Early Morning Star, an Easy Patchwork Quilt Block Pattern

  • 01 of 04

    How to Make Early Morning Star Quilt Blocks

    Early Morning Star quilt block pattern
    Janet Wickell

    Try This Easy Patchwork Quilt Block Pattern

    Early Morning Star is a patchwork quilt block pattern with built-in sashing, which is easy to see along the left and top sides of the block.

    The patchwork sashing automatically separates the plain squares on the right and bottom sides of the block when the quilt blocks are sewn together. It eliminates the need for long narrow sashing rows, which tend to be stretchy. If your blocks are accurate, they will fit together perfectly when it's time to assemble the quilt.

    Choosing Fabrics for a Quilt

    Early Morning Star can be sewn in any way that suits your needs, from a completely color controlled or themed project to a scrap quilt made with a wide assortment of fabrics.

    My large squares are brightly colored fabrics that pop out in the design and the small triangles in the remaining patchwork are black. A quilt would look very different if the triangles were more dominant than the large squares so be sure to consider the color value and color dominance before you choose quilting fabrics.

    Take a look at an entirely different quilt layout on page 4.

    Quilt Block Size and Assembly Methods

    The quilt blocks finish at 12" x 12". Its patchwork units are suitable for any quilting project, including baby quilts. Construction is simple enough for quilters of all skill levels to participate in if you use the block for a quilting exchange.

    Cutting for One 12" Square Early Morning Star Quilt Block

    White or White-on-White Fabric

    • (4) 2-1/2" x 2-1/2" squares to use between sashing rectangles
    • (8) 2-1/2" x 4-1/2" rectangles for sashing rectangles (consider the differences in placement if you use stripes or other directional fabrics)

    Black for Triangles Tips of Sashing Rectangles

    Large Squares Between Sashing

    • (4) 4-1/2" x 4-1/2" squares of one or more colors

    How to Print My Patterns and Tutorials

    Continue to 2 of 4 below.
  • 02 of 04

    Make Patchwork Sashing for the Quilt Block

    Patchwork sashing instructions
    Janet Wickell

    Assemble the Patchwork Sashing

    The rectangular sashing pieces have triangles in each corner. The triangles are easy to sew when you use a popular quick piecing technique. You might have assembled quick pieced Snowball quilt blocks or used the same method to create flying geese.

    Follow illustrations from left to right and top to bottom. The reverse side of squares is shown in gray to make sewing and cutting lines more visible.

    1. Draw a diagonal line from one corner to the opposite corner on the reverse side of all 1-1/2" squares. You may need to use a white chalk pencil or porcelain pencil if you are using black squares. You could also create diagonal creases with a hera marker.

    2. Place a small marked square in the upper right-hand corner of a 2-1/2" x 4-1/2" rectangle, right sides together. Make sure the line is oriented as shown and all edges are matched.

    3. Sew a seam on the marked line.

    4. Press to set the seam (important for this technique). Cut through both layers about 1/4" past the seam (left, middle illustration).

    5. Finger press the triangle right side up and press the seam allowance either direction (top middle illustration).

    6. Repeat to add triangles to the remaining three corners of the rectangle.

    7. Make eight patchwork rectangles. Each should measure 2-1/2" x 4-1/2". 

    Use chain piecing to speed up assembly once you're familiar with the technique.

    Continue to 3 of 4 below.
  • 03 of 04

    Finish Sewing the Early Morning Star Quilt Block

    Early Morning Star quilt block
    Janet Wickell

    Assemble the Quilt Block 

    1. Gather the patchwork rectangles and all remaining small and large squares for one quilt block.
    2. Arrange the components into four rows as shown—two of each row type.
    3. Use a quarter inch seam allowance to sew the pieces in each row together and then press seam allowances towards the plain squares. It's always a good idea to set seams before pressing to the side because it improves accuracy.
    4. Join the rows, carefully matching seam intersections. Use straight pins to keep fabrics from shifting.
    5. Press the quilt block. It should measure 12-1/2" x 12-1/2". Try one of my easy ways to fix problem quilt blocks if the block is skewed or isn't quite the correct size.
    Continue to 4 of 4 below.
  • 04 of 04

    Quilt Layout Example

    A completed Early Morning Star quilt
    Janet Wickell

    Early Morning Star Quilt

    This version of the quilt is sewn with a completely different color scheme than the quilt blocks on page 1.

    To Make the Quilt, You'll Need

    • (80) large squares
    • (80) small squares
    • (450) smallest squares to sew to triangles
    • (150) of the rectangles
    • Borders of your choice
    • Binding, backing, and batting

    What We Would Do Differently

    We would remove the sashing from the left sides of the first column of blocks and the bottom edges of the final row of blocks to make the edges of the quilt more symmetrical. Like the top and right sides.