Initially I had thought to use some cute stars and moon fabric for this block, but it wasn’t very vintage and kind of clashed with the feel of the rest of the quilt. Pity, that. So I went digging in my stash for something with the right feel, and I found a lovely charm pack that worked perfectly and I decided to go with floral prints.

The instructions I had called for cutting 8 small triangles of each color and piecing them together. The thought of all those triangles made my head spin! A little searching and a little math helped me come up with a simpler method. Well, simpler for me, anyway.

If the block is to finish at 6.5″ square, then each quarter block should finish at 3.5″ square. I took two squares of contrasting fabric, cut 4.75″ square. I drew a diagonal line, then sewed 1/4″ along either side of it. Using a straight edge and a rotary cutter, I cut along the drawn line, then rotated the pieces and cut diagonally the opposite direction. This gave me four half squares.

I pressed the seams toward the darker side. When I put two pieces together, I was able to nest the seams, which made the points line up beautifully.

Once I had all the triangle pairs, I was able to just chain piece them together, giving me 4 small hourglass squares.

It’s important at this point to take some time to square them up. This is accomplished by using a squaring up ruler , and placing the diagonal line of the ruler along the diagonal line of the hourglass, with the 1.75″ measurement in the center of the block. Trim off the two exposed edges. Rotate the block, line up diagonal line again, and trim off the other two edges.

Arrange the quarter blocks so that the hourglasses sort of tumble around in a circle. Lay the right hand blocks on top of the left, carefully match the seams, and chain stitch the pairs. Press the seams in opposite directions, place the two pieces right sides together, nesting the seams, and stitch. Press it open and suddenly there’s a floral Big Dipper in a subtle floral sky. I like the way mine turned out, but I’m now wishing I’d used more contrasting colors.

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