I have been in love with the quilt on the cover of Marsha McCloskey's book On to Square Two ever since I bought it in 1992. I loved the way she split this simple star block into dark and light halves, thus creating a new block similar to a log cabin block - a block that could be set together in dozens of ways, each one different. I knew that I wanted to make these blocks someday. So when I accepted Nicole's challenge I immediately thought about this quilt and decided it would be perfect.
The blocks consist of both half-square and quarter-square triangle squares, so I thought this presented a great opportunity for a little tutorial. I love Marsha's method because it creates precise, perfect blocks. I know some people think this method is a lot of work, but I find it fast and easy just because everything goes together so perfectly. The measurements I list are for this particular block. The measurements vary depending on the size of the triangle squares being cut. A good rule of thumb is to make the second and third cut as far from the first cut as the size of the squares being cut. For example, if you are cutting 2 1/2" half square triangle squares then you would make the second and third cuts 2 1/2" on each side of the first cut. The size of your initial square varies also, depending on how many half square triangle squares you need from the specific two fabrics.
For this block I need four, 3 7/8" half-square triangle squares. I cut these first from the "strata". I also need three, 3 1/2" square triangle squares. I cut one from each of the small squares and a third from the remaining piece of the larger strata.
To make the four quarter-square triangle squares I match pairs of 3 7/8" half-square triangle squares together, alternating light and dark. Since all the seams were pressed to the dark the square "nestle" together very nicely due to opposing seams. I cut these diagonally, then stitch them back together with a scant 1/4" seam. (If you use a full 1/4" seam they will be slightly too small.) Press the seams to one side. This results in four perfect quarter square triangle squares - or hourglass blocks.
The resulting squares, along with one dark and one light 3 1/2" square make up the blocks. The rest of the construction is a simple nine patch construction. I press the final seams open to lessen bulk.
I love the way these blocks are turning out! I wonder how many more I can get done today?************
1. Hot tea with milk
2. A fun day with my grandchildren
3. Sleeping in
4. A happy ending to my daughter's mishap
5. Good health insurance