A design from the Friendship Star family
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Skill Level: Beginner
The Eccentric Star quilt block is a quickie to make, just like its kissin' cousin, the Ribbon Quilt block. (At the bottom of this page you'll find several other blocks in the Friendship Star family.)
Just make your half square triangles with our 8-at-a-time method. Two squares of fabric, four lines of stitching and a bit of trimming is all it takes. You'll create perfect units every time.
Let's get started!
These abbreviations are used in this tutorial:
All seam allowances (SA) are 1/4" and are pressed toward the darker fabric unless otherwise indicated.
I use two different quarter inch presser feet for our Eccentric Star—one with a tick mark on the side and the other with a guide on the right hand side. Watch for them in the photos below.
Like any star block, choose two fabrics with good contrast so that the points don't get lost.
I've starched my quilt fabric before cutting. The benefits are three-fold:
To keep the Cutting Chart less cluttered, the measurements below are all for squares, i.e. 5 1/4" means to cut a 5 1/4" square.
Cutting Chart for an~ Traditional Piecing ~
|Patch||Fabric||Qty||Finished Block Size|
|4 1/2"||6"||7 1/2"||9"||12”|
|1||D||1||5 1/4”||6 1/4”||7 1/4"||8 1/4”||10 1/4”|
|2||L||1||5 1/4”||6 1/4”||7 1/4"||8 1/4”||10 1/4”|
|3||L||1||2”||2 1/2”||3"||3 1/2”||4 1/2”|
|Unfinished Block Size||5"||6 1/2"||8"||9 1/2"||12 1/2”|
|Grid Size||1 1/2"||2"||2 1/2"||3"||4”|
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.
First mark two diagonal lines from corner to corner on the back of the light #2 square. A mechanical pencil is perfect for this because the line stays nice and fine. Always.
Next layer the #1 and #2 squares, RST. For this 9" finished sample block the squares are pinned together so that they don't shift while sewing.
Pins are positioned away from the stitching lines.
Press the sewn unit flat to set the seam.
From the chart below, find the Midpoint Measurement that corresponds to your Finished Block Size.
|Midpoint||Trim HST to...|
|4 1/2"||2 5/8”||2”|
|6 "||3 1/8”||2 1/2”|
|7 1/2"||3 5/8”||3”|
|9 "||4 1/8”||3 1/2”|
|12 "||4 5/8”||4 1/2”|
If you have a smaller cutting mat use it. It's much easier and more accurate to turn the mat than to move the patches.
At your cutting mat, align this midpoint measurement line on your ruler with the edge of the sewn squares. The opposite side of your ruler should cross through the center of the drawn 'X'. (Pretty close is good enough since we started with generously sized patches.)
Cut the squares in half along the ruler.
Now turn the mat and repeat.
You now should have four equal size pairs of stitched patches.
Cut each in half along the diagonal pencil line.
Press the HSTs with the SA toward the darker, #1 fabric. Refer to the chart above and trim the HSTs to the size that corresponds to the Finished Block Size for a total of 8.
Arrange the patches to create the Eccentric Star design.
Sew the patches in each row together.
Where a light edge meets a light edge and forms a 'V', I've used a pin to help hold the seam together. The pin isthisclose to the line of stitching.
This seam is bulky because both SA are pressed toward the dark.
And this is how the match turned out.
The trickiest part of this block is keeping the HST oriented correctly and not flipping them accidentally at the machine.
This is how the stitched rows look in their proper position.
To make it less confusing, flip the bottom row of patches. Now it's easy to see that the top and bottom rows are pieced exactly the same.
Return the rows to their proper positions. With RST, stitch them together.
Your finished Eccentric Star quilt block looks like this.
This family of designs is built on a 3x3 grid with HSTs on the sides that 'pinwheel' around a solid center square.
You'll find cutting and piecing instructions for several variations of this simple patchwork design on this website. Click the image to go to the pattern page.
For even more designs, check out our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library.
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!