Stripes and Ninja Throwing Stars

Free-Motion Doodle Challenge Day 9: Stars

It's Day 9 of the #freemotiondoodleschool doodle challenge and the prompt for today is: stars.

Stars are a recurring theme both in pieced quilt tops and in quilting. One thing I enjoy about stars is that there are lots of different kinds and shapes of them. At this point, I've quilted many different kinds of stars in quilts but I suspect there are still many I haven't quilted. Stars are a fun prompt to explore.

The star doodle design I've created for Day 9 uses a star I've never quilted before. It's a four-pointed star--also called an Isotoxal star, a star of Bethlehem, or a natal star. If you see a four-pointed star in a quilt block, odds are you're looking at a friendship star block or possibly a "Job's Troubles" quilt block. To me, it looks like a ninja throwing star, a.k.a. a "shuriken."

Throwing Star

Here are two approaches to doodling the throwing star.

#1: Start at the middle:

  1. Draw a square.

  2. Draw points coming off from every side of the square. The points should be roughly equal in length and should be shaped like isosceles triangles - triangles with all acute angles and two sides that are equal in length. In this case, I prefer to make the two equal sides longer than the base.

#2: Start at a point:

  1. Draw one side and the base of an isosceles triangle.

  2. Draw a square attached to the base of the triangle.

  3. Working clockwise, draw points around three sides of the square. Your points should create isosceles triangles that are roughly equal in height to the first isosceles triangle you drew.

  4. End by drawing the third side of the first triangle you drew. You should end at the same point where you started the star.

Stripes & Ninja Throwing Stars Design

So, now all you need to do is combine that throwing star with some stripes to make a background fill.

Before you get started, mark out an area by drawing a square.

  1. Beginning in one corner of your square, draw a series of parallel lines.

  2. When you're ready to make a star, trace back along your last line and make a star, starting with one of the points. (See method #2 of creating a throwing star, above.)

  3. Travel along the last parallel line you made or along the outside of the star.

  4. When you're ready, draw another series of parallel lines or draw a line that takes you to another area where you would like to put a star.

  5. If you choose to travel to another area and make a star, draw the star.

  6. Working from your second star, Fill in the areas around your stars with sections of parallel lines. Draw your sections of lines at different angles to each other. Switch up the spacing between your lines in each sections. In some sections, create patterns of thin and thick stripes.

  7. Eventually, switch back from drawing stripes and draw another star.

  8. In some cases, it may be more convenient for you to start with the square in the middle of the star. (See method #1 for creating a throwing star, above.)

  9. Repeat steps 6-7 until you have filled up the entire space inside your box.

Not too hard, right?

For the tutorial version above, you might have noticed that I made my stripes free-hand and switched up the distances in my striped areas. If you'd prefer straighter stripes with more even spacing, use a ruler. (A clear drafting ruler makes it really easy.)

Here are photos of both the free-hand stripes and the ruler stripes, for you to compare:

If you end up doodling and/or quilting the Stripes and Ninja Throwing Stars design, please post photos in the comments, below. I'd love to see what you do!

Finally, if you liked this tutorial, check out the books "Doodle School: A Daily Design Challenge to Up Your Free-Motion Quilting Game," and "Doodle Notebook for Free-motion Quilting: 150+ Inspirational Motifs." Dara Tomasson and I co-authored them and they're packed with more great doodle quilting tutorials.

Click the photos to take a look at the books on Amazon.

Until next time, keep on doodling and keep on doodle quilting!


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