Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Week 2 | Long Time Gone Sew-along | Square in a Square Stars Block

Hello again all and welcome to week two of the fabulously fun Long Time Gone Sew-along! Today we are tackling the Square in a Square Stars block and there is all kinds of room for some great fussy cuts! 

square in a square stars

For all the pieces in this block it is actually quite easy, two basic units are all that are needed to make up this block, flying geese and and square in square blocks. Easy peasy, shall we get started?

General Information 

Measurements for the pieces needed to construct this block will not be provided in this tutorial. It is a pre-requiste of making this block that you have a copy of the pattern, Long Time Gone by Jen Kingwell. Measurements, where applicable, can be found in this book and it’s associated media.

If you’re using the Marti Michell Perfect Patchwork Templates you can find the conversion chart by clicking here.

I have no hard and fast rule for pressing. I generally press my seams in the direction they want to go. When piecing things like flying geese and square in square blocks I press toward the corner I just stitched on. Because of the bit of bulk this creates, when attaching the units together I will then press my seams open, instead of to the side. I also press my seams open when attaching rows together. But find a way that works for you and be consistent with it. 

This block was one that I pinned the heck out of, and for those that know me I am not a pinner!
I'll include some shots on how I pin certain areas to help keep my points on point!

First up, gathering and cutting your fabrics.

square in a square stars block

Cutting instructions for this block can be found on page 5 of your instruction book. I've decided to fussy cut the centers of five of the nine square in square blocks and focus on the center one as my main attraction, so to speak.

So with two different units to make I thought we'd start with the square in square blocks!

square in square

square in square

square in square

square in square block
Make nine, five with a focus fabric in the center and four with your background fabric in the center.

Next up your flying geese!

flying geese

flying geese

flying geese

Make twelve flying geese blocks, four with your feature fabric as the rectangle and eight with your background fabric as your rectangle.

Next you want to lay out all your square in square units and flying geese units along with the remaining four small squares in the arrangement you want.

Square in a Square Stars block

Snap a picture of it too if you can and take a look at it. Is everything where it should be?
I had no idea until I took the picture that the bottom left flying goose unit was place backwards! Save yourself the time with your seam ripper later and get it right first!

I used the four square in square units with my background fabric to play up the star effect in the center. This is something to think about when you're planning your fabrics. I also made the decision to use my background fabric for the outer corner squares of the block, I think it helps make the stars stand out more. Just all personal preference. Make it the way you want to make it, I can't stress that enough.

Once you have your units arranged to you liking sew them all together in rows.

Square in a Square Stars block

Press your seams open here to reduce the bulk from the points of  flying geese and square in square blocks. To keep the points lined up I use the floating pin technique as shown below.

pinning points

pinning points

DO NOT use this pin to hold the units together. With the current pin still in place, insert a new pin to hold the units together. If you try to use the current pin you will more than likely shift the points away from each other.

Now all that's left is to sew all your rows together and DONE!

Square in a Square Stars block

So, by now you've noticed that I have two blocks. Don't panic, one is all you need!
The one I shot for the tutorial was my original block. It had an unfortunate run in with a half a bottle of Flatter with a faulty lid, a squirrely five year old and an unstable ironing board. In my panic to dry the half bottle of Flatter from my block I pressed it. A lot. And that is why it has all those lovely wrinkles, haha! It's destined to became a pillow now, along with some of my other blocks. Yep. I'll be remaking some, I've changed the colour palette a bit and want to play in a different direction, stronger colours, brighter, vibrant... you get the idea! And I think my new block is more the direction I want to be taking this quilt!

So that's it my friends! Don't forget to pop over to Angie's by clicking here, to see what magic she has created using her fantastic stash of Alison Glass!

Prize Winning Details

Of course the ultimate prize is making this amazing quilt, but if you'd like to also throw your hat in the ring to win some amazing prizes from our amazing sponsors then here's the information you need to know. You can find out more about our sponsors and the prizes on offer by clicking here.
We've made it as simple as possible for you to win. To be eligible for all prizes on offer all you have to do is:

  • Post a photo of at least ONE of this week's  blocks to your Instagram account between 15 March and Midnight 21 March 2017 in your timezone
  • Tag your photo with the hashtags #LongTimeGoneSAL #AlisonGlass #AndoverFabrics #SewWithTheBest #AnnaMariaHorner #FreeSpiritFabrics #JenKingwell #LongTimeGoneQuilt #AmitieTexiles #MartiMichell #LovePatchworkQuilting
  • Be Following these accounts on Instagram:
  • @GnomeAngel
  • @SnipsSnippets
  • @AlisonGlass
  • @AnnaMariaHorner
  • @JenKingwell
  • @AndoverFabrics
  • @FreeSpiritFabrics
  • @MartiMichell
  • @LoveQuiltingMag
Please Note: You do not need to tag these accounts in your images, if you use the hashtag #LongTimeGoneSAL we'll be able to find you! 
You will also need to do the following:
  • Post a photo of each of the blocks in their relevant weeks in your timezone. You can find the block timetable by clicking here
  • Complete the quilt top and post it to Instagram within 12 July and Midnight 21 July in your timezone.
  • All photos will need to have the relevant hashtags on them.
  • You will need to be following all the relevant Instagram accounts at the time of the drawing.
Need help keeping all of that clear in your head, Angie has made up a fabulous Long Time Gone SAL Tracker, you can grab it by clicking here to download.

For more information you can find commonly asked questions and their answers by clicking here.

We also want to let you know that we've had a number of people contact us about wanting to participate but not being able to make the time frame for the first block, so good news! We've extended the deadline for the first block by one week. Just the first block and only one week! So you now have until midnight March 28th in your timezone to get that first block done, and your Square in a Square Stars block!!

That's it, that's all!
Have a great week friends and high fives to all of you for making such amazing Bow Tie blocks last week! Can't wait to see all your Square in a Square Star blocks!
xo nicole

sneak peek - Crosses of the U.K. blocks


  1. Awesome post! Love that we both used the floating pin technique! Can't wait to see more of your blocks you big tease!

  2. beautiful blocks and great tutorial!

  3. I Love it! And, it is such a perfect block for fussy cutting! Your quilt will be really beautiful. Glad to have join you both on this SAL. -Maya

    1. Thank you so much! I have to admit, making two was not what I had planned on doing but I can't deny loving the fussy cutting for them both!

  4. Both of your blocks are gorgeous!!! You have a great eye for mixing and matching colors and prints!!!!

  5. Wow! Stunning block. Ironically, I have picked two of the same feature fabrics (albeit different colourways) for this block.

  6. I jumped ahead and did a couple blocks....including this one...right after the sew a long was announced. I JUST LOVE your block and now want to redo mine!,,,,,,

    1. Haha! I find I constantly want to redo my blocks. I'll get one finished and then immediately want to make another version!

  7. both of your blocks are beautiful! I was considering different fabrics I could use for this block, chose these same by AMH, and decided to google to see if I could figure out if they would work, and came upon yours! I hope you don't mind my "copying" you. I guess good minds think alike? thanks for the pin advice, also.

    1. I'm not "unknown", that previous comment :-) I'm Jodi, IG: jodi_meenan, or cometarrywithme.blogspot.com


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