Starry Night-A Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

Starry Night-A Free Motion Quilt TutorialGood Morning, Quilters!  So glad you’re here!

Thank YOU for spreading the word…we’re growing our community of FEARLESS free motion quilters every day!

Our motto:  STIPPLE NO MORE!…too many other fun patterns–find more than seventy five free motion quilting patterns right here at The Inbox Jaunt.–(and most of them are easier than stippling!)

Get out your sketchbooks and doodle pads…We are working on a new motif this week–The Starry Night free motion quilt pattern.

This pattern will require a little more doodle practice because we are going “off the rails”.   This is a “Fill Pattern” – a pattern to stitch all over a quilt or in a background.  It does not follow a line.  With a little paper and pen practice you’ll soon be stitching Stars and Moons in Free motion on your next quilt!


In most of the Tuesday free motion quilt tutorials, we begin with “rails” –drawn lines that keep the quilted motifs in an even row.  Whenever you are stitching a fill pattern-there are no rails.  Start stitching  either in the middle of the project or in a corner.

Begin by stitching an upward curve and echo stitching around the curve–this is a “Moon”

Starry Night-A Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

Next, stitch three triangles around the “Moon”…to create a partial “Star”.

Starry Night-A Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

Starry Night-A Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

The sequence looks like this:

Starry Night-A Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

Next, stitch a “C” shaped “Moon”–

NOTE-“Moons” can face either direction—

Starry Night-A Free Motion Quilt Tutorial


Then stitch three more triangles around the second “moon”…

Starry Night-A Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

Stitch another “moon”–This moon can go down as in the photo below…or it could go UP…

Starry Night-A Free Motion Quilt TutorialThree more triangles…

Starry Night-A Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

Continue on this way to fill the background…

This does take some practice.

  • Doodle first.  If you can’t do it on paper, you won’t be able to stitch the motif.
  • If you get stuck in a corner, knot off and start again.
  • A “Moon” can be stitched with three lines of stitching before adding the triangles.
  • The “Stars” can be stitched with two, three, four, or five triangles…
  • If you get stuck in a corner, echo back around any motif into an open area.
  • Relax and have fun!
  • Once you get on a roll, you won’t want to stop…so do the laundry first!

Free Motion Quilted stars


NOTE-This tutorial was stitched on my Bernina 820 without a stitch regulator on Robert Kaufman Kona cotton, with Warm and Natural batting.  Thread:  Aurifil 50 wt in the bobbin and Sulky Rayon on top–size 90 Topstitch needle.


Stitching in the Moonlight until Midnight,


PS…All tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free to share, tweet, pin, re-blog with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at  Thanks!



41 thoughts on “Starry Night-A Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

  1. This is just terrific! I am just finishing up a kit from my guild of a star quilt for a vet. I don’t like the quilt pattern, but I think these stars will make the quilt special. Thank you!

  2. Good morning, Lori! This is such a fun motif. It reminds me of that Goodnight, Moon children’s book that I love. But please, don’t say NO more stippling! I had the hardest time with stippling when I first tried it and only very recently have I been able to quilt stippling that doesn’t “ruin” my quilts. I know a lot of quilters are bored with stippling, but I need to keep it in my toolbox anyway. It’s overused, but it still looks nice in certain situations. Thanks for yet another great tutorial!

    • Hi Rebecca, Starry Night could be stitched anyplace stippling would go….
      The problem is…everyone tells beginners to stipple and it is an advanced free motion quilting pattern because there are no logical places to stop and start. I think telling beginners to stipple is one of the reasons many quilters are afraid of free motion work–they can’t wrap their brains around stippling and they assume other patterns are just as hard or harder–wrong! That is why I’d like to BAN THE STIPPLE!

      • I agree with you. Stippling is really difficult for a beginner. I will teach FMQ at my guild in the fall. I plan to teach pebbles, spirals, paisley (for echoing), and of course stippling (but mostly for meadering design with something else). And then you combine pebbles with paisley to do flowers. And spirals with paisley to do other kind of flowers. I think stippling is a mandatory base design but not the first to learn: you have no clue where to go when beginning, so it is really worst in stippling. And you cannot cheat and travel stich. I really love your blog, I really admire all your creativity.

      • I agree with you! Since you’re the teacher why don’t you skip meander and stipple and explain why. I think today’s pattern or small leaves are easier and prettier!

  3. Rosemary B here:
    I love this one. I am gonna try it.
    I love your No More Stippling. You could start a movement!! T-shirts, signs, bumper stickers…. one bad stipple and you are practically banned for life! We should end it now!

    Okay, I love the stars and moons. Love them.
    I am going to practice in the car today (making hubbs drive) we are going to the old folks house in Maryland to check a few things. Then zip home. I found a suspicious non active water leak last week when I was there….
    I hope you are writing a book. paper and pencil are in my baggage.
    Have a wonderful day. Here it is going to be a hottie hot day
    oh, we are leaving my parents here at their apartment today. long story, haha I call them the twins.

    • Hi Rosemary, Hope your parents are settling in to their new home!

