I'm not sure how the general concept of Starlit Courtyards came to me, but I know it stayed a concept for a long time before I turned it into a quilt and a pattern.
Why did it sit as a concept for so long? Because as much as I love the classic sawtooth edging around the stars, I was reluctant to make all those tiny HST.
When the time was right, my brain remembered that you don't always need to make HST individually or even in pairs with squares. I drafted my own "triangle papers", figuring out I could fit 24 of these tiny HST on one page.
Layer two fabrics and the paper, then sew on the outside lines and cut on the middle lines...
...and press to one side to reveal lots of little HSTs.
I press before removing the papers. I find it helps stabilize the diagonal so I don't accidentally distort the unit.
Snip a few dog ears and voila! Twenty four perfect little HST, just the right number for one block, in a fraction of the time it would have taken to make these one or two at a time, and with much less cutting and trimming to fuss about.
Having figured out how to make the HST not be a big deal, I didn't mind investing time on the rest of the quilt's design. I thought larger, bolder pieces in the sashing would be a nice contrast with the delicate HST. Initially, all the points in the sashing touched, but I worried about bulk at those points. I altered the proportions just a little to add a little gap between points.
Though the initial motivation for this tweak was to deal with bulk at the seams, it had a couple of happy side benefits. First, the extra spacing visually lightened the design. Second, it made piecing much more forgiving: with the spacing, it won't be obvious if your points don't match up perfectly! I think that's a win for stress-free piecing!
When I chose fabric for this quilt, I had just finished some bright quilts and I was ready to work with more muted tones. I don't drink coffee, but somehow coffee tones called to me while I browsed my local quilt shop for inspiration. Guess what I picked for the backing?
Coffee beans seemed fitting! Just a little fun surprise on the back of a grown up, elegant quilt.
I think you could make this in pretty much any color scheme. I used a different fabric for each element in the quilt, but you could easily repeat fabrics if you had trouble finding enough fabrics that play well for your chosen color scheme.
You don't have to settle for a light background, either. I mocked up the quilt in 3 different colorways of Banyan Batik's Resort Life collection for their January 2022 catalog, and one of them has a dark background. I love the way the elements pop on the dark. I'd also be lying if I said I didn't have a soft spot for the bright blue one. I do love blue!
I had planned to quilt this myself, with swirls of some sort in the sashing pieces, and perhaps feathers in the border (I want to conquer feathers, eventually!) but time was short. I gave in and sent it to Liz Meimann to be longarmed. She found an allover design with both swirls and feathers, so the quilt has lovely texture.
Starlit Courtyard is now a pattern. It includes 5 sizes, from throw to king. Angles are all achieved with stitch-and-flip techniques so you don't have to cut any shapes other than squares and rectangles. A master template for the triangle papers is included. You'll need to make one copy for each block in your quilt.
Head over to my Etsy shop for your PDF copy or to browse my other patterns. There are also a few more new releases there, which I'll be introducing on the blog in the next little while. If you'd rather have a print copy, please ask at your favourite quilt shop. Quilt shops, you can order Starlit Courtyard wholesale from Checker or Brewer, or by contacting me directly.