins running straight through the pieces before I'll readjust them in order to sew.

Alright, this makes more sense watching it, so here's a very quick gif showing what I mean. 

If you'd like to see the regular speed version of this along with the verbal play-by-play,  check out this video  (at the 2:25 mark).

If you'd like to see the regular speed version of this along with the verbal play-by-play, check out this video (at the 2:25 mark).

Removing papers: I used to wait until a top was all assembled before removing papers because I liked using the solid black lines to expertly assemble a whole quilt top in the most precise manner. But now, I trust in the accuracy of my 1/4" seam allowance without having to sew on the line and papers are a lot easier to remove in a 8", 12" and 16" square rather than having the weight and bulk of a whole twin-sized top in your lap. So go ahead and remove your papers after you complete each block, I think you'll be glad you did!

Press: After papers are removed, give each block a good pressing. I tend to let the seams fall to the side they want to go. 

Hop on over to my closed Facebook group to join the discussion, share pictures, ask questions, get encouragement. We are a community and we'd love to help you out!