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Classic Blocks: The LeMoyne Star

As a relatively new quilter, I’m always trying to soak in knowledge and find my style. The more I quilt, the more I realize I gravitate towards modern quilting. Clean lines, beautiful bright colors, not a lot of fuss. However, when I’m drawing inspiration, I keep finding myself looking back at some of quilting’s classic blocks. They are beautiful blocks that have stood the test of time for a reason. Each is unique and have so much to teach and give. That’s why I’ve decided to start a Classic Quilt Blocks series. I’ve drafted up a list of all the classic blocks that speak to me, and I’ll be learning as much as I can about each one and creating a mini quilt for each to grow as a quilter and develop new skills. First up in this series is the LeMoyne Star!

The LeMoyne Star

They say go big or go home, right? I should’ve known better than to jump into one of the hardest blocks out there first but I couldn’t help myself. The LeMoyne star is a special block that captures my heart the first time I saw it. Though to be fair, it also led to some confusion.

The Regular 8-Point star vs. the LeMoyne Star

The confusion came from seeing the regular 8-Point star, sometimes called the Sawtooth block, and the LeMoyne Star, and the Lonestar block all confused together. And it makes sense, for they have some similarities. They all have 8 points, and they have triangles and squares as setting pieces. Comparison between the LeMoyne star and 8-Point Star However, their construction is different. The proportions of each point are different because they use different shapes used in each star. In the LeMoyne Star, all interior seam lengths are the same, whereas in the 8-point star these seam lengths are different. This is because the LeMoyne star uses diamonds for each of its points, whereas other 8-Point stars are constructed from Half-Square Triangles. And this is what makes the LeMoyne star special - and hard to create. Because its shape cannot be divided into HST, you end up with Y-Seams. But this is what made me fall in love with it. It has such a clean look that I just couldn’t say no to it.

My LeMoyne Star Block

My first attempt failed. A complete and utter failure. It was going well until it wasn't. One minute I was confident I had it, the next I was staring at a crooked, bumpy mess. I tried ripping seams and re-sewing the points where I thought I went wrong and that just yielded another crooked, lumpy mess. How to fail at the LeMoyne star and Y-Seams After staring at it for a few minutes, I decided it was time to call it a day and try again later, but not before studying some more. I jumped on Pinterest and YouTube and read or watched a dozen different tutorials, all with slightly different but similar methods. The next day I made one significant change: I started bigger. Initially, I wanted this to be a mini-mini, but I realized if I wanted to succeed with on a true 8-point star, I needed to go big or go home on my first one. I ended up combining a couple of different methods, but the result had me looking like a heart-eyed emoji and dancing in my kitchen. And I only had to use my seam ripper once! Win, win. Quilting Process: The LeMoyne Star A modern spring LeMoyne Star mini quilt Machine and hand quilting detail on a star block So after completing my first successful LeMoyne Star and conquering Y-seams, here are some tips for you

Fabric Marker Is Your BFF

The trick to Y-Seams is to stop sewing 1/4 inch from the edge of your fabric. Having a foot with a 1/4 mark will be helpful, but honestly, the best thing you can do is mark your fabric. On my second attempt I might’ve gone a little overboard and marked ALL THE BORDERS, but it worked so next time, you best believe I’ll be marking all the borders again. Conquering Y-Seams

Accuracy Is King

Accuracy is important in all quilting. However, some blocks are more forgiving than others. LeMoyne Stars and Y-Seams have zero forgiveness. Even small mistakes you think you might get away with will come back to haunt you sooner or later.

For My Next LeMoyne Star

Confession: I’m kind of obsessed with this block, and I’m already planning my next LeMoyne Star adventure. I’ll be doing a variation of this block for the Pantone Quilt Challenge hosted by Bryan House Quilts and No Hats In The House. Truth is this is why I started my Classic Blocks Series with the LeMoyne star. I wanted to test it’s something I could do using my scraps before jumping into making the mini I have in mind for the challenge. Interested in the fabrics I used? They are the same as in my Tulip Bouquet Quilt, scroll to the end for links. A Modern quilter's look at the LeMoyne Star, a classic quilting block

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