Electric Quilt, Free patterns, possibilities, star blocks

Stellar Sampler

We couldn’t have Stellar Sampler without our favourite block – the Ohio Star. But it has many, many names depending on how you place the colours, which book or magazine you found it in and even when you read that book or magazine. These blocks below all look like Ohio Star – they have the four corner squares, a plain square in the centre and quarter-square triangles as the star points. Download cutting instructions etc here.

However – the first one is usually known as Mosaic and the second as Ohio Star. On the second row we have multiple names for the first two. According to Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Pieced Block Patterns Block 1 is (has been) known as Eight-Point Design, Lone Star, Star Design, Texas Star, Tippecanoe and Tyler Too, Texas, Eastern Star, Eight Point Star, Shoofly, and just Star. Block 2 is often known as Variable Star as well as Texas, Star Spangled, Western Star, Star of the West, Henry of the West, Star of Hope and Lone Star. The final block is usually known just as Flying Crow. Having said all that most of us refer to them all as either Variable Star or, more often, Ohio Star so as not to confuse it with the 4-patch Variable Star block.

By using different units in the centre or corners you can alter the block to make a new one, and there are many variations to be found. Today we have just a few with altered corners starting with Swamp Angel – sometimes known as The Four-X Quilt depending on the colour placement. This just has half-square triangles in the corners instead of squares.

The Ornate Star has altered corners too

This next variation doesn’t have a name

and if you turn the corner units round you get another variation

Yet another variation without a name is this one

If you don’t fancy making just one block but want to turn one or more of these into a quilt, what would those quilts look like? Perhaps something like these –

Your download this week has cutting instructions / foundation papers for all the variations we’ve shown this week as well blocks to colour and some quilt settings to colour too. There are so many ways to play with Ohio Star so next month we will have found some more ideas.

Electric Quilt, Free patterns, possibilities

May’s blocks on Meadowside

Over on Meadowside Designs, as you have probably gathered by now, we are working our way through the alphabet with a sampler series of six-inch blocks. May sees us arrive at H (and later I and even J). This week our H blocks include Hour Glass. There are (literally) dozens of blocks that have been given this name or contain these words. We chose four similar ones to feature on Meadowside

but here’s just a few of the others simply called Hour Glass that we found –

That last one was designed by Carlie Sexton and published in 1928 (Barbara Brackman) and we rather thought some of you might fancy making it, so you can download the templates to make a 12 inch (six inch seemed a little small?) block. It might fit in quite well with some of the other star blocks we are featuring here at Chris & Barbara this year.

Electric Quilt, Free patterns, possibilities, star blocks

Stellar Sampler

Browsing through a book of blocks the other day we came across a couple that we have made before (but don’t seem to have pictures of!) and realised that they are related to another block we do have a picture of . . . and then one thing led to another and with the aid of Electric Quilt we had some more related blocks that we may, or may not, make. You can download a PDF of the templates to make all these blocks at 12 inches, foundation piecing is a possibility but they didn’t fit onto A4 paper so they haven’t been included, but you do get a picture of each block to colour in.

So what are these blocks? First of all is Wheel of Destiny and then the star points were made slimmer and the colour kept the same

At which point it began to resemble Starry Path

And then with a bit of tweaking of the outer triangles Starry Path became Interwoven Star.

But you could join the centres of those two stars so they form a quarter-square triangle unit in the centre and make these two blocks – which we’ve called Spinning Stars 1 and 2.

But what happens if we go back to Starry Path and change the outer triangles again and make them a different shape?

And then if we add a tiny triangle to those new ones it almost looks as if the points have folded over (with a bit of clever colouring).

Join us next month for some more stellar blocks.

Free patterns

It’s April

And over on Meadowside Designs this week it’s all about the flowers. We’ve moved onto F in our alphabet soup of six-inch blocks and, as it’s April we’ve chosen Flower Petals as our first block – pieced or applique, your choice –

Our second block this week is Flower Garden Path which we couldn’t help but recolour from the pale pastels of the original EQ colouring to green grass, a lavender border instead of a path and colourful flowers!

You’ll find cutting instructions, templates and blocks to colour ready to download at Meadowside. Meanwhile here’s a little tulip inspiration

Electric Quilt, Free patterns, star blocks

Stellar Sampler

Last month we featured Eccentric Star but this month we go back a step to Friendship Star and several variations of it – including both Eccentric Star and Ribbon Star from last month. You can download a pdf with all the ideas and instructions here.

So first here is a reminder of what Friendship Star, Eccentric Star and Ribbon Star look like

And this is Friendship Star in a straight set quilt and then with two different colourings of sashing between the blocks and finally set alternately with Ribbon Star.