      Glad to hear you are using your travel time so wisely…doodling!

      Ban the Stipple T-shirts…my new marketing campaign! Lori

      • Rosemary here (again)
        actually the house in Annapolis Maryland is the old house…. full of their stuff…. O_O 90 year olds are very messy. Anyway, the packers come on the 19th of this month. The movers come on the 2nd of August. Today hubbs and I went out there to check a water leak. It was the washer and not catastrophic. I noticed wet carpet last week and wasn’t sure what it was …. that old house…. don’t get me started.
        They move to Ashby Ponds (5 miles from my house) from the wonderful apartment I am housing them in at present (one mile from my house).
        Yes, I did doodle the whole drive up and back — in my special “moving notebook” which is lined and actually that is a good thing!
        Bumper stickers too. Can you imagine the confusion to drivers lol
        Happy Day, Lori

  4. Such a great pattern!!!! I’ll be doodling for sure today. Recently, on a bus shop hop, I visited Country Sampler Quilt Shop (Spring Green, WI) and discovered that EVERY quilt sample in the shop was stipple quilted with an ecru colored thread (not sure of the make) and appeared to have been washed to achieve the uber crinkled effect. The shop is “primitive” to the max, so this ‘fits’ the desired direction of primitive/Civil War styles. I would think I would “lose it” if I did a large quilt with the quilting they did (very tight/all over)!!!! Just sayin’……………………………LOL!

    • Rosemary B here
      Hey Doreen, heavy stippling and long narrow stripes of sewing are very artsy now. I see it on a lot of quilts and Have never done that. I think it looks really bad too.

  5. Love the tutorials. … not sure I can go outside the lines. ….. but I will try! Thanks again for all the great posts. I like the variety of things you post, cause they are all very helpful and detailed with great pics!

    • Start by practicing on paper. Then give it a whirl. Don’t be afraid to knot off and start again. Also, in this pattern there are lots of places to stop with your needle down and think. Stop at any point in the triangle or at the tip of the moon. At these points, it is harder to notice the change in stitching that naturally occurs whenever you stop and start.

  6. Lori this one is great! Love the all over patterns and have always loved things with stars. I will use this one a lot!! Thanks so much for sharing!!
    I am on the “Ban Stippling” band wagon. The thought of stippling a whole quilt makes me shudder…dislike it very very much. Proud to be a Stipple Stopper…LOL!!!

  7. Until I started reading Lori’s Inbox Jaunt, I thought it was me…I can’t do stippling! Set aside the fact that I am uncoordinated, I can wander, follow lines and even do some unmarked designs but I can’t stipple. She showed me that it isn’t important or essential that I learn how to do that. Freedom!! Thank you, Lori. (ps: I’ll buy one of those t-shirts!)

  8. I just found your tutorials. I started to learn free machine quilting but stopped. So I’m very rusty with machine quilting right now and am excited to begin again looking at your wonderful work is inspiring me to try again. Thank you for your generosity and simple instructions. I truly appreciate them. I will be practicing on small things for my granddaughters, since they are three and five I can practice without that critical negative voice because it’s for those two loved ones. I’m hoping that I can stay away from negative people and teach myself this skill. I would like to be able to take what I Iearn here so that eventually I can proceed to successfully create my own doodle & sketch designs. This design would be an amazing table runner for the Fourth of July.

  9. You are giving me lots of hope! I don’t like stippling either. I am anxious to learn this new filler. Thank you for all your inspiration, you have given me courage.

  10. Hi Lori:
    I’ve been enjoying your blog for a couple of months now, since a friend told me about it; I’m always telling fellow quilters about it, as it is so inspiring! I look forward to reading your blog everyday.
    I’m happy to hear that I’m not the only one who’s struggled with stippling – I like the idea of the “No Stippling” rule.
    I recently took a machine quilting course with a local teacher (MR Charbonneau) and she had several great suggestions to help us with our machine quilting, but one of the best was to get a Magna Doodle (those magnetic boards where you can write something and then erase it – people with kids in their lives will know immediately what this is, I got one at Toys R’ Us) to practice quilting designs on – you get a good feeling for how the design flows and as an added bonus, it’s fun to use!
    Thank you for your generosity in sharing your thoughts and knowledge with us, it is much appreciated!
    Happy Canada Day to all of my fellow Canadians!

  11. I love this design, Lori. I have been a stippler since I started quilting. It has worked for me, but it is boring. I will try this. It will be frustrating for me, but then all quilting is frustrating to me.

  12. Okay, are you reading my mind??? 😀 On the blue & yellow quilt with the big mariner’s compass that I’m working on, I am stumped for a design for the final large navy border.

    Seriously contemplating this.

  13. This will be perfect for some kid quilts that I need to quilt and I don’t want to do custom quilting on!! Thank you!!!

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  16. Hi Lori, I am reading your blog, and trying to follow along to learn FMQ. I had a question about this post. I have an 820,too. You stated that you did not use the stitch regulator. What foot did you use?

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