Tuesday, May 9, 2023

More Tools for Star Upon Stars: Mirrors and Pins

Next Star in Progress

April and May are the busiest months in my year. If I'm starting seeds for the garden, I'm paying as close attention to them as I would a baby. Well, almost. But it does take a lot of time to get everything ready to get your own seed starts into the garden at just the right time, and I'm still figuring that out. Last Sunday I decided I needed a lot more space than I had planned, and we tilled another plot inside the fence. I'm a no-till gardener at heart, but conditions weren't optimal to go that route now. It's rained ever since we tilled, and I've used that time to catch up on the next block. Let me show you that along with a neat tool and technique.

Both this block and the one at the top are made using a mirror tool. Isn't that the coolest thing? You make one star point, and lay it in the angle of the mirror for the kaleidoscope effect. It's a quick way to tell what the block will look like with the points turned one way first then the next. Which do you like best? I haven't decided. The fabrics in this block give some really neat visual effects in each one. It's strange to me how different the blocks appear. 

This is the device I used, a Singer QuiltPro product, and I found it at a fabric rummage sale for 25 cents. It's good for any blocks that are circular like spiderwebs or stars.

You could McGyver you've own from two mirrors or use shiny laminate like this is made from. The center is spaced for folding, and just a binding tape. It's pretty handy for this project.


Blocking is a technique I've used a few times before, but on whole blocks vs. pieces. It's fairly simple. When we make a block or section of, we can dampen and starch it to the correct size. It works best if the piece is very close to needed size to begin. This star section was slight wider across, and shorter in length than I needed. I gently tugged and scooched things as it was damp, and checked with my ruler to ensure it was the exact size before pressing lightly with the iron. The iron dries it most of the way, then it's pinned in place to finish drying. Trim after it is fully set. The piece will be exact.

Blocking is useful for getting a quilt or wall hanging square. You can block a quilt by dampening and pinning into a clean carpet. Putting a sheet between the quilt and carpet helps keep any hidden dirt or stain from migrating up into the quilt. Be careful, and pin the entire perimeter of the quilt. It's used it for needlepoint also, and other handwork, but the technique is specific to the material. If you have any block that has to be exact, blocking may help you out. 

It's still coming down in buckets this morning so I'm off to get a little exercise, and then work on the rest of this beauty. I hope your day is wonderful!

Come on, Doxie girls.
Let's go sew.


Linda Swanekamp said...

When you say pin, what pins do you mean? Straight pins, t pins, safety pins? Won't the pins rust? I have a hard time picturing the blocking. When I have blocked knitting, I used t pins in my wool pressing pad. The star looks terrific.

Nancy said...

As I was pressing some bow tie blocks I was thinking of you and your stars and what a challenge they must be, and how terrific and satisfied you must feel when you finish one. They are fabulous!
Thanks for the tip about mirrors. It's an interesting idea.
Since you asked, I the dark points outward on this star. I think the star floats away with the light points outward.