Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Happiness is an Eight-Pointed Star, and Y-Seams Are My Super Powers

If Prince Charming was a LeMoyne Star quilt block, then Wendy Welsh of Wendy's Quilts and More would be my Patchwork Fairy Godmother.  I am just ridiculously happy about how perfect this 10" eight-pointed star block turned out on my very first try, nice and flat and zero puckers in those Y-seams, and all this was accomplished without any seam ripping or swearing, thanks to Wendy's fabulous Hand Piecing 103 - 8 Pointed Stars video.

10 inch LeMoyne Star, Block 15 for my Retro '80s Sampler Quilt

In the original Moda Modern Building Blocks quilt, this Eight Pointed Star block (also known as LeMoyne Star, Lemon Star, and Puritan Star) was simplified to be more beginner-friendly by bisecting the 45 degree diamonds into half square triangles, eliminating the set-in seams as shown below:  

I prefer the cleaner look of the traditional block with the Y-seams for my own quilts, and I relish a good piecing challenge.  This is supposed to be a skill building project, after all!

I finished the partially-pieced block I shared in my last post (also with unnecessary simplification seams removed in favor of Y-seams) and that one came out pretty good, but I'm regretting using white thread because I can see little white thread dots at the center of the block.  I might redo that center bit with red or blue thread.

Block 12 Completed, 10 inches

Block 12 from the Moda Modern Quilt Blocks Sampler was first published as Mosaic #13 in the Ladies' Art Catalog #341, according to Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns, 3rd Ed.

Although I pieced my red, white and blue Block 12 on my 9 mm Bernina 750QE machine, I got out my trusty 1935 Featherweight sewing machine to piece my blue and purple Block 15.

Love My Vintage 1935 Featherweight for Y-Seam Patchwork

Wendy's video tutorial for this block demonstrates hand piecing, which I considered briefly, but decided against because all of the other blocks in this quilt will be machine pieced.  I did not mark the seam lines on my fabric patches, but I did mark a tiny dot at each corner where the seam allowances needed to meet up so I could start and stop exactly on the dots.  The reason I prefer my straight stitch only Featherweight for this fiddly piecing is that the feed dogs are set so much closer together than they are on modern zigzag machines and the right toe of the presser foot is only 1/8" wide, so it's much easier to get right in there and stitch right up to the bulky center point with this machine.  Moreover, I often get one more stitch than I'm expecting when reversing directions on a modern electronic machine, but that doesn't happen on this fully manual machine that's nearly 100 years old.  So when I get to the little marked dot and flip the reverse lever on the front of the machine, the next stitch sews backwards to secure my stitching line every single time.  I never get that one extra unwanted stitch going forward into the seam allowance.

Following Wendy's Hand Piecing Instructions, by Machine

Per Wendy's instructions, I didn't sew through any of the seam allowances in this block and I didn't press any of my seams until the entire block was completed, either.  Then I spiraled the inner seams between the Ocean blue and Clover purple diamonds clockwise and spiraled the outer seams connecting the star to the Blueberry light blue fabric in the opposite directions, opening up and flattening the seam allowances in the center and at the inside star points with the tip of my iron.

Block 15 on the Design Wall

By the way, although this is a great block for those who enjoy hand piecing, there are some fine examples of machine pieced antique LeMoyne Star quilts out there, like this late 19th century quilt shown below (photo courtesy of the International Quilt Museum):

Here's what my design wall looks like now, with 23 of the 48 blocks for this quilt completed:

23 Blocks Completed, 25 More to Go!

I've been doing so much long arm quilting lately, and computerized quilting at that -- it felt good to cut fabric up into little pieces and sew it all back together again!  You know I am SO CLOSE to being halfway done with the blocks for this quilt; I have to make one more block before I load the next flimsy for quilting!  I started working on this sampler back in October, 2016, so if I keep working on it at this pace, I should be done with the quilt top by the end of 2026...  ðŸ˜‚

I'm linking up today's post with the following linky parties:


Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication

Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter


Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation  


Whoop Whoop Fridays at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Peacock Party at Wendy’s Quilts and More

Finished or Not Friday at Alycia Quilts

Off the Wall Friday at Nina Marie Sayre

 TGIFF Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday, rotates, schedule found here: TGIF Friday


UFO Busting at Tish in Wonderland


Frédérique at Quilting Patchwork Appliqué


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

your star looks nice crispy and flat! said...

Beautiful star blocks! They look great with all of your other blocks too! said...

Beautiful star blocks! They look great with all of your other blocks too!

Darlene S said...

Beautiful LeMoyne star block, perfectly pieced. I'll confess this design is one of my favorites, but not a design I really feel comfortable with. I will check out Wendy's approach. Thanks for sharing. I think I just need to make this block design a priority to master (with luck in 2021 or 2022).

Brenda @ Songbird Designs said...

Beautiful, Rebecca! I'm glad you have that superpower! Definitely not mine - they scare me to death! LOL

Sandy said...

Lovely Y-seams, Rebecca Grace! I've always loved the LeMoyne Star block and used to make lots of them for various things. I used Sharyn Craig's machine-piecing instructions, so I'm anxious to see how Wendy's instructions compare. :)

dq said...

I am sure piecing is a wonderful break from quilting. Your work is perfect no matter what you are doing.

Piecing things my own way instead of the pattern way happens often at my house too. Sometimes I choose what looks the best but sometimes I choose whatever method I am in the mood for.

Chris said...

Thank you. I knew there was a reason I loved sewing with my Featherweight more than the big expensive computerized ones.

chrisknits said...

It's a wonderful execution of Y-seams!! Love how the quilt is coming together. Thanks for linking up!

Jayne said...

That is pure perfection! It almost doesn't look pieced at all but a computer generated block. I've done a few Y seams and try to avoid them like the plague. Seeing this block might be changing my mind. Your blocks are gorgeous so far!

Alycia~Quiltygirl said...

You have an awesome superpower!! that block looks amazing and your quilt layout - Lovely!!!

Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl said...

Beautifully pieced; y-seams are your superpower!

Chopin - A Passionate Quilter said...

Absolutely perfecto! I like the back stitch and the fix on the Husqvarna’s I have, but I HATE THE ADDED STITCH! I am in the habit now of having to really watch out for that when doing bindings. Yesterday I quilted one of the wall hangings that were UFOs and after 3 hours of quilting (I did it wrong) I was hurting more than when I do a free motion long arm project! Now I remember why I purchased the HQ Sixteen in 2005! LOL. I will check out Wendy’s tutorial. Hugs and blessings to your Rebecca!

Sandra Walker said...

Lovely piecing! We did y-seams years ago in the guild I belonged to and they were a snap. Should revisit them! Love the transparency effect of the red, blue and white one.

Jennifer Fulton Inquiring Quilter said...

No wonder you're so happy! That's a mighty flat block. I'd be yelling from the rooftops! Thanks for sharing on Wednesday Wait Loss.

Frédérique - Quilting Patchwork Appliqué said...

Wow, lovely Y seams! Beau travail, magnifiquement exécuté, et c'est un superbe bloc qui vient s'ajouter aux autres !
Courage, plus qu'un bloc pour arriver à la moitié, et 2026 n'est pas si loin 😂.
Thank you for linking up ❤️