Welcome back to the Irish Star quiltalong. If this is your first visit, or as a refresher, refer to the IRISH STAR QUILTALONG tab above for previous posts and general information.
Today I am sharing the STAR block for our Irish Star quilt. The construction is a little different and took me a few tries to get it right. Please feel free to ask for clarification at any step of the way. Some readers have decided that they are going to make the STAR blocks their main project and let the Chain blocks be their leader ender–works for me!
I look forward to seeing all your quilts grow!
NOTE: below the first measurement given is for a 1-1/2″ base square quilt. In parentheses are the sizes for the 2″ and 2-1/2″, in that order.
MATERIALS–FOR ONE BLOCK (29 pieces in all):
*4 base size squares 1-1/2″, 2″ or 2-1/2″–from your scrappy squares
*For star center and points- 8 base size squares 1-1/2″ (2″, 2-1/2″) and 1 center square 2-1/2″ (3-1/2″, 4-1/2″)
*From background– A) 4 1″x1-1/2″ (4 1-1/4″x2″, 4 1-1/2″x2-1/2″); B) 4 1″x2″ (4 1-1/4″x2-3/4″, 4 1-1/2″x3-1/2″); C) 4 1-1/2″x2-1/2″ (4 2″x3-1/2″, 4 2-1/2″x4-1/2″); D) 4 1″x2-1/2″ (4 1-1/4″x3-1/2″, 4 1-1/2″x4-1/2″);
- Attach one base square to one A background piece. Repeat a total of 4 times.
- Normally I am not obsessive about pressing direction and just let things go as they will, but this time, PRESS OPEN. You will thank me later. Particularly if you are using 1-1/2″ base squares.
- Arrange your base square-A units around your star center. NOTE: The colored square will be UP and OUT from the center. The background pieces are IN and DOWN/TOWARDS the star center. Place your background B piece next to them. Keep this reference point in mind.
- Complete your corner sections by attaching the B background piece to the base-A units. Repeat a total of four times.
- Now you are going to build the points of the stars using your background C pieces and the Star Point base square pieces. You will use the stitch-trim-flip method. I recommend you add the star points by stitching from the middle diagonally towards the point. This reduces the likelihood of the fabric being “eaten” by the machine.
- Attach one to each background piece. Stitch-trim-flip and iron open. Then add the second point piece to each background C. Stitch-trim-flip and IRON open.
- Time to complete the star units by adding background D to the TOP (pointy part) of the unit you just created.
- Lay out your star parts–you should have 9 small units to assemble. Double check that the corners are correctly aligned with the colored base squares UP and OUT compared to the star center. Check again. Avoid your seam ripper. 🙂
- Finally, assemble the block 9-patch style, one row at a time.
- Ta-Dah! You have created an Irish Star block. YAY! Now, how many more do you have to go? Only 180 for me!!!
Let me know how it is going and if you see any errors (especially that) or if you have any questions. I am so happy with my growing collection of blocks. It is going to be a beautiful quilt.
You can start to see the chain effect, though it becomes much more noticeable when the blocks are assembled.
Welcome to The Irish Stars Quilt Along Part 3: Triple Irish Chain Block. If you are new or nearly new, you might want to check out the IRISH STARS QUILT ALONG tab for more information. Don’t worry. You aren’t late. You got here right on time. It is THAT kind of quilt along.
The Triple Irish Chain block is just a lot of squares. It is the arrangement that makes all the difference. Remember that this tutorial is for a single block. Refer to Irish Star Quilt Along Part 2: Size and Scale to decide how many blocks you need to make for your quilt. The number will vary between 4 and 180. Yep, really!
MATERIALS–FOR ONE BLOCK:
21 base squares 1-1/2, 2 or 2-1/2″
4 background squares to match the size above.
- The only thing you HAVE to do in making this block is to make sure your background squares (white in my case) are correctly positioned: in the CENTER position on each side.
- Grab 2 squares and sew them together. You will do this a lot of times. I keep my stack of squares to the right of my sewing machine in a little space where they are very handy but out of the way of my regular sewing.
- I get asked how I make the decision of what to sew together. Basically I try to keep good contrast between colors and not have the same fabric appear twice in a single block. That is about as far as the “theory” goes. Trust yourself and keep it lively.
- You will make 2 rows in the pattern: color, color, BACKGROUND, color, color.
- You will make 1 row in the pattern: BACKGROUND, color, color, color, BACKGROUND.
- You will make 2 rows of color, color, color, color, color.
- Lay them out in order as shown and sew together, nesting seam allowances in opposite directions.
- Cut accurately. Press diligently. Watch your seam allowance. That is all that is really needed to be successful in working with small pieces.
