Star Block for Jen Kingwell’s Gypsy Wife Quilt Sew-along

Jen Kingwell Gypsy Wife Quilt Sewalong with Angie Wilson of www.GnomeAngel.com, Nicole of Snips Snippets and Chelsea of Pink Door Fabrics. Learn more at www.GnomeAngel.com

Star Block is the block of choice for this week in the Jen Kingwell’s Gypsy Wife Quilt Sew-along. This is such a simple block that has great impact. I’ve done up an alternate method of construction for this block so if you’re like me and prefer to make HSTs without cutting the individual triangles. You’ll still need the pattern so you know the measurements.

I’ve tried to make things a little easier for you to find by adding some collapsable text areas. All you have to do is click on the grey bar to expand the information that you’re looking for. I’m hoping this makes it easier for those of you that are on mobile devices. If you have any trouble with it please let me know. Now… on to the block!

Star Block Alternative Construction

For the purpose of these alternate instructions you will need to use these in conjunction with the instructions on page 11 of your Gypsy Wife pattern book.

I apologise that the fabrics are so similar in colouring and not as distinctive for the purposes of identification. Make sure to consult the block diagram so that you can ensure you’ve used the right fabrics in the right place if you’re using more fabrics than provided in the book. To save on confusion I’ve not tried to identify which prints go with which fabric identifier in the pattern.

Must do: Grab a pencil and beside each cutting measurement write a number starting at 1 and ending at 4 from top to bottom of the list. You’ll need to number the cutting instructions like this so you know what measurement I’m referring to. Due to copyright reasons and my undying respect for the pattern designer I will not be telling you the direct measurements for this block, you will need to follow my instructions below and use the pattern to work it out.

Please Note: Instead of giving you cutting measurements to correspond with the fabric identification, I’m going to break them down into the components of the block so you can mix and match your fabrics as needed.

Inner Quarter Inch Triangle Unit

1 – Square equalling measurement 1 (Piece 1) – Dark Blue Kate Spain

1 – Square equalling measurement 1 (Piece 2) – Pale Blue Astericks

Please note: this method will make 2 of these units, you will only need one for the finished block. Pop the spare block into your orphan block stash to use in another project.

