I'm still not sure that I should have done it, but I did, and here it is!
This is Sue Garman's feathered star pattern, which is Month 1 of Stars for a New Day. It was the 2009 Block of the Month at The Quilt Show, and now you can buy the pattern on Sue's website. I've been holding onto the instructions since 2009, waiting for the right time to start it.
Almost three years ago I bought some of the Victorian Modern collection by Weeks Ringle for this same quilt. But that just never felt right.
This fabric is all from Connecting Threads, and most of it is their new Heirloom Manor collection. I loved it immediately, and I also thought it would work well for some fancy, fussy-cut English paper piecing. "But I'm not going to do that," I said to myself! "I'm still working on Texas Star, which is all EPP, and after that I have Best Friends Forever."
Then I remembered Stars for a New Day, and I bought it. While I was washing it all, I thought again how ideal it would be for fussy cutting. "But that would be stupid," I said to myself. "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should."
Ironically, it was while I was doing some improv sewing that I decided to just go for it. Improv seems to foster a "why not?" attitude, I've found.
This freezer paper frame idea is adapted from Janet's idea at Quiltsalott. You position and lightly iron down the frame...
...then iron the template down in the middle, and peel off the frame. I reused the frame, but made separate templates for each piece, and scissors cut them all with a generous seam allowance.
I ended up fussy cutting almost every piece. The navy diamonds and small tan triangles were cut to avoid the pattern and make them more solid-coloured. In for a penny, in for a pound!
In the end, though, the fussy cutting was not the tricky part of the block. The tricky part is right here:
If you ever find yourself judging a feathered star, that is the place to look. But, you definitely shouldn't judge it unless you've tried it yourself! The first one took me five tries, and then I wised up and basted each seam first.
Until I got to that point, I was thinking that it is a surprisingly forgiving pattern! The blue feathers are foundation paper pieced, so it is easy to keep them all sharp, and Sue's pattern eliminates the Y seams.
Anyway, there it is, and now I will pack it away until the new year. While I was working on it yesterday, zoned out in the blue, white, blue, white, paper piecing, I had another idea for a new improv project! But, surely I have enough already...