Choose your favorite star blocks, a fabric collection, and make a sampler quilt with stars like we did. Exchange blocks once a month!
I am calling this my Friendship Star quilt! Deb, Lisa, and I agreed to work with the Gretel fabric collection by Amy Smart for Riley Blake Designs. I love Amy’s fabrics! Deb suggested our blocks should be 12″ stars, any stars we liked. So, we met every month or so to exchange the blocks we made.
We would choose a design, make three blocks of it, and share. We each had purchased a fat quarter bundle of the collection (well, we actually purchased two bundles!). This way, even though it would be a sampler quilt, the colors would be harmonious.
Our blocks are not signed, and at times we even forget who made what. It is easier for me to remember mine because I post many of them here.
I had a lot of fun looking through books and patterns for star blocks. The fabrics were a delight to work with, with lots of textures and bright colors. Read all about the star above and see a tutorial here.
The center of the star is machine appliqued so no curved sewing required. Pink would have looked cool instead of the navy blue print, too. As usual, I used matching thread to applique’ it in place – this way, you focus on the print and not on the thread.
The blocks do not need to be complicated, but I did find some gems (meaning: looking complex but easy to assemble) when searching for blocks for our sampler quilt with stars. The star above, for instance, was so easy to put together!
By looking carefully at the seams, you can see I used the Stitch and Flip method on the ‘diamonds’ at the corners. How simple is that? I would love to make an entire quilt featuring this star, perhaps only varying the star colors and leaving the background ones (pink and white) the same.
Here is a fun star block which turned out so cute with the fabrics I selected! You see, you do not have to be picky about which one you make, as long as you make what you would like to see on the quilt. The block size at 12″ is very versatile and its components won’t be difficult to handle.
I must confess two things: 1. When I first began quilting many years ago, I hated sampler quilts, particularly the ones made with scraps of many fabrics without a rhyme or reason to them; 2. Backgrounds were, at first, a solid fabric – white or beige. How far I’ve come!
The block above is simple yet uses a different technique, and that is why I included it. Also, I liked working with a directional fabric without minding its direction!
Directional fabrics can be tough to work with. Look at the quilt in my studio (below), and see if you can find a block that uses a directional fabric in a cool way. Designing with directional fabrics presents a whole other set of challenges…
Lisa did a great job using the red directional fabric on the flag block, don’t you think? The stripes have the fabric facing upright, and I thought it was clever that the block had a star in it without being a star itself.
The bottom corner stars are the same as I had made an extra one for me – probably because I had leftover half-square triangles! In any case, the are anchoring the other blocks. I do have some favorites… and they are not necessarily the ones I made! This is the beauty of making quilts with friends… plus, it gives us another reason to get together.
As for layout, at first I thought of adding a pieced border or sashing. Then, I decided against it because I wanted the blocks to shine. So, simple sashing and border, plus a backing and matching binding.
The Dwell quilt was the first one we made together. We each assembled the quilt as we liked. In my case, I added two sizes of trees to my ‘neighborhood’ and absolutely love how it turned out! We talked about making a pumpkin quilt this year, but 2020 has been sort of a crazy year, and it did not happen.
I got us some fabrics of the same Christmas line and am hoping we can work with them together. Maybe for next year!
If you are interested in doing a project with your friends, here are some ideas:
Tips for a group quilt project
- Select a fabric line, or a theme color. If a theme color, you can exchange scraps before you begin so the same fabrics appear here and there on the blocks to add cohesiveness to the project.
- Choose a type of block: stars, houses, blocks with triangles or just squares, applique’ blocks, paper pieced ones… Whatever you choose, be sure all of you are comfortable with the choice and the technique.
- Meet once a month to exchange them. If you have a lot going on, keep your group of friends to a manageable size so you do not have to make a dozen blocks every month.
- Decide if you will sign the blocks. Deb, Lisa, and I haven’t talked about it, but I am thinking I will create labels and we three will sign them.
- It is easier to come up with a final layout if all the blocks are of the same size. So, pick a size that is popular such as 8″, 10″, or 12″.
- If one of you really hate a color, mention it ahead of time. Otherwise, you will not keep the quilt when it is done!
Yes, I do love making star blocks and quilts. Look at my Etsy store, PiecedBrain, and see how many I have there which would work as a sampler quilt with stars. Plus, check out the Free Patterns page on this blog for patterns you can download for free and begin making.
On the subject of stars, if you cannot wait to make one, look at this fun pattern I found on the Connecting Threads site. It is called Masie and would look great as a wall hanging or a table topper.
What do you think of our sampler quilt with stars? I am itching to come up with another project for the three of us because we have so much fun exchanging them, then seeing how we put them together. I hope we have inspired you!
Have a great weekend,