Outer Quarter Inch Triangle Units

2 – Square equalling measurement 1 (Piece 3) – Dark Blue Blueberry Park

1 – Square equalling measurement 1 (Piece 4) – Blue Circles

1 – Square equalling measurement 1 (Piece 5) – Pale Green Astericks

Corner HST Units

2 – Square equalling measurement 1 minus ¼” (Piece 6) – Green Archtextures

2 – Square equalling measurement 1 minus ¼” (Piece 7) – Pale Green Astericks

Construction

How to make a half square triangle by Angie Wilson of GnomeAngel.com

  1. Inner Quarter Inch Triangle Unit: On the wrong side (back) of all Piece 1 draw a diagonal line with a pencil/fabric pen from one corner to the opposite corner as per step 1 above.
  2. Take 1 Piece 1 and 1 Piece 2 and put them right sides together as per step 1 above.
  3. Stitch a scant quarter inch seam on either side of the line as per step 2 above.
  4. Trim along the drawn line as per step 3 above. Press to the darkest fabric (this will help with making the three triangle units.) This will make 2 HST units. Trim to the measurement 1 minus ¼”. These will be referred to as Middle HSTs in the rest of the construction method.
  5. On the wrong side (back) of one Middle HST draw a diagonal line with a pencil/fabric pen from one corner to the opposite corner, that intersects the seam, as per step 1 above.
  6. Take the two Middle HSTs and put them right sides together as per step 1 above. Important: the drawn line must run in the opposite direction of the seam line so they form an X as shown below. 
  7. Stitch a scant quarter inch seam on either side of the line as per step 2 above. Open the seam up to confirm that you have stitched them so that when trimmed along the stitch line you’ll have formed the quarter triangle unit as per the pattern diagram
  8. Trim along the drawn line as per step 3 above. This will make 2 quarter triangle units. Trim all units to 3.5″. You will only need one of these units. Pop the spare block into your orphan block stash to use in another project. This one unit is the middle unit of this block.
  9. Outer Quarter Inch Triangle Unit: On the wrong side (back) of all Piece 3 draw a diagonal line with a pencil/fabric pen from one corner to the opposite corner as per step 1 above.
  10. Take 1 Piece 3 and 1 Piece 4 and put them right sides together as per step 1 above.
  11. Stitch a scant quarter inch seam on either side of the line as per step 2 above.
  12. Trim along the drawn line as per step 3 above. Press to the darkest fabric (this will help with making the three triangle units.) This will make 2 HST units. Trim to the measurement 1 minus ¼”. These will be referred to as Outer HSTs in the rest of the construction method.
  13. Repeat steps 10 – 12 with the remaining Piece 3 and Piece 5. You should have 4 Outer HSTs.
  14. On the wrong side (back) of two Outer HST draw a diagonal line with a pencil/fabric pen from one corner to the opposite corner, that intersects the seam, as per step 1 above.
  15. Pay attention to fabrics at this point if you’re using a mix of prints! Take two Outer HSTs, one with Piece 3 and 4 and one with Piece 3 and 5, and put them right sides together as per step 1 above. Important: the drawn line must run in the opposite direction of the seam line so they form an X as shown above.
  16. Stitch a scant quarter inch seam on either side of the line as per step 2 above. Open the seam up to confirm that you have stitched them so that when trimmed along the stitch line you’ll have formed the quarter triangle unit as per the pattern diagram
  17. Trim along the drawn line as per step 3 above. This will make 2 quarter triangle units.
  18. Repeat steps 15 – 17 to make remaining units. Trim all units to 3.5″. You should have four outer quarter inch triangle units.
  19. Corner HST Unit: On the wrong side (back) of all Piece 6 draw a diagonal line with a pencil/fabric pen from one corner to the opposite corner as per step 1 above.
  20. Take 1 Piece 6 and 1 Piece 7 and put them right sides together as per step 1 above.
  21. Stitch a scant quarter inch seam on either side of the line as per step 2 above.
  22. Trim along the drawn line as per step 3 above. Press. This will make 2 HST units. Trim to 3.5”.
  23. Repeat steps 20 – 22 to make remaining Corner HST units. You will have 4 in total.
  24. Lay out all units to confirm you have the correct fabric placement, assemble block as per pattern diagram.

Hopefully these instructions aren’t too hard to follow and you end up with a block that you love. There’s nothing wrong with following the instructions as they are in the pattern, you’ll end up with a great block that way, I just prefer to make triangle units using this method because I’m clumsy and heavy handed and so tend to stretch out triangles when done as per the pattern method. This method allows me to make them and trim to size which helps with my accuracy. As always, find a method that works for you and use that!

Weekly Task

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We’ll be setting you a weekly task, but we’re not going to enforce the weekly task. This means 2 things:

  1. You can join the event at any time prior to the reveal week and still be eligible for prizes if you meet the criteria, and
  2. You can self pace until the reveal week.

I’ve decided to work it this way to help people who are coming late to the event and to give you a little more wiggle room when it comes to life getting in the way. We’ve just come of the back of two really strict entry requirement events and, I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to take it easier.

Nicole and I will still post our blocks as per the weekly task to help keep you on track so you’ll know where you “should” be up to if you want to use our timetable as a guide to getting it done.

Winning a Prize

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Now I bet you’re wondering how you’ll go about winning a prize, well it’s simple:

  1. Post 1 photo of each block type, including all the requirements for eligibility (we’ll go into more detail about this in a minute),
  2. Post a photo of your finished quilt top between 12:01am 21 December – 11:59pm 2 January in your timezone.

At the end of the event we’ll be looking for 19 block photos, 1 assembly photo (this is a photo of the quilt top being assembled – so a photo of you with your sections being joined – not a photo of your complete quilt top) + a photo of the finished quilt top. (It doesn’t have to be quilted, but it can be if you want – minimum requirement is the completed top.)

A Word about Block Type

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You only need to post 1 photo of 1 of each block type.

This means that, for example, where you’re required to make 35 Square in Square blocks we only need to see 1 of them in the photo, not all 35. You can totally post a photo of all of them (either individually or all in one shot) in there, but you need to ensure that at least one of the blocks in the photo is fully visible so we can confirm it’s been made correctly.

You can totally post more than one photo of your blocks, but you only need to post one for prize eligibility.

