acolchado fabric manipulation fabric scraps project free pattern free-motion log cabin quilting tutorial

Block 11: Star gathering – Textured quilt sampler tutorial


This block requires hand sewing.

Block type: log cabin

Block size: 11 inches

Colour scheme: reds and neutrals

Texture/fabric manipulation: star gathering

Quilt size: The finished quilt is 52 ½ x 52 ½.


  • one 7 in x 7 in square in white
  • two 5 in x 3 ½ in rectangles and two 11 in x 3 ½ in rectangles for the border
  • matching stranded cotton
Making the star gathering
Cut one 7in x 7in square and mark it in a grid at 2 in intervals alternating in rows on the wrong side of the fabric. See drawing below.
The circles are 3/8 in in diameter. They are spaced 2 inches apart from top to bottom and 1 inch apart from left to right.
I drew the circles by hand though you could use a template. I don’t think it will show in the result if the circle is not perfect.

You will notice I drew double circles. This is so because I started with 1/4 inch circles and they turned out too small so I drew them larger.

Now, following the circle lines start stitching with a running stitch. When you reach the starting knot, pull the thread very tight to make a very small puff and then secure the thread by making two more stitches on top of the last one and cut the thread.

I stitched all the puffs on the diagonal though it doesn’t matter how you stitch your puffs.

This is the reverse side of the square.

This is the right side.

Stretch the square on to some padded board or iron table and pin. Then use the iron to steam the square really well without pressing. This is enough to flatten the piece and preserve the nice gathering.

This is what the square looks like after steaming.

The texture is quite subtle because the circles are only 3/8.

And the back.

Now let’s trim the square to 5 inches. Mark the back of the square to 5 inches.


Cut two 5 in x 3 ½ in rectangles and two 11 in x 3 ½ in rectangles for the border.

Attach the border and you’re done.

Textured blocks tutorials

This is the 11th block in a series of 25 exploring texture in fabric.

Each block is made out of a centre 5 inch square featuring some fabric texture such as pin tucks, smocking, shirring and the like. Then a 3 1/2 wide border encloses each centre square.

The colour scheme is red and white/cream alternating reds and white/cream for the centre square and border.

Some of the textures show better on plain colours than on heavily patterned fabric.

See all Textured quilt sampler tutorials for this quilt.

Share your pictures

Are you making this quilt? Share your pictures on Flickr’s TeresaDownUnder group.


  1. I love this texture and would love to do a king size quilt in it. I have a bolt of 120″ muslin that I think would look beautiful done in this, but I have a question. Do you know what the average loss of the overall size is when doing the texture at the spacing you’ve described? I wanted to do the top as a solid piece, but I’m trying to figure how much of a border I’ll have to add. Going from a 7″ block to a 5″ block would mean a 30% loss in size, but I’m not sure how much you have cut off to square up the piece, so it’s most likely less if I do a solid top. I hope I’m making sense here. Thank you in advance for any help!


  2. Hi Amanda, I love this texture too. Your idea sounds great. The quilt will be very elegant.

    To answer your question, I don’t know exactly how much fabric I trimmed off but I did take a picture the fabric I trimmed around the edges and it would be between 3/8 and 1/2 inch on each side, don’t you think? To be sure you could test on a small square.


  3. Teresa, I was estimating about the same from the photograph. From what I can tell, I’ll lose 25-30% with the texture. I’m going to do what you suggested and do a couple test squares at different sizes to see if the percentage is the same for both. Thanks for responding!


  4. I’m going to *attempt* to do a natural muslin whole cloth top with this texture, border it in a something different, use whole cloth muslin for the backer, as well, and then muslin for the binding. (I got a bolt of 120″ muslin at a realllly good price, so I want to do something subtle and elegant with it.)

    I’m thinking I’ll tie the quilt at each of the puffs (through them, and with a natural cotton yarn) and clip the ends so it’s tidy. I don’t want to detract from the texture by doing a traditional quilting over the top.

    I’ve got a beautiful oak leaf stencil I’ll probably use to do the border, though. And JoAnn’s has a really pretty fabric with a leaf scroll design in gold over cream that I think would look beautiful.

    If I can’t manage the whole cloth top, I’ll probably do nine blocks with thin sashing of a gold color. Again, I don’t want to detract from the texture by putting a pattern too close to it. I want it to be the main focus of the quilt.

    BTW – Teresa – I ❤ your blog. Thank you for it!!


  5. Would you pls give a little bit more information regarding block 11 star gathering? Do I just take one stitch at each circle and then tie it or do I need to take several stitches like an “x” at each circle?
    Thank you, this quilt is so beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Kay, I did take several stitches around the circle but an x should be enough to gather the fabric in a knot.


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