Thursday, July 31, 2014

Sponsor Introduction: Fat Quarter Shop

Celestial Star QAL with from blank pages...

I am thrilled to introduce you to another amazing sponsor today!! The Fat Quarter Shop is fantastic store with an amazing mix of both traditional and modern fabrics, patterns, precuts, and more. They often have fantastic sales! So join their mailing list if that's what you are interested in. (signup at the bottom of their home page) ;) They have been a sponsor on my blog a few times before, and I am thrilled to have them back here, and finally share a little bit about them and their history.

Fat Quarter Shop is an online fabric retailer that sells quilting fabrics, fabric precuts, quilt kits, patterns, notions and more. We also offer a wide range of exclusive kits, clubs and block of the month programs. We offer major brands such as Moda Fabrics, Riley Blake Fabrics, Windham, Robert Kaufman, Art Gallery, Marcus Brothers and Northcott. We carry the largest online selection of fat quarter bundles! 

The Fat Quarter Shop was founded in 2003 by Kimberly Jolly. An avid quilter, Kimberly began her shop as a side business while still working a corporate position, cutting, packing and shipping right out of her house during evenings and weekends. From the very beginning, she was committed to delivering top-notch service for every single order and customer. As the Fat Quarter Shop's reputation grew, Kimberly decided to make it a full-time operation. Her husband Kevin joined her not long after, and with his help, lots of hard work, and a tireless commitment, the store began to grow. Over the past few years a few more people have joined the staff!

We’re also hosting a #sewwhatselfie contest in honor of our first Fat Quarter Shop t-shirt – “Sew What!

To celebrate, we are hosting a “Sew What Selfie” contest on social media.
Our contest begins on July 8, 2014 and to enter, all participants have to do is take an awesome selfie with your Sew What shirt and use the tag #sewwhatselfie on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and/or Google+. We will choose two winners every month from July to September and the winners will receive a $100 Fat Quarter Shop gift card.


That looks so fun! I've seen a few sew what selfies, and they are awesome! ;) 

Thank you Fat Quarter Shop!!! I also must tell you, they have offered a generous number of prizes! This week, when you link up your completed quilt blocks (all wedges joined, pre-quilting) you can enter to win:

 one of two $25 Gift Cards!

I will pick one winner from the blog link up (you can find it on this post) and one from the hashtag #CelestialStarBlock on Instagram.

AND, if you are making a finished project that has 2-4 Celestial Star Quilt Blocks, (or multiple 1 block projects I guess works - if you enter them as one entry) then you can enter to win

one $50 Gift Card!!

Gift cards are great because you can buy whatever fabric, notions, patterns you want!!! But the choosing sure isn't easy. ;) What would you purchase??

Thanks again Fat Quarter Shop! 
and thank you to all my readers to joining along, and for supporting these amazing sponsors! :)


Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Celestial Star QAL with from blank pages...

Today's Topic: Join wedges and finish block
Assignment: Join all 12 wedges and complete your block.
On the Blog: Write a blog post about it, sharing pictures of your completed block(s), and link it up using the link up at the end of this post. OR you can also link up photos from Flickr* or Instagram.  
On Instagram: Complete the assignment, take a picture and tag it using hashtag #CelestialStarQAL AND #CelestialStarBlock.

Fat Quarter Shop
2 - $25 Gift Certificates

When you link up you completed quilt blocks, you are automatically entered to win one of two $25 gift certificates to The Fat Quarter Shop! I want to give a special Thank You to them for the generous prizes!! I will pick one winner from the blog, and one winner from the Instagram hashtag #CelestialStarBlock, on Thursday August 7th. That gives you one week to finish your block (all wedges must be joined to qualify, pre-quilting).

You can pick up a pattern on Craftsy and Etsy. 

*If you are sharing pictures from Flickr, I started a Celestial Star QAL group, where you can also share your photos, or start up a discussion, ask questions, etc. I don't get on Flickr much anymore, but I'll try my best to keep my eye on it for any activity going on there. I still think Flickr has a pretty good platform for groups, even if the rest of the site has changed.
**If you decide to work faster than my schedule, which is fine, be sure to take pictures along the way so you can come back and enter the different giveaways! 

 There's the short version. :) Keep reading if you want to see my method for joining my wedges and completing your blocks. I'll be honest, this was the first time I actually used this method, but it couldn't have turned out any better, so I'm calling it a win! :)


After piecing all your segments, and trimming and joining them to create 12 wedges, we will now join those wedges to create a complete quilt block. I have gotten the best results using the following methods and I'm excited to share these methods with you now.


