Friday, April 2, 2021

Full Stop April Block - Asterisks

An asterisk is from a word root meaning star.  When used in writing, it is often a reference indicating that something has been omitted or requires more information or context.  I often tell my kids not to worry too much about their standardized test scores right now because everything we do this year will have an asterisk by it.   To understand why their AP scores were strangely low for this year, the asterisk would go with a footnote to explain that we are all learning in a hybrid environment during a pandemic, and the results might not be consistent with their usual performance.    I think the movie profits will all need and asterisk this year because most of the theaters were closed for so long.   I hear they are open now, but I'll keep enjoying new releases on HBO max for now.   There is an aster flower, asteroids in the sky, and the word disaster is derived from the same word root.  It refers to an unfavorable aspect of a planet or star.   
I plan to end up with a 6.5 inch block in the end, so I chose to start with 7 inches in order to leave room for squaring up. This is not strictly necessary as the width of the strips will add enough extra size into the block to give you some wiggle room.  So feel free to start with a 6.5 inch block if you prefer.  
For the oversized ready for trimming version, start with:
  • 1 - 7 inch square of background fabric
  • 2 - 1.25 by about 10 inch strips of blue
  • 2 - 1.25 by about 8 inch strips of blue. 
The exact lengths of the blue strips are not important, as long as they are a bit longer than the background strips, the rest is all going to be trimmed away at the end.   
Start by slicing your background square from corner to corner along the diagonal.  Insert a long blue strip and sew to one hypotenuse of the triangle.  Always press toward the blue.   
Now add the second triangle to the other side of the strip.  Try to line up the middle corner with the middle of the block.   Remember to press toward the blue.  I feel that this makes the star "pop" in the finished block.   
Now repeat the same treatment along the other diagonal.   Cut corner to corner, insert the other long strip.  Sew on one side, press.  Sew on the other side, press again.   
Now you have a big "X" going on.   You will need to cut the block in half again, but this time, vertically.   Each side should be about 3.5 inches, but worry more about cutting through the intersection of the existing strips than about the exact size of the background.   
Insert a short strip and sew on one side of the background unit.   
Add the other side of the background square and repeat the process of sew and press.    
Rotate the block 90 degrees and repeat the sewing in of the strip.   
Your block is now just a bit bigger than the starting size of 7 inches.   Use a square up ruler to trim it down to 6.5, taking care to try to center the corner strips along the diagonal.   It doesn't have to be perfect, so just do the best you can.   You can see how much extra fabric I have on all the sides, so feel free to start with a slightly smaller block to produce less waste.   

Tada!  Here is your finished block.  Make 6 of these and sew them into a strip with a 6.5 by 1.5 inch strip of background fabric between each block.  
There are so many ways to work on variations of a theme with this block.  It is easy to make them larger or smaller of course, but you could also just use wider or narrower strips.  I think it would look great with solids in the diagonal and various fun prints in the horizontal and vertical strips.   Wonky blocks would be lots of fun with the same idea as well, just cutting on slightly different angles would give a nice fun feel to the finished quilt.  

Kathy did an entire post with the asterisk quilts she has made over the years.  




7 comments:

Patti said...

Funny you should post this as I was looking for something to add on a comment to a quilt with a saying on it!!

Quilter Kathy said...

I love asterisk blocks! Can't wait to work on mine tonight!

The Joyful Quilter said...

Thanks for the tutorial, Angela! I made my block earlier this afternoon. Fun make!

Anorina @SameliasMum said...

It looks fantstic

Dot M. said...

What a neat block.....Can’t wait to make mine.....

LIttle Penguin Quilts said...

I just made one this afternoon to try it out, and it turned out pretty good! Thanks for the tutorial, Angela!

Bernie Kringel said...

Thank you for writing up this tutorial Angela. Great block!