Machine Quilting Practice #4: Star Motif

We are four weeks into our summer machine quilting practice sessions. How is it going? The first session was a straight line grid, the second was the classic clamshell design, and the third session was the orange peel design. Now that you are getting used to stitching half-circles free motion, we are going to move on to a star motif.

The area outside this motif will be used in upcoming sessions to practice background fills such as stippling and echo quilting, so you will need to quilt the star motif four times. If you are working on individual practice sandwiches, you will need four 8″ squares of fabric for the top and four slightly larger squares of batting and backing fabric. Mark the Star Motif on each 8″ square of fabric, layer and baste.

If you are working on a nine-block sampler quilt, you will quilt the star motif in each of the four corner blocks. For more information, please read the Instructions for Preparing a Machine Quilting Sampler.

Set up your machine for free motion stitching by lowering (or covering) the feed dogs and installing a darning or free motion presser foot.

The star motif can be quilted in one continuous path as follows. Begin at a tip of one of the inside star points. Pull up the bobbin thread as described in Beginning and Ending Machine Quilted Stitches and take the first small stitches by moving the quilt slowly under the needle. Continue moving the quilt under the needle, following an outside star point.

Remember to keep the quilt in the same orientation as you stitch the motif. Practice moving the quilt under the needle and following the marked lines of the motif without turning. Continue stitching around the outside star points until you return to where you started.

Without stopping, continue stitching the inside star…

… until you return to where you started. Make the final few small securing stitches and clip the threads.

Repeat these steps to quilt the remaining three star motifs. We will be using them in future sessions to practice different background fills, beginning next week with stippling.

Back to main


  1. Carol Crossman says:

    These sessions have been so helpful for me because I am ready to quilt 2 projects I have finished piecing and sandwiching
    Please change my email address to sillyheart@rogerscom
    (sorry my period key has stopped working)
    I have a folder set up at that address that your email will automatically enter
    As a Christian I should not feel this but I have to say I am a bit envious of your sewing room at the cottage – so bright with all the windows
    Like you I also sew in the basement where the only light is the artificial light installed although I do use daylight bulbs
    Happy sewing

Leave a comment