What block? This one:
Notice there are three blocks in the photo? Yes, you get to choose which style of "Star of Bethlehem" block you make. I made up the block in two "scrappy" variations and one "controlled" version.
This is a very old block pattern. The earliest reference I could find was from the Kansas City Star newspaper, c. 1937. The tutorial begins with the scrappy variation on the far right. It's made with 30s reproduction fabrics in honor of Karen Snyder, founder of the Quilt Block a Day. I visited her shop in Washington in 1997 and was so taken with all the 30s prints, I bought . . . well, a lot.
This is a good version to start with, because it has a built-in quarter-inch seam check.
SuppliesFor each block, cut:
- (8) background squares, each 3.5" square
- (8) star points, each 2.5" square
- (1) center square, 2" square
- (2) center background rectangles, 1.25" X 2"
- (2) center background rectangles, 1.25" X 3.5"
Sew the Center square
Begin by sewing the center piece.
Sew a 1.25" X 2" piece of background fabric to either side of the center 2" square. Measure to ensure it is now 2" X 3.5".
Then add a 1.25" X 3.5" background rectangle to the top and bottom of the center square. Measure again -- it's OK if it is one or two threads too big, just square it up to a perfect 3.5" square. But if it's too small, adjust your seam allowance.
Star PointsNext, make four "star point" squares. You will need four 3.5" background squares and eight 2.5" "star point" squares.
Draw a line diagonally across the wrong side of each "star point" square.
Place the star point square on top of the background square, aligning two sides so it is exactly in the corner. Stitch along the drawn line.
Repeat for the second "star point."
Notice that I have sewn one thread-width to the outside of the drawn line. This allows for the "roll" of the fabric over the seam, so that the print reaches exactly to the cut edge of the background square.
If you don't want to draw a diagonal line on 720 2.5" squares, get yourself an Angler 2. This handy tool allows you to sew corner to corner without marking the print square:
See how the point of the print square is just barely to the left of the center line on the Angler? Same as stitching one thread-width to the outside of the drawn line.
Repeat to make four "star point" squares for each block.
Block ConstructionThen lay out your block and sew the pieces together:
If you finger-press the seams in opposite directions, the inside corners of your star points will align perfectly!
PressPress the horizontal seams toward the outside of the block, the vertical seams to the inside. This will make it a lot easier when you sew all your blocks together -- the seams will "nestle" and align much more easily.
My favorite thing about my version of the Bethlehem Star block is the "floating" points. The colored points don't extend to the very edge of the block, so no worries about cutting off the points!
If you want a simpler block, use a single piece of fabric cut to 3.5" square for the center.
Or, if you like really scrappy, make the backgrounds all different!
This version is inspired by a quilt in a new book from the Kansas City Star, "Classic Modern Quilts." If you like this block, you'll love the book! Get your own copy from the Pickledish Store.
The block finishes at 9.5", raw edge to raw edge. Ninety blocks will make a quilt just right for a full-size bed.
Check out the Quilt Block a Day page on Facebook. Sometime this summer, I'll host a "B-a-D" quilt parade!
From the desk of your