Churn Dash and Stars


Time for June’s block for the Cheer Circle of do.Good Stitches!

This is a mini-tutorial meant for the members of Cheer Circle, meaning that it only breaks down the parts of the pattern particular to us. Mary Johnson is the creator of this wonderful pattern called Churn Dash and Stars.If you’re interested in making the whole quilt yourself, I recommend that you follow her pattern to the letter (linked below)!

To download both the pattern for assembling the blocks and the PDF for the paper-pieced parts of the stars, click here.

This quilt top is assembled with only two unique blocks! That’s it, just two. Please make one of each. If you are not comfortable paper piecing, feel free to make two churn dash blocks instead.

Our color palette this time is inspired by a peacock feather:


A fat quarter of the Kona Jade Green background will be provided to you. If you have not already checked the Flickr group and sent me your address (non-quilters only), please do so ASAP! The colors you will need to pull are aqua, royal OR navy blue (or both!), mustard yellow, and lime green. Consider using smaller prints as some of the block pieces are very small, and make sure you have a good contrast of all the colors against the Jade Green. Tone-on-tones work great!

Mary’s pattern has you strip piece the four patches together. This would be a great time saver if you were making the whole quilt! But since we’re only making one of each block, I’ve provided a cut list below.

ChurnDashandStars_FINALLO-02Cut list for ONE (1) Churn Dash block
Jade Green:
• Two (2) 4″ squares
• Four (4) 3.5″x2″ rectangles
• One (1) 3.5″ square

• Two (2) 4″ squares
• Four (4) 3.5″x2″ rectangles

*Note: The two 4″ squares of both the Jade and Aqua are for your half-square triangles. You will need to assemble them using the first method found on Blossom Heart Quilt’s post and then trim them down to 3.5″ square.

ChurnDashandStars_FINALLO-03Cut list for ONE (1) Stars block
Jade Green:
• Ten (10) 2″ squares
• Four (4) 4″ squares*

Mustard Yellow:
• Four (4) 2″ squares

Lime Green:
• Four (4) 2″ squares

Royal/Navy Blue(s):
• Two (2) 2″ squares
• Eight (8) 4.5″x2.5″ rectangles*

*Note: These pieces are suggested oversized for first-time paper piecers. If you’re comfortable paper piecing, you may be able to cut these smaller to save some fabric. If you’re a beginner, or would just like a refresher on paper piecing, Faith at Fresh Lemons has a great tutorial here.

Recommended Cutting Diagram for the Jade Green:

One final note:
It’s important that the mustard yellow go from top left to bottom right of the Stars block, and the lime green goes the opposite direction (top right to bottom left). This will create continuous lines of color through the quilt when I assemble it!


Until next time!
__Jess K.

Shadow Star for do. Good Stitches Cheer Circle

And here it is! My first tutorial on the shiny new blog.

Welcome to my new friends in the Cheer Circle! I’m excited to be joining you after some new year reorganizing. Let’s get right down to it, shall we?


Shadow Star (inspiration photo on Nonnie’s Quilting Dreams)

Shadow Stars Tutorial (12.5″ unfinished, 12″ finished block)


Color Palette

Cut list for ONE (1) block

White or white-on-white background (can be all one color/print or scrappy):
• Four (4) 2.5″ squares
• Six (6) 2.5″x4.5″ rectangles
• One (1) 2.5″x10.5″ rectangle
• One (1) 2.5″x12.5″ rectangle

Medium gray shadow:
• Five (5) 2.5″ squares
• Two (2) 2.5″x4.5″ rectangles

Pink and orange star points (can be all one color/print or scrappy):
• Four (4) 2.5″ squares in each color (for a total of 8)

Purple star center:
• One (1) 4.5″ square

All seams are a scant 1/4″.
• Whether you put the pink or orange prints on the top and bottom doesn’t matter, but I recommend that each side of the star be one color.

Making the flying geese

1.) Draw a diagonal line from corner to corner on all of the pink and orange pieces and on four (4) of the gray pieces.


2.) Pair up one (1) orange square with a white rectangle and one (1) orange square with a gray rectangle. Do the same for two (2) pink squares. Pair up two (2) gray squares with two (2) white rectangles. If you’re using directional prints for the star points and shadow points, you may want to pay attention to whether the diagonal lines on the squares need to point up and to the right on the rectangles, or down and to the right. If not using any directional prints (or you aren’t as OCD about that as me!), be sure that the diagonal lines are pointing up and to the right.


3.) Sew on the diagonal lines. This is an excellent time to chain piece! Once finished, trim 1/4″ away from the line that you just sewed, being sure that you’re trimming on the correct side of your sewn line (you should be cutting away the part where the corner of the colored square meets the corner of the white rectangle so that when you flip the colored piece back over the sewn line, it completes the rectangle shape again). Press towards the colored pieces.


4.) Line up your other squares on your freshly pressed rectangles so as to form a “V” shape. Sew on the diagonal lines, trim 1/4″ away from the sewn line, and press towards the colored pieces just as you did before.


Making the block

5.) Lay out all of your pieces in order to visualize how the block will be sewn together.


6.) We’ll begin by assembling the middle two rows. For the first three columns, flip the pieces from the bottom row onto the pieces in the top row. Sew together. Flip the piece from the top row onto the piece in the bottom row for the final column. Press towards the 2.5″ or 4.5″ squares.

*TIP: If you’ve never tried glue basting, this is a great time to try it! The rest of the steps for this block (unless you press seams open) can really benefit from the accuracy and stabilization of the bias edges that the glue provides. Cristy Fincher has a great tutorial on Amy Smart’s blog here if you’re interested. I use a small bottle that I found in the quilting section of my local big box store, but I’ve heard that her tips for Elmer’s bottles are great.



7.) Sew the first two columns together and the last two columns together. Press the first column towards the purple center square and the second column towards the orange star points.


8.) Sew these two newly created columns together, pressing towards the purple center square. Set aside.

9.) Assemble the top and bottom rows of the block by sewing a rectangle and square to either side of the star points. Press out towards the white squares and rectangles.


10.) Sew your newly created rows to the top and bottom of the center section of your star block, being sure to nest seams where they meet. I had better success pressing these seams OPEN, but you can also carefully press towards the purple center square.


11.) Sew the 2.5″x10.5″ rectangle to the left side of your star block. Then sew the 2.5″x12.5″ rectangle to the bottom of your star block. Press these seams out towards the white rectangles.


Your first block is finished! Follow the directions to make another. You can use all of the same prints, or mix it up with some new ones!


Once I receive everyone’s blocks, I’ll add one more 2.5″x12.5″ strip to the top or bottom of each row to slightly offset the stars from each other in the finished quilt top.


Until next time!
__Jess K.