Tutorial for Jen, Pt 2

In the previous post, we learned how to do the math and figure out what we need to create our graph paper pattern of the Carpenter’s Star quilt top. Now, for assembly…

How To Create HSTs (A Review)


We’ll start with how to create our HSTs. We already decided we’re doing 5″ squares and we start with 5 7/8″ x 5 7/8″ to create them. We take the two pieces, place them right sides together and draw a line diagonally down the center on the lighter fabric.


Take that to your sewing machine and sew a scant quarter inch on both sides of the line you drew.


Cut it apart on the line you drew.


Open both pieces and iron flat – ironing your seam to the darker fabric. Take it to your cutting table and, using the pre-drawn line on the table, trim to exactly 5 1/2″. If you look close, you’ll see the diagonal line on my cutting mat that gives me a perfect place to line up my block. Doing it this way, I can trim two sides (not four) and maintain a perfect square when finished. Variations will only be caused by my own problems cutting straight or swerving with my cutter.


I have to add a shout out to Mark, at this point. My hand has been bugging me something fierce and he did most of the cutting and trimming required for this quilt top. I just could not do it. We were working when Jen was not around so she wouldn’t see what I was doing and he was so gracious in helping me. Here, I am showing him how to trim my blocks for me. He did amazing!


When done, that one piece you sewed will give you (2) HSTs. Continue until you are done all your HSTs.



Now, if you recall, I said that I do my sewing in columns, then rows. There are eight blocks across and I take two across and sew them individually all the way down. I find things go faster because I can chain piece them and it’s fun to see a quilt top come together so fast.


As I iron them after sewing (I do every time, all the time), I watch which way I ironed the one above it and iron opposite. This way, as I assemble, I will have nesting seams. Things come together a lot smoother that way!


I finished this before she came home from lunch last night and had to stuff it away while she was home for lunch. She was clueless because I left no visible signs that I was working on a quilt. I even cleaned all those loose threads off my jacket that collect on there every time I sew something. This is the top, finished to this point. Now, borders.


If done correctly, the top should be 40″ x 40″ plus a quarter inch on all four sides that is ready for seam allowance. It should be square. The theory is to measure three times: left, center and right :to get the accurate measurement for your border. I use my calculator based on what I am supposed to have. Yes. Bad me…

For the first border, I decided to use 3″ finished (3 1/2″ cut). In the calculator, I type

Top Width: 40

Top Length: 40

Border: 3

By pressing the Quilt Ydg button, it tells me that I need a 1/2 yard fabric for the first border and I cut 5 strips at 3 1/2″. Easy enough.


I talked to my friend Melodee and eventually, we together decided to do the second and third borders as increasing dimensions. The first border at 3″, the second at 4″ and the last at 5″.

In my calculator (to add second border), I typed (40″ x 40″ plus 3″ on all four sides for the first border):

Top Width: 46″

Top Length: 46″

Border: 4″

and it gave me 3/4 yard for the border when I scrolled through all the information the Quilt Ydg button could give me. Six strips cut at 4 1/2″ each.


Looking mighty beautiful! On to the last border, which we decided would be 5″.

Top Length: 54″ (remember we added 4″ to all four sides)

Top Width: 54″

Border: 5″

and received an answer of 1 1/8 yard for the border. Now, typically, I would do all this math before embarking on the quilt top and make sure I have plenty before I start. This time, I did not. I created the top and then added borders based on how much fabric I had left.


Tada! Done and all in the times that Jen wasn’t around – which is hard to plan for, mind you! In fact, as I was attaching the last border to this top, Jen texted me that she was bringing me a coffee to the house. I panicked, shoved everything under my sewing machine and had to rush to get seated in my recliner so she wouldn’t think I was doing anything. I even forgot to turn off my iron and could swear she’d hear it or smell it when she came in. She didn’t and I managed to get the final border on.

My hand didn’t hurt nearly as bad as I thought it would when I was finished but I did have Mark helping with the cutting. I am hoping it is on the mend and Jen should be *very* grateful because I did this write up for her when using my hand hurts like all get out.

Now, Jen… go make a quilt.


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