To keep everything in the correct order, lay out your wedges in the desired order. We will first create 2 halves with 6 wedges each.

 Here are my 12 wedges in the order they will go.

1. Take two sections.

2. Draw a line of glue along the edge of one pattern (1st pattern), on the side that will be sewn. Keep the glue close to the edge, within the seam allowance. You don't want to sew on the glue line, but if you do, it won't harm or gunk up your machine.

3. Flip the second pattern over so right sides are facing, and align it on top of the first pattern. Make sure the edges are flush so your seam allowance will be the same on each pattern. Also pay attention that the seam lines that meet up on each pattern are aligned. Here are some simple pictures of how I do this as I lay the second pattern on top of the first. I also made a quick video of this.

First I match the center seam (where the two segments in a wedge join).

Then I match the next seams on the inner pattern.

Then carefully align the points of that last seam. See in the photo above how the line between the white fabric and the orange feather continues straight across to the first pattern?! That is a good sign that I am right on track for a perfect alignment.

Repeat this same process going out from the center to the outside. 

You can double check your seam alignment from the side

Here is a super quick video of this process.

4. Do a quick press with the iron to set the glue.

5. Here is what it should look like

6. Now we will sew the two wedges together. Start from the center and align your needle with the point of the pattern, inside the seam allowance.

7. Sew a few stitches and backstitch, securing the stitches as we will not be sewing over these seams later.

 Here is the tip of my pattern after sewing. Don't sew past the point of the pattern!

8. Sew along the rest of the edge, keeping an even 1/4" seam allowance. Sew all the way off the edge of the fabric.

Here are my wedges sewn together.

It can be hard to get a perfectly straight line. Don't be discouraged by imperfection.* BUT the most important places to get that perfect seam allowance** is where seams meet. Where the sew lines meet the edge of the paper on the pattern, are where you need to have that "perfect" seam allowance. This will really help you to get results you will be happy with.

*That being said, still get as close to perfect as you can. Just don't feel bad if it's not. ;)
**Glue basting does wonders in this department. In my experience, when I haven't glue basted, though I might sew perfectly straight on the lines, one layer might shift in or out; which means that it didn't have a 1/4" seam allowance; which means that my points don't match up. Glue basting has brought me so much happiness and celebration to my quilting in terms of my end results!! :D If you want to learn more about glue basting, go read Cristy's blo, Sew Much Like Mom. She has taught me everything I know, in the glue department anyway.

9. Remove the paper from the seam allowance ONLY. I leave the paper on the very point, to help me with aligning the tip of my next pattern piece. It helps keep the paper from shifting once it's no longer sewn in.

10. Press your seams away from the side that you are going to add your next wedge to. (See step 16 for details).

11. Now repeat the steps, adding the next (3rd) wedge:

12. Draw a line of glue along the edge of the pattern.

Also notice how the shape of the tip of the pattern (with the white center point) continues on like it hasn't been sewn to? It is the same shape pre-joining. (Not sure how to explain that with words.) This really helps with aligning your pattern, and just works really well!! This is how you know that you've pressed your seam the right direction. (See step 16 for visual comparisons).

 13. Align the pattern pieces, being careful to match the seams. Press with a hot iron.

14. Sew along the edge with a 1/4" seam allowance. Remember to start on the point of the pattern, backstitch, and sew toward the outside of the pattern.

15. Remove the paper from the seam allowance only, leaving the paper at the tip.

16. Press seams to the same side as before.

Here is an example of what it looks like when pressed in the wrong direction (I will be adding my next section to the pink side). Notice how it distorts the shape of the pattern?

and here it is pressed in the correct direction. The pattern retains its shape.

17. Repeat again with the next (4th) wedge.

18. Draw a line of glue along the edge.

Here's a close up of my glue line

19. Flip the 4th wedge over and align the seams and edges. Press with a hot iron.

20. Sew along the edge, starting at the center point, backstitch, and sew outward.

Here is the other side. Notice how my seams are all pressed in the same direction, away from the wedge most recently joined. Also notice how the center seams of my wedges are alternating.

21. Remove the paper from the seam allowance ONLY. Leave the paper at the tip.

Here is an example of some paper that I left at the tip, which after both sides of the pattern piece are joined, can then be removed.

Here is where my block is at right now.

