Tuesday, June 6, 2017


Hi everyone, and welcome back to the Constellations quilt!  The color for this month is a bright, happy, sunny yellow, perfect for the beginning of summer.  It's a gray day here today, but there is a lot of brightness going on in the sewing room with this month's block.  This month we'll also finish the second row of the quilt center, which means that 50% of the quilt will be done!

Here is this month's block:

This block has various names from various eras.  The earliest it appeared was as Georgetown Circle, a Carrie Hall block from 1899.  Nancy Cabot called it Georgetown Puzzle, and much later it was called Crown of Thorns.  Whatever we call it, it makes a lovely block.

True fact: our sun is a yellow star.  I think this block looks very sun-like when made up in these colors.  Yellow can be a hard color to use, mainly because it doesn't play very well with others.  You can use whatever colors you'd like, but I found success by choosing a strong yellow (not a pastel) and using accent colors with a yellow undertone--a yellow-green and a yellow-orange.  The yellow liked these partners, but you might also have success using colors from the cooler side of the color wheel.


Pieces marked with a * can be oversized and cut down later in the process.  If you have any doubts about your 1/4 inch seam, oversize your pieces by about 1/4 inch.  Cutting them down in the construction process will not affect the final block.

From the background, cut:

4 3-1/2 inch squares
2 4-1/4 inch squares*

From the yellow:

2 2-7/8 inch squares *
2 4-1/4 inch squares*
1 4-3/4 inch square  OR 2 3-7/8 inch squares* (see directions)

From accent 1 (Green):

2 2-7/8 inch squares*
2 3-7/8 inch squares

From accent 2 (Orange):

2 4-14 inch squares*

To complete the quilt section, cut from the background:

1 2-1/2 inch by 12-1/2 inch strip
1 2-1/2 inch by 14-1/2 inch strip


As before, first we'll make some units and then put the units together into a block.  I should say that I forgot to take some pictures while I was making this block, but we all know what an hst looks like, right?

First, use the 2-7/8 inch yellow and green squares to make 4 yellow/green hsts.  These hsts should measure 2-1/2 inches each.

Next, make the block center.  Use the 4-3/4 inch yellow square and the 2 3-7/8 inch green squares to make a square in a square block.  Cut the green squares in half from corner to corner to make 2 triangles each.  Stitch the long sides of the triangles to the sides of the square, as shown:

It helps to finger press the centers of all the pieces and match them up before stitching.  This unit should measure 6-1/2 inches square.

Alternate method:

Use the 2 yellow and green 3-7/8 inch squares to make 4 3-1/2 inch hsts.  Join these with the yellow at the center to make a square in a square unit.  This should measure 6-1/2 inches square.

Next up are some orange and yellow units.  Take the 2 yellow and orange 4-1/4 inch squares and cut them from corner to corner twice each to make 8 smaller triangles of each color.  Lay them out as shown and stitch 4 of each pair:

Cut from scraps for illustration purposes only!  Yours should look better!

Press to the orange.


Take the 4-1/4 inch background squares and cut them in half from corner to corner twice to make 4 smaller triangles each, for a total of 8.  Join these small triangles to the yellow/ green hsts as shown:

It may be hard to tell from the picture, but the background triangles should be joined to the yellow side of the hsts. Press to the background fabric so that later seams will nest.

Next, add the orange and yellow units to the units you just made, turning them so that the orange triangles meet up with the green side of the hsts:

Your seams should nest to make alignment a little easier.  Press towards the orange and yellow units.   These units should measure 3-1/2 by 6-1/2 inches.  Adjust to make the unit the proper size, making sure that you have the 1/4 inch seam allowance past the points.  NOTE:  My hsts are the wrong size because I was adapting the pattern from an older one into one that uses more standard sizes and easier construction, so yours will likely look a little different.  Don't worry about it--yours are the correct measurements.

All that's left to do now is lay out the block units as shown, including the 3-1/2 inch background squares for the corners:

Join the units into rows and the rows into a completed block.  Give it a good press, stand back, and admire!

To complete this quilt section:

To finish section 5, add the 2-1/2 inch by 12-1/2 inch strip to the bottom of the block and press.  Stitch the 2-1/2 inch by 14-1/2 inch strip to the right side of the block.  Press well.

Section 5

Join section 5 to the completed section 4, keeping the 2-1/2 inch background strip on the block to the right.

Measure the two rows that we have completed.  Both measurements should be the same.  If not, adjust at the seam in the second row between sections 4 and 5.  Once the measurements match, stitch the two rows together.  The seam between sections 4 and 5 should match that between sections 2 and 3, and the 2-1/2 inch strips on the sides of the rows should align. but no other seams will necessarily match.

I found it helpful to stitch with the first row on the bottom so that I could keep the seam allowances in the second row from flipping and keep an eye on my points.  I also found it very helpful to pin as it is a long seam.

Once the seam is together to your satisfaction, press well.

Congratulations!  Half of the quilt center is now complete!  It's really starting to look like a sky crowded with stars of all sizes and intensities.  I hope your quilt is coming along well also.

Thanks for coming this far, and be sure to come back on July 5 for the beginning of row 3 and yet another fun star block!

Updated to add that if you are on Instagram, post your blocks using the hashtag #constellationsbom  so everyone can see them!

Sharing at Linky Tuesday, Let's Bee Social, and soscrappy for RSC17.


Tish Stemple said...

This is the perfect block and colors to kick off the summer months ahead. I'm absolutely loving that dark blue background. It allows all those stars to just shine.

Alison said...

This is looking gorgeous! :)

Preeti said...

You are so good at this, Mari. Love the sunny yellow on dark blue. And 50% done - Kudos to you. I am sure there are hundreds of avid followers :-)
I cannot believe we forgot to take a picture of us on Saturday :-( but I smile every time I see my paper doll mini.

Home Sewn By Us said...

Mari!! This block is just stunningly beautiful. The navy fabric just sets off all those shades of yellow so nicely. I never would have guessed there was some green squares in there! I just love the first half of the quilt, and I look forward to seeing it progress. ~smile~

Bernie Kringel said...

Great block Mari. This is such a cool quilt -- and 1/2 way there? How is that possible?

Miaismine said...

Very pretty block and quilt! Going to be researching your blog and saving the patterns....love stars! Thank you for the lessons and tutorial!

Jo said...

Love the yellows. This quilt is coming together very nicely.

Danice said...

Wow, this quilt is now half done. So much fun. 'Love the yellow. You really did an excellent job designing this quilt.

Kate said...

Love the layout of this quilt. Looking forward to seeing the second half come together.

scraphappy said...

Great progress! The orange/yellow adds nice contrast. The first half of your quilt turned out beautifully.

Kathy S. said...

Another fun, big block! I love seeing different sized blocks. Great layout!

The Joyful Quilter said...

Looking forward to seeing what comes next in this quilt plan!!

Nell's Quilts said...

Looking lovely. The yellow block really adds some zing to the quilt.

PaulaB quilts said...

Wow, that block is so great against the blue. It really shines. Your fabric choices are excellent.

Cathy said...

Nice! It's interesting how a block can be known by so many names.

LIttle Penguin Quilts said...

What a pretty block, Mari! Bright sun in the blue sky. I really like how your stars are all coming together!

Anonymous said...

Enjoying this one very much, thanks, but my row 2 was a lot longer than row 1. Had to make a big adjustment...