One Spiral Nova


I made another Spiral lone star this month using pink and purple prints from the Blueberry Park collection by Karen Lewis for Robert Kaufman. The pattern and construction for this lone star is very similar to a traditional lone star except for the placement of fabrics. In this post I shall try to do a tutorial in pictures.

What size star? I am usually overwhelmed when I start making a lone star. There are so many things to decide – the width of the strips, the number of colors, the number of diamonds in a row and the final star size. I did some math and came up with this table. This table is for the spiral star, so the number of different fabric is always 8. For a traditional lone star the number of strips of each color varies based on the layout but the strip width and length from this table will work.

Spiral Lone star configurations

Materials (for a 40″ finished star – first row in the table):

  • 8 different fabric for the star. Some gradation in the value or hue of the fabrics works very well for this pattern.
  • From each star fabric: 4 strips 2.5″ x 18″. If using a jelly roll, you will need two WOF strips for each color.
  • For the background: 1.25  yards. I used Kona cotton medium grey.


  • Before cutting, iron and starch all fabric. We will be cutting and sewing on the bias a lot. Starching helps keep the shape.
  • From each star fabric:
    • Cut 4 strips 2.5″ x 18″
    • Label the fabric strips 1-8 after you decide their order.
  • From the background fabric,
    • Cut 4 13″ x 13″ square
    • Cut 4 9.5″ x 9.5″ squares
    • Cut each square once along the diagonal. You should have 8 small triangles and 8 large triangles.

Construction: I am using numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 for the 8 fabric strips. Letters A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H for the 8 strip sets and Roman numerals I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII for the large diamonds or arms of the star.

Mapping strips to strip sets and strip sets to diamonds
  1. Strip sets: Use the table above for reference to sew 8 strip sets. Each set has 4 fabric strips in order. Offset each strip by about 2 1/4″ over the previous one. See picture for details. Press seams open. This will make matching seams a lot easier in later steps.
  2. Trim strip sets:

Trim edge of strip set

First trim off the jagged edges of each strip set. Line up the 45 degree line on your ruler along the top edge and cut across the strip set.

  • Cut slanted strips:

  • SlantedStrips
    Cut slanted strips

    Cut slanted strips 2.5″ wide parallel to the previous cut. Line up the 45 deg line on your ruler with the bottom edge of the strip set and the 2.5″ line on your ruler with the slanted edge of the strip set. If both lines don’t match exactly, re-trim the slanted edge to match exactly. This gives perfect strips you can join put together without tugging and pulling to match seams. Repeat for all strip sets.

  •   Layout: After all the strips are cut, lay them out and play with the layout.
    You cannot change the order of the strips at this point but you can make the spiral go clockwise or counter-clockwise, etc. This will also help you make sure you are consistent the order of strips in each strip set.
  • IMG_0615
    Joining the slanted strips: We now join the slanted strips to make the large diamonds or arms of the star.
    • Place adjacent strips right sides together and pin at the seams. See picture below. Pin the two sides at exactly 1/4″ from the edges along the seams.
    • Repeat for all eight large diamonds. You may use my table above but it is better to layout the strips first and sew them together as laid.
  • Layout the finished diamonds and the background triangles. Each diamond will be next to one small and one large triangle.
  • First sew the small background triangle and then the large triangle to each diamond. Trim excess fabric from both background triangles.
  • IMG_0625
    Sew together the diagonal sections in each quadrant. Carefully pin the two sections such that the seams match exactly 1/4″ from the edge – similar to step  5.
  • When all the quadrants are done, join them together like a four-patch, taking care to match the seams as before.
  • Optional: Cut 4 2.5″ strips from the background and add a border all around if desired.
  • I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.

    I entered this in the Tips and Tutorials festival jointly hosted by Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl and Cheryl of Meadow Mist designs in June 2018 and it won 1st place under Block and Pattern tutorials! Please visit the festival page and checkout all the great tips and tutorials.


    One Monthly Goal
    Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts

    Spiraling Lone star


    Many years ago I made this spiraling lone-star quilt. It hung over our kitchen table for a couple of years and I never took a single picture of it. Then a couple of years ago, I got to meet my college friend Poonam in New York City. Poonam had gone though some difficult times and I wanted to give her a quilt. I didn’t have time to make one for her at that time, so I decided to give her this bright quilt to cheer her up. My friend Indu took this picture in a hotel room in NYC with no natural light. It looks a lot better in person.

    Digging through my old pictures from 2013, I found a few pictures I took when I was making the quilt (and not a single one after it was complete)! I’m still looking for that piece of paper in the first picture with calculations using the Pythagoras theorem. Then again, wouldn’t this be a good math assignment for my 8th grader?image (6)

    All fabric from my stash – mostly batik, except the red and the fuchsia. The background is also a lovely batik with cream, tan and a bit of grey. Very simple quilting with a walking foot – this is from my pre-free motion days. I can’t even remember what I used for the backing.

    image (7)

    This is my Throwback Thursday blog entry. Thank you Sandra , for the encouragement. I’m officially bitten by the spiral lone-star bug and I feel an inexplicable urge to make one using a Kona cotton jelly roll I got recently. This is therefore also my One monthly goal for May – to recreate the spiral lone star.

    One Monthly Goal