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Repeat design elements to lengthen your quilt

 

In yesterday’s post we put together the center of the Wish Upon a Star for spring quilt. The fabrics in the amethyst colorway of Northcott’s Stonehenge Gradations Brights do most of the work making the simple shapes shine.

 

center panels of quilt
center panels of quilt

 

You could be done – the center of the quilt would look great as a wall hanging! It should measure approximately 48½ʺ square at this point – simply add a 2″ border and you would have a large spring wall hanging.

 

Row of star blocks
Row of star blocks

 

But let’s keep going!

Instead of just adding background to bring your quilt up to a desired size, consider adding a row of blocks that repeat a design element. In this case, I added a row of stars at the top and a row of tulips at the bottom. You could make both rows stars or both rows tulips (but you would definitely have to go back and change your cutting plans!)

The rows not only extend the length of the quilt, but also the design elements. Plus they let you play a bit more with the beautiful amethyst colors!

 

Make the Stars Border

 

8" star
8″ star

 

To make all 6″ – 8″ Stars you’ll need the following pieces:

Fabric A {background fabric}:

24 – 3″ squares
24 – 2½ʺ squares

Fabric B (39301-85) 24 – 3″ squares

Fabric C (39300-85) 4 – 2½ʺ squares

Fabric D (39300-84) 4 – 2½ʺ squares

Fabric E (39303-84) 4 – 2½ʺ squares

Fabric F (39302-85) 4 – 2½ʺ squares

 

Squares for hsts
Squares for hsts

 

Make hsts with the 3″ Fabric A background squares and 3″ squares of Fabric B.

  1. Draw a diagonal line on the back of Fabric A {background} 3″ squares.
  2. Put together a Fabric A and Fabric B square with right sides facing, then sew ¼ʺ away from each side of drawn line. Cut on the drawn line.
  3. Press the seam of half of the blocks to Fabric A and the other half to Fabric B.
  4. Trim the hsts to 2½ʺ square.

 

Star units laid out
Star units laid out

 

Layout the pieces for the star block as shown.
NOTE – the middle of the star color placement is the same as in the large star in the center of the quilt.

 

Middle units sewn
Middle units sewn

 

Sew the star pieces in 3 columns -start by sewing together the pieces for the middle column; press the seams in opposite directions to make nesting seams as you sew the units together.

 

Star columns sewn
Star columns sewn

 

  1. Sew the units in the first and last columns and press the seams to the bottom of the columns.
  2. Sew the units in the middle column and press the seams to the top of the block.
  3. Sew the first column to the middle column; press the seam to the first column.
  4. Then sew the last column to the first two columns; press the seam to the last column.
6 star blocks
6 star blocks

 

Repeat 5 more times to make a total of 6 identical – 8 1/2 inch star blocks.

Sew the star blocks together side by side, pressing the seams in either direction.

 

Make the Tulip Border

 

Tulip block units
Tulip block units

 

Next up is the tulip blocks border. The tulip is a four patch block made of hsts and one four patch unit.

To make all 6 tulip blocks you’ll need the following pieces:

Fabric A (39300-62) 9 – 5″ squares of background fabric
6 – 2½ʺ x 4½ʺ rectangles
6 – 2½ʺ squares
Fabric B (39301-85) 6 – 2½ʺ squares
Fabric D (39300-84) 3 – 5″ squares
Fabric E (39303-84) 3 – 5″ squares
Fabric F (39302-85) 3 – 5″ squares

 

Unit pieces laid out
Unit pieces laid out

 

Make hsts using the Fabric A 5″ squares and matching them with the Fabric D, E, F 5″ squares.

  1. Draw a diagonal line on the back of Fabric A {background} squares.
  2. Put together pair of squares with right sides facing, then sew ¼ʺ away from each side of drawn line.
  3. Cut on the drawn line.Press the seam to Fabric A.
  4. Trim the hsts to 4½ʺ square.
  5. Make a total of 6 hsts of Fabric A and each fabric.

 

Four patch unit pieces
Four patch unit pieces

 

Make the fourth square for each block by sewing together one Fabric A 2½ʺ square and one Fabric B 2½ʺ square. Press the seam to the darker Fabric B.

Sew this unit to the left long side of one 2½ʺ x 4½ʺ rectangle; press the seam to the rectangle.

 

Four units ready to assemble
Four units ready to assemble

 

Set out your fabric pieces like in the photo above. Note that the tulip blocks have the colors in the same positions as the larger tulips in the center of the quilt.

 

two halves of tulip blocks
two halves of tulip blocks

 

  1. Sew the blocks together by sewing the top two hsts into one unit and the bottom hst and fourth square together.
  2. Press the seams in opposite directions.
  3. Sew the two units together to create 8½ʺ unfinished tulip block.

 

6 tulip blocks
6 tulip blocks

 

Repeat to make a total of 6″ – 8″ tulip blocks.

There are a couple of options you can choose for laying out these blocks. In the photo above you can see the tulips are facing down, which is how I originally designed the quilt. I think this position helps to finish the design and would use it on a wall hanging. After laying the row out both ways, I decided to have them facing up. I feel having the tulips face up brings the eye back to the center of the design. I do recommend having them go in two different directions going out from the center.

Using the design of your choice, sew the tulip  blocks side by side to make the row. Press the seams in either direction.

Now all the major sections of the quilt are ready. I hope this post helped you think about ways to take from a design to add more length to your quilt. Tomorrow we put together the quilt!

 

This is part 4 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 3:  Sewing the spring quilt from the center out

Go to part 5:  6 essential tips to finish the Wish Upon a Star for Spring Quilt

 

I love to play with color and *quilts* are my playground! A self-taught quilter, I've been designing quilts for almost 20 years. I'm inspired by happy fabrics, selvages, traditional blocks and nature. I'm also a wife, mother, and elementary school teacher, and enjoy drinking coffee on my front porch in northern Ontario.

9 Comments

  1. E

    Pretty colours. Thanks for the tutorial!

  2. Linda Cartwright

    I love this block, and the fabric colors are awesome!

  3. Debra Neiman

    Good advice for a much more interesting quilt. crystalbluern at tds dot net

    • You’re welcome! The amethyst palette of Northcott’s Stonehenge Gradations Brights is beautiful! Remember there are more palettes too – with yellows and pinks;)

  4. JoyceLM

    Thanks for the great tutorial. I really like the advice for adding blocks to make a quilt larger.

  5. Frani

    Love those blocks! Thanks for sharing

  6. I LOVE stonehenge! What a great way to extend blockS or repeat certain elements within a block!

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