Welcome to the final session of the PP 2016 virtual retreat.

This session is will teach you how to quilt a variety of stars, single, continuous line, around corners for borders and a random string.


  • Some prepared “quilt sandwiches” (ie 3 layers)
  • Sewing machine and the appropriate foot/feet
  • Thread
  • Pencil and paper

Before you start

  1. Try to relax….. not easy I know but try!
  2. Set up your machine.  I am using a walking foot, because I have one and since we are only sewing straight lines it makes sense. If you don’t own one, then do as I used to do and use the satin stitch foot. This usually does not press quite so heavily and therefore you are less likely to get ”rucks” on the back of your quilt.  You could use the darning foot, but I find it really quite difficult to control when I want straight lines. I am not lowering the feed-dogs either, as we are not free motion quilting.
  3. Make sure you are at a comfortable height at your machine.
  4. Use gloves if you have them. I use fairly close fitting gardening gloves with rubber pads on the front. They take some of the strain off your shoulders and that really helps, particularly if you are doing a lot of quilting!
  5. The sizing is entirely up to you. The smallest stars I’ve done were about 2in. I quilted stars like this on the sashings of last friendship swap, the “star quilt”, so they were quite narrow since I was using a jelly roll. The biggest stars were on the Christmas quilt (for my Aunt) and they were approx 8/9in. 
  6. Remember this is only a practice. On a quilt the really important thing to have an even amount of quilting  over the entire quilt !
  7. If you have a “needle down” facility use it!

Star 1

  1. Look at the first animation. This shows you the order of sewing a single star
  2. Practice drawing the star on paper. Use a ruler if you find that helps. I found it really hard to get every line the same length, and at the same angle, so I deliberately set out not to!! As long as there is not too much difference, ie 1 point ever so much longer (or shorter) then it will be fine! I promise!
  3. The only line that needs a bit more concentration is the final one, so that you end up back at the starting point!
  4. Decide where you want the star and roughly which way you want it to go
  5. Now sew your first star! Hold on to the end of the upper thread and pull the lower thread to the top before you start, that way you don’t get it tangled up underneath.
  6. Stitch the first line. When you need to change direction make sure you leave the needle in the quilt before you raise the foot and rotate the fabric.
  7. Continue until you are about to sew the final line. Carefully line it up so that a straight line will bring you back to your starting point.
  8. Sew the final line!

I didn’t mark any of the lines when I was quilting the stars, either on any of my star quilt blocks or on our FoQ quilt. You could mark the points if you feel the need to, either with a pin or a dot (chalk/pencil/pen/tape) at least to begin with, especially if that gives you a bit more confidence!

The idea, from now on, is not to have to keep starting and stopping and having lots of ends to sew in when you finish. I am going to show you how to quilt multiple stars, in different directions.

Star 2

Look at animation 2. You see that you start with a single star as above and then once you have returned to your starting point you sew another star at a different angle, in exactly the same way as before, once again returning to your starting point and sewing one more star to complete the trio. Theoretically you could sew more but having tried, I think three emanating from one point is enough. Any more and it start to get very crowded!

Star 3

Now look carefully at the third animation. This shows you the process if you need/want to sew a row of stars. Obviously you can make it as long as you want.

Simply sew the zig-zags up and down, up and down (or down and up , down and up) but make sure you finish with a down stroke IF you started with an up one (or vice versa if you want your stars to be the other way up!!!

When you get to the end of the row, however long it may be just go back along the line completing each star as you get to it, following the directions in the animation! 

Star 4

This animation shows you how to turn a corner with your star quilting. You begin by sewing a row of zig-zags , starting with an “up” line , as above but when you reach the corner you sew a complete star. This enables you to continue along the 2nd side with the zig-zags, another complete star. More zig-zags along the 3rd side, another star and more zig-zags and a final complete star. You should now be back at the beginning and can now complete the stars as you did before.

Star 5

This animation shows you how to sew a row of stars but not in a straight line. Once again you begin by sewing a zig-zag in which ever direction you want. Then sew another one changing direction before you do so and repeat it as often as you want/need.  

When you think you have done enough complete the stars in the same way as before. You should end up back at the beginning when you’ve finished.

I hope this has given you all an idea and some confidence to try some quilting, remember, practice makes perfect!