TYSS: Variable Star fillers

The Variable Star, though a block in its own right, is also a great base for other, more complex blocks simply by filling the larger center square with another pieced block. You can also piece the corners for further interest. Here’s a sample of several different variations, with different blocks in each center. The bottom left and bottom right corners show what you can do with pieced corner and color placement.

Variable Star Samples

For the Test Your Skills Sampler, we’re using the basic Variable Star block in three different sizes as fillers. You’re going to make two 8″ finished (8 1/2″ unfinished) blocks, three 4″ finished (4 1/2″ unfinished) blocks, and three 4″ finished blocks with the center filled. If you’re following the white and bright version, the 8″ blocks are blue, the 4″ empty center blocks are orange, and the 4″ filled center blocks are each their own combination of colors – the star points (flying geese) are the same within one block, and the center square is a different fabric. All three filled center blocks are different combinations.

Variable Star2  Variable Star   Variable Star3

The basic Variable Star is just an uneven nine patch block where four of the patches are flying geese. As before, the Skill Builder posts provide detailed instructions to create flying geese units, so choose your favorite flying geese method from the posts linked below. There are two block sizes, 8″ finished and 4″ finished, and the measurements for flying geese units for both are below. The cutting and assembly instructions for completing the block are at the end of the post.

Skill Builder Series: Part 8A – Flying Geese

Skill Builder Series: Part 8B – Flying Geese

Method 1: Large and Small Squares

Skill Builder Series: Part 8B – Flying Geese
This is my favorite method for creating flying geese. It doesn’t waste fabric and you sew before cutting so bias edges aren’t an issue.

8″ finished blocks (make 2)
This block requires four 2″ x 4″ finished flying geese units. For each block, cut:

(4) 3″ squares for star points
(1) 5 1/2″ square of background fabric

4″ finished blocks (make 3 identical, and 3 in assorted colors)
This block requires four 1″ x 2″ finished flying geese units. For each block, cut:

(4) 2″ squares for star points
(1) 3 1/2″ square of background fabric

Method 2: Traditional

Skill Builder Series: Part 8A – Flying Geese
Although this is the traditional method for assembling flying geese, it can be tricky, especially since you’ll be working with bias edges. If you’d like to try it, I still recommend cutting your pieces slightly larger and trimming the finished units to size. For this method, you need:

8″ finished blocks (make 2)
This block requires four 2″ x 4″ finished flying geese units. For each block, cut:

(4) 3″ squares for star points, cut diagonally once
(1) 5 1/2″ square of background fabric, cut diagonally both ways

4″ finished blocks (make 3 identical, and 3 in assorted colors)
This block requires four 1″ x 2″ finished flying geese units. For each block, cut:

(4) 2″ squares for star points, cut diagonally once
(1) 3 1/2″ square of background fabric, cut diagonally both ways

Method 3: Rectangle and Squares

Skill Builder Series: Part 8A – Flying Geese
This method is best if you’d like to create some extra HSTs or don’t mind wasting a little fabric. It is the easiest method, but the most wasteful.

8″ finished blocks (make 2)
This block requires four 2″ x 4″ finished flying geese units. For each block, cut:

(4) 4 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ rectangles of background fabric
(8) 2 1/2″ squares of star point fabric

4″ finished blocks (make 3 identical, and 3 in assorted colors)
This block requires four 1″ x 2″ finished flying geese units. For each block, cut:

(4) 2 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ rectangles of background fabric
(8) 1 1/2″ squares of star point fabric

Method 4: Dimensional (One Seam)

Skill Builder Series: Part 8A – Flying Geese
This is a fun method for creating flying geese, but it adds a lot of bulk at the center and you will have flaps of fabric that you need to either sew down or be careful not to catch in the presser foot when you quilt it. I especially do NOT recommend it for very small flying geese units, and it is not a good choice for the 4″ finished blocks, though I have provided measurements below anyway.

8″ finished blocks (make 2)
This block requires four 2″ x 4″ finished flying geese units. For each block, cut:

(4) 4 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ rectangles of background fabric
(8) 2 1/2″ squares of star point fabric

4″ finished blocks (make 3 identical, and 3 in assorted colors)
This block requires four 1″ x 2″ finished flying geese units. For each block, cut:

(4) 2 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ rectangles of background fabric
(8) 1 1/2″ squares of star point fabric

Assembling the Block

Once you’ve created your flying geese units, you need to put them together into the blocks. You’ll need to cut additional squares for the corner and center piece of the blocks:

For each 8″ finished block (make two)
(1) 4 1/2″ background square for the center
(4) 2 1/2″ background squares for the corners

For each 4″ finished empty centered block (make 3)
(1) 2 1/2″ background square for the center
(4) 1 1/2″ background squares for the corners

For each 4″ finished filled centered block (make 3)
(1) 2 1/2″ “other” fabric square for the center
(4) 1 1/2″ background squares for the corners

To assemble the blocks, lay out the pieces in order, matching the illustration above. Assemble the block just like any other nine patch, making sure you turn your flying geese units so they create the star points. See this Nine Patch Skill Builder post for details. You may also want to review this Quarter Inch Seams Skill Builder post. If, like me, you prefer to press your seams to one side, press toward the plain squares. Press the top and bottom seams toward the center.

Advertisements

One thought on “TYSS: Variable Star fillers

  1. Thank you so much for continuing the TYSS series! You are such a wonderful teacher and your TYSS is what started me quilting. What a gift!

Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I try to reply to every comment, but sometimes it takes a few days. And sometimes, well... it has been known to drop off the radar. I'm easily distracted by shiny things.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s