Hand Piecing: Spinning Stars

Spinning stars is a pretty one patch pattern, with lots of movement because of the curves. The picture above shows the blue and white version I have begun. (The other two stars show some other color and design ideas.) I taught a class yesterday with three ladies anxious to sharpen their hand piecing skills. For many quilters, hand piecing is a dirty word, but you can’t always drag your sewing machine around! I would never (sorry Kathy) hand sew a log cabin pattern with long straight lines, but a little curved shape like this keeps me entertained. If you worry about color combinations, a scrap quilt like this one is an easy way to try out different fabrics and colors. There really are no ugly squares because when you sew them all together in a quilt top, they look amazing, and the star you think is ugly may be one that someone else will love.
There is an acrylic template available, which means you can cut out the pieces by hand or with a rotary cutter. Then you need to trace a pencil in the grooves of the template to mark the sewing lines.

When you sew curves, you get concave and convex shapes…. are you remembering math class? They seem like they can’t be sewn together, but with a few strategically placed pins and a bit of coaxing, it can be done. Because of the star shape, many of the edges are on the bias, which makes them sew together more easily.

A two hour class is simply an introduction. Hopefully Kathy, Kathy and Judi were intrigued enough to continue to sew a whole spinning star quilt. In this winter of intense cold and lots of snow, hand sewing in front of a crackling fire is just the thing!

14 thoughts on “Hand Piecing: Spinning Stars

  1. I love this pattern and your blue and white version is beautiful. I have done a bit of hand piecing, nothing with curves yet but I like the idea. Thanks for sharing.


  2. Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. I am quilting (supposed to be if I can leave the new project alone) another 60 degree diamond quilt which I’m pleased with. If you want to check it out, go to my Jan 8 post. The inspiration was from a Jinny Beyer book. You can see I will really want to play with your spinning stars. They are simply wonderful!


  3. I’m a beginning quilter and I picked the spinning star pattern because it looked really interesting. I have cut all my pieces, but I’m having trouble piecing them together so I can hand sew them. Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much!


    • First thing to know – spinning stars look like symmetrical pieces but they do have a right and wrong way! Make sure you have the correct sides together. Then, with curved seam piecing you need to find the centers. Pin the ends of one side of the star together and pinch the middle tightly to make a crease. Do this to the matching side of the other piece. Pin the pinches together and then either end. I only use 3 pins since more will get in the way. You should be able to ease the concave and convex seams together with careful sewing. Good luck!


  4. Would there be any way for you to send me pictures? I’m more of a visual learner and trying to put this together is kind of hard. Thank you so much for your time and help!


    • I am extremely busy this week preparing for the Fair. I suggest you go to the store where you bought your fabrics or template and ask for their help. Quilt stores are there to help you out! ;-D


  5. Okay I know it’s probably been a while since you’ve worked on this quilt… I’m wondering how you handled the seams on the back. I’m doing okay with the curves, but can’t figure out how to press the seams. Do you remember what you did?


    • Actually I left this quilt in a rental car, so it’s gone forever! The back isn’t pretty, as many hexagon or baby block sort of designs aren’t. I do like to press the seams of the actual spinning star in a spiral shape. Then the middle is fairly flat to appliqué the circle on it, if you’re doing that. When you start to press further from the star, it’s impossible to continue in an orderly manner, as I guess you’ve discovered. ;-D Then what I call “mashing” comes in to play! (Getting it as flat as I can.) If I’m going to have it machine quilted, I press twice on the back so that I can see what I’m doing. Then I flip it over and use one of the sprays to smooth the top. Machine quilters like tops as flat as you can get them. If I’m quilting it, I skip the spray. Does this help???


      • Actually, it does help! I consider myself a decent piecer and was getting frustrated because I could not figure out a way to press the seams and get them to line up or twirl nicely, like the center of a star. But now I can allow myself to be less than perfect.


  6. I have searched everywhere for “Spinning Stars” or “Curved Spinning Stars” as I would love to make this quilt. Would you please advise where I can purchase the template and pattern. Cheers 🙂


    • How funny! I looked through my posts about spinning stars and I did not add a link for the templates. That was early on; I guess I wasn’t thinking. Anyway, I used the acrylic templates form Pat Yamin. She has all sorts of fun templates for one square quilts. And I hand pieced them as I dislike machine sewing small curves. (And alas- I lost the top I was making. 😮 ) Let me know if I can help with anything else! Debbie


  7. Pingback: Blue & White Quilts | a daily dose of fiber

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