Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Seeing Stars Quilt-Along - Improv Star Block

**  NOTE  - This post is part of a series of posts for the Seeing Stars Quilt-A-Long.  If you would like to join (and have a chance to win one of three $75.00 Gift Certificate grand prizes sponsored by  Fat Quarter Shop you can find a list of the post links here :)  Here is the schedule

September 5th - Improv Star Block (That's Today!!)
September 12th - Basic Star Block
September 19th - Applique Star Block
September 26th - Piecing Top and Grand Prize Linky
October 17th- Seeing Stars Parade and Grand Prize Winners

Now, first off for this week, we need to pick a winner for the Curvy Star Block Assignment.   And I just have to say, you all are amazing!!!  Your Curvy Star Blocks just looked fantastic, and for a lot of you, it was your first time sewing curves ;)  That is incredible!!!   Thanks so much for quilting along with me and being willing to try new things!!!

The Curvy Star Block assignment winner who gets a $25.00 Gift Certificate from The Scarlet Thread Quilt Co. is
#8 - Beth!!! - Congrats :)


I hope everyone is enjoying making these Stars so far!!!   Today, we move onto the Improv Stars and get our wonky sewing on, so let's get going :)  If you are just finding this QAL, it's never to late to join in the fun :)



We will be making 9 Improv Star Blocks.  I will give the cutting directions for 1 Improv Star Block (for those that are making alternate layouts).  Then I will give the cutting directions for the Total Pieces needed for all the Improv Star Blocks.    Each Print Fabric listed represents a different part of the star block.  Below the initial single block cutting list is an image of the Improv Star Block just to clarify where each fabric is placed in the block.   

Improv Star Block - For Each Block cut:

Print Fabric Center Square  - (1) 6 1/2" x 6 1/2" square
Print Fabric Star Points - (4) 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" squares
Background Fabric - (4) 3 1/2" x 6 1/2" rectangles
                                  (4) 3 1/2" x 3 1/2" squares

So for all 9 Improv Star Blocks you will cut:

Print Fabric Center Square  - (9) 6 1/2" x 6 1/2" square - 1 square each of 9 different prints
Print Fabric Star Points - (36) 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" squares - 4 squares each of 9 different prints
Background Fabric - (36) 3 1/2" x 6 1/2" rectangles
                                  (36) 3 1/2" x 3 1/2" squares

***  Keeping it real here!!   I accidentally cut all of my Star Point Squares 1" to small.  Yup, it happens.  So you will note in the picture above that the Star Point squares look small and that there are no multiple pictures of fabric in this tutorial.  That is because I had to order some extra fabric and it is still on the way.  I made the sample pics with the last bit of my scraps and will make all my blocks when the new charm packs arrive ;)  


Playing with wonky angles is a lot of fun, once we get the idea that it really is supposed to be wonky.  Sometimes it can be hard to let go of that 1/4" perfection that we are so accustomed to, but just try for this week, to really play.  You can make your angles as wonky as you choose, but the fun really comes in when we just let it go and see what angles we can create.

We will start by cutting all 36 of our Star Point squares in half.   Just keep them in sets of similar fabrics once you have cut them. 

Now, this is where the playing begins.   Place 4 Star Point Triangles on 4 Background 3 1/2" x 6 1/2" rectangles with the triangle point being opposite of the rectangle point as shown below.   This is where you can play with the angle.  We will be stitching a 1/4" seam using the long edge of the triangle as a seam guide and making essentially stitch and flip corners.   But first, let's double check our angles.

When you are first starting with Improv Angles, it is a good idea to make sure your angle is still covering your background fabric.  So to do this, gently flip over your triangle leaving a 1/4" seam below and give it a very soft finger press.  If the entire corner of the background rectangle is covered, you are good to go.  If some of it is showing, you will want to adjust the angle of your Star Point Triangle.     After stitching a few of these, you will start to see exactly how far you can and can't angle, and won't need to do this double check anymore ;)

And now with your angles double checked, you can chain stitch along the edge of the Star Point Triangle.   Keep chain stitching from corner to corner, even if you are only stitching on the Star Point Triangle at times.   Once you have finished Chain Stitching all 36 units, go ahead and clip your threads. 

And now, we are going to do one more double check before we cut and pass the point of no return :)  Flip your your Star Point Triangles over and gently finger press to ensure that the entire corner of the background fabric is covered by the Star Point Triangle.   If you have more than a 1/4" of background fabric sticking out (it happens sometimes :) simply rip your seam, adjust your angle, and stitch it again.  

And with your double check looking good, you can now flip your triangles back over and align your ruler with the edge of the triangle.  Then trim off the excess background fabric on all 36 units.

