Quilt Block of the Month: January

Have you ever wanted to make a quilt but couldn't find just what you had in mind? The editors of Quilter's World magazine have compiled some block patterns, from the thousands of traditional blocks available, that you can download for free. With a few basic skills and a variety of block patterns, you can create countless designs in no time.

A new 8" x 8" finished block will be available each month along with helpful hints, tips and tricks. We will also give you ideas for block combinations and possible quilt settings from time to time to help you create fabulous quilted projects. We hope these blocks will inspire you to experiment with quilt design and create your own layouts. So get a binder and some page protectors to fill with block patterns and samples to fuel your creative juices.

Crystal Star

Finished Block Size
8" x 8"
Crystal Star


From Light Fabric:

  • Cut 1 (5 1/4") square. Subcut on both diagonals to make 4 A triangles.

    Cystral Star

  • Cut 2 (2 7/8") squares. Subcut on 1 diagonal to make 4 B triangles.

    Cystral Star

  • Cut 4 (2 1/2") C squares.

    Cystral Star

From Medium Fabric:

  • Cut 1 (3 3/8") D square.

From Dark Fabric:

  • Cut 4 (2 7/8") squares. Subcut each square on 1 diagonal to make 8 E triangles.


  1. Stitch an E triangle along one angled side of an A triangle (Figure 1); press. Stitch another E triangle Half Square Square along the opposite angled side of A referring again to Figure 1; press. Repeat to make a total of four flying geese units and set aside.

    Cystral Star

  2. Referring to Figure 2, stitch two B triangles to opposite sides of D; press triangles away from D.

    Cystral Star

  3. Stitch B triangles to remaining sides of D referring to Figure 3 and press to make a square-in-a-square block center.

    Cystral Star

  4. Stitch a flying geese unit to opposite sides of the block center referring to Figure 4 for orientation to make the block center row. Note: Press seams open or toward the block center.

    Cystral Star

  5. Stitch a C square to the E ends of a flying geese unit to make a block row (Figure 5). Repeat to make a second block row. Note: Press seams open or toward C.

    Cystral Star

  6. Stitch a block row on the top and bottom of the block center row matching seams and points of A triangles and D square to complete the block (Figure 6).

    Cystral Star

Helpful Hints

  • Choose light and dark fabrics for this block. Use scraps from other projects or purchase fat eighths (9" x 22") or fat quarters (18" x 22") to make one sample block.
  • Cut individual pieces from scraps or cut strips and then individual pieces from strips if using yardage or large pieces of fabric. For example, to cut several 2 1/2" squares, cut a 2 1/2"-wide strip the length of the fabric. Subcut the strip into 2 1/2" squares.
  • Use a 1/4"-wide seam allowance for all seams and stitch right sides together.
  • Use common sense and press seams to cut down on bulk. Traditionally, quilters press seams toward the darker fabric. However, some blocks may benefit from pressing seams open. Pressing tips are often given in the pattern.


Contrast may be one of the most important design concepts to consider when choosing fabric. Work on looking at fabric as a study in contrasts, especially the contrast or values of light, medium or dark. Contrast can give a design depth and movement even before considering fabric color or character.

Even those of us who have worked with fabric for years have trouble sometimes determining whether we have enough contrast between the fabrics we have picked to use in our quilts, especially if we are using fabrics from a collection that has a very close array of color choices, or if we are working with scraps.

One easy trick is to pick your fabrics and then arrange them on the copy machine in the contrast order you think they should go from lightest to darkest. Copy the array using the black-and-white setting.

The copy machine will automatically change them to a gray scale, making it possible for you to see where you need to make changes. You might be surprised to see that the bright blue and bright yellow you thought of as being so very different aren't really that different after all on a gray scale.

Copyright © 2015 Annie's. All rights reserved.

For more detailed help with quilting techniques, view our Quilting Lessons or consult a complete quilting guide. Your local library will probably have several on hand that you can review before purchasing one.

Click here to download the PDF (407.0 KB)

Other quilt blocks in the series:

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