Monday, August 15, 2011

STARS Quilt Along - Block 1

Yippee Skippee,  It's Here!!!  First, let me apologize that this post is up much little later than I would have liked.  Oh my goodness, things have been a bit crazy, to say the least.  I had family come into town this weekend that I wasn't expecting and so spent most of the weekend with them during which time my camera took a swim in Emerald Pools at Zion.  It now has some serious issues of wanting to behave.  And on top of it all, I shipped my fabric to my old address in IN.    Like I said, Crazy!!!  So with that Apology . . . Let's get to the BLOCK 1 TUTORIAL!!!!!


So as mentioned earlier, for the Queen size, you will be doing 6 blocks each of 6 different star pattern blocks.  Now, to give each quilt  it's own individuality, I have given measurements for 5 different sizes for the star part of that block.  Each block will be the same size when completed by adding our wonky sashing but the inner star part can vary in size according to your preference.  I plan to do 2 Block 1's  in 3 different sizes for a total of 6 Block 1's.  You can choose to do any variation of sizes you would like.    (If you are doing a smaller size, it is probably best to divide the total number of blocks you want by the 6 different blocks we will be making and then make that many Block 1's in varying sizes, or all the same if you wish :)

So, once you have decided on your star sizes you can use the following chart as your cutting guide.  I know this is small to see but if you click on it, it will open in a new window much larger :)

Now, I know most of you can probably just refer to the above and do all of your cutting no problem.  But for those out there that are beginners, or those that just want to see how I cut my yardage, the following will go over cutting out your pieces from yardage.  Also, I tried to keep the Background yardage (mine is white) as close as possible without a ton of waste so if you need some tips on how best to cut your yardage to minimize waste you can follow along as well.

First off, always make sure you iron your yardage before cutting.  I tend to iron the area that I will be working with.  It only takes a minute and makes a big difference.  Once your yardage is pressed, lay it out on your mat with the folded line along the horizontal 0 line on your mat.  If you don't have a nice straight edge, use your ruler lined up along the last vertical line of your mat and cut a straight edge.

Now the best way to not waste is to cut a strip for the Goose Triangle Square first.  This is for a 10" Block 1 so I have cut a 6 1/4" strip by measuring over 6 1/4" from the edge of my fabric and aligning my ruler along the top and bottom grid lines on my mat and cutting.

Now go ahead and open your fabric as you don't need 2 layers.  Trim the selvage off the top.  Now to make the square, simply measure down from that newly trimmed line however large your square is and cut.  (Once again, I measured down 6 1/4").

(And this is where my camera had an issue and deleted a picture I had taken.  Sorry.)  You then want to measure down to cut your White Corner Blocks.  So find out the size of those squares.  You can cut 2 out of the width of this strip.  So measure down (mine is 3") and cut and then measure down again (once again, mine is 3") and cut.  Then simply subcut those two rectangles into four size corner squares (mine are 3"x 3") and you will have just have two 1/4" strips left over that can be trashed.

***Now I know you are going to want to cut the strips out of what is left but it is actually best to set it aside and use it again the next time you are doing a block of this size.  It will conserve more fabric.

So, now you can pull out your yardage again and you will be cutting out strips for the sashing.  You will need 2 strips.  So find what size sashing you need on the chart (mine are 2 1/4" wide) and cut 2 strips that are that width by the entire length of the fabric.  A little trick, if you use another ruler you can double check your measurement by laying it up along side your long ruler.  Then just make sure the cut edge is along the measurement of your width :)

Once you have your 2 strips cut you can sub-cut them to the length needed.  Just use your long ruler to measure in the desired length.     You should be able to get the 2 long sashings and 1 short sashing out of one strip and then the other short sashing out of the second strip.  Set the remaining sashing aside to be used once again when you are doing another Block this size :)

So that is your yardage cut, and you there was hardly any waste!  Good job!!  Just as review, you should have 1 Goose Square, 4 Corner Squares, 2 long sashings, and 2 short sashings.  Alright!!

Now for your print materials, I didn't bother to show ways to cutting as I know some are using yardage, some are using fat quarters, and some are using layer cakes.  Just try to conserve the best you can :)  So referring to the chart above you will cut one Center Square out a a fabric of your choice (referred to as fabric A) and then cut 4 smaller Squares that will be used to make the star points out of a different fabric of your choice (referred to as fabric B).  And if you wanted to add a little bit of random you could always do one in the same prints for A and B, it is totally up to you :)  You can make this as individual as you choose to!!


