Wednesday, July 5, 2017


Hi everyone, and welcome back to the next exciting part of the Constellations quilt!  This month's color is blue, which makes up into a lovely, bright block that really stands out in our quilt.  We're also starting the third row of the quilt, which means that we're more than halfway to the finish!

Here is our block:

This block is called Broken Star, another Nancy Cabot block from the 1930's.  This block has nice big pieces, and not too many of them, and is actually pretty quick to make.  The sizes of the units are somewhat uncommon, so be sure to measure carefully and it will come out just fine.  It will help if you read through all of the instructions first, especially if you're interested in some alternate methods for the center square.

If you're using a dark blue background like I am for my quilt, the key to success for this block will be to choose a lighter blue that contrasts nicely with the background.  You'll also need two accent colors that coordinate well with the blue.  I chose a medium yellow (of course) and a lavender.  A pink or green would also look great with the blue in the block.


Pieces marked with a * can be oversized to trim down, if that's something you do.

From the background, cut:

4 3-1/2 inch squares
1 7-1/4 inch square

From the blue, cut:

4 4-1/4 inch squares (*2 can be oversized)

From the first accent color (yellow):

1 3-1/2 inch square  (See directions for alternate methods)
2 3-7/8 inch squares

From the second accent color (purple):

1 4-1/4 inch square*

To complete the quilt section:

Cut from the quilt background fabric:

4 2-1/2 by 6-1/2 inch rectangles
2 2-1/2 by 8-1/2 inch strips
2 1-1/2 by 12-1/2 inch strips
3 2-1/2 by 14-1/2 inch strips


There are very few units to make for this block-- and they are not tiny pieces! There are a lot of bias edges, though, so you may want to spray your pieces with starch or sizing to keep them from stretching.  Let's start with the center square.  (See below for possible alternate directions.)

Take the purple 4-1/4 inch square and cut it from corner to corner twice to make 4 triangles.  Arrange the triangles around the yellow 3-1/2 inch square as shown:

Finger press the centers of the square and the triangles and match the centers to make sure the placement of the triangles is correct.  Stitch to make a square in a square unit.  This unit should measure 4-7/8 inches square, so you need to check carefully to be sure it is the correct size.  You can oversize the purple triangles a bit and trim the resulting square down to the correct size if you need to.  This is actually one place I would recommend oversizing just a bit, because if you're even one thread off the size will be wrong.  I had to fuss with mine quite a bit to make it the correct size. Just be sure that you keep 1/4 inch beyond all the points. Press well and set aside for now.

Alternate methods for the center square:

If you don't want to make this unit, you could simply cut a 4-7/8 inch square of the yellow and eliminate the purple.  The block will look slightly different but will still look good and have a similar effect.

Another alternative to get the square in a square is to use 2  3-3/8 inch squares of both the yellow and the purple to make 4 half square triangles.  Trim these down to 2-3/4 inches, then join them together with the yellow at the center and the purple to the outside.  This should give you an unfinished piece that measures about 5 inches.  Sliver trim this to 4-7/8 inches.  (About 1/16th inch off each side.)

Our next task is to make the flying geese units.  These are fat geese with odd proportions, so they cannot be made using the fast flying geese method.  We'll have to do this the old-fashioned way!  If you're nervous about the sizing, it's okay to oversize the 4-1/4 inch squares a bit and trim the geese to size after stitching.

Take the yellow 3-7/8 inch squares and 2 of the light blue 4-1/4 inch squares.  Cut the yellow squares in half once and the blue squares from corner to corner twice:

Add two of the blue triangles to each of the yellow triangles as shown:

Add one side, press toward the blue, then add the other side and press it toward the blue.  To be sure the alignment is correct, match the points of the triangles at the bottom, allowing the upper tip of the blue triangle to extend over the top of the yellow triangle. These fat geese should measure 2-5/8 by 4-7/8. Trim carefully if necessary.  Make 4.

