Quilter's Academy - Volume 2 - Sophomore Year

Vol 3 - Junior Year

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Vol 2 - Project 11 - Star Chain

Hi fellow quilty people and thank you to those who left comments on my last posting - it's all really encouraging.

This next project introduces internal frames - here's Harriet's quilt............
Only 2 fabrics in this quilt - but I couldn't resist adding a 3rd - so I've made this with good quality black quilters muslin and 2 green hand-dyes.

Here's mine laid out, unsewn without borders..........

It's nice huh?

Yes it's a lovely design with pretty blocks and a nice layout.  Herein lies my problem...it's nice and I'm getting a little bored with nice so I decided to jazz it up with interesting borders.  But more of that later... there seems to be some issues with this quilt top which I want to talk about first.

There are 3 blocks which make up this top - one for the main body, one for the internal frame and one for the corners.  All are easy to do ....... check them out.
Main Block - Internal Frame Block - Corner Block
The main blocks I had no issues with and they came together easily.  There do seem to be instruction errors though for both the internal and corner blocks.  If you are going to make this project, look at the pictures and work out your own formulas and there should be no problems.  Here is what I found......

There are several units to the internal frame block which, when made up, needs to measure 5" square.  If you follow the instructions in the book you won't get this final measurement, you'll get a bit of a mess.  However, if you make the 4 patches as per instructions, then adjust the other units to fit, you'll be fine.  Let me clarify........

The 4 patch units need to be sewn to a plain piece.  The instructions suggest cutting the plain units 3" x 3 1/2".  If you do that, you'll get this....

Next, you need to make the little centre strip.  The instructions suggest you cut the middle strip 1" wide and the 2 side strips at 3" each and sew them together....

Uh oh - this piece is 6" wide - I don't think it's gonna fit!

But an easy fix to get your 5" block.

It's off to a good start but then the wheels fall off.  The instructions ask you to cut a 1" wide strip x 4" long and sew to each side of the centre unit.  Cutting the side strip 1 1/2 " wide  and 3" long would work better. 

3" square centre unit

To the bottom of this unit the instructions say to cut a dark strip 4 1/4 inches long and attach 2 x 1 1/2" coloured squares to each end.  Um  I see a problem here.......
A 3" strip would work much better.......... :)

I've notified Harriet and Carrie about the issues I had with this project but I've not yet heard back.  The errors could be a misunderstanding on my part and I'll leave it at that until Harriet has had a chance to take a look at it.  In the meantime, I suggest you look at the illustrations before cutting all of your fabrics as they are the best clue on how the blocks fit together.  I made a couple of 'test' blocks before making the rest which proved to be an excellent idea!  Anyway, even if you do cut incorrectly, they are easily fixed as they tend to be cut too large rather than too small.

This quilt has 2 borders added on - a narrow coloured on and a plain wide one.  Very effective, very nice.  Adding the first border is interesting as you have those angled corners to deal with.  Working from pictures of Harriet's quilt in the book it's not that hard to figure out how to do it (and thanks to Ali for her advice as well).

Leave long tails on the ends of the border...........
add a piece across the corner........
sew and press.......ta da!
Add the corner triangle and trim square

At this point I knew I didn't want to have simple plain black borders, I wanted something more interesting.  I played with the idea of adding prairie points and found a technique by Rami Kim which made continuous prairie points.

I made one small strip, decided I liked the way it curved and mentally added this to the border.  I then pulled out the scraps - the test blocks and left over strips and had a play with them.  This is the result...

The outer borders are different widths and a bit more interesting. 
I've re-named it "The not so nice quilt"

The prairie point band isn't stitched down, so I can quit around and under it.  I may leave it as it is or attach it down, I've not decided yet.

The quilting for this will have to wait, as it seems no one in Hobart stocks black batting anymore.  I've had to mail order from overseas and it'll be a bit of a wait.


  1. Making things "your own" will be a skill you will fully be able to utilize after making the Harriet & Carrie projects. Not having to use patterns and being able to design your own is the end result - I LOVE your unique borders - combining the traditional with not-so-traditional could be a 'look' you are beginning to develop, which could be as unique as you are. Thank you for pointing out what to watch for - it is incredibly helpful to the rest of us - I'm still in freshman year, but have purchased all the books and make notes according to your findings. Perhaps it will be the Harriet & Carrie Hargrave with notes by "BlockHead" (your real name) for future editions!

  2. What a beautiful quilt. So glad to find a new post from you. I do check quite often.

  3. Victorian textiles has Charcoal in their wonderful wool mix - 60 wool, 40 polyester.

  4. The quilt looks awesome, LOVE the border design.

    You've been an inspiration - especially in the fact that you came back after taking time away. Best wishes, and looking forward to watching you continue your QA journey. I hope to follow in your footsteps.