Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Free Pattern! Story-Time Stars

Quilt size: 46" X 46"
Block size: 8"

Click HERE for Printer-Friendly Version!

So many have written and asked when I was going to get around to uploading the direction for the little star quilt!

I WAS going to do it last weekend, but I got busy with going to retreat ---

I started wondering if I had taken enough pictures of the process to write the directions without having to make another block to show each step.  My Bernina is with Lisa getting a tune-up and as I write this, I don’t have another machine set up, so I grabbed my featherweight, set it up and set to making a sample with the novelty square that Laura had given me at retreat.

It’s a simple block --- a traditional Evening Star made with squares and flying geese units.  When it comes to the flying geese, my favorite method is using my 2.5” strips and my easy angle ruler and my companion angle ruler.  I get BOTH shapes out of one width of strip this way….

Of course, there are many methods for making flying geese, some using bricks and squares which give you cut off bonus units, or some using a larger square, and smaller squares to make two identical units – in which case, you’d have to make two sets to get the four geese that you need.

I don’t keep 5-1/4” squares or 2-7/8” squares on hand, which is what I would NEED to cut to make these geese with the square method.  Or larger, if you are using a ruler that has you cut extra big so you can sew haphazardly and then use the ruler to trim everything down to some perfect size later ---

But cutting from scrap strips already cut to size waiting for me in my Scrap User’s System drawers is what works for me.  So let’s get started on some stars shall we?  This quilt has 16 star blocks, each with a center square cut from a fun novelty fabric.

From Novelty fabrics cut 16 4.5” squares.

Choose three  different 2.5” scrap fabric strips in colors to go with each novelty square.
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From one strip, use the Companion Angle Ruler, and the 2.5” marking down the center of the ruler to cut 4 quarter square triangles. If you are NOT using the Companion Angle Ruler, cut a 5-1/4” Square, and slice it twice on the diagonal with an X to give you the 4 triangles needed.

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Using the Easy Angle and another colored strip --- Fold the strip in half with right sides together and cut 4 PAIRS of triangles, giving you 8 wing triangles with 4 in mirror image.

storytimestars 004  storytimestars 005

You can see how the dog ear is cut off on these mirror image pairs, and this helps to line things up neatly when sewing the triangles on.  If you are NOT using the Easy Angle Ruler, cut 4 2 7/8” Squares.  Slice these once from corner to corner on the diagonal to give you the 8 wing triangles needed.

Can you see how the right hand wing triangle lines up with the blunt tip at the top of the goose triangle?

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Chain these through the machine…the outer corner tip of the green triangle will be OFF the edge of the purple triangle.  You can see it in both pictures above.  This is okay.  Press seam out toward the wing triangle and clip the dog ears.

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Now place the left hand wing triangles with right sides together on top of the goose triangle.  This time, sew from the bottom of the goose, toward where the triangles overlap.  Look at my finger…can you see how the flat edges of the “Missing” dog ears are lined up straight with each other?  This is important!  Match this spot!  If you do, you will get a goose unit that is nice and straight across the top when you open it up to press.

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Here’s my needle heading right for that corner…..right out where it needs to be!

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Voila!  Perfect goose!  You see how that is straight across the top of the whole unit with no “bi-level” thing going on?  This is as perfect as I can get it…easy cutting from strips I already have on hand in sizes ready to go, no drawing lines, no cutting sizes of stuff I don’t keep on hand, no sewing extra big and having to take hours to trim each unit down to size one at a time ----THIS is the method I like and why!  Repeat for all 4 goose units per block.

From 3rd 2.5" strip, cut 4 2.5" squares for block corners.

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Lay out block pieces as shown.  I like to sew my blocks together in continuous rows.  This helps me keep everything together, and I don’t get pieces turned around in ways they don’t belong.

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To start, place the top goose unit on top of the upper left corner square with right sides together, and stitch.  Fold the center square over the left hand side goose unit with right sides together and sew right onto it after the goose --- no breaking of thread here!

