Directions for the Lone Star Quilt
A Lone Star quilt is a classic design with a bold single star dominating the quilt top. The star is pieced from blocks of small diamonds with the colors and patterns of the fabric carefully planned and aligned for artistic effect. The traditional design is an eight-pointed star, patterned with bands of color radiating from the center of the star out to the points.
The Lone Star is an extremely versatile design for a quilt. By altering the placement, colors, or patterns of the diamonds you can create entirely different looks. The way the star is pieced lends itself to a stunning kaleidoscopic effect. You can go for a bold look with stripes of bright contrasting colors, or tone the effect down with complementary colors and patterns placed to “bleed” into each other. Before cutting any fabric, design your Lone Star on paper using colored pencils. Draw a basic outline of the star, make copies and experiment with color combinations and arrangements. You may also use quilt design software to quickly try out different color combinations.
When you are happy with your design and have chosen the fabrics you are going to use, you need to plan fabric cutting and quilt top construction. Using a copy of your Lone Star design, use a marker to divide the star into eight diamond blocks. Each diamond block can further be broken down to individual rows of smaller diamond shapes. With symmetrical designs, each diamond block is the same; if your design is not symmetrical you need to plan individual strip piecing for each block. You should plan the process of strip piecing each diamond block on paper before cutting any fabric, and also calculate the dimensions of the fabric strips you need to cut.
Cutting and Piecing
There are several different approaches to cutting and piecing fabric shapes for a Lone Star quilt. Some patterns tell you to cut individual diamonds, but a faster approach that can be used for most Lone Star designs is to sew strips in the correct order, then cut them at an angle to form diamond blocks. To do this, cut a long, narrow strip of each fabric. Place the strips together lengthwise in your predetermined order. Place a transparent quilter’s ruler over the strips and identify the line at a 45 degree angle from the base of the strips. Stagger the bottoms of the strips along the 45 degree line, then pin and sew the strips together along their lengths. Press all the seams open, then cut strips of equal width along the 45 degree line. You will have strips of small diamonds which you then match to your pattern and sew together lengthwise to make a diamond block. After piecing all eight diamond blocks sew them together to form the whole eight-pointed Lone Star.
Finishing and Quilting
To turn the Lone Star into a square quilt you need to fill the corners with squares of background fabric and sew triangles of fabric on each side. You should measure and cut these shapes after the Lone Star is finished because even with the most accurate cutting and seaming you can not determine the precise dimensions beforehand.
The pieced design of the Lone Star lends itself to geometric, straight line quilting, but the corner squares and side triangles offer more room for decorative quilting designs. Because there are so many small diamonds cut on the bias, it's easy to pull the star out of alignment when quilting a Lone Star by machine. To prevent this, baste well and take your time.
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