I'm starting something new on the SewCanShe blog today and I'm so excited about it! Last month Anna Griffin and Blend Fabrics reached out to me for collaboration ideas and it was so serendipitous because I already had an idea in mind and was waiting for some fresh new fabric to try it.
Introducing... Classic Blocks: Fresh Fabric! On the first Monday of each month we'll show off a beautiful new fabric collection from Anna Griffin (or Blend) and then I'll use it to show you how to make a classic quilt block. The classic blocks look so absolutely fabulous in new fabrics that I feel giddy just thinking about it.
Oh, and even better for you: each month I'll give away a 10 fat quarter bundle of that sweet new fabric to one quilter who made our classic block and posted a picture of it either in our SewCanShe Flickr Pool or facebook group photo album. The winner of the fat quarter bundle will be chosen at random, so don't feel intimidated to enter... all you have to make is one block!
Of course you could make lots of a single block for a whole quilt top (like I did today) or just one each month until you have a sampler. We will be using the iPhone quilt block app BlockFab to calculate our cutting dimensions for any size block, so if you have an iPhone I highly recommend downloading it so you can pick any size block you want. In my blog posts I'll always give cutting dimensions for at least 2 different size blocks. If you want to try a size that I didn't mention (and you don't have an iPhone), post a question in the SewCanShe facebook group and one of us will help you out. :)
The fabric I am using today is Grace from Anna Griffin. It's a beautiful and romantic collection of florals and blenders in several different scales. I loved contrasting the almost-pastel tones with the rich black florals.
So this is the Friendship Star! Have you made it before? Are you excited to try it with fresh new fabrics? I love a scrappy quilt so I after I made a few tester blocks like the one above, I went crazy using most of the prints for the blocks and triangles around the stars. I only stretched my fabric with a couple solids.
I made six dark star blocks and six light star blocks. There isn't very much contrast in the lighter star block but I love it that way. You can see my finished top at the end of this post.
The friendship star block is a variation on the 9-patch that uses half square triangle units in four of the 'patches.' After slaving away on my 100+ mini log cabin blocks, I was ready for some big and fast blocks so mine are 17 1/4''! I'll also give cutting instructions for a 12'' block. Remember, use the BlockFab iPhone app or post a question in our facebook group if you want to know the cutting instructions for another size.
The graphics above also show that you can make your star 'turn' in either direction. Keep this in mind when you are piecing your block.
Cutting instructions for a 17'' block:
- Color 1 (the star) - cut 1 square 6 1/4'' and 2 squares 6 5/8''
- Color 2 - cut 4 squares 6 1/4'' and 2 squares 6 5/8''
Cutting instructions for a 12'' block:
- Color 1 (the star) - cut 1 square 4 1/2'' and 2 squares 4 7/8''
- Color 2 - cut 4 squares 4 1/2'' and 2 squares 4 7/8''
Place your squares in piles and label them with sticky notes or clip little pieces of paper on them. This is important because you will be making the half square triangle units with the larger squares and you don't want to mix them up. I labeled mine 'Whole' (for the ones that wouldn't be cut) and 'HST.'
1. Making Half Square Triangle Units
There are several different ways to make half square triangle squares. This is my favorite way because it think it is easiest and most accurate. Using your slightly larger squares, place one of each color right sides facing. Then draw a line (any pen will do) diagonally from one corner to another. This is your cutting line, not your sewing line.
Sew 1/4'' from each side of the drawn line. Then cut on your line. Easy, huh? If you don't have a 1/4'' foot for your sewing machine, you may want to draw two stitching lines 1/4'' from either side of your cutting line to give yourself a guide.
Note: whenever I say 1/4'', I am actually stitching a scant 1/4''. That is just my preference. I would rather sew seams that are a tad smaller and then trim some away when I square my blocks than have my blocks end up too small.
Press your HST units and cut away those little triangle 'ears' at the corners.
2. Stitching the squares and HST units together
The block is shaping up already! Carefully arrange your HST units and whole squares into the star pattern. Double check that you have them the way you want them, and then start sewing. Remember, the star can 'spin' either way.
Sew the rows together first.
And then sew your rows together to make your friendship star block.
Repeat the process to sew more blocks and your blocks into rows and your rows into a quilt! My twelve 17 1/4'' blocks made a 52'' x 70'' quilt top. I think I'm going to add a 10'' border so I'll have a generous twin size quilt.
As you can see, it's already so big that I had a hard time photographing it. I love how my dark stars pop out and you really have to look for the lighter ones.
Here's the beautiful FQ bundle of Anna Griffin's Grace Collection that will be given away this month (10 fat quarters)! You have two weeks (until March 17th) to sew a friendship star block and post a picture into one of the two photo albums mentioned above to enter. You may make any size block using any fabric. I'll announce the winner here on the blog on March 18th so be sure to come back and check if it's you. :) I'll also announce it in our facebook group in case you are lurking there.