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How to Piece The Seven Sisters Quilt Block

Updated on October 10, 2015

Not Really How To, More of a How To Start To

Seven Sister Quilt Block

I have been quilting...OK, learning...well actually, attempting to create a one of a kind....OKOKOK

I love quilts, I love the colors and the patterns and the way they all fit together, like life; it starts out just a jumble of color and soft textures, then it gets all cut to pieces until someone or somehow or somewhere there emerges a guide, a pattern to follow.

It does not come together easily nor quickly. Sometimes you have to backtrack, take out a few stitches, re-cut your fabric (of life) or just sit back and take a good long look.

But in the end, you realize what a gift it all is, and how much you love every square inch. You realize the journey is, indeed, worth the agonies and the joys and that what you did was OK.

I have used both "ways" to piece a quilt top and I find that if the pieces are small, as in this quilt block, it is best to do everything by sewing machine. This does take longer but as my Daddy always said "What are you doing at two AM anyway? You are JUST sleeping! You could be UP! Doing something!"

You think I am kidding don't you? Lordy how I miss that Dad of mine...used to burn me up to hear him say that! But then I heard it after I'd be ranting about how in nursing the work is absolutely NEVER caught up! Never mind....quilting thank goodness; now that’s an excellent way to take the edge off your stress at midnight, one or OK OK Dad! Two AM when you cannot sleep :)

"If you start out piecing by hand you must be meticulously accurate in your cutting."

I put that in here because all the quilting books say this. I guess if you are OCD you could do it. I am meticulous with my nursing skills, not with something I love to play with; so this sentence is tossed right out the window!

OK! Man I feel better already!

"You need to consider the light to dark color scheme in your a color wheel and take it with you to choose your material."

I put this is here because all the books talk about this same show; the classic color wheel we all used when taking art and you're supposed to hold the color of the material next to the color on the wheel and choose the appropriate and proper shade for your next shade of material up or down from light to dark.


I pick my quilt block, then toss around a few colors in my head, then go to the dollar a yard fabric table at Wal-Mart and start touching the material and looking at colors...if I can't feel the one I like then I move to the $1.87/yard material....that’s where I will find my background color...usually . The I move to the $2.87/yard material and feel again. That's it as far as Wal-Mart; if I absolutely hate the feel of the material I sigh heavily and go to JO-ANNS Fabric.

"Unless you are making a "crazy quilt" you will find that keeping your colors down to less than five main color schemes will give you the best results."

This is absolutely the truth and the rule of thumb that makes it really simple to remember to follow is three to one . Three colors for the main center of the block and one solid for the background. I really love black, too, for the background, no matter if your center block is dark or light, black pulls it off very well. (And just as it is with your basic black dress? It will do the same for your quilt, if you know what I mean?)

The main thing to remember is this is not going to be graded, this is to make you feel good, have fun, keep your little hands busy and keeps you from snapping at your best friend "Didn't we just see this same war boat on History Channel last night?"

At which point you will get a sigh and a patiently worded, textbook reply on why REAL Navy Men and their Spouses do NOT say BOAT! They are ships and they are ladies.

Figuratively speaking.

Not that I am speaking from personal experience you understand? Nor am I speaking of MY best friend, no sirree!!! (just in case he ever reads this hahaha)

I'm just case any of you guys are getting to the point of entry into

"The Land of Menopause Oz"

(code named "I must be going crazy, that’s the only explanation... why else am I getting these strange urges to say exactly what I think exactly when I think them and not even feel the slightest twinge of guilt after it comes out of my mouth?")

At Any Rate:

The piecing itself is the best part; my feet up on the recliner or the sofa, my honey/best friend/hubby next to me...wide awake? Alert? Watching TV? Watching me? OK OK I know, he is as all our honey's are; in the pregnant position, flat out in the recliner, legs spread, hands on belly, desperately clutching the remote and oh yes!! Snoring!

That's a funny mental image, makes me laugh every time. But not at my best friend, I can't do without him, and his snoring is cool. I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to sleep without it.

But anyway you guys know what I mean, right?

So, let's do a bit of show and tell.

