Saturday, July 28, 2007

Harvest Sun block attempt

Years ago I ripped this pattern out of a Quilt magazine - no idea what issue or year now, but it has been in my binder of blocks to try. The name is Harvest Sun and it is a 15" block. Every once in awhile I like to make a block just for the sake of making 1 block - old pattern magazines are excellent for this as the templates are provided (pre rotary cutter!).

But there is something to remember about the old template patterns... you almost always must use a VERY scant 1/4" seam. That would be a seam even narrower than your 1/4" foot. I think that many of the newer rotary cut directions provide for a 1/4" or scant 1/4" seam, but the old patterns are very scant. It is easy to confuse because if you measure the dotted lines for the seam on these old templates - they are 1/4". Goes to show - always pays to make up a sample before cutting/sewing an entire top and then being disappointed.


If you are so very lucky enough to have a sewing machine where you can change the foot plate - definately switch over to the straight stitch plate vs. the zig zag foot when doing these narrow seams. I know many of the older machines have this option - my machine is newer and doesn't... so basically - it doesn't like to sew a seam this narrow. I am going to call the company and see if maybe I can buy the straight stitch plate as an additional part. Failing that - if you have a newer machine you can push the buttons to nudge the needle over to the right - that works too - BUT everytime you sit down at your machine and turn it on, you have to remember to push the button again - I usually forget and then end up with 1/2 my seams a different size than the others. Grrr. And you still have the problem with the fabric going into the feed dog. But - it is an option.


Anyway, I forgot all about using VERY scant 1/4" seams and happily set off making up these little units - aren't they cute? Wouldn't this make a GREAT star? Oh, except my finished triangle points are never ever going to match because they are a good 1/4" off at the end. Each. Multiply by 8 points. I guess I always could make one more segment and have a 9 pointed star - ha!


The good news is that there is a very easy way to check 8 pointed stars BEFORE you do all the work I did. You only need to make up ONE segment in order to double check - come to think of it, you can start checking after just making 1 small component of your segment. It is called that 45 degree angle line on your ruler. Can you see how the bottom of my point is a perfect 45 degree angle (I would hope so because that piece has no seam!) and immediately is off by 1/4" as soon as I started to add segments. It might be a bit hard to see because the lines are wearing off on my ruler - this is my very favorite ruler because it doesn't have 1000 extra lines to confuse my eyes! Look down at the bottom right yellow block and you might be able to faintly see the line - you can click on the photo to enlarge if that is of any help. OK - I definately have to remember this when I finally get around to making a Broken Star quilt, a pattern I have been admiring since just about forever!

All is not lost though - I think that I can probably use these segments for some kind of wonkyish border in some other project - something like the photo below or maybe alternated with a solid fabric.
AND - it was a good, quick refresher course in 8 pointed stars. I am going to make this block again and hopefully, if I follow all my own good advice, it will come out the way it is supposed to the next time around!


dot said...

The star looks very interesting. I do see what you mean. I like you idea of using for border. Did you think maybe ripping them out and resewing? I know thats alot of work but just asking.

Mary said...

I like this - your fabric choices are great - are you going to attempt it again?

I'm sure you can order a straight stitch plate for you machine - I got one for my Elna.

Elaine Adair said...

You are courageous! This looks like a challenge.

Kucki68 said...

I love the colors of your Harvest Star!

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

Great colors and great block design... are you sure you don't want to treat yourself to a new ruler, one with more visible lines? I've worn a few out myself, too! I would make up a great, interesting, border... thanks for a super lesson!

Sonnja said...


I love the colors of your Harvest Star too!
Kind Regards,

Sonnja from the Netherlands

Nadine said...

WOW ! Just WOW ! I'm always in awe when seeing those beautiful old/classic block patterns, and you did it so well ! Beautiful color choice, as well !
I'd like to have a try, some day (yeah, yeah... LOL) on such one, but I think I would hand piece it (not precise enough with my sewing machine!)

Hugs & smiles !

Susan said...

I love the colors in it. Can you make it match at the point that the green and yellow come together, and then sew another piece in the middle so it works?

It would make a nice border, too. Maybe even alternating the pieced ones with plain ones?

I always move the needle to get my quarter inch. The minute I turn the machine on, I do three things automatically - move the needle, make it reverse, and put the needle down position. It's second nature now.

Jeanne said...

I love the star pattern you chose to make. Your colors are wonderful, too.
Sure would like to see another attempt of this block now that you've figured out the formula.

gwen said...

Thank you for all the tips. It is always a comfort to see that others forget things as well! I like the colours you chose and I hope you will use those triangles for a project. It would be sad to put them away. Take care.

Laurie said...

Love the star block! The colors are so rich! Also, little boy sure is growing up!

Koletta said...

I have this pattern and I'm getting ready to sew the quilt to clean out my fabric stash. Thanks for the heads up on the seam allowance.