Inspirations for a New Project

I’m still working on big-stitch hand-quilting of Untied. It is slow, almost by definition.

For the last few weeks, though, I’ve been thinking about a new project, and I finally started it last week. My thinking was inspired by a blogger who used diamonds to create a quilt. (I’m sorry I don’t remember whose blog that was.) Of course diamonds have been used almost as long as patchwork has been around. An old configuration is the Lone Star or Star of Bethlehem quilt form.

The Star of Bethlehem quilt uses 45° parallelograms radiating from the center to create an eight-pointed star. Here is an especially beautiful version from around 1850. This photo is courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.


Because of the angle, this creates a relatively narrow shape, which is why eight segments or points fit around the center. (See some of Barbara Brackman’s many posts on using diamonds. This one shows several fine Star of Bethlehem quilts. And for more fun take a look here and here.) 

I want to use 60° diamonds instead. These make a wider parallelogram than the 45° version. Here is a photo of a quilt block I made using 60° angles to create a star:

African fabrics. I pieced the star and appliqued it onto the background.

The blog that inspired me, however, didn’t use these patches to make a star. It simply ran the patches in interlocking lines, top to bottom. This reminded me more of a harlequin pattern. Pablo Picasso painted several pictures of harlequins, pantomimes wearing costumes covered with diamonds.

Picasso boy 2

Picasso boy

Picasso man

Inspired yet? More next time…


19 thoughts on “Inspirations for a New Project

  1. Alice Samuel's Quilt co.

    Very pleasing to my eyes thanks! I ventured a star of Bethlehem Quilt like 2 years ago when I only just started quilting, found the pattern in one of those Quilt museum books. I was inspired to make more progress last year but it is currently laying in my stash somewhere because I got stuck with all the Y seams needed to attach the background and the fact that my diamonds were so wonky but I’ve been meaning to pull it out again or even recreate it now that I am a bit “wiser” so thanks for the inspiration and I’ll be looking forward to your progress.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Take a look at a couple of the links above from Barbara Brackman. She shows some truly wonky star quilts! As for the Y seams, you could cheat them and just extend each side of a point with a “corner.” Then you would have 8 complete segments including the background, stitch together carefully and then trim the outsides to square. If that doesn’t make sense, imagine a square divided into eighths radiating from the center, all the way out to the edge of the square.

      1. Alice Samuel's Quilt co.

        Thanks a lot I will follow the link and I’ll have to read what you said about the Y seams a couple more times for me to actually get it. I think it’s preferable to do that while I have the quilt in hand 🙂 should be easy to visualize then.

  2. colorpencil2014

    What eyecandy here!!! I love star shapes in any form and kind and I love hearing about the process behind projects. I can so see why you are inspired by Picasso and his harlequin suits! I look forwards what will come next!

  3. snarkyquilter

    That Star of Bethlehem quilt began to spin as I stared at it. Strong stuff. I wonder if you could work a color change rippling out from the center effect into a star without going crazy. Thanks for the Pablos.


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