Star Kissed Quiltalong: Square In A Square Centers

If you are new to the Star Kissed Quiltalong, welcome!

No, you are not late.  Today is the perfect day for a new idea. You can find all you might want to know about the quiltalong HERE, or you can link from the button to the right or the menu above.

When you have some of those 25-patch centers sewn up, it will be time to add them to a “square-in-a-square”, or “economy block” setting.

For EACH block you plan to finish, you need TWO squares of background fabric.

If using 1-1/4″ base squares, TWO squares 3-1/2″ each.

If using 1-1/2″ base squares, TWO squares 4-1/2″ each.

If using 2″ base squares, TWO squares 6-1/4″ each.

If using 2-1/2″ base squares, TWO squares 8″ each.

The steps for all four sizes are the same.

  1. Determine the size and number of your background squares (above) and cut.  Then cut on the diagonal.

2. Mark the center of one side of your 25-patch center.  I like to fold and finger press.

3. Mark the center of the long side of the triangles you created out of the background fabric.  Again, I like to finger press.  Line up the two marks.  Pin.  (NOTE:  I am not a big pinner, but this is one of the times where it really does make a difference.  Just try it.)

4. Stitch.  You might have to line up very carefully.  Do not stretch the bias of the triangle.  Do make sure your patch center is ironed nice and flat. When it is just right, the needle should make contact with the fabric about 1/4″  away from the point where the background square and patch pieces touch.  It is not easy to explain and even harder to get a good picture of, but give it a go. You can see it better in the picture below where the corners have been trimmed off.


5.  Do the opposite side.  Press open.  Trim off the corners that hang out.

6. Now do the same for the other two sides.  Then press open and trim.

7. You may need to trim your block to size.  NOTE:  DO NOT trim so there is less than 1/4″ between the edge of your block and where the background fabric meets the corner of the patch section.  VERY LITTLE should need to be trimmed, if any.  Your center piece should now measure…

If using 1-1/4″ base squares, 5-5/8″.

If using 1-1/2″ base squares, 7-1/2″

If using 2″ base squares, 11″

If using 2-1/2″ base squares, 14-1/2″

8. Repeat steps 1-8 as many times as necessary for the quilt you have planned.

In a few weeks I will add how to create the corner pieces.

Let me know how it is going, and feel free to ask questions.  I look forward to hearing and seeing your progress.

Irish Star Quilt Along Part 4: Irish Star STAR Block TUTORIAL

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″);


  1. Attach one base square to one A background piece.  Repeat a total of 4 times.DSC00617
  2. 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. DSC00618
  3. 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. DSC00620
  4. Complete your corner sections by attaching the B background piece to the base-A units. Repeat a total of four times.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Time to complete the star units by adding background D to the TOP (pointy part) of the unit you just created.
  8. 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. 🙂DSC00647
  9. Finally, assemble the block 9-patch style, one row at a time.
  10. Ta-Dah!  You have created an Irish Star block.  YAY!  Now, how many more do you have to go?  Only 180 for me!!!20170807_142936

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.DSC00655

You can start to see the chain effect, though it becomes much more noticeable when the blocks are assembled. DSC00653

Irish Stars Quilt Along Part 1: Basics and Preparation

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:

  1. 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:
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Week Three =

a lot of cutting.

It is week three of Amanda’s Quilt-along. (for full directions see Quilt Along #5 in her sidebar)

After an evening of cutting, I am right on track.

Lots of little squares paired up.

What a successful matchmaker I am.

That is a lot of happy couples.

In the end I am hoping for one happy teenage boy named Hayden.  That is who this quilt is planned for (see New List in sidebar).

Ah, what a long wait for week four.

There is still time to join.  This one is a fine potential scrap buster.  That would be a lot of cutting but I am certain the results would be worth it.

***Curve Master Giveaway is Here.  Ends tomorrow (6/24).  Winner to be announced Friday***

Quilt-along Started

Amanda at Crazy Mom has a new quilt-along going.  You might want to check it out. (Picture is the button for the quilt along which just now doesn’t want to go in my sidebar for some reason.)

These are my fabrics.

The strange prints came in a bag of fabric from a friend.  They are a little different, but perfect for the person for whom this is intended.  The background fabric is Kona Ivory (I think) and the orange is for binding.  It is beautiful in real life.  Marie Osmond for Quilting Treasures.

Using at least a little fabric on hand in nearly every quilt  has made me realize how lucky I am to have fabric.   And I am pushed in new directions by using what I have rather than buying every time.  However, I am not afraid to buy when I need it.  Lately that has been mostly background fabric.  The orange in this case, was originally purchased for a different quilt and didn’t work, but I think it has found a home this time.

Anyway, there is plenty of time to join the Quilt Along as this is only week two and week one was just cutting.  It is all 2 1/2″ strips so it is a good time to get out that jelly roll you have been hoarding or make good use of your scraps. 

Week two should be posted today.

Join us and have fun.