Make your own quilt using the popular hunter's star pattern with this beginner's tutorial. The original hunter's star quilt was designed with diamond shapes, but it's easy to create the same look with easy half-square triangle units. The quilt finishes at about 72 inches by 84 inches. Add borders or make additional quilt blocks to increase the quilt's size.
The hunter's star design can be confusing because of its layout. Each area that you would normally call a quilt block is really four patchwork sections that are rotated and then joined to create a larger quilt block. A secondary design emerges when blocks are sewn together.
Choosing Your Fabrics
Your light and dark may be different from someone else's starting point of light and dark. For a scrap quilt, the dark and light fabrics don't all have to match. It's the overall contrast in the finished blocks that's important, and contrast can vary when a scrap quilt is assembled.
Remember that warm colors, such as yellow, orange, and red, can pop out in the design as much as a dark fabric, including neutrals, such as black, or cool colors, such as dark blue. Even if you make a quilt with lots of dark fabrics, consider using the same light fabric throughout to add continuity to the design. That's part of the method for choosing fabrics for quilts.
Equipment / Tools
- Sturdy white thread, adhesive products, safety pins, or another product for basting the layers of the quilt sandwich
- Rotary cutting tools
- Long straight pins
- 4 yards dark fabric
- 4 yards light fabric
- 1 panel quilt backing (82 x 94 inches)
- 1 panel quilt batting (82 x 94 inches)
- 340 inches continuous double-fold binding
- Thread for piecing and/or machine quilting
Cut the Individual Units
The Magic 8 method for half square triangle units (HST) is perfect for the hunter's star quilt, even if you're making it scrappy because each of the patchwork sections requires eight HSTs. The method is easy, and the fabric's sturdy straight grain will be parallel to the outer edges of your HSTs (unlike another HST method that results in stretchy bias edges in those positions).
Be sure you understand the Magic 8 method if it's new to you or if you want to make oversize units, and then trim them back to 3 1/2 inches by 3 1/2 inches after assembly. That's a lot of trimming back, so make a few test sets by sewing a scant (very slightly narrower) quarter-inch seam on a pair of fabrics—one will be marked—and measure the results.
Cut 42 7 3/4-inch by 7 3/4-inch light squares, and then cut 42 7 3/4-inch by 7 3/4-inch dark squares. Pair each piece of light fabric with a piece of dark fabric to produce eight 3 1/2-inch by 3 1/2-inch HSTs per pair (336 total).
Sew the Hunter's Star Quilt
Grab four HSTs, and arrange them into two rows, as shown in Figure 1 (left). Use straight pins as needed to keep matched seams from shifting. Pay close attention to the orientation of triangles when you make the small patchwork units. Sew the units in each row together and press the seam allowances in adjoining rows in opposite directions.
Join the rows and press either direction, as shown in Figure 1 (middle). The joined HSTs should measure 6 1/2 inches by 6 1/2 inches. Sew a 6 1/2-inch light square to the right-hand side of the HST patchwork, as shown in Figure 1 (right). Press seam allowance toward the plain square. Make a total of 42 rows with light 6 1/2-inch squares.
Accuracy is important. Measure as you go, and make corrections before assembling more blocks.
Make the Figure 2 Patchwork Unit
Arrange four HST units into two rows as shown in Figure 2 (left). Sew the units in each row together. Press seams in adjoining rows in opposite directions. Join the rows, as shown in Figure 2 (middle). Press to make a patchwork unit that measures 6 1/2 inches by 6 1/2 inches.
Sew a matching (or scrappy) 6 1/2-inch square to the left side of the patchwork, as shown in Figure 2 (right). Press the seam allowance toward the plain square. Make 42 patchwork units in the same configuration. Join the two rows, as shown in Figure 3. Press seam either way. The new block should measure 12 1/2 inches by 12 1/2 inches.
Assemble a Cluster of Four Blocks
Gather four of your 12 1/2-inch square blocks and arrange them into two rows as shown in Figure 4. Sew the two blocks in each row together, as shown in Figure 5. Press the seam allowances toward the blocks with darkest edges.
Join the two rows and press the seam allowance in either direction, as shown in Figure 6. The large quilt block should measure 24 1/2 inches square.
Make a total of nine large quilt blocks. You should have six of the 12 1/2-inch block sections left.
Sew the Rows to Finish the Quilt
Take a look at the right end of Figure 7. That narrow unit is two of the remaining smaller blocks. Sew together in pairs as shown and press towards the dark. Sew three of the large blocks together side by side and add the narrow unit to the end. Repeat to make two more rows. Press new seam allowances in adjoining rows in opposite directions and join the rows. Mark for quilting if necessary.
Sandwich the quilt top with the batting and backing. Quilt the quilt. Remove excess batting and backing, taking care not to trim away the quarter inch seam allowance that surrounds the top. You may need to square the quilt up a bit if it has become skewed. Sew double-fold mitered binding around the edges of the quilt or finish in another way.
Five more 6 1/2-inch by 12 1/2-inch sections would produce three rows of the larger blocks and increase the size of the quilt. If you prefer that look, make the sections and assemble blocks exactly as you did the others.