Okay, so I don't know about you, but my first quilt had tons of flying geese and I learned to be afraid of them.  Trying to sew on those little triangles was such a pain.  But never fear, there is now a much easier way to make flying geese blocks and you don't waste any fabric at all.  So here is how it is done.

With right sides together, lay two of your smaller print squares onto your large background square as shown.  Using your ruler, draw a pen line diagonally from the top left corner to the bottom right corner.

Now go ahead and pin both sides of each square adjacent to that drawn line.  Make sure to put them out far enough that your presser foot won't hit them as you sew on by :)  You will now be stitching a 1/4" seam along both sides of the drawn line (the black lines represent your stitching lines :)

To do this, align the 1/4" marker on your presser foot with the drawn line and sew down one side of the drawn line, rotate your fabric, and then sew down the opposite side of your drawn line.  **Note - If you food does not have a 1/4" marker on it you will want to draw the 1/4" line with a ruler and then sew directly on those two drawn lines.

Go ahead and clip your threads and then align your ruler along the drawn center line.  Cut your pieces apart along that drawn line.

Now you will want to press each piece towards your print fabric.  Don't these look like cute little hears :)

Now, grab your remaining two print squares and align them on your two pieces as follows with right sides together.  Once again, draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of the print squares from corner to corner.

Now go ahead and pin each piece far enough out that your foot will go by and then once again, stitch a 1/4" seam along both sides of the drawn diagonal line.

Go ahead and clip your threads and then using your ruler aligned along the drawn line, once again, cut your 2 seperate pieces apart.

Now just press towards the print again.  You will be pressing 4 individual pieces.

Lastly, trim away all those little corners and WhaLa!!!  You have 4 perfect flying geese without stitching together and triangles and without wasting any fabric!!  Super easy!!!


Now you have all of the pieces you need to put your block together.  Grab all of your pieces except for the sashings and lay them out as follows.  We will be stitching these in rows first and then putting the rows together.

So let's make some rows.  Lay the left hand pieces onto the center pieces with right sides together and pin.  Then lay the right hand pieces onto the center pieces with right sides together and pin.

Now you will stitch a 1/4" seam along all 6 of those pinned edges.  A small hint, to get really stellar points, make sure that when you are stitching the second or center row, that your stitch line goes directly through the center of the x that was made by your previous stitching of the flying geese.  (See the picture below)

Once all 6 seams are stitched, clip your threads and press.  You will want to press your second or center row in and your first and third rows out.  This way you will be able to nest your seams in the next step.

And this is what your block should look like now.  Everyone still with me, sweet!!

Now it is as simple as stitching the rows together.  So lay your first row onto your center row with right sides together.  Make sure that you match up your seams first, they should nest together just nicely.  Pin those and then pin your edges.  Now lay your third row up onto your center row with right sides together and pin the same.  Sew a 1/4" seam along both pinned edges.  Once again, make sure to cross right through the center of that x created from your previous piecing for nice perfect points.

Clip your threads and go ahead and press your seams.  I like to press these seams open to help avoid bulk but you can do whatever you are comfortable with.

And now you should have a beautiful block that looks something like this!!  And now you are ready to make it wonky!!  Let's go :)


To make the block wonky we first have to add the sashings.  So grab those sashings that have been sitting aside and lay them out as follows.

First, we will add the top and bottom sashing.  Just lay your sashing onto the top and bottom of your block with right sides together.  Pin the edge and then stitch a 1/4" seam along the pinned edge.

Another hint - when sewing sashings on to pieces it helps to just run your finger underneath the 2 layers when you get to a seam to make sure your seams are still laying the way you pressed them.  This just helps keep bulk down.  Also, if you are using white for sashing, you will most likely be able to see the points of your print underneath.  Once again, if you make sure to cross your stitch right over the top corner of your point you will end up with super nice points :)  

Once you have stitched along the top and the bottom of your block go ahead and clip your threads and then press out towards the sashing.

