Traditional Star Block with a Feline Twist

Today I’m reposting a fun block I designed ten years ago.
I was a guest on Kim Lapacek’s blog site which has since changed to
Kim still hosts many quilt events on her site. If you’re interested in looking back ten years to see many examples of the 52 blocks made that year, they are still posted here on Flickr.
I’m re-posting because
1. I liked making my Curious Cats all those years ago.
2. I also think some of you may want to make the block too.
3. I now have a two-year-old grand-nephew with two cats he loves dearly at his home.
What better person to make a small quilt for than a cat-loving toddler?  These cats are playful but they try to avoid this active toddler.
I’ll sew them into a small quilt or playmat for him.
If you’re interested in making this Curious Cats block the instructional steps are below.
Here is the first design I drew in the Electric Quilt program.
Curious Cats many colors

I used only 2 colors for the Curious Cats block, but as you can see, more colors can be used.

If you would like to make this block here are the sizes of the pieces:

From Background Fabric cut:

  •            4  A squares 3-1/2” x 3-1/2”
  •            1  B square 7-1/4” x 7-1/4” and cut diagonally twice giving you 4 B Triangles

From each Cat Color cut:

  •            3  C squares 3-7/8” x 3-7/8” and cut each diagonally once                 giving you 6 C Triangles of each color

From  5” Center Fabric cut:

  •           1  D square 4-3/4” x 4-3/4”

I placed all the pieces on the table as they were to be sewn so I did not sew calico cats of different colors! (I have no photo of this step.)

To sew the block, begin with the center. Sew 2 C triangles (longer sides) of grey to opposite sides of the center square.

step 1 curious cat block with center

Sew the 2 C triangles (longer sides) of black to the other sides of the center square.

step 2 curious cat block directions

step 3 curious cat block

Trim off any dog ears from the triangles to reduce the amount of fabric when stitching all the units together.
Sew one of each color of C Triangle (longer side) to the larger B Background triangle (shorter side).
Two B background triangles will have C triangles of color 1 on the left side and the other 2 B background triangles will have C triangles of color 1 on the right side.
step 4 of curious cats block sewing
My 1/4″ foot helped keep the units the correct size when sewing!
1/4" foot really helps
Sew the units into rows.
sew ears
See how two of the Flying Geese units have gray on the right side and the other two have gray on the left side?
all pieces lay ready for sewing
Then sew the rows together.
side ears sewn to center
And the block is done.
block is sewn together
The block is sewn together.

To get the faces on the cats, I used thin copy paper and traced the outline of the cat’s head. I folded the shape in half, and drew an eye and half a nose and mouth on one side of the fold. I cut those areas out with tiny scissors and had a template.

cat face template

face template on block to trace

For illustration, the photo above shows the template on the block after I had stitched the face. I placed this over each of the cat’s heads and used a chalk pencil to outline where I would stitch. I have not embroidered in a long time and think magnifying glasses would have helped to do a great job. But, I put the facial features on each cat (and each one is different). I realized after I had done 2 cats that fusible interfacing would have helped keep the fabric in its proper shape. But overall, I know they are cats (as did my husband, thank goodness). Fabric paint pens could have been used and it would have been much easier.

If you make the block, please send me a photo and I will post it on my blog. It would be great to see how everyone interprets this block.

Nancy Myers
Nancy Myers
Skip to content