Congratulations, you have made it to month three.  If you are just joining this quiltalong adventure, Welcome! You can check HERE for directions and more information.

By now, most of the rest of you should have chosen a size to make. SMALL–a throw that uses 5 stars and four alternating blocks. Finished size about 48″ square; MEDIUM–This is the size I am making this time. It uses 13 stars and 12 alternating blocks. Finished size about 72″ square; LARGE: This is the size of the original Calico Rose. It uses 25 star and 24 alternating blocks. Finished size 96″ square.

Let’s get started on this month’s adventure:  The Star Blocks.


Last month we made the 16-patch centers.  We’ll add star points to those and assemble the blocks.  Ready?!


1. You will need to cut background fabric into squares.  Some are for the corners of the blocks and some are for the half square triangles.  You will cut four of each size per block.


If you are making a small quilt, cut 20 4″ background squares and 20 3-1/2″ background squares.  You will also need 20 4″ colored squares.

If you are making a medium quilt, cut 52 4″ background squares and 52 3-1/2″ background squares.  You will also need 52 4″ colored squares.

If you are making a large  quilt, cut 100 4″ background squares and 100 3-1/2″ background squares.  You will also need 100 4″ colored squares.

SPECIAL NOTE:  If you are using 2-1/2″ squares in your centers, you will need the same number of squares, but the sizes will be 5″ and 4-1/2″.


Note that I have tried to spread the colors about equally through my chosen color scheme.  You don’t have to be obsessive-compulsive (who me?) but I believe it gives a balance to your quilt if you are.


1. Match a 4″ background square to a 4″ colored square and create half square triangles.  I like to mark the diagonal, sew 1/4″ away from both sides and cut up the middle.  You can get details on that method HERE.


2. Repeat for all 4″ squares.


3. I hate to say this, but you really do need to square up.  No one really likes doing it, but it does make a difference.  Get details HERE.

4. Lay out your star blocks.  They consist of the pieced 16-patch centers you made last month, 8 half square triangle blocks and four 3-1/2″ background squares.


5. Assemble.


6. Repeat as needed depending on your quilt size. If you are making a small quilt, five times.  If a medium, 13.  If a large, 25 is the magic number.

Yay you!  Stand back and admire your finished blocks.  Don’t they look nice!


How is this going for you? Let me know.  Send pictures.  Add suggestions.  I love to hear from you, even when I am not good about getting back.  Only a little more school left (even though I love my job, it does interfere with my sewing life. 🙂 ) and then I will be more able to answer all e-mails.

We’ll be back on June 10 for the next set of directions:  Setting Blocks.

23 thoughts on “CALICO ROSE QUILTALONG: Star Blocks

  1. Yay! I’m actually ready for this. I have to polish off the ends of a few other things before I can do these, but it’s so nice to be ready!

  2. Thanks so much for the star block tutorial and the clear and easy-to-follow instructions. I’ve done my patch blocks with a number of 2″ squares left over. I’m doing scrappy. I am so happy for the day-early posting. I can’t wait to get started. I will be lucky if I can sleep tonight. Emma Carpenter

  3. A quick question, it’s early and I may not be quite awake. Don’t we need 2 times as many 4 inch squares as we need 3.5 inch squares?…Also on a very happy note…. My son is visiting and he installed the lovely Quilt display rack that I was fortunate enough to purchase from you father. It is wonderful!.

    1. Thanks for asking. No, for each block you are creating you need four 4″ and four 3-1/2″ squares. The 4″ squares create the points and the 3-1/2″ squares are the corners.

      1. Sorry, I was thinking in half squares, told you I was still asleep….

  4. All cut out and ready to go. But right now it is preparation of the garden. So much work and so little time. By the way I am trying to finish up my 3rd Super Star. Everyone loves this quilt. When again when I finish it I will take a picture and send you it.

  5. For those of us using 2 1/2 inch squares–Do we cut 5 inch squares for the points and 4 1/2 for the corners? My centers are longing to be finished! Have a Happy Mother’s Day everyone!

  6. I made a sample point 1/2 square triangle to see if it would fit my last months block and the two fit perfect. so now I can cut out 4 inch and 3 1/2 blocks and start sewing. Thanks for all the details. This is so much fun I am making the small and like it so much might add more when I get these five sewed.

  7. Well, I goofed, got it figured out now. I am doing the 2 1/2″ patches for my quilt, when I got all 16 together, straightening the sides, I ended up with 8″ squares for my star centers. Here’s where I messed up, cut 52 5″ sqs & 3 1/2″ squares, thought that was odd, but since I really didn’t know what I was doing, needless to say, my points were really off. I should have cut 4 1/2″ sqs to go with my 5″ HST’s. Duh. Caught the error of my ways on the prototype 1st completed block. Then I cut 5″ blocks to do the corners & they are 1/2″ too long, still on that prototype, got it now. What I need are directions on the assembly of the points being attached to the 16 patch centers. Here’s what I figured to do, put the 2 points on each side of the 16 patches, then put the squares on the ends of the other two sets of HST & attach to the ends as a row to the whole. I am thinking that is correct, or at least doable. Is this correct, or is there another method I should try????? PLEASE HELP!! By the way, I will be squaring up the remainder of the HST before attempting another block. lol Sincerely, Barbara
    I also made a few other mistakes on this journey, but we’ll not go there, Have figured out how to make them work. Still working on perfecting that 1/4″ seam, but it’s gotten a lot better, not there yet, but darn close.

  8. Wanted to add one more comment, I simply adore my 16 patch centers, not all seams match up as well as I’d like, but I’ve cut so many 2 1/2″ patches, like over 2000 out of 80 something different fabrics, I was saving fabric for years before I ever made my 1st quilt. I’ve got plenty to play with. the ones that are worse, I’ve cut the blocks down to 7″ sqs & will forget the points & just sew them together like a postage stamp quilt & give to my forgiving ill informed family members. They will be thrilled, because they know no better. lol I will confess to them & they won’t care, just thrilled to have a quilt from me, no matter what it looks like. FYI all of my completed blocks will contain 24 different fabrics, no 2 pieces will be the same fabric, that was a conscience decision I made from the get go & am so glad I did. Will send pics when I get a suitable block ( in my opinion ) completed. I just love all the color & patterns, they are beautiful in my eyes & those who have seen them so far.

  9. I’m thinking that the squares need to be 4 1/2 inches because with 4″ it doesn’t work. Or did I do something wrong?

    Sent from my iPhone


    1. If you are using 2″ charms, then 4″ is the correct size. Each needs to match up with 2 2″ squares, which will be 3-1/2″ when sewn together. Thus, the HST need to be 3-1/2″ also. I am not certain you did something wrong. If you sent pictures perhaps I could help more?

  10. Hi I know this is coming in late but I have completed all the 9 patch blocks and guess what?… they worked out! YAY!!! I am sewing on the HSTs for the Star blocks today in our heat wave…it is too darn hot to be up moving around. So far all the measurements seem to be working out and I am having a swell time sewing. I am not sure which way to press the seams so I hope that becomes self evident as I proceed. On a really wonderful note, my friends found a beautiful Singer 201 in a thrift store yesterday and bought it for me…only $10.00! I need to figure out how to put new wiring on her though. If anyone knows of tutorials for that I’d appreciate hearing. Have a great day and tons of smiles as you sew!

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