The Island Batik Ambassador Challenge (Island Batik provided the fabrics) was to “be inspired by a quilt, design or block from the past when designing and/or creating a new piece.”
What to do? What to do? I so love vintage quilts and there are so many ways to make them new. I have been wanting to try Beth Helfler’s accordion triangle technique, so when I saw the Mennonite Broken Star I couldn’t resist and thought a new technique would make this so much fun.
|Mennonite Broken Star c. 1890 Mrs. Myers|
I have lots of books on historical quilts. This picture came from Vintage Quilts: Collecting, Dating, Preserving…. by Gerald E. Roy, Sharon Newman and Bobbie Aug. I had the privilege of taking a class with Sharon Newman many years ago, and this brought back fond memories. As the book says: Seven of these quilts are thought to exist, one made for each of the maker’s seven children, three are known to exist and are in private collection…”(page 71).
The block is also known by a few other names: Broken Star, Carpenter Star, Carpenter Wheel and Swoon. Swoon is a favorite among many quilters – I did a quilt in French fabrics a few years ago using Swoon. I do have a love affair with stars of many varieties. This one keeps reappearing in new ways.
I began by selecting fabrics. Part of the challenge is being sure to have enough fabrics to finish a project – always interesting – and it always is fun. I had just enough of this grouping: Small Pointed Floral in turquoise and Bubbles in Salmon would be pieced with a lovely neutral called Rice.
So what is this technique. Well, it is genius! Beth Helfter of Eva Paige Quilt Designs calls it Accordion Sewn HST™(Half Square Triangle). She has videos on YouTube that show you the technique and a book coming out on it very soon. You sew half square triangles into what Beth calls and accordion. It is much more fun than the ordinary half square approach.
I followed her pattern, but true to form, made mine a bit differently. The inner star was easy, following her pattern. The outside star was a little more difficult – because of my changes not hers – but I persisted. Also, I did not have enough fabric to do a third ring of star points or a third border. I simply needed the right count of each pair of fabrics to get it done.
Here is a group of squares sewn together.
The picture on the left is getting ready to sew the front and back piece together. After this you trim, press and sew the HSTs together. Beth recommends the Clearly Perfect Slotted Trimmer and Clearly Perfect Angles to make your work easier (affiliate links). I didn’t use these tools, but I have them now and will review in another blog entry.
The top was completed on my guild’s retreat weekend. Here is is hanging above the quilters – among the group of finished tops. Quilting wasn’t in the cards for the weekend.
My next great dilemma was how to quilt the Carpenter Star. I decided to use Westalee rulers again on my Bernina 440 and I am very happy with the results! I decided to stay with a more traditional quilting, that is, not as dense as modern quilting to reflect the traditional nature of the block.
Our Island Batik box also included Aurifil thread and I pieced quilted this quilt with 50 wt. Aurifil 2024 white, 1148 light jade and 2350 copper. I love the color combination and the finished quilt.
I loved the challenge of the making something old in a new way and this new technique takes half square triangles to a new height! I highly recommend checking out Beth’s technique, you won’t be disappointed.
Thank you Island Batik and Aurifil for providing the great materials to work on and another interesting challenge.