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Continue stitching, and sew that bottom goose unit to the bottom left square…..see this picture?  The first two rows are chained together, and now I’m going to add the top right square, the right side goose, and the bottom square to the block all in one continuous chain as well:

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Here I am getting ready to stitch that last square to the chained together block.

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The block is now sewn in rows across, with the three rows simply being chained together by the threads between the rows.  From this point I can finger press, or iron press, the units in the way I want the seams to fall, and then flip the rows together and stitch the two remaining seams.

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Story-Time Star block complete! Make 16!

Checkerboard Sashings:

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I set my Story-Time Stars with a checkerboard sashing that really gave the quilt life! I used solid black, and black/white prints, all from 1.5” strips.
4patchconstruction2    4patchconstruction3

Because I was sewing from scrap strips in varying lengths, I can’t tell you how many “STRIPS” you need to make the 4 patches required, but I can tell you the number of 4 patches you need ---180!

Join a black strip to a light strip with right sides together and press fabric to the black.  Lay two strip sets with right sides together and fabrics opposing so that seams nest.  Cut the matched strip sets into matched pairs, with 1.5" sub-cuts, ready to be fed through the machine into 4 patches.

I do ALL my scrappy 4 patches this way, preferring to do all my matching up of pairs in the cutting process, rather than sit at the machine and pick “one of these…and one of these” matching up my units one at a time for each 4 patch.  That would take FOREVER! If you want more variety, match up shorter strip sets.  Do what you have to do to come up with the 180 4 patches required.

I spin the seams on the back of my 4 patches so they will nest each other easily.  Check out THIS TUTORIAL on how to feed your 4 patches through the machine, how to spin them, and why it is important that they all be fed and spun the same way!

Carefully study the picture above with the partial layout.  Notice that the sashings are each made of 4 4 patches sewn side by side.  Keep the 4 patches in the same orientation in ALL the sashing units.  All the sashing units are identical, do not rotate the 4 patches in any of them.  Make 40 sashings.  You will have 25 4 patches left over for border posts.

From scraps, cut 25 2.5” squares for cornerstones.

Lay out the quilt with the sashings and cornerstones the way you want them. Stitch the quilt center into rows, and join the rows to complete the quilt center.  Press.

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From Scrap 2.5” strips, cut 16 2.5” X 8.5” rectangles and 4 2.5” squares.

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Here you can see for the border how I placed the rectangles, the extra 4 patches, and the 4 corner squares to complete the border around the quilt. A black binding finishes the edge!

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Here’s the quilt as it came off the machine, ready for binding.

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Close up of some of the fun blocks.  I’ll definitely be making this quilt, or a variation of it again! It’s the perfect baby quilt, or for any quilt requiring novelty fabrics!


  1. I love this quilt. Can't wait to make one! Thank you for sharing.

  2. Thanks for sharing this pattern Bonnie. It's just the cutest quilt, alive with color and interest! I really want to make one for my littlest grandson soon!

  3. Thank you, thank you! I wanted - no needed - to make this so I just plunged in there and got started, I have 16, or maybe 20, squares cut out and one sewn together. I didn't know if you were planning to put the pattern up, so I just got myself a couple of EZ angle rulers and a bunch of 2 1/2 inch strips (it IS Bonnie after all!) and got to work. The first square took a little adjustment, but it turned out beautifully and I can't wait to get to it. And now I don't need to count the 4 patch units from your picture! Thanks again for all that you share!!

  4. Bonnie, how big is the finished quilt ? dont see it ?
    I was thinking of using the pattern for a preemie quilt ...

  5. I just found out last night that we are going to be grandparents again (!!!) so I'm printing this out and waiting to hear if it's going to be a boy or girl! :)

  6. This is great! I've been wanting to make a quilt for my 5-year-old granddaughter featuring her favorite areas at the San Francisco Academy of Science (butterflies, penguins...). This will be perfect!

  7. Thank you SO much for the detailed instructions on flying geese. Most of mine have come out kinda wonky, so I really appreciate you taking the time to help me out with detailed instructions. I have a retreat coming up and need a challenge block, and this is just the thing.

