Electric Quilt, Free patterns, star blocks

Stellar Sampler

This month we’ve been playing on EQ and exploring the family of star blocks that include 54-40 or Fight. The starting point is a block simply known as Eight-Pointed Star

Eight-pointed Star

but then various other units get added to the plain squares in the centre and/or the corners to make new blocks. Starting with just triangle corners and then adding something to the centre we end up with these four – The Eight-Pointed Star, Judy in Arabia, Doris’ Delight and an un-named block from the 1920s

Just adding a more complicated centre to the starting block gives us Dove at the Window

Dove at the Window

And then if we add four-patch units to the centre and corner squares, then change the lights and darks around you get 54-40 or Fight, Garden Patch and Bird of Paradise

The star point units (often called Peaky and Spike – and Chris can never remember which triangle is Peaky and which Spike) are probably most accurately made with foundation piecing so these are included in the download pack. Rotary cutting the equilateral (background) triangle is nigh on impossible so the other method is to use templates – also included in the pack. These plus rotary cutting instructions and a block to colour for each block mentioned in this post can be downloaded here.

As usual we then had a ‘what happens if . . ?’ moment and divided up the Peaky and Spike units too, adding a square on point to the centre.

If you print out a few plain Eight-Pointed Star blocks from your download you too can grab a pencil and play at designing a new-to-you block – you are not obliged to make it!

Electric Quilt, Free patterns, possibilities

Over on Meadowside . .

We are continuing our jaunt through the alphabet with patterns for 6 inch blocks. This week we have reached Q. But are there any blocks beginning with Q? There are a few, many of them more suited to hand stitching over papers (which is very much not Chris’s ‘thing’) so we went for the one that can be rotary cut and machine pieced – Queens Petticoat.

But, looking at it, all Chris can see is a hat – with a feather!

What do you think?! How could you colour it so it looked more like a petticoat and less like a hat? Instructions, a block to colour, and more colourings of the block can be found on the Meadowside website.

Electric Quilt, star blocks

EQ Doodles – September

We seem to say every year that September has come around very quickly – and every year seems to whizz by very quickly. So it is following this well-established tradition that we welcome you to our September Doodles with the observation that September has indeed come around very quickly! Our featured block is Nine Patch Star –

shown above with the EQ default colouring. And it’s an easy step from a a single block to a straight quilt setting –

We’ve never been able to resist the “what if” factor that is so easy with Electric Quilt – here’s the Nine Patch Star block recoloured to rose –

and a slight tweak –

A second slight tweak –

Another tweak –

Again, a tweak –

Last tweak –

Another of our well-established traditions is to provide you with a free pdf download which has a block to colour, rotary cutting instructions and templates – find it here.

Electric Quilt, Free patterns, star blocks

Stellar Sampler

We’ve chosen another old favourite to highlight this month – the Sawtooth Star.

There are a gazillion variations of this block – and no rules to say you can’t make up your own. You can download a block to colour or play with plus cutting instructions for many of the blocks featured – and there should be enough information in there to work out how to make lots of other blocks.

To start with you can add triangle corners and/or a diamond-in-a-square centre to make a Variable Star, a Variable Star Variation and Mosaic #19

Or you split that centre square into triangles to make Free Trade, Chisholm Trail, Sarah’s Choice, Barbara Frietschie, Anna’s Choice, Margaret’s Choice and and another Variable Star Variation

Some of the blocks look identical – apart from the way they are coloured and this has been enough to give them different names over the years.

Those centre triangles can be divided again to give us two very similar looking blocks – Martha Washington’s Star and Star and Pinwheels

Or how about dividing the centre (and maybe the corners) into smaller squares? This will give blocks such as Sawtooth 16-patch and Frayed Sawtooth

Sometimes a Sawtooth Star block has been used as the centre square – this gives us Rising Star and Eight Hands Around

Taking these a little further by dividing the corners and even the large triangles around the edges to make a Rising Star Variation, Free Trade, and Odd Fellows Chain and its Variation

What we haven’t yet done is split the small Flying Geese triangles – doing this gives us Aunt Addies Album and from there you can get Square and Stars and its Variation

Start playing with this exceptionally versatile block and see what you come up with – download the PDF to help you on your way.

Electric Quilt, Free patterns

Sweet treats at Meadowside

As you probably know by now we are rambling through an alphabet of six-inch blocks over our sister blog – Meadowside Designs. Among the many blocks featured are a number of pies, deserts, puddings, cakes – or ‘sweet treats’. Put together these could make an entertainingly different sampler quilt. This month we have reached P for Peach Cobbler

Last month we had O for Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Previous posts have included Apple Pie

Blueberry Pie

Chocolate Cake

French Silk Pie

and Key Lime Pie

Still to come are Raspberry Cheesecake, Strawberry Smoothie and Tiramisu. All the cutting instructions are free to download.

We’re feeling quite peckish now – time to go in search of the biscuit tin . . . .

colouring in, Electric Quilt, Free patterns, possibilities, star blocks

Stellar Sampler

Last month our stellar sampler looked at Ohio Star and some of its variations and this month we continue that theme – one of the reason we love the basic block is that are so many ways to alter it, colour it and create a new (or new-looking) block.

One variation we looked at was Swamp Angel, but what if you split those corner triangles, or use a wide stripe? The resulting block is called Jacknife or Treasure Chest

Or you could split the outer triangles into a square and two smaller triangles and make Aunt Dinah – note too the change of colouring in the ‘star’ units

Or divide the inner triangle into two smaller triangles to make Mystery Flower Garden

Or split the corner squares with a thin strip from the inner to the outer corners – which makes a block called Old Snowflake

You can download the cutting instructions to make all these blocks at 12 inches and we have included colouring pages for each one as well – the colours shown above are the EQ default colours but there are plenty of opportunities to make these blocks your own.

Electric Quilt, Free patterns, possibilities, star blocks

More six inch blocks

Our Saturday Sampler of six-inch blocks over on Meadowside has reached the letter J and this week’s blocks include one called Jewel Star

It really doesn’t look very star like but if you look at the colour versions that EQ and its magic wand came up with and then put sixteen blocks together in a 4 x 4 setting you start seeing stars – but it does depend very much on where the strongest colours are placed and on the contrast between those colours

The design also depends on which blocks you turn, and how far you turn them

That last pair illustrate the importance of where the strongest colours are placed – the centre brown and yellow dominate and the star is almost lost whereas in the pair above the contrast brightness of the yellow highlights the star.

If you fancy having a play with this block you can download the templates and a block to colour from our Meadowside blog.

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.