You could make a 3D variation of the block by using folded triangles for the star points – and even add a contrast colour that will show when the edge of the triangle is rolled back (the rolled back edge is orange, possibly should have done one with a greater contrast to show up here!)

We then played around with the corners of the block and came up with these and also a quilt with the Sawtooth variation to illustrate why we gave it that name.

Then finally – what happens if you make your Eccentric Star star points with a striped (or strip-pieced) fabric?

If you want to have a go at making any of these you can download the PDF with cutting and brief piecing instructions, including both templates and foundation piecing papers for the ‘ice-cream cone’ corners. If you need assistance with any of the units or techniques you can find information on our sister blog (Meadowside Designs) on the tutorials page.

Inspiration

Dresden Plates

Over on our Meadowside Designs blog we are running a six-inch sampler series – a year’s worth of six-inch blocks which are appearing alphabetically (it seemed sensible at the time). This week we have reached D for Dresden Plate. Over the years we have had a lot of fun with these blocks, trying different ways to sew them together, applique them to their backgrounds or making the best use of the fabrics available. It’s time for another wander down memory lane . . . starting with the 1980s – a duvet cover made with polycotton sheeting offcuts from the market

Then making things other than quilts – Christmas tree skirts, wreaths and a cushion

Playing with different shape points

Making giant blocks using jelly roll strips

and finally fussy cutting various fabrics

to make blocks

and even finishing a couple of these sets into quilt tops (not quilts yet, but it doesn’t do to rush things).

One quilt is finished however – a little scrappy one using six inch blocks.

Which brings us neatly back to where we started – with six-inch Dresden Plate blocks over on the Meadowside blog this week!

star blocks

Stellar Sampler

Yet more blocks! Well, we wouldn’t want you running out of things to do this year. We’ve been trawling through our old worksheets and class notes and EQ projects from the last (I think we’d rather not say) ‘several’ years and have come up with a random selection of our favourite (mostly) star blocks to add to the ones from this year’s Doodles. Each month we will provide cutting instructions for a 12 inch block – there may be a worksheet to help with piecing as well and a few ideas to go with it. And to start you thinking here’s a few we made earlier –

To start us off we’ve found a nice simple block – the Eccentric Star. Just a few half-square triangles and a centre square. Download the instructions (a worksheet from a long-ago sampler quilt class).

But how you colour it in can change the way the blocks look when put together.

And what happens if you make mirror images of the block (which often happens quite by accident here).

Or if you turn those corner triangles round?

This ‘new’ block is called Ribbon Quilt.

There’ll be another star to download and play with in a month’s time.

Free patterns, possibilities

More blocks

Just in case you are need of yet more blocks / inspiration this year we are running a Six-Inch Sampler every Saturday over on our sister blog – Meadowside Designs. A rummage through various boxes / cupboards / bags produced a quantity of six-inch blocks looking for a quilt (or two) and some new ideas.

This one goes with our Doodles theme quite nicely – it features the blocks from the Little Book Of Stars put together into a mini quilt with an attic windows setting.

The blocks being featured on Meadowside can be put together into one big(ish) sampler quilt

or you could choose a theme such as stars (as the attic windows one) or cakes-and-pies perhaps – there seem to be quite a few blocks with ‘sweet’ names.

Being only six-inches square they are ideal for using up those smaller scraps and can be put together with any of the 12 inch blocks you end up making from our doodles or the twelve inch star blocks coming here from next week!

We seem to be planning a stellar year!

colouring in, Electric Quilt

September Doodles

The EQ Doodle this month has gone all autumnal with the oak leaf and acorn block.

This is the default colouring in EQ8 but over on our Doodle page you can find some other ideas and some ideas for quilt settings too.

How would you colour yours? Will you stay with autumnal colours or go wild with rainbow leaves? Download the colouring sheet and have a play.

Free patterns, Mystery Monday, possibilities, quilting

Mystery Monday Finale

Having hunted out your units we look at putting them together this week. The version shown on the worksheet isn’t the only possibility and Chris has played around with her units turning them this way and that

before deciding on one, sewing it all together and adding a couple of borders.

Then there is the matter of quilting. In the ditch? Something a little more adventurous? In the end it was a mixture of the two. The birds in the border fabric were traced and turned into quilting stencils and stitched in various bits of the quilt. A variegated thread was used to stitch in the ditch around some more prominent parts of the design and a wiggly line was quilted in the borders –

And the finished quilt – (which possibly needs more quilting in the border . . . . one day)

We hope we will get to see photos of your finished Mystery Quilts – email them or post on Instagram and tag us!