- Ta-dah! You have completed a block. Remember that your base square size determines the size of your block: if 1-1/2″ then a 5-1/2″ block, if 2″ then 8″ block, if 2-1/2″ then a 10-1/2″” block. This is size-as-created including the seam allowance. They will each be 1/2″ smaller when finished
- I am storing mine in a perfect size container. It is very satisfying to watch them pile up. The nice thing about scrappy leader-ender quilting is that it is practically FREE! Other than the time to cut the squares, you are using thread you would have thrown away and fabric you would have thrown away. How worthwhile to make a quilt instead!
Welcome to the Irish Stars Quilt Along!
So many of you responded positively to the invitation to leader-ender-along with me that we are going to go ahead with it. This will NOT be a traditional quilt along where we issue a specific step on a specific date. Rather, we will all be producing blocks at a rate that suits our sewing style and our goal. We’ll do it together for a while (time undetermined) until we have completed some quilts and it has served its purpose.
In order to prepare for this quilt along you should:
- Study up (or refresh your memory) on what a leader-ender quilt is. As far as I know, Bonnie Hunter invented the term and still is considered the guru: http://quiltville.blogspot.com/2005/06/leaders-enders-whys-and-hows.html
- Decide on your base square size: 1-1/2″, 2″, 2-1/2″. How to decide? Well, what do you have the most of, either already cut or easily cut from your scraps? That is how you will know. We will NOT only use squares this size. You will also need some background fabric (can also be scrappy, but should be in one color family and a good contrast to your base square color–I am using whites). You will also need some fabric of other sizes for the stars. Some have asked if the stars can be scrappy also. Yes, they can, because anything can, but mine will not be. I believe having the stars each made from a single fabric will help the eye to have a resting place. You could even make all of your stars a single color–yellow, for example–and NOT use that color in your scrappy squares. So many decisions.
- Gather your fabric and start cutting your scraps. In the next few days I will post again with tips and suggestions for deciding on a goal size for your quilt.
Thank you for your enthusiasm. Let’s get scrappy!
ps–My thanks to Susan for the great button–feel free to grab it and share on your blog or to invite others to participate.
Since finishing the Sweet Sixteen top, I have been contemplating my next leader-ender idea. To qualify (for me) it needs to use small squares (mostly), use a lot of pieces, and be mostly repetitive.
Well, I believe I have found the idea. I call it Irish Stars.
It is a triple Irish chain alternating with a sort of floating star block. You can’t see the pattern very well yet, but with a few more blocks the “chain” effect should show up more strongly.
Maybe I have found two ideas. Is anyone interested in leader-ender-ing along with me? I don’t mean a specific number of blocks in a specific period of time. For some of you it might be your first leader-ender. Some will make many blocks and a large quilt. Some will make smaller blocks. We could do it using either 1-1/2″, 2″, or 2-1/2″ squares.
Mine uses 1-1/2″ squares, but I might not be right in the head.
Anyway, think about it, let me know, and maybe we’ll start officially sometime next week or so. I’ll need to write block tutorials and such and you’ll need to start gathering (and maybe cutting) scraps.
What do you think?
The Jolly Little Christmas quiltalong is coming along nicely–but I must admit that I am glad there is only one partridge in this pear tree. The smallest piece cuts at 3/4″ x 3/4″. I like small pieces as much as the next person, but that is really small.
It does make a perfect eye, though. And my partridge is in that tree. And I am feeling quite successful. And the alternate blocks are finished–all 13 of them.
Spring Break has afforded a lot more sewing time, and it has been put to good use. Back to school on Monday…but that is days from now….
I continue to enjoy the Have A Jolly Little Christmas Quilt Along.
My latest effort is the Poinsettia Block. I modified it a little, changing the large, green corner squares to smaller ones and adding gold. The long term plan is to use this as an alternating block in the quilt.
I plan to make it a 5×5 with 13 of these blocks and 12 of the other pieced blocks. We’ll see if I make it that far, but I think I probably will because I am having so much fun!
This is perhaps the happiest quilt I have ever created. Thanks to the fine folks at Temecula Quilt Company for hosting this quiltalong. (You can still get the pattern for a very reasonable price).
The pace was challenging, 2-3 blocks a week, but they are so tiny and charming that it never felt like a chore. Friday morning quickly became a favorite part of the week when I would get the new blocks and know I had a fun, small project for the weekend.
Scraps, of course. Lots of small, bright and cheery scraps.
And together they became a bright and cheery throw–about 50″ x 57″.
The top will head off to the quilters soon, and I’ll share the finish when it is ready.