Cutting material. I still just like a thick bit of a box and a paper pattern to make a template. I have those thick plastic templates but they slip! They're PASTIC AND IT’S SLIPPERY! duh

Then I write on each cardboard template in magic marker the name of the quilt and use letters or numbers to designate which piece it goes to in the quilt pattern. This has less to do with the fact that I'm frugal and want to save them and more to do with the fact that a quilt takes me a LONG time to create! :)

Then I start with the smallest and lay it out, play with the pieces until I know where the middle will be.

The best thing about piece work is that it really is done in pieces! And each piece is done in two or more parts. Each part is a mirror image of the one you just did! Cool.

I cannot imagine what women did before pictured patterns! My hubby can do woodworking without a pattern/sounds weird but it's true, he can see it in his head. My sister does the same thing with her gourd work; she sees it as or just before it comes out of her fingers!

· Show offs

· But me? I am just a copy cat. I need to see it and read about it and then I can do it. And the more I do it, the better I get!

· Hey! I wonder if my David and Mary will just one day get sooooooo bored with their artistic endeavors they will say "Here Boo! You can have it. We're bored with it!"

· boo sighs...heavily, poignantly...heartrenderingly. (That isn't actually a real word is it Rochelle Frank?)

· So back and forth I go from pictured diagrams to the work in my lap and finally it starts to come alive.

· I sew the running stitch, pin another triangle, light to dark, sew again, then hold the completed star up for hubby to approve :)

· (Gotta wake them up sometimes; our honeys', don't we?)

· I dream of the county fair and a beautiful BLUE!!!!!! Ribbon.

· Hey, set your sights high! ha

· And always, always , remember this is not for a grade, not for a ribbon, not for anyone’s approval. It isn't even, in this day and age, necessary for warmth and comfort.

· This is just for you, just for fun.

· Have Fun!


Well, I warned you guys.

Quilting is slow, lovely, paceful work.

Not done in a hurry or on a deadline.

But I will take pictures as I go

And let you all see the quilt

At the end of the show


This is the pattern I chose, then I will attempt to have seven of these blocks, set in a hexagonal shape
This is the pattern I chose, then I will attempt to have seven of these blocks, set in a hexagonal shape
The cardboard templates
The cardboard templates
I start with the first star, sew the top 3 triangles and repeat with the bottom 3
I start with the first star, sew the top 3 triangles and repeat with the bottom 3
this is the way it will look once its been sewn
this is the way it will look once its been sewn
see the top 3 and  the bottom 3 triangle fit together and you sew across their middle
see the top 3 and the bottom 3 triangle fit together and you sew across their middle
Next, add the lightest color.I may end up with muslin as the background or black,but I won't know until I do it
Next, add the lightest color.I may end up with muslin as the background or black,but I won't know until I do it
heres the muslin triangle pinned to the star
heres the muslin triangle pinned to the star
Fill in around your star in all the triangles first, then go back for the what’s that called? a parallelogram?
Fill in around your star in all the triangles first, then go back for the what’s that called? a parallelogram?
here is one block all pieced
here is one block all pieced
and the back of the piece
and the back of the piece
now back to the cutting board for the second color
now back to the cutting board for the second color
and the third color
and the third color
then, ta da! one block done
then, ta da! one block done
Messier 45 or the Pleiades
Messier 45 or the Pleiades


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    • RNMSN profile imageAUTHOR

      Barbara Bethard 

      5 years ago from Tucson, Az

      you keep right on piecing triedntru :) makes you feel good doesn't it!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I started this pattern on Feb 26 and have 30 blocks almost finished with the white diamonds that connect the stars. I am making each star as a different color, red, yellow, blue, green, orange, and purple.. I am aiming for queen sized. I might be nuts, but it is so satisfying to do this, while caring for my chair-bound ailing husband.. It's peaceful, satisfying, and making small stitches is a challenge

    • RNMSN profile imageAUTHOR

      Barbara Bethard 

      6 years ago from Tucson, Az

      lol well lets not hold our breath :( hot flashes has sidtracked me/my quilt is so heavy and hot! I am crocheting these days but it is in closet/not forgotten! and dadgumit all that's left is the handquilting so just about 5 months of work in between workwork you know? :) so one day...

    • nifwlseirff profile image

      Kymberly Fergusson 

      6 years ago from Villingen Schwenningen, Germany

      I'll look forward to seeing photos of it once it is finished - it is beautiful!

