Find the Sparkle Punch Quilt-Along main page here.
Read about Mo’s Sparkle Punch quilt here.
Today's post is about how to make the stars. I say make the stars instead of make the blocks because the way this quilt top comes together is a little different than other star quilts you might have seen.
For this quilt, we're eliminating the four corner units so the stars can be nestled together. This creates a plus-sign shape that could be difficult to sew together in the conventional way. Instead, we're going to make sets of block components and wait until we're planning the quilt top layout to sew them together.
Cut Your Negative Space Fabric
Last week's post detailed how many 3-1/2" squares are needed to make the stars. You'll also need to cut squares from your 3-1/2 yards of negative space fabric. (This will be the background behind the stars.)
To do this, cut the negative space fabric into 35 strips 3-1/2" by width of fabric. Subcut the strips into 384 squares 3-1/2" x 3-1/2".
Note: If you're planning an asymmetrical composition with more negative space (i.e. not entirely filled in with stars) you'll need more squares cut from your negative space fabric. However you won't necessarily know exactly how many until we get to the Making the Quilt Top stage next week.
Make the Stars
1. Each star will be made from 5 star fabric squares and 4 squares of your negative space fabric. Reserve 1 of the star fabric squares for the center of the star and cut the other 4 in half diagonally, creating 8 right triangles. These triangles will become the points of the star.
2. Place 1 of the triangles, face down, over the lower right corner of 1 of the negative space squares, tilting it at a slightly wonky angle. Sew in place, keeping your seam within 1/4" of the edge of the triangle.
3. Use a ruler and rotary cutter to trim away the excess negative space fabric, creating a 1/4" seam allowance.
4. Press the seam open, creating a wonky star point where the negative space fabric used to be.
6. Trim away the excess fabric, creating a 1/4" seam allowance and press the seam open.
7. Square up the finished points unit to 3-1/2" x 3-1/2".
8. Repeat Steps 2 - 7 to make 3 more points units (for a total of 4). Stack the finished points units together with their matching center square.
Important Note: The triangles need to be placed so that, after being sewn down and pressed, they cover the entire area that was formerly occupied by the negative space fabric. This will ensure that your finished block components measure a perfect 3-1/2" x 3-1/2", which is essential to having your quilt top come together smoothly.
Using larger triangles (or other scraps) can make this step easier, but it can also produce a tremendous amount of waste, which is why I recommend using the triangles cut from 3-1/2" squares. With a little practice, it won't be so difficult to make those points work!
I mention this whenever I post about wonky piecing, but I'll say it again here: A little wonkiness goes a long way. The crazier your angles, the more trouble you're likely to have covering the corners of your block components. If you've never done piecing like this before, it may help to practice on some scraps before moving on to your "good" fabric.
Repeat these steps to make the following sets of star components for the front of the quilt:
80 Whole Stars: Follow directions, as written.
14 Three-Quarter Stars: Follow directions, cutting only 3 star fabric squares in half (to make 6 triangles) and making 3 points units.
2 Half Stars: Follow directions, cutting only 2 star fabric squares in half (to make 4 triangles) and making 2 points units.
18 Quarter Stars: Follow directions, cutting the star fabric square in half (to make 2 triangles) and making 1 points unit.
Note: If you're planning to make an asymmetrical composition with lots of negative space, there isn't a specific number of stars that you need to make. Just make however many you want to have in your composition. You can always add more later if you find you need them.
A 3-1/2" x 3-1/2" ruler can make it easy to square up the individual block components.
The next quilt-along post, Making the Quilt Top, will be on January 19.