This sentence is so full of meaning, when you really think about it. When quilters, or non-quilters, say these words about a quilt it expresses so many things. It can be something you appreciate about the design of the quilt, the color or fabric chosen, or merely because a friend or loved one made it, or someone you don’t know made it long ago. It says something about what you favor, a sentiment or value you have.
I chose the Twinkling Star quilt pattern for the McCall’s Quilting January/February 2017 issue because I love the dynamic of pairing a color print with a neutral shade of cream. I love the pattern design because it speaks traditional and contemporary at the same time, things I embrace as a quilter–taking something from a previous generation and giving it to a new generation.
The original Twinkling Star quilt pattern appeared in Vintage Quilts Spring 2004. The pattern is a reproduction of one made by Alice Melum Moss, circa 1930, as reported in the files of the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Golden, Colorado.
As some quilters do, I decided to put my own imprint on the Twinkling Star pattern by making a few modifications to the original design. I’m going to share those with you in my blog over the next four weeks, scheduled for each Wednesday. You can download the Twinkling Star quilt pattern from our Quilt and Sew Shop.
The original pattern is a long twin size 66″ x 100″, with 15 blocks set in a 3 x 5 layout. It’s made with assorted scrappy prints. I chose blue and cream print fabric with the Country Manor Collection by Darlene Zimmerman for Robert Kaufman. Even though I received a lot of kidding at the office about increasing the piece count to over 3,000, I decided to make my version king-size with 25 quilt blocks.
The first border on the original quilt is pieced with a row of assorted print triangles. I’m going to add another row, using cream and blue print fabrics, to form a block pieced border of another traditional quilt block, the Pinwheel. I also plan to change the binding to a Prairie Point edging. (Yes, I am truly one for a quilting adventure–or punishment.)
I’m sharing the technique I used to make the pieced Twinkling Star quilt blocks in this blog. I’ll talk about techniques for the border treatment and decorative edging in my future blogs, before I reveal a photo of the finished quilt.
The Twinkling Star Quilt Block: Alternative Piecing Method — Triangulations
Ok, I have to admit when I calculated the amount of fabric I’d need for the changes I wanted to make to the Twinkling Star quilt I felt intimidated, and overwhelmed. I needed a bit of self-talk to build my confidence. I told myself this isn’t a turnkey quilt. I needed to consider it as a labor of love–for quilting, tradition and legacy. I decided I could do it if it meant one of my grandchildren discovered it with their parent’s belongings one day, to take it home and cherish it a little longer because Gramma Tricia made it.
When I shared my plan with a few gals at work, wondrous things happened (aside from the teasing). Denise Stark brought me a piece of paper, printed with solid and dashed lines. She handed it to me saying, this might help you speed up piecing 25 blocks. It was a printout for making 1¼” triangle-squares using the triangulation method. (Another co-worker suggested a ruler to help with the prairie point edging. I’ll share that in a later blog.) You can download a plethora of sizes of triangulation template patterns online. Enter the search term “triangulations template quilt pattern.”
How to Triangulate
Each 1¼” triangulation template makes 24 triangle-squares. I copied the template onto transparent vellum paper. I placed the template, print-side up on two pieces of different print fabrics of the same size, facing the right sides of fabric together.
Starting at one corner of the page, I followed the arrows to stitch on the dotted lines around each of the squares on the template. Then, I used my rotary cutter to cut along the solid lines to create 24 triangle-squares.
Twinkling Star Quilt Block
Each Twinkling Star block contains 12 pieced squares. Each pieced square contains 3 triangle-squares. It takes 36 triangle-squares for each block, a total of 900 triangle-squares to make 25 blocks. I need to make 38 triangulation pages to complete the center of the quilt.
Yep, I’m still feeling overwhelmed. My mantra is, “I love this quilt. I love this quilt. I’m a quilter, and this is what we do. It’s going to be one of the best quilts I’ve made!” I hope you continue to join me as I make my Twinkling Star quilt top over the next few weeks. Download the quilt pattern! Quilt along!
~ Tricia Patterson
Associate Editor, McCall’s Quilting