Tu-Na Quilts: I Wish You a Merry Quilt-A-Long Block 11 North Star

It wouldn’t be Christmas (or a Christmas quilt) without a star. 

The eleventh block released for this quilt-a-long was designed by Kathleen at Kathleen McMusing. You can find the pattern here on her post. Remember these patterns are free until January 15, 2018. Don’t delay, download yours today.

tunaquilts 10a

I found this star block to be beautiful but challenging. I had trouble and ripped apart many seams more than four times. I’ve read on our QAL Facebook page that a lot of other quilters had been encountering some difficulties, too. I felt in good company.

Let’s begin at the beginning. It seemed like a no-brainer to substitute some ric rac for the piping.  Those 4 blocks went together easily and quickly.

tunaquilts 12a

I used a few dabs from a glue stick to help hold it in place while I took a stitch in each hill and valley.

The center square in a square came together flawlessly. And I even managed to create some bonus HSTs for a future project.

tunaquilts 2a

I am cutting between the block and the bonus HST. I like making these bonus HSTs as it’s fabric that a lot of quilter’s throw away.

tunaquilts 3a

The block should be trimmed to 4.5″. These 4 bonus HSTs will square to 1.5″ (although most could be squared to 1.75″) and are headed for my scrap bin.

But the star points were a whole different matter. I’ve done paper piecing several times before but for some reason my blocks kept turning out backwards and upside down. The background pieces were in the places where the star parts were to be. Through trial and error over the better parts of two days, I found I had made only three star points that were usable out of the eight that I needed and had lots of others that could not be used but were added to the scrap bin. I read the tips on the other host blogs but wanted to stick with the paper piecing. I am not defeated easily. The pics below will show how I solved my dilemma.

tunaquilts 5a

I am cutting a right star block. See how I lined up the diagonal on the picture with the diagonal of the ruler (shown by the red lines above) keeping 1/2″ away from the right edge and bottom left corner (shown by black arrows).

With Thanksgiving approaching, I set the block aside for a few days. Ok. More than a few days.

tunaquilts 7a

So pretty all lined up and waiting for their trip to the sewing machine. I was pretty sure I had it right now. 

I started again on Monday but things still did not click and after ripping and trying several times, I put it away.

tunaquilts 8a

I put a background piece and star piece with right sides together. I folded the left star piece on the seam line as a gauge and laid it right side up about 1/4″ from the diagonal edge, smoothed the paper and sewed on the line. I then trimmed the edge using my add-a-quarter ruler and a piece of cardstock to give the ruler’s lip something to hold against.

Tuesday morning turned out to be a new day.

tunaquilts 6a

With the paper still attached. I pressed the seam. I am getting better at lifting and pressing my blocks. I’ve learned the hard way that sliding the iron can stretch out the blocks. The paper is still attached on the back side.

I picked up the pieces. Something clicked. I figured if I was ending up with pieces that were backward and upside down, I’d start that way and hope that I’d end up with correct pieces. I decided to try using the piece marked for the right side for the left side of the star since I don’t turn my papers upside down to sew the seam but rather sew them from the right side.

tunaquilts 4a

Then I trimmed to 2.5″ x 4.5″ I measured the 1/4″ seam allowance from the solid line on the pattern.

And within 20 minutes a star was born! 

tunaquilts 11a

After trimming, I carefully folded the paper back on the sewn line and then tore it away. The other side comes away with a very gently tug.

All I know is it worked! All I can figure out is that the left and right sides are mirrored copies. 

tunaquilts 9a

One last pressing session at the iron to open those seams.

It will be interesting to read what Kathleen, the pattern designer, has to say about my piecing method and what I missed and where I went wrong and why it still worked.

tunaquilts 10a

It’s not perfect but it turned out the way I envisioned.

We’ve been at our Arizona winter home for almost three weeks. It’s been gorgeous here and I’ve been enjoying the sun. In fact, I walked home after my quilting group’s meeting (only about 1/2 mile) last Monday. Here’s my view from my living room and patio. 

tunaquilts 3a

We’ve had temps in the high 70s and 80s. It’s short sleeve and Birkenstock weather for sure. We’re thinking about removing those bushes in the very close foreground (you can barely see them) and planting some rose bushes. They bloom all winter here.

Giveaway for completing this block

Once you’ve finished your North Star block, enter the giveaway by doing one of the following:

Remember you have until December 4th at 11.59 PM to link or post your pic to be entered to win. It’s really not too late to start quilting a-long with us if you’re finding you’re just now getting into the spirit. I still have block one to finish and one more block to be released.


