What is a One Block Wonder (OBW)? I bought Maxine Rosenthal’s book “One Block Wonders” in 2006 and was totally awestruck! So much so, that I have made 79 hexagon OBW’s since. Whether you are making hexagons or octagons your are creating kaleidoscope blocks – each one unique by using one fabric, one shape for one of kind quilts! With hexagon OBW’s you cut 6 identical repeats and with octagon OBW’s you cut 8 identical repeats.
Octagons are used in the cover photo.
In 2007 I bought Alexander Henry’s fabulous fabric “Lion Eyes”. I always buy at least 6 yards. This time I had 12 yards in my stash.
I made my 27th hexagon OBW and named it “Just Lion Around” It was included in Maxine Rosenthal’s 4th book One Block Wonders of World.
I made my first OBW in 2006. That year I made 16 OBW’s. It only took me 14 years to finally make my first octagon One Block Wonder!
Cutting the Repeats: I cut my 8 identical repeats and aligned them just as I would for a hexagon OBW. Now it is time to cut octagon and corner triangle strips. You can make octagon OBW’s in any size. Following Maxine’s suggestion I cut my octagon strips 4″ wide. Maxine said to cut the strips for the corner triangles 2 3/4″ wide. I am a Studio 180 Design Certified Instructor. You may be able to take the girl out of the studio…but you will never take the studio (180) out of the girl!
Instead of 2 3/4″ strips, I cut my corner triangle strips 3″ wide, that would give me a little more to trim off the completed octagon blocks. After I aligned and trimmed one long edge of the repeats, I re-measure the width of my repeat to verify how may strips I can cut. My trimmed, aligned repeat measured 23″. For every two strips used to make octagons, cut one strip for the “Sensational Squares” (corner triangles). If I cut four 4″ strips and two 3″ strips it equals 22″. Now I know I have enough fabric in my repeat without cutting myself short.
As I said earlier: You may be able to take the girl out of the studio…but you will never take the studio (180) out of the girl! I am using Studio 180 Design’s Wedge Star Tool to cut my wedges for the octagon blocks.
The beauty of the Wedge Star tool is you can make octagons in sizes 3″ to 24″.
I found it easier to cut both left and right wedges by placing the octagon strip vertically on my cutting table and pull the strip toward me as I cut. The Wedge Star tool instructions show how to cut the units horizontally also:
Continue cutting your wedge units. I got 23 wedges per strip.
From the 3″ strips cut your 3″ squares using your Tucker Trimmer I.
Cut you squares diagonally once and set aside.
Because hexagons are made with equilateral triangles you have 3 choices as how to design your block. With Octagons you only have one choice, the narrow end of the wedge is always the center.
Align two wedges and chain stitch the four pair.
As with hexagons, press all seams open. I love my Strip Sticks for that.
Remove “dog ear” and sliver trim the wedge pair. Righties orient the wedge pair so the 90 degree corner is in the upper right (lefties orient the wedge pair so the 90 degree corner is in the upper left). Align the common diagonal line on the Tucker Trimmer with the seam and slide it toward the corner just until the sides of the tool touch the very edge of the wedge pair and trim. Note there may be just a few whiskers trimmed here. This is called Trueing up your 90 degree angles and will create a much more square unit.
Match up two wedge pairs, stitch them together and press seams open.
Find the center of the two wedge halves by placing a pin where the two seams meet in both units and align the halves. Pin close to both sides of the first pin, then remove the pin in the center. This will help to center you octagon wedge halves.
Stitch your wedge halves together.
Press your seams open.
I placed my octagons on the design wall as I made them. This helped me to see what I had.
Here I am looking at life through rose colored glasses. again Time to sort the octagons. Looking at the octagons through red plastic helps me to sort the octagons by value. If you didn’t know, I have been battling breast cancer. I am responding well to treatment, but as my hair grows back, I’m noting a resemblance to the Old Man Dancing for the Six Flags commercials.
Sorting the octagons by predominate color or value was more difficult than I thought it would be. I think because the octagons don’t nest with each other as the hexagons do, you don’t get the same flow and movement. I’m saying this because after I added the corner triangles i wasn’t as happy with the design. Take your designing!
Tip: This is most important tip! Place a flower pin in the top wedge of each octagon! By doing this you will be able to easily orient the octagons as you remove and place them back on the design wall. It will keep your brains from falling out!
Adding the “Sensational Squares” (corner triangles).
One set of corner triangles is laid out as shown above making a kaleidoscope square.
Those squares will fit into the space between 4 octagons.
When you step back from the design wall, the square will appear to be gone as the 4 octagons blend together.
I worked with one row at time, deciding which set of corners to add. Remove one octagon at a time and stitch the triangle to the appropriate octagon wedge. In affect, you will be adding corners that effect two rows at a time. In the end, each octagon will have a different triangle on each corner.
Center the octagon wedge over the corner triangle and stitch. Press toward the corner triangle. Remember Deb Tucker’s tip when pressing: “whatever you are pressing toward, always goes on top”!
Above shows the corner triangles added to the inner octagons.
Once the inner octagons have the corners added, continue adding the final corner triangles to the outside edges of the octagons.
Trimming the Octagon Blocks: The octagon units need to be squared up to 6 1/2″.
If you don’t know the beauty of using the Tucker Trimmer you will love this. The Tucker Trimmer is marked with a “Common Diagonal line and Size Lines to help you perfectly center each unit or block for trimming. For righties the Common diagonal line is placed on the center seam going from the bottom left to the upper right. The 6 1/2″ size line is positioned from the upper left to the lower right going through the center of the block. The size line and common diagonal line should intersect in the center of the block centering it perfectly for squaring up. Trim up the right side and across the top. Rotate the block place the 6” clean up lines of the Tucker Trimmer on just trimmed lines of the block. Trim up the right side and across the top.
When all the octagons are trimmed it’s time to stitch your blocks into rows and then join your rows to complete your quilt. My layout was 9 X 10 = 90 – 6″ finished blocks measuring 57″ X 63″ unquilted. I learned a lot in this process. I think my layout would have been more satisfying if I had left it more random. I was trying to create an oval shape with the lighter blocks in the center. But there wasn’t enough contrast between the medium and light blocks. I’ve always been a little contrast challenged.
Check out my post Hallucinating With My Spirit Animal for more ways to use your Wedge Star Tool.
The Spiderweb Quilt Below can also be made using the Wedge Star tool.