Yesterday I shared the planning for my Dancing Stars quilt and showed how I cut the large hand dyed backing fabric into smaller sections in preparation for the cutting. I got the fabric cut down to manageable strips.
Before I continued I had to make a final decision about how I want to construct the blocks. I generally love foundation paper piecing but didn't really want to do that for these blocks because each block uses 4 separate foundations that then have to be sewn together. As much as I enjoy tedium, I think that even that would get on my nerves after a while.
Several people suggested the freezer paper foundation method but that requires that I have the iron on every time I sew but at my current stage of life I do not need another heat source next to me!
But the primary factor was that I want to press the seams open. With the white fabric in the stars I didn't want color shadows behind it and that meant that I had to sew the blocks conventionally and cut the fabrics with templates. I decided that if I would starch all of the fabrics that I could cut them with templates and piece the blocks conventionally as I did in the sample last week.
I made up a batch (two actually) of homemade liquid starch and got to ironing. Then I got to cutting......I did a lot of cutting!
With each strip I first cut my corner triangles and the solid blocks. I folded the remaining strip into quarters and cut that into 4 - 2" strips. I printed off the foundation templates from Amy's pattern and cut out some templates. I taped the templates to the underside of my rotary ruler and used that as a guide for cutting the pieces. I am cutting through 4 layers at a time and because I am using hand dyed fabric I do not have to pay attention to right and wrong sides. :)
I even used the templates to cut off the rabbit ears.
I need to cut 11 stars out of each strip of fabric but I cut 12. I know that there were a few spots in the fabric where the fabric wasn't exposed to dye. If I run across one of these pieces I will know that I have a few extras and can throw the ones I do not like out.
As I cut each set of pieces I put them in a bag and numbered the bag so I can keep everything straight.
For the star points I found that I had a 60 degree ruler in my stash and used that. I cut the rabbit ears off all of those pieces too.
I cut and I cut and I cut for 2 days and eventually I got all of the fabrics cut. Now it should go together pretty quickly. There should be no trimming and I can press all of my seams open. With the fabrics starched I should be able to get by with finger pressing as I sew.
You know, you have to do the drudge work at some point. Either you trim and press as you sew or you do all of the trimming up front. I think that for this project I am now set up to be able to sew for even just a few minutes at a time and still make good progress.
And then there's this. All of the rabbit ears that I cut off the hand dyed fabrics. I could not toss them out. They will be in a project at some point.