I am so pleased to announce my third quilt pattern release: Stars and Straps! This PDF quilt pattern features two blocks, a traditional block, the Sawtooth Star, and a Strap block, an original design. The star blocks are the classic Sawtooth Star Block. Originating in the 1800s, the classic star shape was extremely popular during the Civil War era. Used by Northern women in anti-slavery quilts, the block was known then as the North Star. The block finally received the Sawtooth Star name in approximately 1884 when it was published in Farm and Fireside magazine, a publication based in Ohio, in publication from 1877 through 1939. Featuring a central square surrounded by eight points, the block can be easily sized up or down to fit the overall quilt design. The Sawtooth Star points can either be made using half-square triangles or flying geese. I used the Fast Flying Geese Sawtooth Star Block pattern as outlined by Amy Smart of Diary of a Quilter. For my quilt, I chose to make 8 1/2 inch blocks.
The invented block for this quilt is the Strap Block. Having a desire for a large connecting element, I wanted a thin angled line block that would offset and frame the stars. Now, just like other arts, quilting has been around for centuries, so there no doubt exists a block similar, but I did indeed design the Strap Block myself through just a few experimental attempts. Play and experimentation are some of my most favorite qualities of the quilting arts and I usually cannot help but tinker around with every quilt. Made from four units, the central line of the strap is set into the background fabric on either side creating a square with the strap running diagonally through the center. I would suggest either a solid or non-directional fabric for the backing since the way each block is assembled makes the best use of the overall cut of fabric but reduces the ability to line up stripes or have directional patterns always facing the same direction.
To create the overall pattern for the quilt, Sawtooth Star Blocks and Strap Blocks alternate their placement across the rows and columns. I was very pleased to see the extra pattern created by the Strap Block where they are more of a wonky cross in the interior and diamond points where they connect with their neighbor.
I originally made the pattern for Quilts for a Cause donation in November 2019 to raise money for the Armed Services YMCA. That quilt was a throw size and very patriotic and scrappy, relying on mostly stash fabrics and thrift shop finds. The quilt successfully raised $250.00 for donation and got me a private commission to make a similar patriotic version.
In between writing the pattern draft by hand and making several patriotic versions of the quilt, I began making a typed version with detailed steps and all of the accompanying visual diagrams. I am not really a sit at the computer person, so working for days drafting little computer graphics and typing up steps is the least fun part, but turning an idea into a finished product is a great reward. Finally, after a few days of computer work, I was able to send the pattern off to a few Instagram quilting friends for them to check out and review my pattern writing work. I am ever grateful to Jessica (@wester.jessica) and Nicki (@missouri_marine_mom) for their diligent work and feedback on the pattern. Each lady agreed to proofread the pattern and make at least one quilt top in the course of just three weeks so I could release the pattern before the end of June. Committing to anything extra during the time of Covid-19 is especially appreciated the effort and I am truly grateful for their timeliness and feedback.
I had asked both ladies to make a version of the quilt for the Christmas holidays, as I feel this pattern is also great for those seasonal quilts as well. Jessica chose to make the full/queen size in the fun and spunky Tula Pink Holiday Homies fabric with a scrappy neutral background. Again I think that shows off the diversity of this pattern for play with and using up what you may already have.
Nicki tested the wall hanging version of the Stars and Straps Pattern, also using Christmas fabrics, but in a more traditional color pallet of red, green and gold. Quick and easy to complete, the wall size measures approximately 24in square, and would be a great way to add a touch of the quilted, homespun look into a room without too much time or fabric commitment.
Along with the incredible feedback about the pattern writing, each tester gave some kind and encouraging words about the pattern experience overall that truly warmed my heart. You never know when you are working on something if other people will enjoy it and find it as fun to play with and create as you do, so hearing that the pattern was enjoyable and easy to work with truly made the effort feel worthwhile!
This time around I wanted to show what I believed could be the diversity of this pattern, not only for patriotic combinations, but also for all seasons and other holidays. Therefore, I decided to make a twin sized version of the quilt using very summer inspired prints reminiscent of a picnic or block party. I found the perfect jumping off fabric in the new “Pop” prints collection by Rashida Coleman-Hale for Ruby Star Society. The bright pallet, especially in the soda and star prints allowed me to pull other coordinating prints from my stash. I think that is one of the awesome things about the Stars and Straps pattern as well, it is extremely friendly to either curated fat quarter bundles or stash busting, with just a bit of yardage for a cohesive background thrown in.
My plan had been to make the twin size, which would finish approximately 72in by 88in, but I didn’t have quiet enough of the confetti dot print I had selected for the strap blocks to make the final row. I absolutely hate when that happens! In these Corona-virus times, I just did not even want the hassle of trying to look for what I would estimate would only be about a quarter yard I needed to make the final row, so I just adapted the pattern and kept that row off. My quilt therefore finished at 70in by 77.5in and is a generous size anyhow.
After assembling all of my blocks to rows and rows to the overall quilt top, I had a fun and cheerful Stars and Straps Quilt. Now to back, which I thought I had all planned out, but then changed my mind at the last minute. Thanks to my IG friends on helping me choose the combination of the “picnic fruits” and painterly dots for the backing instead of the original black and pink star pattern.
To complete my quilt I went with a simple diagonal line quilting roughly following the corners of the blocks and spacing of the straps. I prefer simple quilting, which is much easier for me to do on my Janome Skyline S5, but if you like the overall patterns, this one might be super fun in a star pattern or stippling. I finished the binding from my stash as well, complimenting and completing the look.
I hope you will be inspired to give the Stars and Straps Quilt Pattern a go after seeing all of the interesting combinations you can create. So far I have found, and the feedback from my testers seems to agree, the pattern is easy to work through and delivers a great modern quilt that looks complex, but isn’t. If you would like to support my work and continued foray into independent pattern design, kindly purchase the pattern in my Etsy shop. If you do make a Stars and Straps Quilt, please be sure to tag and share with me on social media @laruedefleurs using the hashtags #starsandstrapsquilt #laruedefleurspatterns, as you know I would love to see your version!
Thanks for your support! Happy quilting, Janice
Purchase the Stars and Straps Quilt Pattern here!: Modern Quilt Pattern, Stars and Straps PDF Digital Download
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