February Island Batik challenge – Magnificent Minis

This is my first challenge as an Island Batik Ambassador. The February challenge is Magnificent minis. Our challenge was to make a mini quilt smaller than 24″ X 24″. Fabric used in this project was provided by Island Batik and the batting was provided by Hobbs Batting as part of the Island Batik Ambassador program.

I made not one but two minis for this challenge. My first is a design I had stashed in my sketch book for a while. I am always intrigued by equilateral triangles and hexagons and how well they play together. This is a design that starts with several small half-hexagons. Three half-hexagons make an equilateral triangle. Three triangles make a half hexagon, three of which make a triangle again and so on.

The red and oranges for this mini comes from a “Soul Song” strip set I received from Island Batik and a few others from the stash builder rolls.

The problem with joining half-hexagons to make a triangle is the dreaded Y-seams. A short photo tutorial on Y-seams is at the end of this post.

I quilted using read, orange and yellow threads, though the different colors don’t really show after quilting. A dark red binding would have been better but I wanted to save the rest of the reds from Soul Song for my March project. I used a nice purple for the binding instead. The quilt finishes at about 22″ square.

As I was putting the finishing touches on this mini, the other ambassadors started posting their projects for February and they were all just stunning. I go the feeling that this may be inadequate and started another mini.

For my next mini, I used my tutorial for Spiral Nova, scaling everything down so that the finished size is about 20″. The strips are 1.5″ wide, finishing at 1″. When I wrote the tutorial, I didn’t expect to make anything smaller than 40″. After this project, I went back and added a row for this size in the tutorial.

I started with 8 strip sets. Some are repeated. I wanted to try using strips with relatively low contrast. Most of the blues for this came from the stash builder bundles from Island batik.

After making the spiral nova, I added a 2″ border all around to make sure I din’t cut off the points when I trim and bind. I quilted a tight spiral all around – looks almost like concentric circles. Once done, I used a large compass (the kind used by carpenters) to draw a perfect circle about an inch away from the star points. I had to use a bias binding around the circle.

I used the Hobbs Thermore batting for this mini. Thermore is designed for quilted clothing, table runners, placements, etc. that need to lay flat. It is very thin. After quilting, the piece was unbelievably flat – no warping or curving at the edges. I normally like a bit of loft in my quilts but I am definitely going to use Thermore for my wall quilts, bags and table runners in the future. It is very light and sits perfectly flat, but still shows off the quilting as well as any higher loft batting. .

Layout three half-hexagons correctly.

Here’s the Y-seam tutorial as promised:

Join two of them and press the seams open.
Start sewing with the third piece on top. Stop your needle exactly 1/4″ from the edge (mark with a sharpie if needed) and the intersection of the two pieces in the bottom. Turn the piece on top to align the edge of the bottom piece and complete the seam.
Press seam away from the third piece. Pressing this seam open does not work very well. I am no longer afraid of Y-seams but I need to love a block very much to willing sew Y-seams ūüôā
The March challenge is Vintage Re-imagined. This is my fabric pull.  Most of it is from the Soul Song strip set. Any guesses on which vintage quilt pattern I may be re-imagining for my March challenge? Leave a comment.

Do not forget to go to this Island Batik blog post and checkout all the Island Batik ambassadors this year. Visit their blogs and see their awesome projects for the February Magnificent mini challenge!

Linking to all my favorite linky parties:
Linky Tuesday @ Freemotion by the river
Midweek Makers @ QuiltFabrication
Needle & Thread Thursday
Finished or not Friday @ Busy Hands Quilts
Can I get a whoop whoop
TGIFF hosted by Whatahootquilts

One Spiral Nova


I made another Spiral lone star this month using pink and purple prints from the Blueberry Park collection by Karen Lewis for Robert Kaufman. The pattern and construction for this lone star is very similar to a traditional lone star except for the placement of fabrics. In this post I shall try to do a tutorial in pictures.

What size star? I am usually overwhelmed when I start making a lone star. There are so many things to decide – the width of the strips, the number of colors, the number of diamonds in a row and the final star size. I did some math and came up with this table. This table is for the spiral star, so the number of different fabric is always 8. For a traditional lone star the number of strips of each color varies based on the layout but the strip width and length from this table will work.

Spiral Lone star configurations

Materials (for a 40″ finished star – first row in the table):

  • 8 different fabric for the star. Some gradation in the value or hue of the fabrics works very well for this pattern.
  • From each star fabric: 4 strips 2.5″ x 18″. If using a jelly roll, you will need two WOF strips for each color.
  • For the background: 1.25¬† yards. I used Kona cotton medium grey.


  • Before cutting, iron and starch all fabric. We will be cutting and sewing on the bias a lot. Starching helps keep the shape.
  • From each star fabric:
    • Cut 4 strips 2.5″ x 18″
    • Label the fabric strips 1-8 after you decide their order.
  • From the background fabric,
    • Cut 4 13″ x 13″ square
    • Cut 4 9.5″ x 9.5″ squares
    • Cut each square once along the diagonal. You should have 8 small triangles and 8 large triangles.

