Free Tutorial for the Easy Variable Star Quilt Block

Posted by Elaine Huff on

Today let's look at this easy Variable Star. First off - it goes by a ton of different names: Happy Home, Star of Virginia, Henry of the West, Star of Hope, Flying Crow to name a few! There are several coloring differences but the basic construction is the same on all of them. I chose this coloring with a dark in the corners and center and a medium and light to make the star points which is the Variable Star and Happy Home. 

variable star quilt block

Fabric Requirements for a 9" Finished Variable Star Quilt Block:

  • Light/Gray: 2 - 4.5" squares
  • Medium/Green: 2 - 4.5" squares
  • Dark/Purple: 5 - 3.5" squares

happy home fabric requirements

Sewing Directions:

Hourglass Units:

Step 1:

Using the Light/Gray and Medium/Green 4.5" squares, sew together four Hourglass (or Quarter Square Triangle) units like the ones in the picture below. You can find the detailed tutorial for making a basic Hourglass block at Trim/square up the units to 3.5" square.

happy home 1

Putting It All Together:

(Wow! That was quick!)

Step 2:

Lay out the Step 1 units and the Dark/Purple 3.5" squares as shown in the picture below.

happy home 2

Step 3:

From here the block goes together like a basic Nine Patch block. Sew the units into three rows as shown below.

variable star 3

Step 4:

Press the seam allowances away from the Hourglass units.

variable star 4

Step 5:

Sew the three rows together, making sure to nest those seam allowances so you get nice points.

star of virginia 5

Step 6:

Press the seam allowances toward the center of the block. That's it - you're done!

flying crow 6

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Layout Options:

So here's my coloring in a basic 4 x 4 layout.

quilt 1 

And here it is with a narrow sashing and cornerstones layout.

quilt 2

Of course I had to try out some scrappy versions. In this one, the four corner squares are scrappy.

quilt 3

In this example, I kept the center squares the same color but made the rest scrappy.

quilt 4

And another scrappy layout. Each block is the same but every other block is rotates 180 degrees to line up two hourglass units which is kind of fun.

quilt 5

Okay, back to a planned coloring. Here I've used three shades of green along with white for the star points. 

quilt 6

Here's the same coloring as before but the blocks are set on point - what a difference!

quilt 7

Finally, here's a scrappy version but set on point with sashing and cornerstones. This is a pleasant arrangement.

quilt 8


This block was so easy and quick to sew together! For being such a simple star, it can look so different depending on your coloring and color placement. Even just rotating the Hourglass units will change how it looks!

hope you've enjoyed this Happy Home (or Variable Star or...) quilt block tutorial. If you liked this post and want to see more quilting tutorials like this, simply click here to sign up for my newsletter and also receive a free PDF.

Happy Quilting!


P.S. Check out my PDF patterns in the Etsy shop at

P.P.S. To figure out yardage for a quilt, check out this post:

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