The Sweetpea Star Block.

posted in: Tips, Work 5
I'm calling it "The Sweetpea Star" block. Photo: Me
I’m calling it “The Sweetpea Star” block. Photo: Me

I was invited to teach a class at the 2017 QuiltCon and the one that they want is my (new!) class on partial seaming. The block above — which is old as the hills — uses partial seaming and will be the basis of the class. I’m calling it the “Sweetpea Star” but it surely has ten names already. “Partial” and “seaming” are two words that when used together make many quilters flinch. Isn’t that something garment makers do? Surely there’s a shortcut. A special ruler, perhaps?

Yes, garment makers use partial seams, but patchwork makers can, too: including you, if cutting up big pieces of fabric into small pieces of fabric and then sewing them back together again is your cup of tea. Are there shortcuts? Special tools? For most partially seamed blocks, yeah, but if you see a killer block that uses partial seaming and then you try to find a way around doing that part, you won’t get the same thing. The shapes will be a little narrower, maybe, or a little wider. It’ll look close, but not as good.

It’s like a designer handbag: you can totally buy the knock-off version, and okay, sure, it looks pretty good. You might even get compliments on it. But there are those who will know, who will ask you where you got your bag and, because you are honest, you will say, nervously, “Oh, well, haha, you know, a store — hey, are you hungry? Let’s get a panini.”

And of course, you’ll know. You’ll know you did some dirty patchwork to avoid doing partial seams. And you’ll have to live with that. You’ll have to live with that a long time.

This is a strange way to invite guild programming officers to request my new “No-Fear Partial Seams: Sweetpea Star Block” class when you contact me about coming to a guild near you. It’s also an announcement that I’ll be teaching at QuiltCon in Savannah in February and those planning to attend should register for the class. (I’ll be teaching two blocks of it and will debut a new lecture at the show, as well.)

You can do something hard. Usually, it’s not even hard. You just tried it once (whatever it was) and it yes, it was hard, so you got it in your mind that that thing is hard and you can’t do it, so you say you don’t want to do it. But you kind of do want to do the hard thing, deep down. I don’t know about all those other people, but if you’re a quilter facing a hard situation, I have fabulous news for you:

Fabric is soft.


5 Responses

  1. Verónica Dacal
    | Reply

    I am from Mexico and I am very happy I will be at your workshop in Savannah next month, do you have a supply list, because the one that appears at the mqg page only says about the fabric, what else do I need to take there, see you soon

  2. Diane Weinhold
    | Reply

    Hello Mary,

    My name is Diane and I am a member of the Flying Geese Quilt Guild in Irvine, California. I was out of town when you taught the class for making the Sweetpea Star block. Could you please tell me where I may purchase the pattern for this block..

    Thank you.


  3. Vicki Scott
    | Reply

    I attended your quilt seminar at Wassau and have the log cabin pattern but cannot for the life of me find the
    Sweetpea Star bloc pattern. I was the one with the red glasses and you commented on them. I would be happy to buy the book with this pattern as I have the one you were selling and autographed.

  4. Vicki Scott
    | Reply

    I attended your quilt seminar in Wausau and have lost the pattern for the Sweetpea blockI I have the paper piece log cabin block but no sweetpea! Can you tell me which book has this pattern as I am keen to make it. Thank you.

  5. Bobbye Sanderson
    | Reply

    I just ordered a prescription to your quilt magazine and was wondering if this pattern is in it. Love it, and I have a collection of batiks that this pattern would look fantastic made up in them.

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