Friday, November 23, 2012

Tutorial on Odd Sized Star Blocks

This post is long overdue.  I was away in August and was asked to explain how I make these Liberated Stars.  I know there are lots of online tutorials and of course, all of Gwen Marston's books, but my friend wanted more about the measurements vs the method.  I hope this helps and if you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask in the comment section.
This block needs to be finished at 5 1/2" so unfinished at 6".  This is a lousy size for a 9 patch block as the numbers are not easily divisible by 3. SO......I start with 2 1/2 " strips, cut them down into 2 1/2 " squares and then make my star.
I used 8 background squares and one star colored square for the center.  Scraps made up the star points and now my block measures approx 6 1/2" and as you can see, I've not been super careful and it's a bit wonky around the edges.

No worries, as we are going to trim up this block to 6" unfinished.  Notice how I have the ruler lined up to the center block and there is overhang on both sides of the block.  I've got the horizontal and vertical lines on my ruler lined up to make this block straight and square.  See how the center blue square lines up as a 2" square.

I trim one side.
And here both sides have now been trimmed.  Rotate the block .........
and line up the ruler in the same manner.  Now you can trim the other 2 sides and have a perfect 6" unfinished block.
See, it measures up to the exact size I want.  Because the tips of the stars don't extend to the outside, I've still got all my star points.  The beauty of this block is that some star points are fat, some are skinny, some are tall and some are short. If you have to cut off a point when you trim down, so what, it just adds to the liberated look of the block.  If you don't like that look, just make your star points a bit smaller and you should be fine.

This block finishes at 12" so for the big star, the 9 patches I start with need to be 4 1/2".  To make the center star, this is a weird size for the 9 patch. Finished, the center block 9 patch would be 1.33".  Not the easiest measurements to make.  For this block I started with squares that were 2" so my center block was 5" unfinished and I trimmed it down to 4 1/2", using the same steps as above.
The best way to work with these blocks is to play.  You will see how your star points turn out by how you sew your seams. The best part of this block is that when you have a bunch of them, they all look good and it's very forgiving.  It's not for every quilter, or for every quilt, but be careful, they can be addicting!

Have fun


antique quilter said...

thanks for the tuturial I love making these blocks they are just so fun and yes addicting.
I LOVE that you are keeping the center square it makes the block much more to my liking...sort of like playing by the rules somewhat!!!!
its hard for me to just let all the rules go out the window!

Janet O. said...

I echo what Kathie said. I NEED some structure! : )