Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Western Sun

 This week I started a new quilt, one I have wanted to  make for a few years. 

Here is the first block:

A few years back I saw a photo of this quilt in a Facebook group I participate in. It raised a lot of discussion, especially about the dimensions and how it was assembled. Ultimately, someone posted that this particular quilt had been published in the book Butternut and Blue by Barbara Brackman. I tracked down a copy of this now out-of-print book and began to think about making it "someday". 

As the time is now right, I have begun. After making the first test block to be sure the cutting instructions were accurate, I spent almost 8 hours one day cutting out lots of pieces. I love scrappy quilts and find it best to have lots of options for the various units ready to go as I start making blocks:

The book has three options for making the Sawtooth Star with the large circle in the middle:

1. Templates are provided to piece the entire thing, all those curved seams are pieced, by hand or machine. Most would find that challenging.

2. You can make an 8 pointed star (Lemoyne star), applique' a circle on the center and cut the star away from the back--all that hard work where 8 diamonds come together would be trash! 

3. OR there is the Easy Sew Method which I thought was brilliant. 

Make a basic Sawtooth Star, using a scrap fabric in the center. I used muslin. Prepare a circle with the template provided, then applique' it in place on the star--the center fabric is completely hidden--it serves as a "placeholder", basically. The applique' can be hand or machine done. I turned the circle edges over a template I made, gathered the edges and used a starch mixture to secure them. At night I am hand appliquéing them as I "watch" tv with my husband.

Here are 4 prepared and ready for the applique':

The layout is complex, using flying geese throughout. Eager to see how mine will look, I made one section of flying geese sashing to get the feel for it. This is another great opportunity to teach the freezer paper folded method of paper piecing:

Then I thought "What If?" I replaced the cornerstones, which are supposed to be two flying geese, with a square of a beautiful cheddar fabric? Here is that option:

The decision hasn't been made yet but I am liking the cheddar cornerstones. And the overall quilt would be less busy as they give the eye a place to rest. Time will tell. As this will be king size for our bed, it's going to take quite some time. 

UPDATE: Someone thought you might like to see Barbara Brackman's blog about this--I had seen this before--written April 15, 2017. I was planning to keep the overall look a surprise, but Google can find you anything, so here it is for your viewing pleasure now:

A group of friends will be making this together with me in 2021. It has so many great tips to share. I am excited at all the things I can show them, that will make the process easier. Eventually, when the sample is done and we all begin to travel again, I will be eager to see which guild selects this as their "workshop" choice. 

But first, next up is a 45" square sample made in contemporary bright colors--maybe a Kaffe Fasset-type large floral for the center circles. It will look really different from this 1800's reproduction version. Stay tuned!

Let's quilt.



  1. Love the cheddar cornerstones. One of Sue Garman's legacies to me is to use the "what if?" when I make decisions about quilt patterns.

  2. I love the cheddar cornerstones too! Love this and can't wait to see your progress!

  3. What if you put circles in those cornerstones? You could spend even more time with your husband.

  4. These are so beautiful! Yes you found a great way to put them together. Love the fabrics you are using. It is a great pattern for them.

  5. That is a gorgeous quilt! I like the method you are using to put the circle in its place. I look forward to seeing this grow and also seeing whether the cornerstones win. :)