A Simple Foundation Pieced Snowflake
While constructing last week's blog about Tricks and Tips for foundation piecing, I happened to be looking through EQ's block library and found a simple foundation pieced snowflake - perfect for my Christmas Block-a-thon. Actually it is the Sedona's Star block but I think it looks more like a snowflake myself so I printed out a foundation for a 6" block on paper ready to get started. Note: 6" blocks can be used in Anita's Christmas quilt too.
The nice thing about this block is that I can use scraps from previous blocks which means no cutting out prior to sewing. I collected a few I thought would be suitable and cut out around the foundations. Notice I didn't even need to cut these out accurately because they'll be trimmed later.
I'll use the green for the background and the sparkly cream pieces for the main section of the snowflake.
Starting with section 1, I see I need a square so that will be easily cut from the green strip. I'll have to be careful though as the strip is only just wide enough - normally I'd like a little extra for wiggle room. A little trick I do often is to hold the fabric on the foundation up to the light to ensure it is large enough.
Pieces are added in numeric order so it is just a matter of following last week's basic instructions.
A really nice thing about foundation piecing is you do not have to cut exact 1/4" seam allowances. If they are a bit bigger or smaller, it doesn't matter because the line on the foundation is making an accurate seam..... And this means you can free form cut the seam allowance. Note: If you have pre-cut your pieces close to accurate, you might still want to use the ruler.
Sometimes with odd-shaped pieces, I audition them with the wrong side of the fabric to the printed side of the foundation to ensure I have the right shape. I fold in the seam line and again hold it up to the light to ensure it covers the area I need, then I can trim off any excess from the seam allowance so I have the right angle before adding it.
And the nice thing about this block with its four sections is you can do the same step for all sections at the same time!
When it comes to the outer sections, I want to avoid bias edges so I cut rectangles through the diagonal. I needed to be super careful here because my scrap strip was only 2-1/4" wide. I'd suggest a minimum of 2-3/4" to give that extra bit of wiggle room. I cut the rectangles to 5" in length and started/ended the cutting line about 3/4" in from the corner. Use your board (and ruler if you wish), to help align this.
You will need four rectangles in total with the diagonal cut in the opposite direction for 2 pieces. Note: this can be done by layering two rectangles together with wrong (or right) sides together.
A pair of rectangles will finish off 2 blocks.
Also note, you need to put the corner of the triangle near the edge of the paper instead of centering the section over the seam. There should be more of the pointed end hanging over the edge otherwise it won't cover these outer sections.
..... and it pays to stitch the seam right through to the outside edge of the paper at the pointed end of the triangle too.
With all the sections in place, I can now trim each block more accurately using my ruler, cutting along the dotted lines. Tip: use an old blade in the cutter as the paper will dull the blade.
All I need to do now is piece the blocks together. Again, I use the foundation as a guide to sew the blocks in pairs.
Then I carefully remove ONLY the paper within the seam allowance between the two blocks and press the seam open. This will help me match up the points for the last seam.
One trick I like to use for the last seam is to start stitching at the center point. I can put the needle down through the two sections and lift the foot to check the needle is in the correct place before starting to sew.
From here I sew out to the edge and then to complete the seam, start again at the middle and sew out to the other edge.
This was a fun block. If you'd like to make it you can download the foundation here:
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