Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Star Cluster Quilt-a-Long

Week #2

How's everyone getting along? Are you finished with your first twelve churn dash blocks? Good! Me too. We're going to use seven of them for the center of stars this week. You can use the color guide in the pattern that will result in the exact look of my quilt, or mix and match your fabrics any way you wish.

I chose to use my new Sweet Holly Christmas fabric for my second quilt, just for fun. I merely substituted black for blue and red for purple. Find the swatch chart HERE to see the whole line. After making (12) churn dash blocks last week - 3 each red, green, gold and black - I selected (7) assorted churn dash blocks for the centers of the large stars - 2 each gold, black and red, 1 green. I added coordinating prints in tans and darks to each of the seven churn dash blocks to make the stars.

Here are my completed blocks so far...

Star blocks are a favorite among quilters and pretty easily pieced. Once I realized a couple of important steps, they've gone together even easier for me. 

Step #1 - When making connecting corners (CC) for star points, lay a square on the end of a rectangle, right sides together. For a perfectly straight stitching line, mark a line diagonally from corner to corner with a chalk marker (or your favorite marking tool) on the wrong side of the dark star point square. Follow the line to stitch. Or line up the outer corner with the "0" line on your sewing machine tray, as shown below, and stitch toward the corner. Use the method you're most comfortable with that delivers the best results for you. My tip is: Always begin stitching from the inside corner, not the outside corner. If you begin stitching on the outside corner, there is more chance your fabric will bunch as it's pushed by your presser foot and not stitch as smoothly.    

Step #2 - After trimming the excess tan and dark triangles 1/4" away from your stitching line, press the seam open, beginning in the center, not on the corner. At this point, you're pressing across bias edges. This helps prevent stretching and distortion of the star point connecting corner and the background rectangle. I use the point of my iron to open the seam and dry press, then follow up with a spray of sizing and press again for a nice, crisp finish.

That reminds me, I promised I'd share Joy's recipe for sizing with you this week. It's much simpler than I realized.
Joy's Home Brew Sizing 

Pour 2 cups out of a gallon jug of distilled water. 
Pour in 1 cup potato vodka and 3/4 to 1 cup liquid Sta-Flo starch.
Shake to mix and fill your favorite sprayer. 

Once you've sewn your star point units, it's time to sew a block together. Here is a Churn Dash Star  laid out and ready to be pieced.

Below is the finished Churn Dash Star block, measuring 10 1/2" square.

I'm enjoying piecing this quilt the second time around as much as the first. I love that we're building on the blocks from the week before to create new blocks. Check in next week for more Star Cluster fun. 

Before I go, I'd like to share Kathy's blocks using my Meadowlark Pond fabric collection. Beautifully done.


  1. Lynne, what is that honeycomb looking plastic piece in the second picture with the seam allowance markings??

    1. That's my machine's table surface for a Bernina 440.