    • RNMSN profile imageAUTHOR

      Barbara Bethard 

      6 years ago from Tucson, Az

      it is? gracious! dont tell me now :) my points are not 100% but it gives me pleasure so that's all I care about! well and if I put it in the washer that it stay together!!

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 

      6 years ago from USA

      Wow that is a hard block to make. You did great!

    • RNMSN profile imageAUTHOR

      Barbara Bethard 

      6 years ago from Tucson, Az

      Se bon! Avez-vous un photo?

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      je viens de terminer mon quilt

    • RNMSN profile imageAUTHOR

      Barbara Bethard 

      7 years ago from Tucson, Az

      thank you for making my night brighter and getting me ispired to keep on doing the tiny stitches!!

      love to you Pegy

      Barbara b

    • Peggy Watson profile image

      Peggy Watson 

      7 years ago

      Oh my gosh, you are SO a quilter after my own heart! I only piece quilts by hand (well, except for baby quilts. I'm not crazy!) and my family and friends think I'm nuts because it takes me a year or more to finish a quilt. To me, it's the process, not the product. It'll get done eventually and I'm going to enjoy the process of playing with fabric and making tiny stitches in the meantime. I absolutely loved this hub. Thanks for brightening up my evening.

    • RNMSN profile imageAUTHOR

      Barbara Bethard 

      8 years ago from Tucson, Az

      oh you lucky thing!! I am slowly doing the hand quilting now and its going well... just slow ///I try to do three stars a day in the AM when its coolest...swamp coolers are great but when the humidity goes up with the temp here in the desert its not very pleasant under a quilt! lol I will check out your site Id love to see that quilt! thank you for your kind words and love to you barbara b

    • profile image

      Rebecca Haarer  

      8 years ago

      I found you while searching for info on origin of Seven Sisters quilt pattern. Love your writing! Just acquired a c.1900 BubbleGum Pink/Navy on white Seven Sisters. I've always loved the pattern...and especially the Pleiadian connection. Sounds like you have had an interesting life! You can see photos of this quilt on facebook: Rebecca Haarer Arts and Antiques. I will be reading more of you!

    • RNMSN profile imageAUTHOR

      Barbara Bethard 

      8 years ago from Tucson, Az

      hello Ida!!! I started this one after reading a book about a quiter and this piece was in the book...

      but hey finishing a top/even on a machine is better than what mine is doing///basted and only two squares quilted!!!!

      but when i try to machine quilt it gets all bunched up!!! so I MUST finish this quilt////its the prettiest one Ive ever done//haha as if I have done so many!! this will be the fourth IF.... big IF.... I finish it!!

      love to you!! Keep on sew---go---ing :)

    • IdaKenelm profile image


      8 years ago

      This is a block I have never seen before. It looks really pretty. I have never completed a hand sewn quilt top. I have always gotten impatient and finished it on the machine.

    • RNMSN profile imageAUTHOR

      Barbara Bethard 

      8 years ago from Tucson, Az

      well you know better than I its only a top until its quilted!! it is basted, but the quilting/// on my that goes slowly...and I and good if I get 7 stitches to an inch!! I did try the machine quilting once but like the feel of hand quilting instead but slow on goodness!! I know I can do it withjust holding it in my lap but I use a big round hoop same one I use for ok....its me that is so slow :) but it is pretty/// even unfinished...the county fair is in April and that is my aim...I want to enter a gourd(pyrography) and the quilt and hopefully a walking stick...we'll see... I love county fair ribbons :)

    • ludlowquiltandsew profile image


      8 years ago

      Wow - that's an impressive quilt. Bet you felt really satisfied when that was finished!

    • RNMSN profile imageAUTHOR

      Barbara Bethard 

      9 years ago from Tucson, Az

      oh thank you Maggs! It will be the 4th quilt for me/and the most difficult as well :)

      I like to sew, I was blessed with a mom who said "you can do it" to any new (or old) craft I wanted to pick up!

    • maggs224 profile image


      9 years ago from Sunny Spain

      It looks far too hard for the likes of me, I don't sew unless I am forced to by circumstances, my husband Malc is much more likely to do a better job than me. He learn to sew in the Navy. The results look fabulous I love the American quilts.


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