I’ve seen several quilt blocks called Missouri Star and some of them could only be made using paper piecing. The version that I have chosen to make today can be made using just squares with half or quarter square triangles. I think it’s a lovely understated star quilt block. I don’t know if you can have an understated star, but it has a lovely simplicity to it. I’ve made it in just two colours as a 16″ block.
Cutting requirements for the Missouri Star quilt block
4.1/2″ squares: four cream
4.7/8″ squares: two red, six cream
5.1/4″ squares: two each in red and cream
I was able to cut all these squares from one 5.1/4″ red strip, one 5.1/4″ cream strip and one 4.7/8″ strip, all cut across the width of fabric.
Making the Missouri Star quilt block
Use the 5.1/4″ squares to make half square triangles. Place a red and a cream square with right sides together and mark a line along the diagonal. Sew a 1/4″ seam either side of the marked line and cut along the line to produce two half square triangles from each pair of squares. Press the seam allowance towards the red triangle and trim the corners where the triangle tips stick out. These should now be 4.7/8″ squares and they are the first stage towards making quarter square triangles.
Now place each half square triangle unit right sides together with a 4.7/8″ cream square. Mark a line along the diagonal but be careful to place the line so that it crosses the seam on the half square triangle rather than running along the line of the seam. In the photo you can see that the seam of the half square triangle runs from bottom left to top right but the marked line on the cream square runs from bottom right to top left.
Sew a 1/4″ seam either side of the marked line and cut along the line. This gives you two quarter square triangle units. These both have one half square cream and the other half square is half red and half cream. They are not the same as each other. If you look carefully you’ll see that the quarter square parts are mirror images of each other. Sometimes this can be a problem because you might need only one of them. In the Missouri star quilt block you need both of them so there’s no waste. They are now 4.1/2″ squares.
So that’s the quarter square triangle units complete. Now you can make the half square triangles using the two red and two cream 4.7/8″ squares. Make these in the same way that you made the half square triangles using the 5.1/4″ squares. The only reason that I make these after the quarter square triangles are complete is to avoid mixing them up – they are similar enough in size to be mixed up but different enough to make a difference to the quilt block if they are mixed up.
Lay the patchwork squares out in four rows of four. The four 4.1/2″ squares are placed in the corners. The four half square triangles are simple enough: place them in the middle of the quilt block with the cream triangles forming a diamond. That leaves two quarter square triangles to be placed along each edge of the Missouri star quilt block. Check that the cream triangles form a larger triangle pointing towards the middle but also make sure that the red quarter square triangles run along the edges of the corner squares.
Sew the squares together across each row and then sew the rows to each other to complete the Missouri star quilt block.
If you wanted to use a third colour in this block, you could use another fabric instead of cream in the 5.1/4″ squares. The third colour would then appear as a quarter square triangle next to the red, filling out the spokes of the star a little.
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