The final unit is the corners.  Take the remaining light blue 4-1/4 inch squares and cut them from corner to corner twice to make 4 triangles.  Finger press to find the centers of the squares and the triangles.  Then take two of these triangles and add them to one of the 3-1/2 inch background squares as shown, matching the finger-pressed centers:

Press carefully and be sure that there is 1/4 inch past the points and the bottom edge is straight. Trim off the dog ears. The bottom straight light blue edge should measure 4-7/8 inches.  Make 4.

That's the end of our units!  On to assembly--


First, take the fat geese and the corner units and join them as shown:

Make sure the geese point the right way. Press toward the geese.  Make 4.

Next, take the 7-1/4 inch background square and cut it in half from corner to corner twice to make 4 triangles.  Add two of these triangles to one of the fat goose/corner units you just created, as shown:

To help with alignment, match up the bottom edges of the background triangles with the bottom edge of the geese, allowing the tips of the triangles to extend past the top.  These can be trimmed off after the block is completed. Press towards the background triangles.  Make 2.

All that's left is to put the block together! Lay out the block units as shown:

Join the center into a row, then join the rows into a completed block.  This block should measure 12-1/2 inches square. Mine was initially about 1/8 inch too big, so I had to re-stitch the center seams.  Give it a good press, stand back, and admire!

You have to admit that that is a good-looking block!  Have a nice cool drink, and then let's move on to making the next quilt section.

To complete this quilt section:

Ready to finish off a large section of the quilt?  Let's go--

First, take the block we just made and add the 1-1/2 by 12-1/2 inch background strips to the sides.  Press away from the block. Then add the 2-1/2 by 14-1/2 strip to the bottom of this unit.

Next, gather the remaining four 6-inch stars made in April. Join one of the 2-1/2 by 6-1/2 inch strips to one side of each of the 4 stars:

Turn your stars so that you have 2 stars with the background strip on the left and two with the background strip on the right.  Join one "left-sided" and one "right-sided" star as shown so that the stars are offset:

Why yes, I did do some ripping.  How did you know?

Designate one set of star units for the left and one for the right. Add the 2 2-1/2 by 8-1/2 inch strips to the bottoms of these units.  Press well.

Add the double star units to the sides of the center blue star unit.  Be sure to align the 2-1/2 inch strips that are at the bottom of each unit because they are the sashing for the bottom row.  Finally, add the remaining 2-1/2 inch by 14-1/2 inch strips to the left and right sides of this section.  Press well, stand, back, and admire!

This section should measure 14-1/2 inches by 34-1/2 inches.  Don't worry if it's a little bit off because there will be time for adjustment later.


Once you have completed this section, you'll have finished 67% of the quilt!  That sounds like cause for celebration.  I suggest ice cream.  Chocolate or caramel sauce is optional, but definitely recommended.

Thanks for coming along so far!  Come back on August 1 (eep!) for the next installment, including the exciting conclusion to row 3!

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


Lisa J. said...

Your quilt is coming together quite nicely. I love this weeks block.

JanineMarie said...

I love seeing each of your stars as you present them, but then you show them all together on that blue background. Dazzling!

PugMom said...

The quilt looks great! Love all the different stars!

Bernie Kringel said...

This week's block is a great one Mari. How fun to be constructing large chunks of the quilt as you go along. I always want to do that and it is helpful that you explain it as you go. Kind of like taking a peak at the end of the book before you have finished it.....

Kate said...

Such a pretty quilt. Looking forward to seeing it come together.

Preeti said...

Such attention to detail and so clearly written. If I did not know you, I'd say you are a teacher :-D

Julie in GA said...

Very pretty block! I am loving your blocks on the dark background.

LIttle Penguin Quilts said...

I love this one, Mari! The light blue fabric is really pretty in it. And the layout of your completed blocks is stunning!

katie z. said...

Lovely block!

Ariane said...

I love the look of this quilt so far!

Nell's Quilts said...

Beautiful block and the quilt is coming together so dramatically - all those stars against a night sky.

PaulaB quilts said...

It's a beautiful block against the dark blue. The whole thing so far is gorgeous.

Cathy said...

The Mari Constellation is going to be stellar!

The Joyful Quilter said...

Oh, wow!! That is coming together beautifully!!