Ad Astra Quilt Pattern
This wonky star quilt project is an extract from Conscious Crafts: Quilting written by Elli Beaven and published by The Ivy Press. This book contains 20 mindful modern quilting projects including bags, pouches, cushions and quilts as well as quilting techniques.
The wonky star block is a more freeform take on the traditional Sawtooth Star, with its intentional asymmetry making it simpler to construct. While the piecing for this quilt requires more precision than some of the other projects in the book, it is not complicated. A rotary cutter, cutting mat and quilting ruler will be a worthwhile investment for making this quilt, as the more precisely cut the squares are, the easier they will be to piece with a consistent ¼in (6mm) seam allowance.
The focus needed for the construction process works wonderfully to quiet a busy or anxious mind and once the top is finished and basted, then come the many hours of soothing hand quilting.
209 squares, 4½in, in shades
of blue from dark
Twelve 4½in squares in shades
Twelve 8in squares in shades
255 x 2¼in binding fabric (or use a selection of blue fabrics for matching gradient binding)
54 x 70in wadding (batting)
56 x 72in backing fabric (or piece remnants to this size)
Quilting thread in several shades of blue and yellow
Making the wonky star quilt
- Divide each yellow 8in square into eight triangles by cutting it diagonally, horizontally and vertically in half.
- Beginning with the darkest shades of blue, select eight blue squares in differing shades (some duplicates are fine), one yellow square and eight yellow triangles. This will make up the first block. Lay out the nine squares with the yellow at the centre. If there is some variation in the blue squares, place the darker ones in the bottom row and the lighter ones in the upper row, though a bit of mixing is also fine.
- The four blue squares directly above, below, to the right and left of the yellow square will have the star points. Begin piecing by laying a yellow triangle across the corner of one of these blue squares and sew down.
- Fold it up along the seam to check that it entirely covers the blue corner and trim away the blue fabric. Press the yellow corner in place with the seam pressed open. Repeat for the three remaining blue squares.
- Add the second round of star points by repeating step 3 on the neighbouring corner. Lay across a yellow triangle and stitch down. It does not matter whether the triangle overlaps the first or not.
- Trim away the blue corner and press up with the seam open. Repeat on the remaining star point squares.
- Use a ruler to trim the squares back to exactly 4½in (11cm).
- Reintroduce the squares, now with star points, to your block layout in preparation for sewing together.
- Lay the top centre square right sides together with the top left square and sew down the right-hand side. Open up and sew the top right square in place in the same way to make a short row.
- Repeat this process with the centre and lower squares to build three rows.
- Next join the rows. To ensure the vertical seams line up, finger press the ends of the seams open, carefully line up and pin through both seam lines. Sew together and repeat for the final row. Press the block from the back with seams open and again from the front to ensure it is nice and flat.
- Repeat the process for the remaining blocks, creating four rows of three blocks in increasingly lighter shades of blue.
13. Lay out all twelve blocks on the floor with an 4½in space around each, and begin filling the spaces with the remaining blue squares. Check how the colour gradient is working and choose the remaining blue squares accordingly.
- Now join the vertical strips of three squares that sit between each of the blocks, as well as those at the beginning and end of each row. Press the seams open.
- The five longer horizontal strips of thirteen squares can be pieced in the same way.
- Once you have pieced all the strips you can begin sewing the quilt top together. First add the short strips between the blocks in each row in the same way as you pieced the blocks: matching the seam lines, pinning and sewing in place. Start with a short strip sewn to a block. Open and sew the next short strip to the other side. Open and add a block, followed by a short strip, and so on.
- You will now have four rows of three blocks, joined with a strip of squares at each end and in-between each block. In the same way as before, now join these rows with the longer strips in-between each row and at the top and bottom.
The quilt top will begin to feel somewhat unwieldy as it grows, so take your time, match and pin each seam line and sew carefully. Make sure the weight of the quilt top is either in your lap or on the table next to you so it does not pull your seam lines off as you sew. Press all your seams open with a hot iron on the reverse and again from the front to ensure everything is flat.
- If you choose to piece the quilt back from remnants do so now, then follow your preferred basting technique to baste your quilt.
- Add echoing stars in matching or contrasting blue thread in the nine squares that sit in-between the yellow stars. If you wish, draw the quilting lines using an erasable fabric marker, but given the wonky nature of the stars, freehand stitching is fine too. Don’t forget the half stars along the sides and quarter stars in the corners.
- Add a diagonal crosshatch following the unquilted squares. Use a ruler and Hera marker or erasable fabric marker to mark out the lines, and switch thread colours as you stitch each line to keep the gradient.
- Once you have finished the quilting, lay the quilt out flat and trim any excess wadding (batting) and backing fabric using scissors or a ruler, rotary cutter and mat.
- Follow a binding tutorial to attach the binding. If you decide to create your binding in a gradient to blend with the background of the quilt, piece your fabrics as described in the binding tutorial to the correct length.
- Don’t forget to add a label or stitch your name into the quilt.
To order your copy of Conscious Crafts: Quilting click the book cover above.