Construction: I am using numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 for the 8 fabric strips. Letters A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H for the 8 strip sets and Roman numerals I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII for the large diamonds or arms of the star.

Mapping strips to strip sets and strip sets to diamonds
  1. Strip sets: Use the table above for reference to sew 8 strip sets. Each set has 4 fabric strips in order. Offset each strip by about 2 1/4″ over the previous one. See picture for details. Press seams open. This will make matching seams a lot easier in later steps.
  2. Trim strip sets:

Trim edge of strip set

First trim off the jagged edges of each strip set. Line up the 45 degree line on your ruler along the top edge and cut across the strip set.

  • Cut slanted strips:

  • SlantedStrips
    Cut slanted strips

    Cut slanted strips 2.5″ wide parallel to the previous cut. Line up the 45 deg line on your ruler with the bottom edge of the strip set and the 2.5″ line on your ruler with the slanted edge of the strip set. If both lines don’t match exactly, re-trim the slanted edge to match exactly. This gives perfect strips you can join put together without tugging and pulling to match seams. Repeat for all strip sets.

  •   Layout: After all the strips are cut, lay them out and play with the layout.
    You cannot change the order of the strips at this point but you can make the spiral go clockwise or counter-clockwise, etc. This will also help you make sure you are consistent the order of strips in each strip set.
  • IMG_0615
    Joining the slanted strips: We now join the slanted strips to make the large diamonds or arms of the star.
    • Place adjacent strips right sides together and pin at the seams. See picture below. Pin the two sides at exactly 1/4″ from the edges along the seams.
    • Repeat for all eight large diamonds. You may use my table above but it is better to layout the strips first and sew them together as laid.
  • Layout the finished diamonds and the background triangles. Each diamond will be next to one small and one large triangle.
  • First sew the small background triangle and then the large triangle to each diamond. Trim excess fabric from both background triangles.
  • IMG_0625
    Sew together the diagonal sections in each quadrant. Carefully pin the two sections such that the seams match exactly 1/4″ from the edge – similar to step  5.
  • When all the quadrants are done, join them together like a four-patch, taking care to match the seams as before.
  • Optional: Cut 4 2.5″ strips from the background and add a border all around if desired.
  • I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.

    I entered this in the Tips and Tutorials festival jointly hosted by Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl and Cheryl of Meadow Mist designs in June 2018 and it won 1st place under Block and Pattern tutorials! Please visit the festival page and checkout all the great tips and tutorials.


    One Monthly Goal
    Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts

    Bisection quilt Pattern


    IMG_0224Finished size: 42″ x 54″.


    • 6 coordinating fat quarters (18″ x 22″)
    • 1 yard contrasting solid fabric
    • Rotary cutter with a fresh sharp blade recommended.


    1. From the solid fabric, cut 16 strips¬† 1″ x WOF. We will sub-cut as needed when we join the blocks.
    2. Stack the 6 fat quarters aligning the edges. Trim and square the edges of the entire stack.
    3. We will be making several cuts through the entire stack of 6 FQs. There are no measurements for the cuts. You may make the cuts anywhere in alternating directions to give it a balanced look
    4. Make the first cut along the shorter (18″) side so that one side is slightly bigger than the other. My cut was approximately 2/3 from the left. This gives us two rectangles.IMG_0228
    5. Make the next cut within each rectangle, perpendicular to the previous cut. Make sure the cuts on each side are staggered to give an unmatched look.img_0229.jpg
    6. Make the next cut in some or all of the four rectangles above, perpendicular to the previous cut, making sure the cuts on adjacent rectangles do not match. I did not sub-cut the block on the top right since it looked small enough. IMG_0230
    7. You may stop cutting here or make one more cut in some of the rectangles, perpendicular to the previous cut. In this step, I cut just two of the blocks. img_02311.jpg
    8. We are done cutting. Each rectangle/square above is a stack of 6 fabric. Next step is to arrange the fabric within these rectangles.
    9. Leave stack 1 alone with no change. For stack 2, move the fabric in top to the bottom of the stack. For stack 3, move the top two fabrics to the bottom. For stack 4, move the top three fabrics to the bottom. Likewise for stacks 5 and 6. Since we only have 6 fabrics in the stack, the fabrics for stacks 7, 8 and 9 will repeat and they will be similar to stacks 1,2 and 3, respectively. When all stacks are rearranged, this is what they look like:img_0232.jpg
    10. Now we are ready to join the rectangles into pieced blocks.
    11. From the 1″ solid strips, sub-cut a strip approximately as long as the bottom edge of rectangle 7. Sew it to rectangle 7, right sides together with a 1/4″ seam. Press towards the solid strip. Sew rectangle 9 to the other side of the solid strip.
    12. You will put the block back together in exactly the reverse order in which you made the cuts. Use the 1″ solid sashing between rectangles.IMG_0237IMG_0238IMG_0239
    13. Repeat for all the fabrics in the stacks. Make sure you keep the order of the fabric in the stacks. Here are all 6 pieced blocks.IMG_0240
    14. Again use the 1″ solid sashing to join the blocks.IMG_0370

    This was my One Monthly Goal for April. Linking One Monthly Goal at Elm Street Quilts.
    One Monthly Goal