Tag Archives: tutorials

Scrappy Hunter’s Star Tutorial (a layer cake friendly pattern)

scrappyhuntersstarquilt

Early this week I shared photos of my scrappy version of a Hunter’s Star quilt.  I realized when I was finished with it that I had stumbled on a great pattern for a layer cake, so I thought I’d share a quick tutorial.

hunterstarwithdots

Fabric requirements:

Each 8 pointed star in a hunter’s star quilt is made up of four smaller blocks.  For the quilt I made, which is 64 inches square, I used:

32 – 10 inch squares of various fabric prints (which is most of  a layer cake, although I cut my own squares from Bonnie Christine’s Reminisce collection for Art Gallery Fabrics)
32 – 10 inch squares of background fabric (2.5 yards of fabric.  I used a black on white swiss dot print for my background)

Note:  If you’re using a layer cake, you should have 40 prints to choose from.  I recommend eliminating those prints that most closely match your background fabric so they don’t get lost in the quilt and make it more difficult to see the pattern.  For example, if you’re using a solid white background and the layer cake has a solid white print in it, or a white print with a very light pattern on it, you may want to skip it.  That said, you can see in the photo above that I did use some low volume prints from the collection in my quilt top.  I liked using a few of them, but there were other prints that were even softer which I set aside and didn’t use in this project.   Also, because I used a swiss dot print for my background, the softer prints I included still looked different from the background fabric.

If you want to increase or decrease the size of the quilt, know that one print and one background square will make two blocks.  Four blocks will give you a full star in the center of the blocks.

teninchsquares

To make the blocks, we’ll be cutting triangles, diamonds and trapezoids from each 10″ square.  To begin, cut your square in half diagonally:

step1

Place the two triangles on top of one another for faster cutting.  With a ruler, measure 2.5 inches from the edge of the diagonal cut, as seen below with the small ruler.  Notice that on the bottom left and top right edges of the triangle my cutting ruler is more than 2.5 inches from the point of the triangle.  The measurement that matters is the one from the diagonal edge we just cut.

step2

Cut along that line, creating two smaller triangles and two trapezoids.

step3

Set aside the triangles and line the trapezoid strip up carefully on your cutting mat.  I prefer to use my 45 degree angle lines and I line the far right edge up on an inch line.  From that far right side, measure into your trapezoid 2.5 inches once more.

step4

Cut your fabric, creating two diamonds.  Repeat once more, measuring another 2.5 inches from the cut you just made and cutting two more diamonds.

step5

From one ten inch square you should now have two triangles, four diamonds and two trapezoids.

threeshapes

Repeat this process with the remaining prints.

cutallpieces

Now do the same thing with all the ten inch background squares.  Every piece in this quilt is cut the same way.

repeatwithbackgroundsquares

Once all the shapes are cut you can put together a block.  Think of each block as having two triangles.  One uses background fabric for the diamonds and prints for the triangle and trapezoid, and the other triangle uses background fabric for the trapezoid and triangle and the diamonds are prints.  Below is the layout for a hunter’s star block:

huntersstarblocklayout

Sew the diamonds first.  Carefully turn a printed diamond piece right side down and carefully line it up with the right side of a short end of the background trapezoid.  Because we are sewing angles, do not line the pieces up from corner to corner.  Instead you will need to have a tiny (1/4 inch) triangle sticking out on each end.  This will allow your fabrics to line up straight after you sew them together.

sewdiamondtotrapezoid

Here’s a closer look at how to line them up.  Sew the pieces together using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

lineupseam

Do the same thing with the diamond at the other end of the trapezoid.

addseconddiamond

Press the seams open.  *In this quilt I pressed every seam toward my printed fabrics so the seams would nest when pieced together.

pressopen

Now repeat the process, sewing the background diamond pieces to the printed trapezoid piece, again ironing the seams toward the print.

repeatwithotherside

Next, sew the triangles to the trapezoids.  Once more, you will have the corners of the triangles hanging over the edges of the trapezoid piece.   On this seam the overhang will likely be more than 1/4 inch, which is fine.  Just try to center the triangle as best you can with equal overhang on each side.  sew together.

addtriangles

Repeat with the other half of the block.  Note:  At this point, I ironed the seams toward all the printed fabric triangles, and on the other triangle I ironed my seams toward the printed fabric diamonds.  If you do this, your seams will nest when piecing together your quilt top.

bothsidesdone

And finally, sew the two triangles together.  The most important thing is getting the seams between the diamonds and trapezoids to nest together (see where my pins are).

sewsidestogether

Once again, press the final seam toward the printed fabric diamonds.  Your block is finished!  Once you have the hang of the block, chain piecing them together is very fast and efficient.  I chain pieced a diamond to one end of every trapezoid, then did the same thing with the other end.  Finally I chain pieced all the triangles on and then sewed the blocks together.  It really is a very fast finish.

scrappyhuntersstarquiltblock

Trim each block carefully to 8.5 inches square and you’re done with the block!

trimblock

When you’ve pieced your first four blocks together you will see the 8 pointed star that emerges in the corners of the blocks.  This really is such a beautiful block.

