The Double Aster Block is a classic design credited to Nancy Cabot. In Jinny Beyer’s book The Quilter’s Album of Patchwork Blocks, Nancy Cabot is said to have presented this block, which she called Double Windmill, in her Chicago Tribune column of October 26, 1936, and attributed it to an old Pennsylvania Dutch pattern pieced in Philadelphia as early as 1800.
Double Aster Block
Nancy Cabot was on a roll — 2 weeks later, she added 2 triangles to each quarter-block and the new block became Double Aster. She “fertilized” Double Aster with 8 more triangles and a dozen squares and created a new block.
I fell in love with Double Aster in the late 1990s, when I used it in this sampler quilt. (Sorry this is only one section of the quilt. The blocks are 16 inches, it is a big quilt!)
At that time, we developed a Double Aster class plan that we made available to stores. It was great for learning about the triangles in Sets A and B because the block has 4 different sized triangles. I had made 8-1/2, 12 and 16 inch Double Aster blocks, but not a 6 inch block.
Double Aster Block & Quilt
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When I first saw Peony in the Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt book, I thought it wa Double Aster and assumed it looked different because it was so small. Then I realized Peony had more stuff going on at the edges, which seemed to clutter the design. That settled my decision to make Double Aster for my quilt and share it with you. By the way, it was only after I decided that I compared the number of pieces. Double Aster has only 37 pieces, compared to 57 for Peony — wouldn’t you rather cut, sew and press 37 pieces than 57?
Made with Set A, this is also a perfect block for our 8-1/2 inch mystery quilt. (Click the images for a larger view.)
Double Aster is also a perfect block to demonstrate the versatility of the templates. You’re using From Marti Michell templates to make 6-inch blocks, but our basic sets (A through D) can make up to 4 sizes each of hundreds of block designs.
If you own Set A, you can make Double Aster in 3 sizes (6, 8-1/2 and 12 inches, finished). And you get 3 more sizes with Set B (8, 11-1/4, and 16 inches).
What’s the 2+2 triangles in the 12-inch block? It’s triangle template A-2 doing a template trick! You can cut any triangle twice as big using this trick! (It’s great for Flying Geese units, too — cut the 2 small triangles with the triangle template, then use this template trick to cut the center triangle!) See 31 sizes of Flying Geese in More Bang for the Buck!
I hope you enjoyed this article, in fact this wonderful quilt block. From now on you can download and make amazing quilts, blocks, works to decorate with the most beautiful fabrics and of course, don’t just limit yourself to the example, use your imagination with this block and make amazing works!
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