Easy Eight For Fast, Easy Star Blocks
|December 10, 2001||in Product Reviews|
A review of
from EZ Quilting by Wrights
I am a real sucker for specialty rulers, ones that are designed to do a particular thing very well. You will notice I’ve reviewed many of this type ruler over the last couple of years. However, this one I have mixed feelings about.
Read all my ruler reviews
The Easy Eight is designed to help you make Eight-Pointed Star blocks. It helps cut the 45-degree diamonds for the eight points of the star, just as the Easy Six makes Six-Pointed Stars and Tumbling Blocks. But there is a big difference in the finished block that each ruler makes.
Read my review of the Easy Six ruler
Eight-Pointed Star blocks end up as squares, so they need extra shapes to complete them. One of the shapes is a square for the four corners. That’s easy enough.
But the other shape is a triangle. This triangle fits between the points of the stars in the middle position on each edge of the block. To make these triangles, I used the Companion Angle, another specialty ruler from EZ Quilting.
Read my review of the Companion Angle ruler
I had no trouble assembling the eight points I cut with the Easy Eight. After I cut all my diamonds, I marked the 1/4-inch seam allowance on all sides of the diamonds. Next, the instructions tell you to start sewing at the 1/4-inch point of the wide angle edge and sew to the points of the diamonds.
But I didn’t sew all the way to the points. Instead, I stopped at the intersecting 1/4-inch seam line. Then I locked the stitch so the seams wouldn’t separate when I was assembling them.
I use this approach because it makes the center of the star lie flatter. In fact, I use this approach on anything less than a 90-degree angle, and on any set-in angle. I used the same technique setting in the triangle I cut for the Eight-Pointed Star using the Companion Angle.
Odd Block Sizes
The odd thing about the Easy Eight ruler is the finished block size that it makes. The finished sizes in inches are: 3-1/2, 5, 6-7/8, 8-1/2, 10-1/4, 11-7/8, and 13-5/8. I rarely, if ever, make blocks in these sizes.
I understand why these sizes were chosen. The finished block sizes are each based on a finished diamond size. The finished diamond sizes run from one inch to four inches, in 1/2-inch steps. Having finished diamonds in these sizes makes cutting the triangles and squares needed to complete the block easier. And if you’re making a quilt of nothing but eight-pointed stars, it doesn’t matter what the finished block size is.
But I wanted to make a few 12-inch finished blocks of eight-pointed stars. After studying the chart of finished sizes, I decided to try to “fudge” a little to get from the 11-7/8 finished block size to the 12-inch finished block size that I wanted.
So I started with the 3-1/2 inch finished diamond needed to make the 11-7/8 inch finished block. I used the 3-1/2 inch diamonds without any alteration. But I drafted my Eight-Pointed Star Block on graph paper. Then I used the measurements from the graph paper to cut my squares and triangles.
When I sewed the triangles and squares to the completed star, I used slightly smaller seam allowances on the star pieces and a full 1/4 inch on the other pieces. And I fit first the interior points of the triangles and squares, leaving a little excess fabric on the triangles and squares to fall to the edge of the block. The extra fabric of the triangles and the squares sewed together perfectly, so the edges met as if I had cut all my pieces using the graph paper as a guide.
The smaller seam allowance used on the star caused the points of the star to end 1/4 inch from the edge of the block. That was exactly where they were suppose to end. And the block finished at 12 inches as planned.
I wouldn’t hesitate to use the Easy Eight for cutting diamonds for an entire quilt of Eight-Pointed Stars. But for all the extra work and uncertainty of the seams, when I need to make just a few Eight-Pointed Star blocks in a standard size, I’ll cut templates based on a graph-paper drawing.
Where To Buy: Easy Eight