Twisted Asterisk Tutorial
I hope you bear with me on this tutorial. It looks a bit long, but this is pretty easy to piece, trust me.
This block measures 11 1/2 inches (11 inch finished) and is made up of 4 repeated quadrants, each measuring 6 inches, including the 1/4 inch seam allowance. The instructions below explain how to make one quadrant. For each of these you will need 1 strip of bright fabric, at least 1 1/2 x 9 inches, 1 strip of paler matching tone 1 1/2 x 6 1/2 inches and then a stash of assorted strips of low volume fabrics. So for the block you need 4 pale strips and 4 brighter matching stips.
I have "paper pieced" this block as it made it a little more accurate for joining but if you feel bold you can dive straight in with your strip piecing. However below is the slower piece method which I used.
Firstly draw a 5 1/2 in square on your foundation paper. (If like me and you hate all that ripping afterwards you can use a very light weight interfacing which you can leave attached to your block once its all stitched without adding lots of weight.) Draw a diagonal line from the top left corner to the bottom right of your square and then draw a line 1 inch one side of the diagonal. This will be the stitching line for the bright strip. Next draw a second line 1 inch from the left hand side of your square, up to the diagonal. This is the stitching line for the paler strip. Then add randomly spaced lines parallel to each of these 2 strips, which will be your stitching lines for the low volume strips. Finally add a 1/4 inch seam allowance all around you square ( taking it too 6 inches square) and then cut across the diagonal giving you 2 triangles. Now you are ready to stitch.
Each triangle is now paper pieced and apologies if I am explaining something you already know. I thought I would just give a brief description for newbies quilters just in case you fell on this tutorial. If you are an experienced paper piecer feel free to ignore the coming instructions, but first of all though please NOTE ONE IMPORTANT thing. The diagonal edge of you paper piece DOES NOT INCLUDE A SEAM ALLOWANCE so this need to be added as you make up the triangle.
So, for the uninitiated, we are going to stitch the triangle with the diagonal strips first. Choose a strip of low volume fabric which is at least 9 inches long and 1/2 inch wider than the second strip ( your first low volune strip) on your triangle and place this right sides together with your bright fabric strip. Place your paper template over the fabrics, with the bright fabric uppermost to the paper and ensure that you have 1/4 inch seam allowance on the outside of your diagonal piece of paper( as above). This will form the seam allowance later for joining the block across the diagonal. Now stitch along the drawn line through the paper. Flip the paper over and fold out the strips and press apart. This is your first strip finished.
Your next strip of low volume needs to be 1/2 inch wider again that your next drawn strip. Place this new strip right sides together to the previous row and again flip over and stitch along your drawn line. This is repeated until you have covered your triangle, flipping each time and pressing the rows open. I found it helpful each time to fold along the stitching line when I was trying to work out how wide the fabric strips needed to be and then cut a 1/4 seam allowance of the previous row ( as shown below). This helps with the accuracy and prevents using a piece that is too narrow for the area you want to cover. (If you need some better instructions on this there are lots of great videos on YouTube showing you how to trim and stitch . Just google Paper piecing videos)
Once you have added all your strips you will have a step shaped triangle ( a bit like an Inca Pyramid).
Flip this piece over and trim along the edge of the right angled edges of the triangle. Finally trim 1/4 inch away from the edge of the paper diagonal. This adds the 1/4 inch seam allowance. The first half of the quadrant is now complete.
Next we need to make the triangle with the vertical stripes. Now thanks to some very kind testers of this tutorial I need to give you a WARNING!. Before you start stitching as above, we need to ensure the "asterisk" moves in the right direction so you must ensure you have the long pale strip on the left hand side of the triangle, with the pointed end at the top. I did this part wrong and had to un-pick one square. Its worth laying the completed triangle down in front of you before you start to make sure you have the vertical piece the correct way round. I think the key is to remember you are stitching from the wrong side so how it looks when you stitch will be reversed. The picture below shows you that from the right sides, the coloured strip should be on the left of your triangle and the low volumes always to the right.
The photos below are showing from the back so as you can see the stripes are in the reverse order here. Lots of attnetion is needed on this part I think. Also you need to ADD THE SEAM ALLOWANCE TO THE DIAGONAL again. To do this this time you need to make sure that each strip added is over hangs the diagonal edge of the triangle.
Again, once you have covered you paper with your strips, trim away the straight edges to match the edge of the paper and the finally 1/4 inch away from the diagonal which adds the seam allowance.
So that is the 2 elements of the quadrant complete. All you need to do now is join the 2 triangles together across the diagonal with a 1/4 inch seam as normal. Press the seam open, to ease bulk.
That's the first quadrant complete. If you have used paper this is when you should remove your paper from the back of the block, but if your like me the very light weight interfacing ( Vilene in the UK) can stay on if you like without making it too bulky.
Now just repeat this pattern using your other 3 sets of colours before finally piecing the 4 quadrants together as shown below to finish off your asterisk.
There, you are all done! As mentioned the block will now measure 11 1/2 inches, ready to be joined to its friends, giving a finished 11 inch repeat to your quilt. Please feel free to email me if you think something sounds odd in my instructions or if I can help in any other way. Oh and thanks again to Janine for her inspiration in the first place