Thanks for all the suggestions and commiserations regarding my Starburst Cross quilt block placement. Of course, I know it is a balance issue... and maybe just a little bit too much going on all at once.
I know the cause of some of my problems... firstly, the original bundles I started with were from a single range. This can cause problems because the designers didn't always intend for all the fabrics to be used in one hit, and didn't necessarily design it as a balanced group.
The second problem is that the quilt I chose to make used all of those fabrics in identical proportions. So each fabric appears as one star... and one background. That magic theory of using odd numbers of things because it creates a better balance... yeah, nah... wasn't going to happen.
Lastly, I know that as I added fabrics to the starter bundle, I didn't worry too much about the group as a whole... I just knew that each fabric I chose to add "went" with the starter bundle. OK, that is a big mistake... always look at your collection as a whole. Seems obvious, but somewhere that logic was missed this time.
So, I tried all kinds of placement. Susan suggested placing the strong red background block as the centre block, and then place the other blocks around it. This worked surprisingly well, as it drew your eye to the other blocks that have red in them, such as the florals and the weird stripey background. But, I just couldn't do a quilt with that strong block as the centre. It just went against all my irregular design principles. So I did the next best thing, and took some of the blocks out... particularly the murky block that doesn't read as a star or anything else, and also the yellow/green blocks that just didn't go with the other yellow blocks.
I found a different brown fabric that will be OK, to add another dark block, and will make the remaining three block backgrounds quite light. I'm thinking I will make the top block a red star, and maybe the others a brown and a blue/green star. I am still not sure whether I will leave the bottom centre block there... (it's companion block with a green star and grey background was cut already), as it sort of lets the site down in the contrast department. Maybe a crisper, light background star would look better.
So... it's been a long process, with lots of looking and thinking... not much in the way of doing. But sometimes quilting is like that, isn't it?