I had a request to do a tutorial for Lisa Bongean's Alternate for Block 10. It is a challenging block and I did approach it in a slightly different way, but here it is. Her pattern can be found at the bottom of her blog post here:
This block has some tiny pieces so I highly recommend that you starch your fabric before cutting and that you take your time and sew s-l-o-w-l-y These tiny pieces also benefit from a smaller stitch length-I am using the 2.1 setting on my machine which is 12 stitches per inch.
First I will work with the center star. I decided to simplify this by doing an easy method for making flying geese. This means I changed the cutting directions for the B and D pieces.
B-cut 4: 1" x 1½" rectangles
D-cut 8: 1" x 1" squares
To make the Flying Geese units I drew a diagonal line on the back side of the F squares using a pencil and placed one on top of each B rectangle.
These are tiny pieces so I am sewing very slowly one needle width to the outside of my line.
Trim off the excess 1/4 inch from the seam line. Press the seams open rather than to one side.
Lay another F square on the opposite side of the unit and sew in the same way as before.
I have learned to check to make sure that my triangle covers up the rectangle underneath before trimming away the excess. Press the seams open.
The Flying Geese units need to measure 1" x 1½." If they need trimming be sure that the diagonal line on your ruler lines up with the diagonal seam and that there is 1/4 inch of seam allowance from the point of the triangle.
Now I can lay out the pieces to make the center star and stitch the rows together.
I pressed towards the outside on the top and bottom rows and pressed towards the center on the middle rows. This will allow me match the seams when I sew the rows together and is not creating too much bulk for this tiny star block.
I pin at the seams and SLOWLY stitch the rows together.
I want my needle to land right at the tip of the white triangle, not on it but just at the tip where the tow fabrics come together. This will help me get those sharp points we all desire. This is also where having an accurate 1/4 inch seam is very important.
When finished the center star block needs to measure 2½" x 2½." If trimming is needed make sure that you have 1/4 inch from the points of your star for the seam allowance.
While I am working on the next section I have given the little star a spritz of water and set my hot iron on it for about 10 seconds. (I have a towel underneath my block.) Next I lay one of my larger square rulers on top of it and will keep it there until it cools completely.
This is a little trick that helps blocks to lay flatter.
Okay, on to cutting the pieces for the next part. Do not be intimidated by the directions for cutting the H squares. 1 3/16" is right in the middle of the 1/8" and 1/4" marks on your ruler. I am posting photos of how this looks with both my Itty Bitty Eights ruler and my regular ruler. The Itty BItty Eights does have a little dash line that indicates the middle which is nice,
And a regular ruler works well too.
These are the pieces needed for the next round.
Everything is cut according to Lisa's directions here and will go together like this.
To begin line up one of the B triangles on the H square matching the edges as shown.
The corners of the triangle will stick out a bit and that is okay.
I have flipped the H square on top to sew. Press the seams open.
I should have trimmed that little tail off first before adding the next triangle to the H square. Oh well. Align the edges of the triangle and square
Sorry for the fuzzy photo...line up the needle in the notch that the two triangles make and sew along the edge,
Trim the extra bits off and press the seams open.
Now I can add the two blue triangles to the unit. LIne the first one up as shown.
This time we are sewing on the bias of that triangle which is very stretchy.
Just go slow- do not pull on it and it will be fine.
Press open and trim off the extra along this edge.
Line up the second triangle on the other side as shown, matching the edges of the diagonal and one straight side.
Go slow! Another sign of a good 1/4 inch seam is that my needle will land right on the notch where the two triangles meet. Press this seam open.
These units should measure 1½ x 2½." I they need trimming make sure that the 1¼" mark on the ruler falls at the points of the red square and you have 1/4 inch of seam allowance on both sides of it.
Now these units are ready to be added to the center star. Once again, I am pressing the seams on the top and bottom row towards the outside and the middle towards the center star.
After sewing the rows together I pressed these seams open.
Now I can make the final units.
Sewing these triangles together is the trickiest part of this block.
I lay the first two triangles so that the white one extends 3/8 of an inch beyond the red one.
That may seem odd, but is the easiest way to get the correct size for this unit.
Press the seam open and then lay the next triangle on top, making sure it extends 1/3 of an inch beyond the block.
Sew a 1/4 inch seam and press the seam open.
I am checking my measurement here before proceeding to make sure I have 1/4 inch above the tip of the red triangle for a seam allowance.
To add the blue triangles line up the diagonal and straight edge of the unit and triangle piece, matching the upper corner points.
Stitch and press open towards the blue triangle.
Add the second triangle in the same way.
These units should measure 1½" x 4½." Notice that the tip of the red square is 1/4 inch from the edge and the two points of the white triangles are also 1/4 inch from the other edge. Trim.
These units are ready to be added to the rest of the block now. Join the rows first.
The top and bottom rows are pressed towards the C square.
With all of the seams in the middle row I decided it was best to fan this seam open for pressing.
Join the rows together, pinning where the seams join. And It is finished. Whew!
This was certainly a challenging block but I am glad I decided to give it a try.
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