Friday, July 9, 2010

Shadow Star Pattern Review

I know people are reading the blog- I check the ticker at the bottom (*blush*) alot. Thank you! Our readers are a little shy in the comment department though. Don't be shy guys- we want to know who's out there!

As promised here is our first pattern review.
I made the Shadow Star pattern put out by the Karen Combs Studio. The package states it is appropriate for a confident beginner and I agree, although I think even a beginner could make this with a little help from a more experienced friend.

What I really loved about the pattern was that it gave the cutting directions in a neat little box. They have you cut strips first and then subcut the strips into the required sizes. Clear and easy to follow.
Next were the Sewing directions in text form with plenty of illustrations. The illustrations were actually what I kept referring to, though the text was well written and concise enough.

Half the quilt is comprised of half square triangles. What I didn't like was that in the cutting directions, they have you cut squares into triangles to piece these. This creates a lot of bias stretching possibilities especially for beginner quilters. Later in the text directions they tell you you have the option of doing the "quickie" method of making half square triangles without cutting the diagonals until after you have sewn the two seams ( see the picture of chain pieced "quickie" half square triangles below).
You would next cut them on the diagonal between the lines of stitches making two half square triangles from each set of squares and have many like this. See the little dog ears?

So, if you haven't read through the directions entirely before you start cutting you have most likely already cut your squares on the diagonal and have to be extra careful not to stretch them! To their credit, they do instruct you to read through the directions in their entirety first! But who does that? ( Me from now on!) I think they should have left that cutting step out of the little box to avoid the confusion.

The fabric requirements were accurate on the package and are not huge for this quilt. They are all quarter yard cuts (excepting the white, black and brown sashes) but you have a lot of the colored fabrics left over. The quarter yard cut does make the cutting layout easier with a rotary but you could make the quilt with less than a quarter yard of each color if you were willing to do a bit more cutting.

The only other negative I found was an incorrect measurement in direction #6. The text tells you to sew 2.5" x 10.5" black sashing pieces to each block but it should actually read 2.5" x 12.5".

I would also add that once you have made your half square triangles I strongly recommend removing the dog ears and trimming them to the correct size ( 2.5").

No matter how careful I was while making them they were always a titch too big. I just loved once I trimmed them how they could be all nice and perfect not so much bulk and - it was easier to not cut off points! Very satisfying! Worth the trouble! Once they were trimmed the pieces went together really nicely and I was very pleased with the result.

The coolest thing about this pattern I discovered by accident when I put the completed blocks on my design wall and had some of them turned wrong. I noticed that since it has a strong light/dark contrast on the diagonal you can arrange the blocks in any of the traditional log cabin variations before adding the sashing. I took some pictures so you could see what I mean. Pretty neat!

Four Diamonds....
Lightning Bolts ( Zig Zags)
Big Diamond
Straight set or Windows

This sample was made with Moda Fabrics, Bella Solids line. Rich saturated tones in over 100 colors. Here is the completed top with sashing and borders. Cool 3-D effect.

--Oh and did I mention this pattern and these fabrics will be available at the Quilters' Crossing on July 16th at 9:30 am?
Yes! We are opening to customers because we just can't wait any longer!! We are still receiving inventory so this isn't our GRAND OPENING, which we are planning for August, but we hope you'll come in. We'll be open for shoppers!

1 comment:

  1. How cool, Mandy - love the review, and really love the 'accidental' variations. Those Bella solids are beautiful - never tried them, but I will, come Friday morning!