Help With Block Piecing

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While we’re talking about blocks, don’t forget that you can find some Jen Kingwell approved Foundation Paper Pieced patterns by clicking here. These patterns have been created with the intention of helping you complete some of the “trickier” blocks in the quilt. We have not (and will not) provided FPP patterns for all the blocks (it’s time to stretch those wings, get out of your comfort zone and learn some new tricks!).

Eligibility Requirements for Photos

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This will be the trickiest part of the whole thing, you’ll need to include the following things in your block photo caption on Instagram:

  1. The week number,
  2. The block name,
  3. The hashtag: #GypsyWifeSAL

That’s it. We’ll be going through and checking winning accounts to make sure they have 19 block photos, 1 assembly photo + a photo of the finished quilt top (with the above information) posted between 12:01am 3 August and 11:59pm 2 January in your timezone.

For this block, you’ll need to include the following things in your block photo caption on Instagram:

  1. Week 6,
  2. Star Block,
  3. #GypsyWifeSAL

Troubleshooting the Entry Requirements

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Now I know there’s going to be questions, so I’ve put together a list of things that I think might trip you up. If I’ve missed something pop your question in the comments and I’ll answer it there so that others who might also have the same question can see the answer.

Can I put the caption details in a comment on the photo?

No, it needs to go in the caption. We’ve tried to make things easy for you so it would be great if you could make it easy for us to find the information. The image below show where you “Write a caption” as part of the posting to Instagram process.

I messed up my caption can I edit it?

Yep, you can totally edit your caption. Click here to read a post I’ve written about troubleshooting Instagram which will help you. Please note that the linked post about troubleshooting Instagram references putting the hashtag in a comment – the eligibility requirements for this event require it to be in the caption not as a comment.

A word of warning: if you’ve tagged someone in your caption (used their @instagramname) every time you edit your caption they’ll get a notification. The first time it’s amusing, the third time it becomes annoying and on the fifth time it can often result in someone blocking you because that’s the only way to stop the notifications. It’s not a great feature from Instagram and it can chew the life of your battery so it’s something to keep in mind, especially if you get to the end of the event and go back and edit 17 photos!

Is there a format you’d like me to use for my caption?

Nope, you can word it however you want. However, it would make it super easy for the event administrators if you could make those things really obvious. The use of emoji’s for the number would make it standout for example. (Here’s a link to how to use an emoji on an iDevice, click here, Android users you’ll have to google this one I’m afraid as I don’t have any Android experience.)

Can I put a number on my photo?

Yep, that would be outstandingly helpful. But it’s not part of the requirements and the number still has to be in the caption to be eligible for prizes.

I get asked all the time how I put text on my photos and I confess I use Photoshop, but when I’m not at my computer I use WordSwag. (It’s a paid app for iOS and Android) I love it because it’s modern and has its own stash of stock photos so if you don’t have a photo you can freely use one of theirs. You can find out more about WordSwag by clicking here.

Hopefully that’s answered some of your questions, if you’ve still got more pop them in a comment below and I’ll answer them lickity-split.

Event Tracker

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To help you keep things in order I’ve made up a free tracker for you to download, you can get it by clicking here.

A word about the tracker: This seems kind of obvious, but I’ve had a number of complaints about it with past events…. if the event timetable changes I am unable to go back and update the tracker you’ve already printed out. (I’m good, but even I have to respect the time/space continuum) So while I provide a tracker it’s a one-off help you get organised free tool. I won’t be updating it again (unless there’s a super typo in it). In the event Doc and Marty turn up at my house I will totally go back and amend ALL the trackers I’ve ever provided to make sure they’re super cool and reflect how the dates rolled out.

A Word About Pacing Yourself

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This event is a little misleading as there’s not a lot of blocks to make at the start, however this changes significantly when we get to the filler blocks and assembly. I’ve worked out a weekly block construction timetable for those of you that want to stay ahead of the work requirements for the end of the event. You can read more about it by clicking here.

Prizes

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We’ll be announcing prizes as we go along to help keep you motivated. Today we’re excited to announce one of the prizes:

  • $150 gift voucher to Amitie Textiles.

Instagram Accounts to Follow

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At this stage you need to follow the following accounts to be eligible for prizes:

That’s everything… for now… as always if you have any questions either drop me a line or leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to help you out. I hope you love making this quilt as much as I have, it’s such a fun way to make a unique sampler.

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