Martha Washington Star Block

I’m completely head over heels in love with star quilts.  They bring such charm and interest to a room.  So, when I caught sight of the cover of the Fall/Winter issue of the Quilt Sampler magazine at the grocery store, I did something that I never do.  I bought a magazine off the rack.

The quilt design’s name is Scattered Stars and it’s covered with stars and pinwheels that seem to be random but in reality are comprised of three repeated star blocks.  I immediately knew that this would be the quilt for my husband’s and my bed.  When I found the Moda Etchings fabric pack at, it seemed like serendipity.  Instead of using the beautiful golden fall colors that were showcased in the Scattered Stars pattern, I decided to make this our Spring quilt in honor of this awesome fabric collection.  Florals and Blueprints – could this be more perfect??

You see, I have a quilting goal.  I’d like to make a quilt for us for every season.  I’m looking forward to being able to welcome spring with this dainty star quilt in soft colors.  Usher in fall with warm oranges and golds.  Enjoy winter evenings under a lofty flannel quilt.  I’ve made a few quilts before but they were gifts for family.  I always had a deadline and so they seemed to move along pretty quickly.  I’m realizing that sewing a quilt for yourself can take a little longer since there’s no due date.  Our quilt seems to keep getting shunted to the back burner.  I’ve got about 30% of the blocks done and I’m itching to try to finish them up so I can put it all together!  My pretend “deadline” is next spring – I think that should be do-able. We’ll see.

If there are any of you out there who love to quilt too – I thought I’d include some directions to make one of the star blocks for this quilt.  It’s called the Martha Washington Star (it’s by far my favorite!).  When finished, this block will be 6.5″ square.

You need a light fabric and a dark fabric.

From the light fabric cut:

4 – 2″ x 3.5″ rectangles

1 – 2.75″ square, cut diagonally twice to create 4 small triangles total

2 – 2  3/8″ (2.375″) squares, cut diagonally once to create 4 large triangles total

4 – 2″ squares

From the dark fabric cut:

1 – 2.75″ square, cut diagonally twice to create 4 small triangles total

8 – 2″ squares

-Use a pencil to mark a diagonal line on the wrong side of the 8 squares of dark print.

-Align a dark marked square with one end of a light 2 x 3.5″ rectangle. Make sure that the line points from the upper corner to the center of the rectangle.

-Sew on the line and then trim the lower corner off with about a 1/4″ allowance.  (I tend to chain sew all 4 of these and then trim them all – it goes a little faster that way.)

-Press open attached triangle with the seam towards the dark fabric.

-Repeat this step for the remaining sides of the rectangles.  You should end up with 4 Flying Geese Units. Set them aside for now.

-Take the small triangles and pair them together with one light on the left and one dark on the right like so:

-You will be sewing the center seam so place the dark on top of the light (right sides together) and sew down the right edge with a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Press the seam toward the dark side.  (I clipped the seam allowance that extended past my triangle.)  Do this for all of the small triangles.

-You will now sew the large light triangles to these triangle units by the long sides to make a square.

-With right sides together, sew down the long edge with a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Press seam toward the large triangle. Repeat for all four units.

-Sew together triangle units in pairs and press seams open.  Make sure all the units are postitioned like this:

– To make sure that I don’t get confused, I always line my units up like shown and then flip the right one over so it is on top of the left one with right sides together.  Then I know to always sew down the right edge.  Do this twice to make 2 strips.  Press the seams open.

-Rotate one of your strips to create the a pinwheel:

-Join the pairs together with a 1/4″ seam.  Press seam open.  The block center should measure 3.5″ square.

-Now it is time to add the Flying Geese units.  First you will sew the 2″ light fabric squares to each side of 2 of the Flying Geese units with a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Press seams toward the Flying Geese.

-Now sew the 2 remaining Flying Geese units to the sides of your pinwheel block center with a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Press the seams toward the Flying Geese units.

-Join all three rows to finish the Martha Washington Star block.  Press seams toward the center row.

You’re done!

Here’s another color way of this block for you to see.  This makes me excited to enjoy our pretty Spring quilt (in about 7 months!).  Well, I better get to work on some blocks . . . .

  1. I’m new to quilting, but I too want to make seasonal quilts. Alas, mine are more sized for hanging on the wall than laying on a bed. Good luck on your project!

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