Thank you to Doohikey Designs and The Inquiring Quilter for our wonderful prizes for this block. You can find the Binding Babies website here and visit The Inquiring Quilter’s pattern store here.

 Grand Prize Alert

At the end of the QAL there will be a link to download a picture of your finished quilt. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must make a quilt top using all twelve of the QAL blocks by January 16th, 2018. Thank you to all these sponsors for prizes.


Here’s all my blocks so far.


tunaquilts 15a

I will be mixing them up in the final layout (and adding buttons and bows after quilting) but that red Santa’s block is sticking out like a sore thumb. Should I make one of the other two remaining blocks with a red background?

To find info on where to download the patterns, view my blocks, and read some construction tips, check out my links below.

  • Block 1 – Mine is coming soon. I plan to work on it today. You can find the pattern for block one-snowflake here
  • Block 2 – Christmas Tree Farm here
  • Block 3 – Santa’s Belt here
  • Block 4 – Christmas Memories (ornaments) here
  • Block 5 – Snowman here
  • Block 6 – Angel here
  • Block 7 – Poinsettia here
  • Block 8-Presents here
  • Block 9-Reindeer Games here
  • Block 10-Christmas Lantern here
  • Block 11- North Star here

Meet the rest of the I Wish You a Merry Quilt-A-Long Hosts as they reveal their version of this block

Block Release Schedule

  • Block 12 – December 5, 2017     This is the last block!!
  • Setting Instructions – December 5, 2017

What I Learned Today:

  1. There’s always more than one way to solve a problem! I’ve told my kids this for years.
  2. If I encounter something that isn’t working, set it aside and come back to it. The lightbulb just might click on.
  3. There are 24 days until Christmas.
  4. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas here in the desert. Except at our house. No tree. No decorations inside or out. Not yet.
  5. I’ve been scouting out the neighborhood and looking for some unique decorations. I’ve found some and will be posting pics of them in mid-December like I did last year.
  6. Our neighbor has several volunteer cacti he wants removed so we’ll be getting a bit of new free landscaping material.

Question: What goes on top of your tree? A star? An angel? A Santa Hat? We have a star we put on our North Dakota tree but this year we’ll just throw some lights on a fake palm tree and call it good. Oh, and we’ll put a Santa hat on our little cactus here in Arizona

Thanks for Stopping by and do come again.

Karen, Tu-Na Quilts

If you enjoyed this post and would like to read more about my journey or follow me by email, Bloglovin or WordPress, please subscribe using one those options found in the sidebar on this blog, Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats.

Linking to:

Block 10 Linky Party at Kathleen McMusing

Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter

Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilt

Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Main Crush Mondays at Cooking Up Quilts

Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt

16 thoughts on “Tu-Na Quilts: I Wish You a Merry Quilt-A-Long Block 11 North Star

  1. Melva Nolan

    I love that star. Nice job. We have an artificial tree that an angel sits upon, but it is not up yet. The tree is so large that it takes up a large portion of the living room and furniture has to be re-arranged and we can’t stand to lose that space for 4 weeks… we wait until about 10 days before Christmas to put up the tree, but other decorations come out before that.


  2. Pingback: Tu-Na Quilts: It’s Coming | Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats

  3. Kathleen McCormick

    Sorry you had trouble. So I am thinking one of two things happened. Did you sew on the printed side? And the way to trim the pieces is kind of backwards – I turned the pattern over and followed the line that way. But again, it may be that I am missing something…. I think my first pattern I had the dark on a different side and that could have been where you started (on the old instructions?). So sorry you had trouble, and gosh, I wish I could figure it out!!!


  4. Pingback: I Wish You a Merry QAL Block #11 Release! | Sparkle On

  5. inquiringquilter

    Your star is lovely! I really like the ric rac you have been incorporating into your blocks. Thanks for sharing them on Wednesday Wait Loss.


  6. rl2b2017

    Hi Karen,
    I’m glad to see a post from you. I was getting a little worried about you. I just knew you would add that cute ric rac to your block. That really looks nice and YOU, even better. I’m sorry you had issues with this block, but you got ‘er done. All your blocks look cohesive and will make a darling quilt when it’s all together. ~smile~ Roseanne


  7. Jayne

    Even with all the trials and tribulations…the Star turned out beautiful! I love your determination on getting it done, and you did! Your quilt is going to be so amazing!!


  8. Pingback: Tu-Na Quilts: I Wish You a Merry Quilt-A-Long Block 12 Released Today | Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats

  9. Pingback: Tu-Na Quilts: I Wish You a Merry Quilt-A-Long Block One is Finally Done | Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats

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