From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library
Skill Level: Beginner
The Crystal Star quilt block is yet another variation on the Sawtooth Star—this time a square in a square is added to the center for interest.
This block is also commonly referred to as a:
We'll use the connector corners technique for the center and Flying Geese. Add four more cut squares and that's all there is to it. No special tools. No special rulers. All you need are your basic quilting supplies.
All will be crystal clear as you follow along in the tutorial. Let's get started!
Sample Block Size: 8"(8-1/2" unfinished)
Grid size: 2"
All seams are 1/4".
When you are instructed to press, first press the pieced unit flat to set the seam. Suggestions are provided throughout these instructions on which way to press the seam allowances.
Click here for cutting instructions for additional block sizes.
A directional white and black print is used for the background.
Instructions are provided on how to cut and mark the patches so that the design moves across the block in one direction.
As you piece, flip back the corner of the patch BEFORE stitching to ensure that it is in the correct position. This quick check is much faster than having to rip out a patch that should have been turned a quarter turn.
While we've used the connector corners method here in this tutorial, the 'four at a time' Flying Geese method would also be an efficient way to make the Geese units, too.
This block is the perfect example of why you want to make a practice block.
Though there seemed to be plenty of contrast between the fabrics laid out next to each other, the piecing looks a bit 'mushy' in the finished block.
To remedy this, I'd choose a more 'white' black and white print for the background next time.
Cutting Chart for a~Traditional Piecing x/Connector Corners ~
|Patch||Fabric||Qty||Finished Block Size|
|1||L||4||1½" x 2½"||2" x 3½"||2½" x 4½"||3" x 5½"||3½" x 6½"|
|2||D||8||1½" x 1½"||2" x 2"||2½" x 2½"||3" x 3"||3½" x 3½"|
|3||M||1||2½" x 2½"||3½" x 3½"||4½" x 4½"||5½" x 5½"||6½" x 6½"|
|4||L||8||1½" x 1½"||2" x 2"||2½" x 2½"||3" x 3"||3½" x 3½"|
|Unfinished Block Size||4½"||6½"||8½"||10½"||12½"|
Learn more about my favorite, new quilting tool, the Magic Pressing Mat. A valuable addition to your quilting tools—regardless of the piecing technique you use.
The patches for this block are below. Notice particularly how the rectangle patches are cut—two in each direction of the print. This is to keep the print design flowing from top to bottom of the block.
Flying Geese Units
Mark a diagonal line from corner to corner on the back of the eight #2 squares for the star points.
Align one of these marked squares with the end of a rectangle patch. The drawn line bisects one of the corners.
Stitch on the line. You can chain stitch these pieces.
Press flat. Trim the seam allowance on the side of the stitching line closest to the corner.
Press the square open and towards the corner.
Align another #2 with the open end of the rectangle. The drawn line bisects the corner on the same long edge as the previous square did.
Stitch on the drawn line.
Press flat, trim the seam allowance and press as you did for the first square.
If any of the #2 squares extend past the #1 rectangles, trim the patches even.
For this sample 8" finished block the Flying Geese measure 2-1/2" x 4-1/2" at this point.
Square in a Square Center
We'll use the connector corner technique again.
Mark the backs of only four of the eight #4 patches with a diagonal line from corner to corner.
For a directional print, you'll want to mark the lines as shown below. For two the print runs top to bottom. For the other two, the print runs left to right.
With RST, align the edges of two of the #4s with the larger #3. The ends of the drawn lines touch the sides of the large square.
Stitch on the line. Press flat, trim the seam allowance on the side of the stitching closest to the corner.
Press the patches open and toward the corners.
Repeat for the two remaining marked #4s.
If the #4 patches extend past the edges of the large squares, trim them even.
Your finished square in a square should measure 4-1/2" x 4-1/2" for this 8" finished block.
Lay out the finished units and remaining cut squares for this Crystal Star block.
Sew them into rows. Press the seam allowances away from the Flying Geese.
Stitch the rows together, pinning if needed to help match the seams.
This is what the Crystal Star quilt block looks like from the back side.
For pressing a perfectly flat block—even with the added layer from the connector corners—use the Best Pressing Technique for Quilt Blocks.
It's so easy and works so well you'll wonder why you didn't think of it yourself!
This is your finished Crystal Star quilt block.
Now that your Crystal Star quilt block is finished, check out our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library for ideas for your next quilt.
For layout inspiration, check out Quilt Design 101.
These are my go-to resources for quilt block ideas.
Can you tell?
It's in color.
It's got a ton of blocks.
What's not to love?
Next on my 'must-have' list is Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.
Unlike the Maggie Malone book, the blocks in this volume are hand-drawn and in black and white—no color—personally, I prefer colored drawings to work with.
This book is no longer in print.
If you can come by a copy expect it to be wickedly expensive. Once in awhile you can find it here on Amazon.com.
UPDATE: Electric Quilt, in cooperation with Barbara Brackman has announced they plan to republish the Encyclopedia sometime in 2020.
However, all is not lost if you can't find a hard copy.
BlockBase is the computerized version of the Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.
It contains designs for over 4300 blocks—pretty much every block published from the 1830's through the 1970's.
It can be used with Electric Quilt and is a Windows based program.
In fact, there are instructions included so that you can pull up the digital patterns within Electric Quilt (PC version for now) without having to open up BB program.
UPDATE: Electric Quilt has announced that they will be rereleasing the standalone BlockBase software for BOTH PC and MAC in 2020.
This is terrific news.
Finally there's The Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns by Jinny Beyer.
Lots of detail and in color, it is a beautiful volume. That said, I check it out of my local library on a regular basis instead of purchasing it—can you see the library sticker on it's spine. Yep, it's from the Plainfield Public Library.
Simply because I own the previous three references and find this the least user-friendly of the group.
And it does make a fabulous coffee table book!