Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Constellations--Sea green

Hi everyone, and welcome back to the Constellations quilt! This month's color is sea green, anything in the range from aqua to turquoise, which is wonderful because those are some of my favorite colors.  For my blocks this month I chose two colors that tended toward green and two others which tended towards blue, which I think made a nice mix.  True fact: astronomers classify stars by color, and there are blue ones but not green ones, though some blues look green due to optical illusions.  Really!

Here is block for this month, made up of 4 6-inch stars combined to make a larger block:

Why does this look so ragged?  Some of my pictures didn't turn out, so I had to rip the block to take new ones instead of making a new block, which I now realize would have been a better option.  Just ignore the threads!

Nancy Cabot called this block Magic Cross in the 1930s, but I've always thought of them as "jumping jack stars," because they look to me like people doing jumping jacks.  For this block using my instructions, you will need 4 pieces of aqua about 4-1/2 by 10, a couple of squares about 2-1/2 inches each of an accent color (mine is coral), and a background.

Let's get to it!


From the background color, cut:                      

For 1 star: 1 4-1/4 inch square                     For 4 stars:   4 4-1/4 inch squares
                2 2-3/8 inch squares                                         8 2-3/8 inch squares
                1 2-5/8 inch square                                           4 2-5/8 inch squares

2 2-1/2 by 6-1/2 inch rectangles
1 2 inch by 14-1/2 inch strip

To complete the quilt section, also cut from background:

1 3-1/2 by 14-1/2 inch strip
1 2-1/2 by 17 inch strip

From each aqua or turquoise piece, cut:

1 4-1/4 inch square
2 2-3/8 inch squares

From the accent color, cut:

2 2-3/8 inch squares  (can oversize these a bit if you'd like some wiggle room--not for hsts)


This construction method is my favorite and uses the least possible fabric.  It also goes quite fast.  If you read through the directions and are unsure about it, there is an alternate method using hsts at the end of these instructions.

To make the stars, take the aqua 4-1/4 inch squares and cut them corner to corner to make 4 triangles. Cut the aqua 2-3/8 inch squares in half once.  Do the same with the 2-3/8 inch background squares:

Take the triangles cut from the 2-3/8 inch squares and arrange them as shown.  Each star will need two pieces stitched together in each configuration:

Open out the joined triangles and either press the seam open or towards the background piece.  After pressing, take the joined triangles and stitch them to the aqua triangles cut from the 4-1/4 inch square as shown.  You will need two of each configuration for each star:

Each of these three-part squares should measure 2-5/8 inches before stitching into the rest of the block.  If you need to trim to square them up, be careful to make them 2-5/8 and not 2-1/2. (Ask me how I know.)

Almost there!  Next, cut the background 4-1/4 inch squares corner to corner twice to make 4 triangles, and cut the accent squares in half once:

Arrange the three part squares, the 2-5/8 inch background square, and the background triangles cut from the 4-1/4 inch square as shown:

Stitch the units into rows and join the rows into a block.  You should have an octagon shape, but don't panic!  It gets squared up next. Clip the dog ears and press well. You may want to press these seams open to avoid bulk in the corners.  Otherwise, press towards the background pieces, and press to nest the seams when joining the rows.

Take the accent triangles and join them to the octagon shape as shown:

I found it helpful to fold the accent triangles in half point to point and finger press to make a small crease, then line up that crease with the point of the corresponding background triangle.  If you have oversized these triangles, trim the stars to 6-1/2 inches square.  Press well.

Whoo-hoo, one star finished!  Seriously, these take longer to describe than to make. Stitch 4 stars total to complete this block.

Alternate method:

There is another way to get the same effect as the original Magic Cross block using hsts.  The proportions will be slightly different, and this method takes more fabric, but you may find it easier.

Make 12 2-inch half-square triangles in aqua and 4 2-inch half square triangles in an accent color using any method you desire.  These will finish at 1-1/2 inches in the block.  Arrange the hsts as shown and stitch into rows, then join the rows into a block.

Scrap hsts used as an example only!

Press well.  Make 4.

Completing the block:

Take the 4 stars you have made and join them into two pairs of two stars:

Add tbe 2-1/2 by 6-1/2 inch strips to the top of one pair and the bottom of the other pair.

Next, add the 2 by 14-1/2 inch strip between the pairs.

Give it a good press and give yourself a pat on the back--the block is done!

The block should measure 14 by 14-1/2, so not exactly square. This block is laid out this way for the purposes of this quilt only.  If you'd like to make it for another purpose, you could simply join all 4 Magic Cross blocks into a 4-star block that finishes at 12 inches and looks spectacular.  You could also do that for this quilt, but would have to add coping strips to bring the unfinished size of the block to the correct size, and would lose the effect of the section that will be stitched below this one in the finished quilt. 

Completing this quilt section:

Add the 3-1/2 inch by 14-1/2 inch strip to the right side of the block, then add the 2-1/2 inch background strip to the top of the block:

Section 2!

Join this section to the previously-made first section of the quilt, stitching the left edge of the second section to the 3-1/2 inch side of the first section and matching seams as appropriate.  The 2-1/2 inch background pieces should be on the left and the top of the finished piece as they are part of the first border. 

Press and do a happy dance!  If you have completed both sections, 17% of the quilt is together!

I hope you enjoyed making these fun stars.  Come back on March 7 for another exciting quilt section!

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


Danice G said...

So pretty. Working on mine this afternoon :)

Jo said...

Well done with this tutorial. I didn't realise how small the blocks were. Looking good.

Kate said...

A very fun block. Love the colors.

Preeti said...

Oh my goodness, love the aqua, peach and navy combination. How can you go wrong with those colors? And then your perfect points and neat seams just takes everything to the next level. Are you not sleeping at all? When did you do all this work? I am in awe.

Vicki in MN said...

Oh that is really looking pretty! Thanks for the tutorial!

PaulaB quilts said...

This top is going to be gorgeous!

Edith said...

Nice blocks, and hey, threads happen. Sometimes I think more than a quilt-maker I'm a thread picker.

The Joyful Quilter said...

Threads duly ignored. Nice use of some AQUA scraps!!

Pamela Arbour said...

Thanks for the detailed instructions. Your pictures look nice and your quilt is going to be gorgeous when finished. Lovely fabrics.

I am leaving my email address because it has been pointed out to me that I am a "no reply" blogger. I am not too good at this blog thing, but I will change that as soon as I figure out how to do it!

Nell's Quilts said...

Lovely constellation block. Thanks for showing two ways to make the same block.

claudia said...

Great tutorial! Thank you! Your "Jumping Jack Stars" are great!