Sawtooth Stars Quilt Top

Stars head onThis weekend I finished what turned out to be my most challenging quilt top to date. It was challenging for a number of reasons but primarily because it was one of my first quilts with the blocks set on point and I made up the setting of the blocks myself. And I’m not very good at quilt math. So, yes, a few challenges to say the least.

Just a quick aside: This quilt is going to be a gift, so in this blog post I’ll discuss how I made the quilt. But I’m going to save the story of the quilt, the fabrics used, and the number of stars for when the quilt is closer to being given. I’ll try to make that within the next two years or so.

The main blocks are standard 12-inch Sawtooth Stars; the smaller blocks are 4-inch versions of the same pattern.

Stars detail2

The Sawtooth Star block is essentially four Flying Geese blocks surrounding a square. As I mentioned in my Gaggle of Geese post, there are lots of different methods for making Flying Geese. For the large blocks, I used the “no waste” method, where you make four geese at a time—just what I needed for this block. I used this post on Thought & Found for how to make the two sizes of blocks using this method. The technique was very easy once I wrapped my mind around it, but many of my geese points came out too close to the edge of the blocks (meaning the points got cut off when I sewed the blocks together). I’m guessing I didn’t use the scant one-quarter-inch seam allowance as directed.

For the smaller blocks, I used the technique where you sew one goose at a time. (Cut a rectangle, sew squares to two of the corners, and then trim the excess from the corners.) There’s more waste with this method, but the fabric I used for these stars were all scraps anyway, so I didn’t feel too bad about it.

Once I had the stars made, I realized that I liked the bigger stars better on point rather than square. So next I needed to figure out the size of the setting triangles (the triangles you use to make the quilt square when your blocks are on point). This link at the Quiltville site helped a ton. But after I had cut out my setting triangles, I decided to sew smaller stars into each triangle. Super cute, but it kind of messed up my math. Some of the triangles fit fine. But on others I had to add a strip of fabric to make them large enough to fit.

Stars setting block2

Another challenging aspect of this quilt was getting the setting triangles in the right direction. Wow—that made my brain hurt. And as you see, I didn’t get it right on the first (or second) try. Here I needed to take apart and resew three of the five setting triangles I had sewn on. Not a very good percentage.

Stars error

But—holy cow, I am happy with the way it turned out! If I just ignore all those cut off points and wonky additional pieces of fabric, I kind of love it.

Stars right

Stars detail hanging

Now, on to the quilting! And I’m stumped. Any suggestions for how to quilt it? I’m even stumped on the thread. I’d like to use blue thread on the background, but I’m not sure what to use for the stars. Let me know what you think—I’d love the help.

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  1. Awesome! I love this, Christine! And there are so many ways to quilt this that would look wonderful, but you asked, so here are my personal preferences: As for thread colors, I guess it depends on the look you want, but my own inclination would be to use a variegated thread with values of blue, from light to dark blue…that way the specks of lighter blue will give the effect of little stars in outer space (and I personally love creating the feeling of outer space), and if doing a computerized stitch, I’d select a starry outer space type of pattern …and I also think that using the same color thread in the stars also would tie it all together…but I’d definitely chose quilting designs that make the stars stand out…and I would use the central areas of the large stars for an awesome design opportunity, depending on what the quilt is for… perhaps showcasing spirals, or hearts, or some other motif which has a connection to the meaning behind the quilt…also, I guess you will need to decide whether to do a design that makes the sashing stand out or blend into the background…since I like the “outer space’ look, I ‘d personally just quilt it so that the sashing becomes part of the cosmic background…plus it’s easier, LOL! Have fun, this looks great! xoxo

    • Oh my gosh, Meryl Ann! Thanks so much for giving this some thought. I really appreciate your suggestions. The center area of the stars is huge, so I like the idea of playing up the meaning of the quilt there. Thanks again for all the ideas!

  2. Rose Doyle

     /  April 15, 2015

    Hi Chris, you know I love variegated thread on the patterned pieces. The quilt is very pretty but I can see where it could be a challenge. Happy quilting it.

  1. Paper-Pieced Stars | Christine Doyle
  2. The Quilting Blues | Christine Doyle
  3. Giving the Sawtooth Stars Quilt | Christine Doyle

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