July 07, 2020

Quilt Block Mania - Starfish Dance

Welcome to Quilt Block Mania! I'm happy to be a part of the group of designers sharing their Summer Fun blocks today 😊

Allow me to introduce my Starfish Dance block! Because I'm trying to avoid growing my collection of orphan blocks these days, I even finished my block into a mini quilt 😊 This is a rather picture heavy post, but we quilters always enjoy lots of quilty pictures, right? Here's the finished mini...
Starfish Dance quilt block | DevotedQuilter.com
And here's what the block looked like before it was quilted.
Starfish Dance quilt block | DevotedQuilter.com
Starfish Dance is a 12" block that is made using fusible raw edge applique. It is perfect for scraps or random charm squares you have left from other projects.

After the applique is done, you have stars, but they don't really look like starfish to me. I mean, they're the right shape, but starfish have such amazing details and markings and these fabric ones needed some of that, too.
Starfish Dance quilt block | DevotedQuilter.com
I chose 5 matching, or almost matching, Aurifil threads to do some free motion embroidery. That's exactly the same as free motion quilting, except without batting and backing.
Starfish Dance quilt block | DevotedQuilter.com
Here are the colours I used - 1135, 2610, 1158, 2390, 4140.
Starfish Dance quilt block | DevotedQuilter.com
I made a test block, with only one star, to see if the free motion embroidery would distort the block. I was afraid it would, but I didn't want to use interfacing or stabilizer if I didn't need to. I'm glad I made the test block as the embroidery didn't distort it much at all. Doesn't it look much more like a starfish with the embroidery?
Starfish Dance quilt block | DevotedQuilter.com
After a successful test block, I stitched around the edge of the starfish on the block.
Starfish Dance quilt block | DevotedQuilter.com
Then I stitched a straight-ish line not quite at the base of each arm, creating a pentagon in the center. I chose to leave it empty, to make it stand out a little better, rather than stitching inside it as I had on the test block. Then I stitched four small pebbles in each arm.
Starfish Dance quilt block | DevotedQuilter.com
I asked Nathan (my 12 year old) what he thought of my starfish and he said, "I don't see starfish. I just see stars." Ah well, not everyone gets it! Anyway, once they were looking properly starfish-like, to me at least, I pulled out a scrap of Warm and Natural batting and some white solid for the backing.

I used Aurifil 2024 for the quilting. I started by quilting around the starfish and then echoing around them, using the width of my free motion foot as a guide. Then, since it's only a 12" square, I dove in for some micro stippling 😊
Starfish Dance quilt block | DevotedQuilter.com
I remember once hearing that if you echo a shape, then whatever you quilt outside the echo needs to have the lines closer together than the echo or you lose the effect. I think I succeeded in having the stippling lines close enough together, lol. I love how the starfish puffs up.
Starfish Dance quilt block | DevotedQuilter.com
The stippling reminds me of the shapes in this coral.
coral | DevotedQuilter.com
And here's the quilting from the back 😍 A beach photo shoot seems like a requirement for a mini quilt of starfish.
Starfish Dance quilt block | DevotedQuilter.com
A white quilt is hard to photograph well, but just look at all the wonderful texture.
Starfish Dance quilt block | DevotedQuilter.com
I took a lot of pictures at the beach. This one might be my favourite.
Starfish Dance quilt block | DevotedQuilter.com
Not wanting to leave out the little test block, I finished that one as a mini mini 😊 It's about 6" square and got treated to some matchstick quilting.
Starfish Dance quilt block | DevotedQuilter.com
I followed a tutorial by Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl to bind the mini mini and it worked like a charm. I added small hanging triangles and my label and I love how they frame the starfish on the back. It makes me wish I had added something to the fourth corner.
Starfish Dance quilt block | DevotedQuilter.com
The mini mini deserved a special picture, too, I thought.
Starfish Dance quilt block | DevotedQuilter.com
I told you there were a lot of pictures! 

Enter your email address here to download the Starfish Dance pattern. Doing so will also subscribe you to The Bulletin, which I hope you'll enjoy reading!

Here are links to all the blocks in the Quilt Block Mania Summer Series:
Camping Tent by Carolina Moore
Beach Umbrella by Jennifer Fulton
Flip Flops by Becca Fenstermaker
Summer Cocktail by Marian Pena
Beach Ball by Laura Piland
Popsicle by Sherry Shish
Curvy fish by Velda Roy
Angelfish by Lisa Amundson
Bucket and Shovel by Heidi Pridemore
Wonky Beach Umbrella by Jamie Siel
Starfish by Leanne Parsons
Sailboat at Sunset by Glenda Wilder
Yacht by Sue Griffiths
Food/Ice Cream Truck by Laura Strickland
Crab by Afton Warrick
Sleeping bag and star by Sarah Vanderburgh
Funky Flower by Kathryn LeBlanc
IceCream Cond by Sarah Marcina
Sunglasses by Celine Perkins
Sun by Charisma Horton
Hello Summer by Amarar Creacions
Tall Ships by Kris Driessen
Life Saver Preserver by Sandy Fitzpatrick
Dragon Fly by Julie Luoma
Up in The Air by Judit Hajdu
Surfboard by Susan Arnold
Beach Treasures by Linda Bratten
Two Scoops by Shari Butler
Free to Fly by Marcea Owen

Just because, here's one last shot of Starfish Dance 😊 I hope you get to enjoy some summer fun, too.

Starfish Dance quilt block | DevotedQuilter.com


  1. Your starfish block mini is beautiful, Leanne! Such a simple, fresh design, and a great way for a new quilter to try appliqué. I can imagine a whole quilt of these blocks. Your stippling is just the right proportion to the starfish, so well done there too.

  2. I love the texture of both the mini and mini mini, Leanne. I think that the added embroidery does a lot to help the stars transform into starfish. :)

  3. I love starfish. Thank you, Leanne.

  4. Your quilting is everything +++!

  5. The embroidery on the starfish really make them standout. Such a beautiful block and all the samples are well made. Thank you for the pattern.

  6. It looks fabulous! I love it as a mini quilt! ❤

  7. I love this star fish block! This would make a fun baby boy or girl quilt!

  8. I really love this pattern! And how the quilting is making pop up the starfishes is great!

  9. That turned out so stunning! I love what the quilting did for it!!!

  10. Having a couple of starfish quilt items in my house, I downloaded your block asap! I love it all Leanne, the rainbow of starfish, the mini, the quilting, and the quilt shoot! Thanks so much for this.

  11. Love this block! Congrats on a fun mini!

  12. So pretty! I see starfish. Your quilting and embroidery is so pretty.

  13. What a cute pattern, Leanne! Thanks for sharing.

  14. I plan on using this as a larger quilt with these blocks. Lots of fun custom quilting. Question. How does those raw edge quilting hold up to washing/

    1. You are a no-reply commenter, so I hope you check back here :) For a quilt that will see lots of washing, you might want to use a zig zag stitch around the edge of the appliques, just to be certain they're secure. That being said, I have washed quilts with the appliques stitched as these starfish are and they've held up fine. They fray a little, but they don't come off.


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