Friday, August 28, 2015


I love quilt patterns with stars. In the past I have been hesitant to even try them because of my fear of making perfect points on the stars. (It's terrible being a perfectionist.)

This friendship star though is so easy and is so popular. I see it all the time when I go into quilt shops that display quilts. I even saw it in a quilt at the Missouri State Fair that my husband and I attended last week.

I made a table runner with mine, but you could use the block in any project.

I have learned that quilt blocks that look scary (aka difficult) aren't if you break them down. That's exactly what I did with the friendship star; then the points weren't scary at all. I noticed that all the block is .... is a nine patch with four of the nine squares being half square triangles of prints A and B, one square of print B, and the other four squares from print A.

I think the secret is measuring once again before you start sewing the rows together and making sure each square is "square". Trim off any excess especially on the half square triangles. Once you have the three rows sewed together "square up the block" again.

This is what my table runner looked like finished.

I ended up making four friendship square blocks and then put a border around them. Instead of adding a binding, I cut the backing the same size as the top and sewed around the edges with right sides together (batting that I cut a scant 1/4 inch smaller all the way around was pinned to the wrong side of the top) leaving a few inches in one end and then turning it.

For the quilting I machine stitched along the blue strip with the small stars on the border material and then outlined (sewed 1/4 inch inside the seams) in print A around the friendship stars.

Here are some pictures with a little explanation that I took while I was making the table runner.

I prefer to make my half-triangle squares by cutting the square 3/8 inches bigger and then cutting the squares diagonally to make the triangles. I know there is a speedy method for making half-square triangles, but for me it isn't speedy.

 For my project I cut 8 squares from the red print (B) 3-7/8 " from a strip I cut 3-7/8 " x WOF (width of fabric) 

(*Note....When I cut the 8 squares, I had about 10+inches left. I cut 2 pieces 3-1/2 inches wide 
and then trimmed the other side down so that it would measure 3-1/2" x 3-1/2". Then I just needed to cut two squares 3-1/2" x 3-1/2" squares instead of cutting another strip.)
and then cut the squares diagonally to make 16 triangles
 I repeat this with the light print A. Because I needed to cut 16 squares 3-1/2" x 3-1/2", I cut one strip 3-7/8" x WOF and 2 strips 3-1/2" x WOF.
 All my triangles ready to sew together (rights sides together)
 Here is a useful tip when you start to make a chain of half-square triangles. Take a piece of scrap the same thickness and start sewing on it first
then you don't have the "chewed" ends that sometimes happens when you don't have much material for the "foot" to grab a hold of.
 Cut the thread between the squares and then press the triangles open pressing the seam toward the darker print.
"Square" them up when you have them all sewed.

All 16 half-square triangles, 4 squares from B, and 16 squares from A - enough to make 4 friendship blocks

Then you are ready to rotate the half-square triangles to form the star

The finished block...

I forgot to take a picture of the backside, but it is important that you press the seams a certain way so that the seams "nest" together nicely when you sew the 3 horizontal strips together. Hopefully this picture will help.

Don't forget to trim the block to make sure it is "square".

I made four of these blocks and then sewed them together to make the table runner.

I used a striped print for the border so I didn't have to sew a bunch of strips together. I placed the strip of the four stars over the material to decide the look I wanted for the border and then cut strips 3-3/4" x the length of the panel + a little "just in case". 

After I cut the border I sewed the border down the length of the table runner first and then trimmed the ends.

Finding the border pattern again in the material I was using for the border, I cut two pieces 3-3/4"  x the width of the runner with the two side borders added + a little extra. Then I sewed the ends on the runner and trimmed them.

The finished top

If you are going to sew the backing on and turn the piece instead of sewing a binding on, cut the backing and the batting a little larger than the size of the top. 

With the batting underneath the top, pin it (from the top) to the wrong side of the top with large safety pins. Then trim the batting even with the edges of the top...

Then turn the edge of the top back and cut a fat 1/4 inch off the edge of the batting. You don't want to catch the batting when you sew the top and back together so cut the batting a "hair" more than 1/4 inch smaller. I am using the shorter ruler on the right to measure the "fat" quarter inch. When I remove it, my longer ruler is on the left side, so I can cut with my rotary cutter on the right side.

Here is what it will look like when it is turned over. 

With the backing right side up on the cutting table, lay the pinned top and batting on top with right sides together.Trim the backing to the same size as the top and batting.

You can pin these layers together if you like to hold them in place when you stitch 1/4 inch around leaving an opening in one end several inches long for turning the work inside out.

I like to sew these layers together with the batting side up. I turn back the batting to make sure it doesn't get sewed in the seam. When I am finished, I can see if I need to trim the batting anywhere. Remember I want it to be just slightly smaller than the finished top....the safety pins I used earlier will keep the batting in place when it is turned.

Turn the work through the opening and then slip stitch the opening closed.

I removed the safety pins after I did the machine quilting outline and pressed it flat. (I discussed the machine quilting earlier in the post.)

Here is what it looks like on the backside.

Amount of fabric you need to complete this project:

3/8 yd of print A
1/4 yd of print B
5/8 yd for border unless you are using a striped print like I used. Then you will need 1-1/4 yds.
1-1/4 yds for backing
piece of batting 46" x 19"

You can easily cut the stars from a fat quarter or

If you want to make a block in which each star is different, you just need a piece(s) to cut 2 squares 3-7/8" x 3-7/8" and 1 square 3-1/2" x 3-1/2" for the star and a piece(s) 4" x 24" to cut 4 squares 3-1/2" x 3-1/2" and 2 squares 3-7/8" x 3-7/8" for the background.

If you have any questions about anything I did, please ask me in a comment below or you can email me at . I try to make sure I am thorough in my explanation, but since I know what I am doing, I might omit some step that a newcomer especially needs to see or hear about.

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