huntersstarquiltblocks

Lay out your blocks in 8 rows that are 8 blocks long (each block making 1/4 of an 8 pointed star) and sew them together, paying careful attention to matching the seams on the diagonal points and in the corners.  Sew the rows together and you have a finished quilt top!  I really love the scrappy look of this quilt, as it freshens and updates the traditional hunter’s star block in a beautiful way.  If you want to see what a quilt would look like in just two colors, you can see my traditional red and white Hunter’s Star quilt here.  You can also find pictures of a Hunter’s star made with solid linen and a single print in my Hunter’s Star pillow here.  There are so many different ways to interpret this quilt block.  I hope you have fun!

scrappyhuntersstar1

Jennifer

Scrappy Heart Quilt Tutorial

While the measurements and process I used in my Scrappy Heart Quilt top are still fresh in my mind, I thought I’d write up a quick tutorial.  I know there are probably a lot of pixelated heart tutorials out there but since I haven’t researched that at any point in the creation of my own quilt, I hope I’ll be forgiven for any repeat of content that surely exists somewhere.

That said, this quilt was enjoyable, simple, fast and fun to make.  Should you choose to make one, I hope you’ll enjoy the process as much as I did.

finishedblock

The quilt is made up of these scrappy heart blocks, so begin by raiding your fabric and pulling everything you can find in your color scheme.  I chose variety in pattern and color, as it added to the pixelated look of my blocks and gave them dimension, so matching fabrics wasn’t a concern for me.  I did choose to avoid most of my fabrics with a lot of white in them so the blocks would have good contrast with my white background.  Let’s talk fabric and cutting requirements:

cutsquares

Fabric requirements for the hearts (red, pink, purple, orange):

Each pixelated heart block requires 42 – 2.5″ squares.  If you want to make a quilt the same size I did, you will need enough squares to make twelve blocks, or 504 squares PLUS another 7 squares to complete the layout with a staggered row of hearts down the center of the quilt, making a total of 511.   Most 2.5 inch x width of fabric strips will allow you to cut 16 – 2.5 inch squares.   This means you will need at least 32 strips of fabric cut into 2.5 inch squares.  I cut more than this, knowing I would have leftover squares for another project, because I wanted more variety in my fabrics.

backgroundfabriccutting

Background fabric:

If you want to make a quilt like mine, the photo above indicates how many of each piece to cut.   You will need 2 yards of background fabric.  For an entire quilt, cut:
14 – 18.5″ strips
24 – 8.5″ strips
36 – 6.5″ strips
48 – 4.5″ strips
62 – 2.5″ squares

To make just one block, you will need 2-3 strips of 2.5 inch wide x width of fabric strips.

For one block, cut:
2 – 18.5″ strips2 – 8.5″ strips
3 – 6.5″ strips
4 – 4.5″ strips
5 – 2.5″ squares

squaresinheart

To make each block, begin by laying out your squares.  I found it easiest to lay out the 3rd & 4th rows first (9 squares across) and used those rows as a reference point for placing the squares on the rows above and below.  After arranging the squares as you like them, lay out the background pieces.  See the photo below if you’re not sure where to place each piece.

addbackground

Sew each row together, making eight rows total.  At this point I ironed my rows with each row’s seams facing alternating directions.  Doing this allowed me to nest all the seams in each row with precision.

sewintostrips

Sew the rows together, and as the last step in a completed block, add an 18.5″ strip across the bottom of the block beneath the point of the heart.  Adding that strip to the bottom of the heart brings the block to an 18.5″ square and also eliminates the need for any sashing between the blocks.  To make an entire quilt, make eleven of these blocks.  *Note:  typically I like to iron my quilt blocks at this point, but I chose not to iron the seams of the blocks at this point.  Waiting will make sense when putting the quilt together.

finishedblock

The final piecing for the quilt top will prepare the center column you see below, with the 12th heart cut in half.

pixelatedheartquilttop

After making 11 heart blocks, the final heart is made in two halves.  In actuality, it is made with an extra row, which is why we added 7 additional 2.5″ squares to the beginning number, as well as 2 additional 2.5″ background squares.  For the top half of the heart, piece the top 5 rows of a block together.

halfblock1

The 5th row also makes an appearance in the bottom half of the heart.  Piece the bottom 5 rows of a block together to make this half of a heart.

halfblock2

Now it’s time to lay the blocks out!  Arrange them in three columns, with four hearts on the outside columns and three hearts in the middle.  At the top of the middle row, place the bottom half of a heart.  At the bottom of the middle column, place the top half of a heart.

You will notice when you do this, that the middle column is one strip longer than the outside columns.  Take the top left and top right blocks of these outer columns and sew your last two 18.5″ strips to the top of them, as you see below.

topcorners

Having done this, sew the columns into strips.  *At this point, I ironed the blocks, ironing each strip in the outer columns down, then ironing each strip in the middle column facing up.  Doing this allowed me to nest every row together as I sewed the columns together, making the seams precise.

threerows

Carefully sew the three columns together.  With those final two seams, you have a finished quilt top, measuring approximately 53″ x 74″.

pixelatedheartquilttop

There you have it!  A simple scrappy heart quilt top.  Approximately 3.5 yards of fabric will make a quilt back, cut in half and sewn together along the selvages.  I’m working on quilting mine now and hope to share it soon.  If you have questions please leave a comment and I’ll do what I can to answer them.  Thanks for visiting!

