Kapow! Rainbow explosion! I went a bit crazy with this one…
There were two layout options for this star, this was the alternate version and as soon as I saw it I knew the white would outline the centre start to make it pop. You can see some examples of the two different layouts (along with the May block) on the Don’t Call Me Betsy blog.
The first dilemma was what to do in the corners. With the constant of the navy background across all my blocks I didn’t really want a hard square edge on each of those corners so I decided to use the same background in the corners, with a bit of colour bursting out.
The second dilemma was colour. I think my issue with coming up with a 2-4 colour combination is that being my 5th block I’d already used the more obvious harmonious and contrasting combinations. I tried a few and was getting nowhere so added all the colours and started moving them around and had a bit of fun making a rainbow, and it stuck.
My third dilemma was matching points. Oh boy… In my defence I tried to put this block together on my third day home sick while going a bit stir crazy and under the influence of cold & flu medication.
You can see in the middle of the half square triangles a point where white meets navy meets colour one meets colour two meets navy, and that happens on both sides. Trying to get that point to join nicely with 10 layers of fabric was painful (to be nice). Considering that, there’s only one that I really battled with, and still don’t love, and there are other points that could have been better but I did the best I could at the time and I’m calling this a learning piece.
My May block is designed, time to cut and piece ready for the June block coming out this weekend.
The March block for the Lucky Stars club is a ninja star!
I enjoyed sewing the foundation paper pieces for this block, nice and simple on their own so they came together quickly. When it came to joining the four squares and matching points, I had to slow things down, pinning, unpicking and trying again so that the long lines would flow across the block joins. I think I did ok, I’m sure I could do better with practice.
I had it in my head that this block would use purple, which unfortunately doesn’t contrast much with my navy background, so that went in the middle. Then I put my other constant, the white, followed by orange which gives a nice bit of pop.
I like it, I don’t love it, but I’m sure it’ll look nice amongst all of the other blocks at the end. I’ve had the opposite reaction to last months block which I wasn’t sure about, then loved once I had it together.
I do love this pattern and hope to try it again, perhaps using graduating values of the same hue radiating out.
This block was finished in mid-March, the month it came out, yeay for staying on track! Only problem is now I have to wait a couple weeks for the next one. Maybe I’ll keep up momentum by trying some of the 6 inch blocks, as each pattern comes with templates and a cutting guide for both 12″ finished and 6″ finished blocks.
There’s nothing like getting the next month’s block pattern in your email to spur you on to finish the previous month’s block! I had played with colour options for the February block in Illustrator and had all my pieces cut out for a couple weeks but only got to put this together one afternoon on the first weekend of March.
I wasn’t in love with this block before I started, I liked the shapes but just couldn’t get the right parts to shine. Once I started sewing the pieces, the colours just popped and now I love it. This block is definitely better in fabric than it is on paper (or screen) for me. And check out those points! I’m so proud of this block, and happy that I’m seeing improvements in my paper piecing.
I’m really looking forward to the March Ninja Star. I have my colours picked out already. I’ll be sure to have that one done by the end of the month with the Easter long weekend as a last resort.
Thanks again to Elizabeth of Don’t Call Me Betsy for organising this Block of the Month program and for sharing these beautiful stars with us all. The instructions are great and the pieces are easy enough for someone completely new to foundation paper piecing to follow, yet the finished blocks are so effective.
January block is done! I found this block made from 4 squares instead of the 8 triangles in the practice block seemed to be more straight forward. The blocks probably took a little longer but only having 3 seams to sew to turn it into a complete block made it super quick.
I’m attempting to get a bit designery (that’s a technical term) with these blocks by mocking them up in Adobe Illustrator and trying out my colour combos first. It seems to be working in that my original plans for the colour placement within the blocks look ok, but with a bit of swapping and changing around I’ve found a variation that I think achieves what I’m going for just that little bit more. Sometimes along the way I discover a way to emphasise different patterns in the block than I orginally saw.
You’ve probably heard of Photoshop, I use that quite a bit for my work. Illustrator is a kind of sister program to Photoshop that allows you to draw, manipulate and resize lines and shapes where as Photoshop is more like painting (and photo editing). I’ve been wanting to expand my skills in Illustrator, so far my experience is limited to making small edits to other peoples work. My idea of tracing, drawing or designing quilt blocks seemed like a good fit for Illustrator so with that in mind I’ve been trying a few tutorials. Kmac Quilts has a small series including some good tips on setting up grids based on your common quilt sizes. I also found a handy tutorial from Vector Diary on how to outline and colour in your quilt.
The below images show how I originally thought I would place the colours (left) and another variation that I really liked which I think gave emphasis to different parts of the block (right). What I ultimately wanted was a kind of exploding starburst effect so what you see in the block above was what I ultimately went for.
I’ve been a bit slow to start but here’s my first block for the Lucky Stars Block of the Month with Elizabeth Dackson of Don’t Call Me Betsy. This is just the practice block released back at the end of December and was my first attempt at foundation paper piecing.
So far I’m really loving this technique! I had a vague understanding of how it worked but had never seen it done. Someone posted a link to the video below in our Flickr discussion groups for the Lucky Stars BOM Club. Even though Elixabeth has supplied us with great instructions and templates, watching this video and just seeing it done once was huge help and the steps have been easy to follow.
I’ve decided to go with all solids for my blocks, brights on a navy blue background and in each block I’ll make a feature of one of the elements in white. Time to get cracking on the January and then February blocks.