American or English? The Northumberland Star block.
This block was first published in America in 1910 but surely must connect with Northumberland in the North East of England.
The block is based on a nine patch. If you want to draft an unusual size, draw the outline square and divide into the basic nine patches. When the corner squares are in place, divide the central areas in half again which gives the points for the outer triangles. Keep adding areas that you have the grid lines for and then divide the grid again until all the lines are in place. Trace the templates off without the grid lines. Template plastic is good for this as you can lay it over the drawing and make a tracing. If you are using cardboard I suggest copying the drawing onto greaseproof paper and then cutting these and sticking onto card which is slightly larger. Then cut the card exactly using an old rotary cutting blade and your ruler.
The piecing on this block is not as straightforward as some in this series. Look at the block and see if you can work out the easiest method. There is one suggestion shown in Figure 1, but this is not the only way.
We have selected this method rather than making all the star points separately as it gives three long seams across the block. These will be simpler to piece. When the star is complete you need to set in the squares and triangles on the outer edges. Surprisingly, it is easiest to do this if you start at the point of the triangle or the middle corner of the square and sew to the outer edge of the block. Return to the starting point and sew along the other arm. As long as you are sure not to sew into the seam allowance at the corners this is the easiest method to get flat set-in seams.
Elizabeth Sanderson, a quilt marker, set up a workroom designing and marking quilt tops in Allendale in Northumberland. She had been apprenticed to George Gardiner. George owned a drapery shop and was thought to have started the quilt marking and design business. Elizabeth then in turn taught other young girls. Elizabeth Sanderson developed a particular quilt style named the Sanderson Star, which had a central star motif surrounded by plain borders in two colours. If you made four or more blocks and put them edge to edge as shown in Figure 3, the large spaces where the corner squares meet would be ideal to show off some quilting patterns. Why not include these traditional flower quilting patterns from the North East of England? You could then add plain borders and use other traditional border patterns to make a quilt top similar to those made nearly 100 years ago.
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