Irish Stars Quilt Along Part 2: Scale And Size

Welcome to Part Two of the Irish Stars Quilt Along.  If you are new, welcome! Feel free to visit the IRISH STARS QUILT ALONG tab to get previous information.


Today we are talking Scale and Size.  You have probably already chosen your base square size:  1-1/2″, 2″, or 2-1/2″.  If not, please visit Part 1 for more information.

If you have quilted at all you know that somewhat surprising feeling of how much squares and blocks seem to shrink as they are turned into a quilt.  That is because they DO shrink–the power of seam allowances.

The chart below may help you decide on a goal size for your quilt based on the size of your base squares.  (Yes, I know it is a lot of numbers, but it is hopefully helpful numbers. If you find any errors or think of any additional numbers that would be helpful, let me know.)

# of blocks : Size of finished quilt top

Base Square Size Finished block size Mini Quilt Baby-Wall Quilt Throw Twin Queen
1-1/2″ 5″ 9 : 15-1/2″ x 15-1/2″ 49 :  35-1/2 x 35-1/2″ 143 : 55″ x 65″ 221 : 65″ x 85″ 361 : 95″ x 95″
2″ 7-1/2″ n/a 25 : 37-1/2″ x 37-1/2″ 63 : 52-1/2″ x 67-1/2″ 99 : 67-1/2″ x 82-1/2″ 169 : 97-1/2″ x 97-1/2″
2-1/2″ 10″ n/a n/a 25 : 50″ x 50″ 63 : 70″ x 90″ 81 : 90″ x 90″

You will NOTE that all of the quilts are an odd number of blocks wide and long.  This is due to the chain effect with the alternating blocks.  If you use an even number of blocks the chains tend to have an unfinished feeling.  Of course, the sizes and block counts are suggestions only.  You are free to change, modify or ignore as you see fit.  Don’t you love the flexibility of quilting?!

I am using 1-1/2″ base squares and plan to make a queen size quilt.  I do not suggest that you do the same unless you are a real glutton for punishment, or have a lot of 1-1/2″ squares lying around.  🙂

If you wish, leave a comment below letting us all know what size squares you plan to use and, if you have decided, what size quilt you plan to make.  Remember, this is not a race and there is no time limit.  I fully expect to be somewhere around 18 months finishing my quilt top.  The idea is that we will check in with one another occasionally, maybe bi-weekly or monthly, and share our progress.  We will encourage the tired and cheer the accomplishments of whatever size.



30 thoughts on “Irish Stars Quilt Along Part 2: Scale And Size

  1. I love the size that the 2″ square lap size quilt is, so I will probably go with that. I just bought a 2″ die from Accuquilt which is on its way here so I can cut up all my donated scraps.

  2. I’m thinking 2 1/2 inch squares. I will be using up my red, white, and blue scraps for a Quilt of Valor quilt. I just have to check to see what size will work.

    Thanks for leading the charge.

    Crystal in Cedar City

  3. I’m also thinking of using this pattern for a QOV. But one of the things I am wondering about is how to arrange the colors on those 10-patch blocks if I’m only using red, white, and blue. Does anyone have thoughts on this?

    I checked the size requirements online, and here they are for anyone else who is interested.

    A Quilt of Valor is to be large enough to cover an average-sized adult, with an ideal size approximately 60” x 80.” Finished size can be no smaller than 55” x 65” and no larger than 72” x 90.”

    1. One possibility is the white background, the squares can be light to medium red and blue, and the stars dark red and blue. If you wanted to add gold to it, which I often do, then the stars could be gold and all the scraps a variety of red and blue values.

    2. You could make the stars gold, the background white and the chains a mix of red and blue. Alternately, the stars could be either red or blue and the chains an organized red-blue-red or blue-red-blue. If you lay out one block, I think you will be able to see how the pattern would emerge.

  4. Thinking of doing a queen size but maybe using 3 1/2″ base squares. I have to figure out if I like double or triple chain and the measurements. Thank you for putting the measurements for smaller size squares.

  5. I’m also planning to make a Quilt of Valor, using 2-1/2″ squares. Hopefully I’ll be able to make it a bit bigger than 60 x 80 (to allow for a little shrinkage after quilting and washing).

  6. I’m planning to use 2-1/2″ squares so that I can make 5 x 7 blocks = 50 x 70″ and add borders to make it 60″x80″ for Quilt of Valor.

  7. Hi
    If I am using 2.5 inch squares and want to make a twin size does anyone know approx. how many I need?
    Thank you!

    1. You will need approximately 700 (I think) 2-1/2″ squares for the chain blocks and the corners of the star blocks. You will also need the star and background fabrics. More information on that coming soon, but I hope this helps.

  8. I’m still behind on the scrap stash bits – but it’s growing steadily! I’d like to do 2″ squares and I think I’ll do the queen size. I do like your Calico Rose too. Oh decisions, decisions!

  9. I’m new to your posts, but anxious to jump in with 2 1/2″ squares and strips in my scrap bin…..thanks for the great QAL using Ls&Es!

  10. I am wanting to know if the number of blocks listed is total number or just the number of chain blocks listed. So to make a throw size is it 25 chain blocks?

  11. Hi, I know I am entering a bit tardily but, Summer just had to bubble through my life in a thoroughly amazing way and fully consumed my time…I am so grateful…I guess now it is time to lean into Fall with a great project and this is it! …2 ” squares to cut out of bitty scrap fabrics… I better get cutting!!!

  12. Hi Ladies, My name is Ruth, I live in Melbourne Australia. This is my first quilt along, and I have decided to do the 2 1/2″ queen size if I have enough scraps, I have only been quilting for 18 months so scraps are limited, so I may have to make a smaller one.

  13. I am really starting this late so I hope the instructions stick around for at least another year. I am going to be using 2″ squares and really have not decided what size quilt I want to make.

  14. Hi I am just starting now with 2” squares. Wishing you all a great summer!☀️🌈🌲🌲🌲

Thanks for taking the time to comment. It is nice to hear from you.

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