Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Goldilocks and the Eensy-Weensy Sawtooth Star

3" Sawtooth Star Sashing Post Block, Paper Pieced
1 1/2 hours of aggravation yields ONE 3" paper pieced star
Having finished my first pineapple log cabin block the other day, I decided to switch gears and go back to the bear paw quilt yesterday.  I had this great idea about setting the blocks with white sashing and 3" sawtooth star sashing posts, so I spent an hour and a half paper piecing a 3" sawtooth star.  I hated every minute of it.  First of all, I was experimenting with vellum for my foundation paper, and to my dismay, the vellum curled up immediately from the heat of my iron.  This made it really difficult to keep my itty bitty fabric pieces nice and flat.  The vellum didn't grip the fabric as nicely as regular foundation paper or copy paper, either -- the fabric was prone to slipping.  Also, the sawtooth star had to be paper pieced in four separate units, and I just felt like the foundation paper added too much bulk even though I trimmed my seam allowances to 1/8" and the 50/3 cotton thread and size 90 quilting needle were all just WAY TOO BIG for the scale of the block I was piecing.  And my thread shows in the seams, too.  Yuck.  So, if 3" sawtooth stars are what I want for my bear paw quilt, I think I'm going to piece them using traditional methods, following Sally Collins' construction techniques for piecing miniature blocks.

The thing is, once I got that star up on the design wall next to the 10 1/2" bear paw blocks, I just didn't love it like I thought I would.  I think the scale is off, and the sawtooth star is just too small.  Instead of enhancing the bear paw blocks, I feel like the tiny sawtooth star makes the bear paws look too oversized and clunky.  See what I mean?

10 1/2" Bear Paw Blocks with 3" Sawtooth Sashing Post Block

The half square triangle units (HSTs) in the bear paw blocks are 1 1/2" square, and the HSTs in the sawtooth star block are only half that size, finishing at 3/4" square.  That is just looking weird to me -- I feel like these blocks don't belong in the same quilt.  Also, I can't really see enough of the gorgeous hand marbled fabric when the sawtooth star is so small.

I happened to have a 6" sawtooth star orphan block leftover from an "oops" on my Jingle BOM quilt, so I tossed that up on the wall just to see how that size would look with the bear paw blocks.  In a 6" sawtooth star, the HST units are the same 1 1/2" as the ones in the bear paw blocks:
Auditioning for Scale, 6" versus 3" Sawtooth Stars

Ignoring the fabric, doesn't the size of the larger sawtooth block look a little better?  Actually, this Goldilocks thinks that the 3" sawtooth star is too small, the 6" sawtooth star is too big, and perhaps a 4" sawtooth block will be just the right size.  A 4" sawtooth star block would also have a ruler-friendly 1" grid.  That's what I'll try next.

Meanwhile, I think it's time to start another pineapple log cabin block!  Since it's Wednesday, I'm joining up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced and WOW WIPs on Wednesday at Esther's blog.  I'm looking forward to seeing how everyone else's Love Entwined quilts are coming along.  Happy stitching, everyone!


Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

LOL - I'm not sure how many times I have tried paper piecing and almost always toss a block or two in the trash and not try to fix it
Your blocks look great

The Colorful Fabriholic said...

You can still have 3" wide sashing with sawtooth stars at the intersections. Just attach triangle pieces to the ends of your sashing strips, and use a solid post of the same color. For each triangle point, cut a 2" square, draw a diagonal line on the back of it, place it right sides together at one corner of your sashing strip, and stitch on the line. Cut away the excess past the 1/4" seam allowance. The triangle points will extend out from the posts, forming star points.

Anonymous said...

This is my first time visiting your blog--you've got some really great & fun details that make it your own. I love the "Thus spake..." at the top of each post. Very funny.

I don't mind the tiny sawtooth in terms of size--I think the red gives it more punch than it would in some other color. I would hate to piece them, however, so I don't blame you one bit for playing with other sizes. I look forward to learning which route you take with it. :)

Rebecca Grace said...

Ooh, I didn't even think of Colorful Fabriholic's idea! I need to store that in the back of my brain for another project, though. If I did it that way on this quilt, the points of my sawtooth stars would be touching the points of my bear paws, and I think I want some white space in between to give me more options for decorative quilting around the sawtooth stars.

the momma said...

I'm thinking you just might be right about the 4" sawtooth.

I am not a paper piecing fan. I think I bit off more than I could chew with my last PP quilt.... I was hoping that the PERFECT POINTS (that somehow didn't end up all being perfect after all?!)would make it worth all the pain in the butt parts, but it didn't work that way for me (probably something to do with the *not* perfectness after all ;-)

greg @ grey dogwood studio said...

I love the star post idea. I agree with you about the two stars - one seems too small and the other too large. And the larger star would mean a wider sashing - the bear paws might float too much. The medium sized star seems like it might be just right - and how about piecing it with 4 flying geese instead of paper piecing? I'm sure that it would be much faster once you figure out the measurements.

Lara B. said...

Even though that tiny saw tooth star is the cutest thing, you are so right Rebecca about the larger one being more in balance. I go through this experimental process all the time. Sometimes it's fun and sometimes... not so much. Your hour and a half would grow shorter as you smoothed out the bumps in the process and did it assembly line style. I'm always dismayed over how long a first block takes.

Vivian said...

Ahhh, design decisions! I see your dilemma and was going to ask "so what happened, what did you do?" but fortunately this is a Tuesday Archive post! The "You Might Like" linky shows that there is a Part 3 to this story (and I think I see a picture of a red 4" star) so I'm going there right now to answer my own question because enquiring minds want to know.......

Val's Quilting Studio said...

Vivian's comment cracked me up! Thanks for sharing at T.A.