22. Repeat these steps with the next (5th) wedge. (In error for my tutorial I pieced the 5th and 6th wedges first. Because I've already piece the other half of my block, this meant that my seams where going the wrong direction to teach you the correct way to do it, so here are my images for joining these last two blocks. I recommend however, to join them all individually, rather than in pairs. Hopefully this doesn't confuse anyone.)

23-24. Draw a line of glue along the edge of the growing block. Align seams and edges of wedges. Press with a hot iron to set the glue.

25. Start at the center point, being careful not to sew through any layers except of the two wedges you are currently joining. If you have been constant at starting at the point, you shouldn't have any problem accomplishing this. Backstitch and sew outwards.

26. Remove paper from the seam allowance ONLY. Leaving paper at the tip. Press your seams to the side.

27. Here is where you would then repeat these steps one more time to join the 6th wedge.

You will now have half of a block, with 6 wedges. With all of your seams pressed in the same direction, they should perfectly align with this center edge of your pattern.

I made the mistake of trimming some of my center points. It's tempting. DON'T DO IT! Leave them there, even though you may think it will be helpful, it's not. Put the scissors down. ;)

28. Repeat ALL these steps to create the other half of your block. Continuing in the order that you were going with the first half. So the first wedge I would join for the other half would be the blue center wedge piece. Continuing in the same order will ensure that the seams are pressed in the correct direction on both halves of your block.


Now you should have two halves of your block. Here are mine.

Here they are on my ironing board ready to join. :)

 1. Take one half of your block, and draw a thin line of glue along the entire center edge. (Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of it with glue.)

2. Flip the other half of the block over so right sides are facing, and generally align the two block halves.

3. Now carefully, just as with joining individual wedges, you are going to start from the center, and align the seams and edges going outward. First align the center points, making sure the center diamonds on the edge of each half are perfectly overlapping. Then match each seam going out. As you align each portion, press down firmly, to secure placement with the glue. (refer to the video on the first section of this tutorial, step 3, if you need more visual instruction. This is rather difficult to photograph.)

4. Press with a hot iron after it is all aligned, setting the glue (which gives it a more secure hold).

5. Repeat in exactly the same manner on the other side, starting in the center working out.

6. Press this side with a hot iron, setting the glue.

7. Now we will sew the two halves together. We will do this in the same manner as we joined all the wedges. We will start at the same center point, backstitch, and sew out. Sewing one side, and then repeating with the other.

Because the seams are pressed toward the seam that you want to sew, you will need to lift those center points out of the way so you can get to the center point on the pattern. (PLEASE IGNORE: that I already sewed the seam in these pictures. I wanted to make sure this would work before I shared it with you. Ignore that I tore out the paper from the center point already. Ignore that I trimmed my center points, they should be long, pointy, and in the way.) ;)

Put your needle down at the center point, sew forward and backstitch. You never want to go into the seam allowance from the center point when doing this section. (My sewing foot is up to give you better visual of where my needle is.)


8. Once you have sewn both sides of the center seam. Press the seams to set the stitches.

9. Remove the paper from the seam allowances, including the center points. Press your seams to the sides, in the same direction as the rest of your seams.

10. Pressing all the seams in the same direction creates a spinning seam, and you can then press your center points out into a nice spinning center. I trimmed my points, so it doesn't look the same, but if you keep your points, as you should, you can spin them and press them nice and flat. It really reduces the bulk in the center of your block, which makes it much nicer for quilting!!

11. Press your block on the front and you have a beautiful Celestial Star Quilt Block!!!

12. If you are finished with your quilt block, you may remove all the paper from the back. If you will be adding sashing, a border, or sewing it to more quilt blocks, I recommend leaving the paper on until the you are completely sewing any and all edges of your block. Because your fabric is most likely cut on the bias, or has bias edges, they are more likely to stretch and cause distortion. Leaving the paper on adds stability and will help keep it from stretching or shifting when joining with other fabric.

And that's it!! 

Come back tomorrow to learn more about this weeks fabulous sponsor, The Fat Quarter Shop. And drop in on Friday for Courtney's fabulous guest post, to see her tips and learn how she joins her wedges and halves to create an amazing Celestial Steal Block using beautiful Cotton + Steel fabrics!!! You don't want to miss it. ;)

Any questions?? Otherwise I'm planning on taking somewhat of a break from blogging next week so I can actually finish up all my blocks! ;) But if you do have questions, please ask!! I want the entire process to be as clear as mud. ;) haha.

Otherwise, start sewing and share your finished block(s) below to enter for the giveaway!!! and share your progress of course! I am definitely enjoying seeing everyone's beautiful blocks come together! Great job y'all!! :)