Now Pressing.   Press the seam allowance towards the Print Star Point Triangles.  I prefer to press them from the front rather than the back, but do what is comfortable for you :)

Now it is just repeating the same steps, but for the other side.  
 So grab the remaining Star Point Triangles, and making sure the fabrics match, place a Star Point Triangle on the opposite side of each unit.  You might be crossing over the other Star Point as well as background fabric and that is just fine.    Do the initial double check if you feel like you need it, and then chain stitch a 1/4" seam on all 36 units using the triangle as your seam guide.  

Now flip your triangles and lightly finger press your seams to Double Check that all of the background fabric is covered.  If you have an angle that got a little to wonky, just rip it and restitch it.

Now again, flip your triangles back over and use the edge as a cutting guide to trim the excess fabric.  And this time, you can be trimming a little Star Point Fabric as well as the background fabric.

Now back to the ironing board, and Press your seam allowance towards the Star Point Triangles.   Press all 36 units.

And now just a little bit of trimming.  You will be trimming your units to 3 1/2" x 6 1/2" rectangles.
Begin by aligning the background fabric rectangle with the 3 1/2" and 6 1/2" lines on your ruler as shown below.   Trim the 2 sides along the edge of the ruler.

Now spin your unit 180 degrees.  Now align your newly trimmed sides with the 3 1/2" and 6 1/2" lines on your ruler as shown below. Trim the remaining wonky side.

And if you happen to have a 3 1/2" x 6 1/2" sized ruler, you can simply place it on your unit aligning the bottom corners with your background fabric corners, and then just trim all 3 sides :)

Trim all 36 Wonky Flying Geese units to measure 3 1/2" x 6 1/2".  Aren't they just so fun!!!


And with your units all done you can now make your Improv Star Block.   Layout a Center Square, 4 Matching Wonky Flying Geese Units, and 4  Background 3 1/2" x 3 1/2" squares as shown below.  Just like with previous stars, I like to stack up all 9 of my block sets on top of one another so I can Chain Stitch each of the following steps.  You can choose to do this or just make 1 block at a time, whatever you are comfortable with. 

 Place the Outside Units in each column onto the Center Column units with right sides together.  Align and Pin your edges then chain stitch a 1/4" seam along the units in each of the 3 rows on either side of the center units.   And the fun thing is, because these are wonky, you don't even have to worry about points.  Just stitch away ;)

Then press your seams in the top and bottom rows outwards towards the Background squares and press the seams in the center row inwards towards the center square.  This will allow your seams to nest in the next step.

And one last set of seams.  Place the Top and Bottom rows onto the Center row with right sides together.  Align and pin the seams an stitch a 1/4" seam along the two pinned edges.

 And just press your seams open and you are done!!!!  9 super fun Improv Star Blocks that measure 12 1/2" x 12 1/2" and are all ready for your Seeing Stars Quilt!!!    And I promise to get my 9 sewn as soon as the new fabric arrives ;)

*** Update - My fabric arrived and I got my stars all done!!!  Aren't they just so fun how they twinkle!!!   Have fun stitching ;)

So now it's your turn, get your Improv Star Blocks made and your assignment is complete!!!  And then you can enter to win the weekly prize :)

The Weekly Prize is sponsored by Olie and Evie and a huge thanks goes out to them for their support of the  Seeing Stars Quilt-Along.

This weeks prize is an awesome Low Volume Fat Quarter Bundle of the brand new Smitten Collection by Bonnie and Camille for Moda.   How fun is that yummy low volume goodness!!!   I so love these prints and they would be amazing in any project ;)

So what do you have to do for a chance to win this Low Volume Bundle?  Simple . . . Just link up your Improv Star Blocks at the end of this post :)  You can link to a blog post or a social media picture, or whatever.   If you are struggling with linking up, I wrote a little Linky Tutorial over here, that might help ;)  Just make sure to link up by the early morning of September 12th as I will be announcing a winner in next quilt-a-long post :)

If you don't get your Improv Star Blocks done by next week you can still link it up :) (just not in time for the prize :) The linky will remain open until the end of the Quilt-Along.  

And Don't forget to add your beautiful Improv Star Blocks to #seeingstarsquiltalong on social media or at the  Happy Quilting Quilt-A-Long Flickr group.   I am so excited to see all of your fun Improv Star Blocks  ;)  Let the wonky sewing begin!!!!  

 Have a Happy Quilting Day!!  

And remember, any questions, just email me at ;)

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  1. I got behind and didn't get last weeks blocks done. Hoping to get both weeks done before next Tuesday.

  2. Melissa, so can each of the four point sets be slightly different, or should the angles on each set be the same?


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