Jennifer

How to Make a Stick Horse

howtohorse

Last month I made eight stick horses for my son’s birthday party.  A year ago I made the first one, and as I was making them last month I was kicking myself for not keeping a pattern the first time around.

So here it is, my version of How to Make a Stick Horse.

What you need:

To start, you can draw your own horse’s head on a sheet of 11×15 inch paper, or you can just download my pattern.  It’s not fancy, but you won’t have to draw your own.   Print it (no scaling) then take it to a printer to enlarge it 200%.

DOWNLOAD HORSE HEAD PATTERN HERE

stickhorse1

To begin, you need felt.  One half yard of felt will make two horses, but you must buy the felt in half yard increments because 1/4 yard will be too narrow.  You can get 4 horses per yard, so I bought two yards to make eight horses.  In addition, you may want smaller pieces of other colors for the horse’s mane.  The sheets of felt that stores commonly sell will work for this.

In addition, you need some cotton fabric (a fat quarter should do).  Not pictured but needed:  scissors, sewing machine & coordinating thread, pins, hot glue gun and glue, marker, fiber fill to stuff.  And dowels.

stickhorse2

I bought 36 inch long dowels that are 7/16 inch in diameter.

stickhorse3

To begin, cut out pattern and lay on top of a double thickness of felt.

stickhorse4

Trace with a marker.

stickhorse5

Cut along lines.  On the outer edge of the horse’s neck, continue the line on down and cut along that line.

stickhorse6

Cut out pattern.  You should have two ears and two head shapes.

stickhorse7

Fold ears in half along straight edge.

stickhorse8

Flip one head shape over so it’s facing the opposite direction.   Pin an ear on each shape, with the open side of the ear facing the horse’s nose and the fold line facing the neck.  Pin in place near the center of the top of the horse’s head.

stickhorse9

Sew each ear in place.

Note:  If you have big plans for adding ears at this point, do it now.  I opted to leave the eyes off my horses and here’s why:  I’ve learned it’s important to have a starter activity/assignment for children to do while you wait for party guests to arrive, so I chose to begin the party by having each boy choose a horse and draw his own eyes on it.  I wanted the horse to be their own, since we were also asking them to name their horses.  And they LOVED this activity, by the way.  Some of them wanted their horse to have just one eye, others got going and drew spots on ears or around the eyes.  I wasn’t going for a professional, perfect looking horse.  I was trying to provide the basics so their imaginations could run with the idea.  It worked.

stickhorse10

For the mane, take a piece of felt approximately 8 inches wide by 11 inches tall.

stickhorse12

Fold in half lengthwise.

stickhorse13

Fold down the ear on one of the horse head pieces.

stickhorse14

Lay the folded piece of felt (mane) along the outer edge of the horse’s neck with the fold along the edge of the neck.

stickhorse15

Fold down the ear on the other horse head piece and carefully lay down on top of the mane and first head shape.  You should have both ears and the mane tucked inside the sandwich.  Pin the pieces together carefully.

stickhorse16

Sew along the edges of the felt with a 1/4 inch seam.

stickhorse17

Remove pins.  The horse should look like this.

stickhorse18

Carefully turn horse inside out.  Fold the ears back up and fold the mane piece out.

stickhorse19

Cut the mane into fringe strips, being careful to stop before you snip into the seam and the horse head.

stickhorse20

Stuff the head until it’s filled out to your liking.

stickhorse20A

Cut strips of cotton fabric that are 2 inches wide and approximately 18 inches long.

stickhorse21

Carefully insert one end of a wood dowel into the center of the neck, gently pushing it up into the top of the head while leaving some filling so there’s no hard spot on the head.  I used the end that had the barcode sticker on it so I didn’t have to bother removing it.

stickhorse22

Using a glue gun, place hot glue all around the dowel just above the point where the stuffing ends.

stickhorse23

Squeeze the felt around the hot glue and tie a length of fabric in a knot around that spot to secure the horse head on the stick.

And you’re done!  Keep going until you’ve made as many horses as you need for your group.

pickahorse

For my hitching post I used the frame for a standing chalkboard that my son broke a few years ago.  We tied loops of ribbon to the frame that were just a tiny bit loose, then put a stick through each loop to “hitch” them to the rail.  I made a simple bunting that said “hitching post” and the setup was complete.

Twithhorse

Each cowboy picked a horse,

addeyes

added eyes,

horserace

and then they were off!

thegroup

We had a happy group of cowboys which added up to a very happy momma as well.

If you’d like more ideas for simple but really fun games to use at a cowboy party, you can read more about ours here.  As for the horses, my younger girls all want one now, so there will definitely be more of them in our future.  I hope you enjoy making yours.

Jennifer

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