Bit Box Stars

Most everyone that reads my journal knows that I applique and hand quilt, but not everyone knows how much I love scrap quilts. A great scrap quilt says “cozy” better than any impressive applique quilt with over-the-top quilting, and I love cozy. So when a few years ago the “star-a-day” idea reached the shores of the United States, I was ready because I have a very large Bit Box.

Let me tell you just what a Bit Box is. The quilting classes I now teach last a full year (2 hours each month, 10 lessons, and two parties in a year), once the basics of how I applique are covered and mastered, there is plenty of time to discuss more in depth topics, such as why does thread tangle when you are hand sewing, how to stop tangling, and fix it, etc.

Many years ago the topic came up in class about what to do with those odd-shaped scraps left over after applique shapes have been cut from a piece of fabric. I told them that I put all of those scraps and small pieces into a box that I call my Bit Box. Then whenever I am working on a scrap quilt I have a ready place to find an assortment of fabric scraps without having to sort through my fabric cupboards for just the right piece. The concept was met with mixed reviews in class, but not long after that, one by one my students started to talk about their Bit Boxes and how handy they had been when just a small piece of fabric was needed. Because applique is often cut from small pieces, we all find our Bit Boxes to be very useful.

So, back to the quilt made from small stars, as soon as I heard about it, I knew it was a perfect project for my Bit Box! I attend a weekly quilting group. In my small town there are not many of us, so we mostly bring our own projects and work for two hours while we visit and catch up. The tiny pieced stars are a perfect take-along project to work on. For the past two or three years I only work on my Bit Box Stars at our weekly quilt group.

I made a “Layout Keeper” that holds ten stars and I can stitch about one each week. My Layout Keeper is made from a flannel-backed plastic tablecloth that I bought from Walmart for around $5.  I cut an 8” wide strip from one side of the tablecloth. Then cut that strip into ten 8” square pieces. Layer these cut pieces with the flannel side up. On the top layer I added a ziplock bag for storing extra pieces, templates, etc. And, last, I stitched across the top about 1” in from the fold. I used giant hand stitches with doubled quilting thread. That’s it! It is DONE in a few minutes and ready to use.

With my Bit Box at hand I cut out several stars, arrange each star on a page of its own in my Layout Keeper. Then all I need is a needle, thread, scissors and a couple of straight pins and it is an easy take-along project.

I chose a different layout for my stars and, again, I can take it along and hand stitch the stars together.

I have worked on this project for a couple of years now and will continue for as long as it takes to make a quilt from the smallest leftover bits of fabric in my Bit Box.

2 Responses to “Bit Box Stars”

  1. cramdyl78 Says:

    Visit cramdyl78

    Hi Jeana,
    Your quilts are beautiful. I just found your journal thru instagram. I really love your bit box stars and would love to start on one. Is there a pattern I could purchase? I’m with you on loving those scrappy quilts the best. I can see that I’m going to be spending a lot of time thru your journal whenever I have some free time. Thank you for sharing your considerable gifts with us.

  2. Jeana Says:

    Visit Jeana

    Thank you Lydia. I use the window template patterns for the star that Karen Styles produced and modified how I put them together. I made a square template that matches the outside measurement of the setting half-squares and it is set between my star blocks. There is a photo of my partial quilt top on my Instagram feed so you can see how I set them together.

    Karen Styles’ pattern is called Star A Day. You can order it on Etsy. Here is the link:

    Good luck and have fun!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.