Starting my Solstice Star Sampler

When I brought my queen size charming stars quilt out of hibernation to finally complete it I had the brilliant thought that I should combine machine quilting and hand quilting after I pieced the top. I had such a love hate relationship with that quilt that I couldn’t bear to let it be my first hand quilt project so I figured that once it was all pieced I’d let it go back into hibernation and whip up a little sampler quilt to use as a test run for hand quilting. I’d had these two fat quarter bundles from Joann’s and I thought these prints plus a couple solids would make a great sampler project and because I lack self control when I dropped off Christmas quilt #3 to the shop I picked up some coordinating solids. The grey is much more of a warm grey/beige color than you see in the pics is quite lovely and unlike most colors I’ve worked with before. It lets the prints really pop. I love the solstice star quilt along and have always wanted to try paper piecing but know I’m not ready to commit to a full paper piecing quilt so I knew this would be just the right combination!  The star blocks are a bit more complicated than most blocks I’ve put together and require much more precision than I’m accustomed to but I know I’m up to the challenge. Solstice Star Sampler PlanningI sat down with the graph paper, colored pencils and fat quarters and got to planning. (Update: as I’ve sewn blocks I’m swapped out some fabric based on balance either for the set or the block itself.) 3 blocks are standard piecing and 2 are paper piecing  I’m going to knock out the standard piecing blocks first and then use the paper piecing ones as my challenge to finish blocks. For the 6th star I’m going to add a 3rd paper piece from the Summer Sampler Series As far as how this quilt will come together I’m thinking a little less traditional than all my other quilts which tend to be pattern all over with border.  I this one will be a row of 6 stars with 2″ sashing between each.  There will be 20″ of background fabric above and 58″ of background fabric below.  The bottom will have a chain of hexies appliques about 10″ from the bottom. This will yield a 86×90 full sized quilt. The challenge there will be that I plan to use my home machine to do the quilting but long straight lines through the solid then hand quilting the blocks and hexies shoulgn’t be too bad….right? I’m glad I Photoshopped (note colors in my Photoshopping are not accurate) to get the measurements just right and to check the proportions. I had originally planned on 2″ hexagons but realized they were too small and that a 4″ hexagon would feel more proportional with the larger blocks.

This is the quilt design I plan to use for my sampler quilt with 4" hexagons at the bottom

This is the quilt design I plan to use for my sampler quilt with 4″ hexagons at the bottom and combine home machine and hand stitching

My original plan was 2" hexagons in a chain but after creating the comp in Photoshop I see that the quilt lacks balance

My original plan was 2″ hexagons in a chain but after creating the comp in Photoshop I see that the quilt lacks balance

[clear h=20] I don’t have a timeline that I’ll be working all these pieces but I’m so eager to try paper piecing for the first time and really practice precise block making that I’m sure they’ll be done quickly! Watch here for updated links to posts about each block!

Part of my Solstice Stars Series Quilt

Thanks to Faith of Fresh Lemons Quilts for such a great project and wonderful tutorials! You can view all my solstice star quilt along posts here!

Fresh Lemons Quilts Solstice Stars Series