Please read all directions thoroughly before beginning this project.
This project was made from 1 fat quarter of blue, two fat quarters of red, and about 5/8 yard of white.
I used Michael Miller's Fairy Frost--mostly because the quilt shop didn't have red, white, and blue batiks.
This project would work equally as well if made from stash fabrics, left over jelly roll strips (although it would still need a fat quarter of the blue), or a variety of scraps.
I also used some scraps of thin white batting behind the raw edge stars, and 32 x 36 inch pieces of white batting (Quilter's Dream Request or Mountain Mist Rose are nice and drapy) and white bleached muslin. A very low contrast, very light colored backing would work as well.
From 1 red fat quarter cut 2.25 inch strips for binding and put aside.
From the second red fat quarter, cut 7 strips 2.5 inches x 22.5 inches (in other words, from the longest side of the fat quarters) Does not have to be exact because we'll be trimming the to 20.5 inches.
From white, cut 8 strips, 2.5 inches x 22.5 5 inches (or 4 strips the width of the yardage).
From the blue, cut one 10 1/2 inch X 18 1/2/ inch rectangle and two 2/12 inch rectangles.
Piece three red/white sets of strips.
Sew a red strip to just one pair so that you have a red/white/red set. Then piece all sets together so that you have a set of red and white strips with red on each end, for a total of seven alternating stripes in the set. Red/white set of strips should be 26.5 inches wide. Trim so that the strips are 20.5 inches long (although they may be longer if so desired).
Cut one white strip into two 10.5 inch rectangles and piece each white rectangle to a 2.5 inch blue rectangle. Stitch each white edge to the 10.5 edge of the large blue rectangle. Check to be sure the new blue/white section measures 10.5 inches x 26.5 inches.
Press all seam allowances away from the white.
Pin the blue/white section to the red/white section, and stitch together. I found it was easier to keep the red/white section on to of the blue/white sections so I could keep all the seams turned in the correct directions. The only slightly tricky part is that the two outer seams on each side of the blue/white section will not nest--but that's because we want to avoid any shadowing in the white that could be created by nesting seams.
This completes the piecing of the top. Press top and layer with batting and batting. I basted with safety pin because I wanted to wait until this point to add stars.
I began by practicing drawing some of the five pointed stars we've been drawing since kindergarten or first grade. Then, using a sheet of card stock and a pencil, I placed five dots around an imagined center point and drew a star. The size you choose for these stars is totally optional.
The next step is to cut around the original star a short distance outside the drawn lines, rounding the starpoints slightly. (I cut probably about 3/16 inch outside the lines.
Lay the card stock star on the back of a square of white fabric and trace around it.
Cut out the fabric star.
Lay the fabric star right side up on a scrap of thin batting.
Sew around the star on the very edge of the print. The reason for this step is that if we just appliqued the stars to the blue background, the background would shadow through.
[An alternative approach to this step would be to sew the star, print side down, to the adhesive side of a piece of heavy iron-on interfacing; then trim the star with a 1/4 inch seam allowance, cut a slit in the interfacing, turn the star right side out, iron it into position on the blue, then applique it by machine or by hand.]
I chose to trim the batting close to the star.
I chose to make three of these stars. It would be equally appropriate to choose another number of stars, perhaps one for each family member. Most often an odd number of stars will be more interesting in the finished project.
The next step is to sew-quilt the stars. I recommend lowering the feed dogs and using a darning/quilting foot. (If the feed dogs on your machine do not lower, ignore them or set the stitch length at zero.) Begin stitching on a straight section of the star close to the edge, and go around each star two or three times, moving inward each time. You could also remove the pin and quilt a little design inside the star. (I didn't.)
For a fast quilt, just stitch in the ditch of all seams or add some cross-hatching in the star section.
After quilting but before binding, cut two 6.5 inch triangles from white, press them in half diagonally, and align them with the two top corners. They'll become quick and easy supports for a dowel rod for hanging.
Add binding, sign your quilt in some way, and the quilt is done.
Of course, I couldn't stop there! I omitted the ditch stitching and stitched designs all over. (See previous post.)
Here it is in all its quilty goodness adorning our front door.
Here's the dowel rod holding the back. I already had this 1/8-inch dowel rod, and it was the perfect length, but when I get a chance I'll get a 1/4 inch dowel cut to size.
As I was making this, I photographed some additional tips that I'll post later.
Perhaps the best thing about this wall hanging is that with the information in this tutorial, you can make all sort of variations. A Canadian variation would work with all red and white fabric and red maple leaves. How about a Seashore variation in sand, white, and light blue with starfish or seahorses instead of stars? A car variation would be great for a little boy. For a musician or music lover the number of stripes could be reduced to six white and five black; the quilt could be rotated so the black background was on the left, and it could be appliqued with brightly colored notes and a bass or treble clef sign (or a tenor clef sign for a cellist).
I quilted "Liberty" in cursive right in the center of the quilt. To add to more minimal quilting, after stitching in the ditch, stitch various patriotic words in the stripes.
Or, for a grandparent, print and piece a photograph of family or grandchildren into the top section and quilt names and birth dates into the stripes.
For travelers, print a map in the top section and memorable sites visited in the stripes.
With some borders, it would make a great prayer quilt (I prayed for our nation as I made it) or a gift for an armed forces veteran.
We're limited only by our imaginations!
Yes, I do have the problem of coming up with many more ideas than I can ever quilt much faster than I can even write a list of them.
If you make this little quilt or some variation, I would love, love, love it if you would share photos with me!
Special thanks to Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night and Lori Kennedy of The Inbox Jaunt for inspiring the quilting in the star section.
Happy quiltmaking...and knitting.
Have a wonderful holiday weekend.