By now I hope you have successfully completed your first block in our Sew Along Quilt, because now it’s time for Block 2. I hope you’ve had your Weetabix today!
BLOCK 2: Morning Star
Finished Size 12″ (Unfinished 12-1/2″)
Like the first block, block 2 also makes good use of ‘half-square-triangles’, so you will have the chance to perfect your technique and become a HST wizard, if you’re not already. This is an excellent skill for a patch-worker to master as it is one of the key techniques of many block designs.
As with Block 1, for Block 2 you can use any combination of fabric colours you like. I have chosen contrasting red and blue fabrics for effect, plus a ‘fussy cut’ square for the centre block to give it more interest. For those of you who may not know, fussy cutting is when you cut your fabric with a motif in the centre of your patchwork block:
A. Eight 3-1/4″ x 3-1/4″ squares (white)
B. Eight 3-1/4″ x 3-1/4″ squares (red)
C. Four 3″ x 3″ squares (white)
D. Four 2″ x 4-1/2″ rectangles (blue)
E. Four 2″ x 3″ rectangle (blue)
F. One 4-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ square (horse)
In this block the background fabrics are A & C.
- All seams are 1/4″ and I use a stitch length of 1.8.
- As a rule, you would press your fabric seams towards the dark side (darker fabric). I finger press my seams before pressing with an iron. This allows you to change the seams’ direction if needed without stretching your fabrics.
- In bulky areas press your seams open as this will help reduce thickness.
Half-Square-Triangle (also known as HST)
This technique should already be familiar to you from Block 1 at least, but let’s run through it again to make sure.
This time we are going to make 2-1/2″ HST’s. As you will know by now, I like to make my HST’s a little larger than they need to be and then trim them to the perfect size. I usually add 3/4″ to the block size, so to make a 2-1/2″ block (unfinished) I’ll cut my square to 3-1/4″. Please note that a 2-1/2″ HST will give you a 2″ finished square when sewn into your block.
Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of your 3-1/4″ x 3-1/4″ fabric A squares. Then take one fabric B and place it right sides together with your fabric A.
Sew 1/4″ away from each side of the diagonal line.
Cut apart on the marked line to make two HST’s. Then finger press seams to the dark side.
Trim your HST by placing your ruler’s 45° diagonal line along your seam line, squaring up your block up to 2-1/2″ and trimming away the excess fabric.
Using this method will give you a truly accurate 2-1/2″.
Repeat this method with all your red and white 3-1/4″ squares to make 16 HST’s.
Arrange your HST’s into your morning star along with the remaining fabric pieces. This will help you sew everything together the right way around.
Take four HST’s and sew the top two together and then the bottom two together to form two rows. Make sure that your seams are finger pressed in the right direction – see image above. Finally, use your iron to set your seams into place.
Then nestle the centre seams together so the centre point on the top row is in line with the centre seam on the bottom and sew these together. Finger press this seam down, then set the seam in place with your iron. These finished blocks should measure 4-1/2″ square. Now repeat the process to make three more identical blocks.
To make the corner blocks take one 3″ x 3″ (fabric C) and one small rectangle (fabric E) and sew together. Now finger press your seam to the dark side. Then take the long rectangle (fabric D) and sew together with the other two pieces, finger pressing your seam to the dark side. Your blocks should measure 4-1/2″ square. When finished use your iron to set the seams. Please note that these blocks are directional so take care when sewing them together or you’ll be reaching for your quick-unpick.
Now, keeping your fabrics in order sew them together in rows.
See the photo below for the direction in which to press your seams.
Now join your rows together nesting your seams in opposite directions as you go to give a flatter finish – see image above. Finally sew your rows together pressing your seams towards the centre.
If you have sewn your block together accurately it should measure 12-1/2″ square but if you need to trim it make sure you leave 1/4″ seam allowance on all your red ‘V’ points.
Tada!… you have finished your second block.