The Hope Star blankie pattern is both easy and attractive. It can be broken down into three basic components: star (log cabin center and surrounding star points), sky (the black parts of the above design sketch), and frame (the borders and four outermost corner triangles).
You can vary color arrangements to suit each project. The star can be "hollow" as above (lighter or graduated center), or solid throughout; it can match or contrast with the frame. The sky can be black or dark blue, and the frame can be one or two colors. You can even split the centermost 5-1/2" square and make a half-light, half-dark pattern for a "bright star/dark star" effect.
To get a feel for this pattern's fabric requirements, see the chart below. To make a blankie like the one sketched above, you would need...
|WHITE denim:|| One 5-1/2" square.
|LIGHT BLUE denim:||About three feet of 3"-wide strips
|DARK BLUE denim:||
About thirteen feet of 3"-wide DARK BLUE denim strips (four feet of strips for the center square and nine feet for the borders)
and six 7-7/8" squares (making twelve triangles)
|BLACK denim:|| Six 7-7/8" squares (making twelve triangles)
Changing the colors around just means that you will need more of one color and less of another.
All seams are 1/2 inch.
Overview of Blankie Diagram...
The Center Block
The center block, which makes up the heart of the star, is a variation of the popular Log Cabin block pattern. (Eleanor Burn's Make a Quilt in a Day : Log Cabin Pattern
book is a good place to learn how to make Log Cabin blocks.)
The center piece is 5-1/2" square.
All subsequent strips are 3" wide.
When a Log Cabin square is assembled as described in Make a Quilt in a Day : Log Cabin Pattern, the strips do not need to be measured with much precision. You simply cut off any extra length after adding each strip to the block.
The Star & Sky Blocks
For this color arrangement, the DARK BLUE "points" of the star, and the BLACK "sky" in between the points, are made up of DARK BLUE and BLACK triangles, respectively. (Duh, I know, but just to be safe.)
Other color arrangements will vary, but you'll always need twenty-four triangles (which will always be cut from twelve 7-7/8" blocks).
After the triangles are sewn together to form blocks, the block seams are all pressed toward their star- or frame-colored side -- in this arrangement's case, towards the DARK BLUE side of each block. This gives the star and frame a subtle pop-up effect.
The arrows indicate the grain of the fabric. Notice how the arrows in each pair of triangles line up.
Lay the squares out with the grain of the fabric running up-and-down. Then cut them in half from corner to corner. Denim is more forgiving than calico, but the triangles should still be cut with precision. It does not matter which way you cut the squares to get the triangles -- so long as you cut them all the same way.
Try cutting the squares from top-left to bottom-right, the same direction in which you read.
Also, there is denim-like fabric (like the Carharrt pants fabric) which looks the same on either side. I use such fabric wrong-side-up, as most of the wear and stains are on the outside of the pants. But if there are no stains, this fabric can be flipped either way.
The border strips are 3" wide, and in this case are cut from DARK BLUE denim to match the star. They are always cut the long way, with the grain of the fabric. Otherwise, they'd be awfully short!
Border length is determined by measuring through the center of the quilt top, cutting the borders to match, then pinning and easing the borders to fit the top. (For more information on adding borders, try Patricia Wilen's Quick and Easy Scrap Quilts.)
Do not simply cut borders to match the quilt edges! If you do, the bordered quilt will have uneven sides and won't lie flat. Measure through the center of the quilt top (as shown in the Adding Borders Section) before adding each pair of border strips, and cut the strips to match.
The borders are the longest strips in the blankie top. You may need to use two or more pairs of jeans to get enough strips, and you'll usually need to sew shorter strips together to make the border pieces long enough. (Don't worry -- it looks fine!)
How you finish the quilt is up to you. Machine quilting and binding looks nice, but takes extra time and fabric and requires hand-sewing the binding strip down. Quick turning and machine quilting (or tying, if you prefer) does not give you the nice backing strip around the edge, but it is much faster and requires less backing fabric.
Polar fleece makes a good backing fabric. If you finish with Quick Turn, bath towels are also an option, but the little cotton loops like to snag on sewing machine feed dogs; the only workaround I've found is to manually drop the dogs before starting each seam. Batting is not necessary for either method, especially not with terrycloth.
How to label the finished quilt? Easy; visit my section on making labels.
Assembling the Log Cabin Square