Now you can add the sides the exact same way as you did the bottom.   Pin, stitch, clip, and press :)

And your block is sashed and ready to become wonkified (not a real word but it looks fun :)

Grab your 12 1/2" square ruler.  Now if you don't have a 12 1/2" square ruler no worries.  You have 2 options.  Option 1 - Go our and buy one (they really are a handy little ruler to have and you can get them at JoAnn's with your coupons :)  or Option 2 - Tape 4 pieces of cardstock together, measure out 12 1/2" x 12 1/2" and cut so that you have a template.

Lay your ruler, or template onto your block.  Now spin it as much or as little as you like making sure that the edges are still within the edges of your block.  (It won't be a super angle but remember, a little wonky goes a long way :)  Play with it until you get the angle you like.  *** EDIT You will want to make sure that as you cut each of your blocks you alternate between having the top right corner of your ruler lean up, and the top right corner of your ruler lean down. Meaning make sure your use opposite angels.  This way some of your blocks will lean right and some will lean left.

Now simply trim away the excess from the outside of your template or ruler.

And Ta Da!!!  You have a finished 12 1/2" x 12 1/2" Wonky Block 1!!!!

Now you can go back and make 5 more (or how ever many you want for your size quilt)  Not to tuff right!!!  This Block 1 is the easiest, but they don't get to much tuffer.  I am just so excited!!!!  Can you just imagine it, Different Blocks, Different Size Stars, and Different Angles.  Oh my goodness, I get giddy just thinking about it!!!  It will be just like a constellation of stars!!!

And don't forget, we all want to see your progress, so be sure to post your first set of Block 1's in our Flickr Group :)  I can't wait to see your Block 1's!!!

And as always, should you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email me at happyquiltingmelissa (at gmail (dot) com!!
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  1. yay! i talked my buddy into doing this quilt along with me and can't wait to get started! thanks for the great instructions - looks like I get to try a new technique too for the goose blocks :)

  2. thank you so much Melissa...I plan on getting started tomorrow!!

  3. I can't wait to get started! Your instructions are wonderful!! Thank you! I've never made anything like this before or made it wonky!! I fear the wonky more than the geese lol...I hope I don't mess it up :)

  4. Your instructions are great! I hope to get started on this tonight!

  5. I started tonight, it looks like its going ok. Im pretty excited. Now we can vary star sizes for block 1, but should we keep the fabric A and B the same? Or should it vary? Or is it just preference? Which one are you doing, same or diff fabric? Will all the stars be wonky? Sorry for so many questions, just getting it all sorted in my brain. Lol

  6. Woo Hoo here we go, just finishing up the Rockin Row Robin QAL, and going to start this one in it's place. :D

  7. This should be fun! Hope to start on it tomorrow.

  8. Thanks Melissa. Hope to get started tomorrow.
    will be fun to do the Flying geese block.

  9. Very clear instructions :) My fabric just arrived so I can get started after work :)

  10. This is great - loving your instructions...very clear and easy to understand!
    This is going to be so much fun!!

  11. Thanks for this quilt-along... I've decided to jump in! It looks fun and your directions are clear.

  12. I normally hate flying geese but this looks like a fool proof way to do them.

  13. Great tutorial. Thank you so much for doing this!!!!! I hope you saved at lease a little of your old ironing board cover. I think its cute. :)

  14. Always been afraid of flying geese. You make it look easy. I'll try a few this way.

  15. Okay, this looks doable! I will be getting started as soon as my darn fabric arrives (any day now!)

  16. I started cutting out fabric last night! Finally! I didn't think I would make it there for a while. I think I will do one of each size and just not have a queen sized quilt. Queen sized is a bit large for my second quilt top, eh?

  17. Squeeeee!! I just finished making my first star (using vintage sheets and a light mocha flannel) and it's adorable -- and soft!! You make this type of piecing almost easy! Thanks for a great write up and I can't wait to try another star!

  18. I just sat down to start my squares and saw that I'm suppose to iron before cutting, whoops. So I pulled out my iron and fabric and ironed my first fat quarter. Now I'm stuck. Can I fold it or roll it back up or should I only iron before I cut because I keep ironing and it still has creases from being folded into a fat quarter square.


Thank you so much for your sweet comments. I just love hearing from you!!
Have a Happy Quilting Day :)