Reach for the Stars: Block 5

I finished Block 5 yesterday of Reach for the Stars, the sampler quilt I’m making in concert with several newfound quilting friends around the country.

(For new readers: Quilter’s Newsletter magazine is publishing instructions for a queen-size sampler quilt in seven consecutive issues. To see a photo of the quilt, comprised of a center medallion surrounded by 14 blocks, see the post directly below this one.)

Here’s my new block, based on the traditional bear paw design:

Block 5a
Block Measures 12-1/2″ Unfinished


When the block is set on point, as it will be in the finished quilt, it turns into a pinwheel:

Block 5 on point
On Point


The block contains 24 squares made of Half Square Triangles (HSTs) that finish at 1½”. I toyed with the idea of paper piecing the HSTs until remembering I had some Triangles on a Roll grid paper from a quilt made years ago. Lucky me — the grid paper was for blocks that finish at 1½”.

Block 5 quarter block
An Efficient Way to Make Multiple Half-Square Triangles


Each of the four bear paw sections went together beautifully. When I sewed the sections together, though, it was another story: lumps and bumps in four places where six seams (12 layers of fabric) intersect. It’s because I had pressed the seams of the HSTs to one side, rather than open. So what did I do? I took my block apart, of course, pressed the HSTs open, and sewed the pieces back together. I’m much happier with the result.

My progress to date:

Center medallion and blocks 1-5
Loving My Blocks!







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9 Responses to Reach for the Stars: Block 5

  1. AnnMarie says:

    … loving your blocks.

  2. Sherri says:

    Your block 5 is absolutely gorgeous! I am about to start on block 5 and am thrilled to know I should press the seams open, which I would not have done. I can’t wait to see what’s next!

  3. Venita Davis says:

    The quilt is simply beautiful. Half square triangles…is that paper a standard quilt item available? Did you use them as a pattern for cutting, or as a guide to check your HST’s….both? I’m a beginner, as any reader can ascertain. I saw a beautiful quilt done solely in HST’s, and wondered what some of the secrets were.
    Happy sewing, everyone!

    • Dawn says:

      Thank you, Venita! Yes, the gridded paper for making HSTs is available in a variety of sizes. I hadn’t used mine in a few years so I checked on-line and the company is still in business: The grid is printed on a roll of paper. You sew on the dotted lines and cut on the solid lines. You can make as many or as few triangles as you want using two fabrics. For just a few triangles I wouldn’t bother with the gridded paper. I needed to make 24 for my block, and the Triangles on a Roll saved me quite a bit of time.

  4. Charlie says:

    The center block is absolutely perfect. I realize perfect cannot have a modifier, but what else can one use to convey the block is unique in perfection?

  5. It looks great Dawn. Looking forward to see the finished quilt. I have the triangle paper on a CD.
    I only used it once for one of Sandy Ray’s mystery quilts. very efficient.

  6. Jennifer B says:

    Dawn – I love your quilt so far! Just gorgeous!

  7. Perfect feather/leaf fussy cutting! I have never tried Triangles on a Roll – it is one notion that I have yet to buy and throw in my drawer. I’ll have to add it to my bucket list of things to try!
    Beautiful block. You’ll have Block 6 done before I finish this post I bet!

  8. Susan P says:

    Your blocks are beautiful!

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