  8. Bonnie, THANK YOU so much for another great pattern! I especially appreciate the chain piecing of the block together instructions because I never completely understood "Webbing the quilt." This makes it so clear, thanks!

  9. Doing the happy dance!! So happy to get this pattern! Definitely plan on making it for a grandchild in the future, but I need to start collecting novelty prints--something I sorely lack.
    Thanks for all the effort you go to when you share a pattern, Bonnie. You really do go above and beyond! So generous of you!

  10. You rock Bonnie. . . Thanks for sharing and making things so easy for the rest of us. I purchased Sock Monkey Fabric Yesterday and now I don't have to hunt for a pattern. Shirley in Oklahoma USA

  11. L-o-v-e the checkerboard sashing! perfect!
    Thanks for posting - great bright kid quilt!

  12. Very fun...may do this on National Quilt Day when we make a quilt for the Ronald McDonald House. (Only I may substitute some black and white checkered fabric for the pieced sashing!)

  13. Definitely a bright and happy quilt. I love how you did the border. This will be a great quilt for Project Linus! Thank you for sharing!

  14. Wow, great project. I love the vibrant colors and the way the checkerboard fabric creates such a great contrast to each block. Thanks for sharing this!

  15. Anonymous12:49 PM EST

    Thank you Bonnie! --Jean

  16. I've made a number of I Spy quilts but the Bonnie-fied version with the b/w checkered border makes it extra snappy. Thanks for the pattern, Bonnie.

    And thank you for the flying geese tutorial with your counsel of patience and accurate cutting as the key to good-looking geese!

  17. Dear Bonnie, Is that a NEEDLE hole in your fingernail? OUCH!! If it is, chocolate and sewing always make it feel better. This is a very cute pattern. Thanks for sharing!

  18. Thank you, Bonnie. Your instructions are always so complete and even include the "why" behind what you tell us to do. Very generous of you all the time. I did notice that the needle hole in your fingernail is beginning to heal. Still makes me say "Ouch!" when I see it. The rest of us know that we are not required to have a similar intimate moment with the sewing machine to have a Complete Bonnie Experience -- you've done that for us and we will take your word for it that it hurt! Enjoy your next trip, and the one after that, too.
    Maureen in Portland

  19. Another great quilt, thanks!!

  20. Thanks so much Bonnie for all your hard work. I have saved this quilt for when I need to make another littlies quilt. I have made similar before, but love your choice of B & W in the sashing.
    Sue in NZ

  21. Anonymous2:43 PM EST

    Thanks, Bonnie, for all you share with us.
    Joyce in OH

  22. I can still see your puncture on your poor finger! But it looks as if there is no infection going on.
    Thanks so much for this FREE pattern. I am going to use this pattern to make a couple Project Linus quilts.
    XOXOXO Subee

  23. Thank you Bonnie. I have been admiring the progress and would love to make one.

  24. Thank you, Bonnie, a fantastic children's quilt

  25. Anonymous9:53 AM EST


    Hi Bonnie - I just love your scrap quilts, but haven't seen yet where the rulers are from. Did I miss that blog? Please tell me where to get the 2 rulers that you reference. Thanks so much, Mary

  26. Thank youy so much Bonnie! I love love that quilt. AND I have a stack of fabric waiting for a pattern. Now all I have to do is get busy cutting. Maybe I can do this as a leader and ender project. At least until I have all the parts ready.

  27. Oh Bonnie! Story Time Stars is cute as can be...I have two grandsons and lots of Novelty fabrics just waiting for this quilt to be made x 2...at least!

  28. Thank you Bonnie! What a fun quilt - I was inspired so jumped straight in when I saw this post. I've posted a picture of my progress on my blog for the 12th January - all blocks done, and I'm working on the sashing.

  29. Thank you so much for this pattern I made it and it was my very first quilt!!!! I am so proud to hear my family and friends say what a great job I did so kudos to you for such an easy tutorial

  30. Thank you so much for this pattern. This is the very first quilt that I have made start to finish this pattern was easy breasy. Kudos to you for such a talent of this wonderful tutorial.


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