Friday, November 3, 2017


Hi everyone, and welcome back to the Constellations quilt!  We are heading to the finish quickly-- this is our last section! This month's color is "dark," and I've chosen black for this block, which seems like it would be difficult to incorporate into the quilt, but this one fits in just fine.  It turns out that there are actual black stars, too, but they might be only theoretical.  I don't really understand the ins and outs of quantum gravity. In any case, this is our block for the month:

This is a variation of Rolling Star, a Ladies' Art Company block from at least 1895.  In fact, it's number 4 in the first Ladies' Art Company catalogue.  This block is a variation because the original block was really created to be made by hand, with diamonds and set-in seams and just a bunch of really complicated piecing.  I've redrafted it to use simpler piecing methods while preserving the original effect of the block.  I think it works okay, and it certainly looks good in our quilt.

For your fabric this month, any black or brown or similar dark color will work, but I think it looks best if there is some color in the fabric as well.  Choose an accent color that complements the colors in the main fabric.  I used an apple green, but any color would work.

Let's make a block!


From the background, cut:

1 2-1/2 by 10-1/2 inch strip
4 2-1/2 by 4-1/2 rectangles
8 2-1/2 inch squares

From the black, cut:

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

From the accent color, cut:

1 2-1/2 by 10-1/2 inch strip
4 4-1/2 inch squares

To finish this quilt section, cut from the background:

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


First, take the 10-1/2 inch strips of the background and the accent color and stitch them together lengthwise.  Press to the background, then cut into 4 2-1/2 inch units. (There will be a little extra fabric in the strip in case you need to straighten an edge.)  These units should measure 2-1/2 by 4-1/2 inches.

Next, add the 2-1/2 by 4-1/2 inch strips of background to the left side of the 4 units you just made.  Press to the new background strip.  These should now measure 4-1/2 inches square.

Next, take all of the 2-1/2 inch squares of the background and the black fabric and draw lines from corner to corner on the back of each one.  We'll be using these and the 4-1/2 inch accent squares to make simplified square in a square units.

Add the 2-1/2 inch squares of the background and the black square to the corners of the accent squares by stitching directly on the drawn lines.  Trim the corner and press the remaining triangle up.  Add 2 background and 2 black squares to each accent square to make square in a square units with the background triangles on one side of the square and the black triangles on the other.  Make 4.

That's it for the units!  Really! On to assembly. . .


Arrange the units as shown, including the 4-1/2 inch black square for the center.  Join the units into rows and the rows into a finished block.  Match the points on the square in a square units to the seam between the green and the background so that the star seems to be rolling.  Give it a good press, stand back, and admire! Our last block is finished!

Completing this quilt section:

To finish off this section of the quilt, add a 2-1/2 by 12-1/2 inch background strip to the bottom of the block.  Press well, then add the 2-1/2 by 14-1/2 inch strip to the right side of the block.  Press well.

Join this section to the right side of the orange section. That's the last row!

To add this section to the rest of the quilt, first measure the larger quilt and the last row.  If the measurements are not the same, adjust the last row at the seam between the orange and black sections.

Fold both the larger quilt and the last row in half and mark the centers with a pin or chalk.  Fold each of the side edges to the center and mark the folds formed the same way.  Since the seams will not match, this is important to make the row fit the larger quilt properly.

Mark at the arrows with pins, then match the pins to stitch the rows together.

Join the row to the larger quilt, matching all of your markings and the seams at the outer edges of the quilt.  Clip your threads, press well, and admire!

I have got to get a better camera. . .

And just like that, our quilt center is finished!  Notice that the outer edges form a small border, so at this point you could just quilt it up as-is and have a lovely galaxy quilt to keep you warm very quickly.  If you want it to be bigger, you could add in any borders you like.  Next month I'll give directions for the borders I've made for this quilt.  As a sneak peek, here's my concept sketch for the border:

Hope your quilts are coming together well!  See you December 5 for the big finale!

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


suzanprincess said...

I rarely like sampler quilts, but yours is spectacular! I love the way the disparate colors complement each other overall, and the block placement with a few offset a bit makes me feel happy.
susanprincess at att dot net

Sara said...

I love that block! And you've chosen well with the colors. That black does pop with the extra touches of color in it.

Jo said...

This quilt is looking good. I should go back and do these blocks. I am so behind with a lot of these projects.

scraphappy said...

What a great block. It does look quite old fashioned. Great progress!

Bernie Kringel said...

I would not have thought to add the black print but it works great! Love the mix of stars in your constellation Mari. The border you have planned should pull it all together as a wonderful finish. Have a great weekend. It is pouring rain this morning and after coffee and some blog reading, I am off to do some Christmas sewing. :-)

Kate said...

The stars turned out beautifully.

gayle said...

You have a real way with stars! Love this!

PaulaB quilts said...

The choice of the green is perfect. It brings out the star sparkles of color, plus it complements the other green star. The whole finish is gorgeous. Thanks for your excellent tutes. I'm sure,many folks have enjoyed making the straws. At the time you started I was overloaded, but might consider it for the future.

LIttle Penguin Quilts said...

That's really a pretty block, Mari! I think you chose the perfect black fabric for it.

Linda said...

What a clever quilt! The blue set it off so well.

LA Paylor said...

the whole thing together is astounding! I like the floating elements especially. Great job Mari! On to quilting designs soon! LeeAnna

Cathy said...

As usual you came up with a fantastic star. The colors are wonderful. And, gosh, what a gorgeous quilt - colors, design layout, stars - heavenly!

Kate @ Smiles From Kate said...

Admire is the word, it’s a wonderful star quilt. Seeing it all together shows how much it all pops with the dark background, love it.