California Star



I finished my new California Feathered Star block!  This is the one that I made the scrappy bias-strip set ups for. It is sized for a 9″ finished center. I’m working on a block book of 3″ finished blocks and this will be one of the projects. The 3″ Ohio Star is the same one used in the Winter Star block. I gave detailed instructions for its construction in the Winter Star Tutorial last year.  There is another California Star block that has a 7-1/2″ center (2-1/2″ Ohio Stars)  in my book Feathered Star Quilt Blocks II on page 34. The quilt shown here was one of the patterns in my book On to Square Two (out of print*).


I also have an old quilt, probably from the 1930s or 1940s, that features one huge California Star. The Ohio Stars in this one finish at 9″so the center is 27″ across. I still haven’t figured out why a California Star has Ohio Stars in it…. maybe Variable Stars would be a better name here. Oh well.




See Me on The Quilt Show

As you may already know, I appeared as the featured artist with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims on The Quilt Show in episode #1203 and talked about my Winter Star pattern. If you didn’t have the opportunity to see this show the first time around, now you’ll have the chance to see it—and so many other terrific shows—at no cost in honor of International Quilting Weekend March 18-20. To find my show go to:
There is also a contest with over $11,000 in prizes featuring a Grand Prize of a BERNINA 570QE. It’s a fun weekend and quilters look forward to it every year.

My Online Feathered Star Workshop at Craft University

CraftUpromoMy Craft University course on Feathered Stars starts September 29!
I’m so excited! I went to Golden, Colorado, in June to do the taping. There’s even a video to promote it. Here’s the link:

Feathered Star Quilting Techniques with Marsha McCloskey

In the meantime, I’m working on the last post on the Winter Star — the one about sewing the block together. We had a few setbacks in August (a funeral to go to and my husband was in the hospital for a week) and it has thrown my schedule off somewhat. Thankfully, things have settled some and I’m back to my studio and getting ready to teach for the Utah Quilt Guild’s Quilt Fest 2015 in mid September. This is the last conference I have scheduled that I have to fly to. I had already agreed to do it last year when I decided to limit my travel to just the Northwest. I’ve been to this event before and they put on a really fun show:

If you are interested in taking a class IN PERSON, I have scheduled some classes locally in the Eugene area and a retreat in Washington State next year.


ENGLISH IVY QUILT,  Saturday, October 3, 2015 

At “Our Sewing Room” in Springfield, OR

I’ll be teaching my English Ivy quilt, which can be made in a miniature 3” block, or in a standard 6” block. You will learn some “cut it larger, true it down” sewing techniques and bias-strip piecing to make ½” scale triangles (for the miniature version). This is a very sweet two-color quilt. Cost is $55.

Radiant Blue1

2-DAY RADIANT FEATHERED STAR, Mon., Oct. 5 & Tues., Oct. 6, 2015

At “Our Sewing Room” in Springfield, OR

This 2-day class will include drafting instruction for the Radiant Feathered Star, color placement, and accurate rotary cutting and machine piecing. Lunch and snacks are included both days. Cost is $295 for the 2-Day workshop.

Chamblie Sampler1



Session I: June 3-7, 2016

Session II: June 8-12, 2016

If Feathered Stars are on your bucket list, this is your chance to learn from the quilting world’s Feathered Star expert! Enjoy 5 days of total Feathered Star immersion at The Wild Rose Quilt Shop and Retreat Center in Orting, Washington. The registration fee of $995 includes 4 nights double occupancy lodging, most meals, and daily classroom instruction with Marsha. The class agenda includes a trunk show, drafting and design, rotary cutting and machine piecing. You will have plenty of free sewing time and individual help from Marsha during this 5-day retreat!


Email:                 Phone: 541-554-9537


Winter Star Tutorial: Cutting the Rest of the Pieces

To finish the cutting for the 11″ Winter Star, we will need to cut some squares and triangles. The 3″ Ohio Star for the center and the 16 feather squares were made earlier. Going back to the drafting, there are small squares (S3) that fill in where the feather rows turn, and large squares for the block corners (S13). There are also three triangles: TT10, T9 and T3. These template designations match those found in the cutting chart on page 46 of the Feathered Star Quilt Blocks II book.

Cutting instructions here include Trimming Points for Easy Matching

Trimming points on triangles and other shapes takes the guesswork out of matching cut parches before they are sewn together. Once you’ve trimmed points, patches will fit flush with one another when correctly aligned. I know many quilters skip this step in preparing their pieces, but I really encourage you to try it. My piecing is just better when I trim points.

The templates in the book and on my drafting include both points and trim lines. You need the points drawn for measuring cutting dimensions.

Triangle points can be trimmed in two ways: perpendicular to the long side or to the short side of the triangle. The direction of the trim line depends on how the triangle will be sewn to the next shape. the amount you trim will always be 3/8″ on 45° angles. There are other point trimmers on the market, but I designed the point trimmer function into the Precision Trimmer 3 ruler and the Precision Trimmer 6. Mostly, I use the PT3.


Here is my drafting and a drawing of the block with template placement.



• S3: Cut 4 squares 1-1/2″ x 1-1/2″. I like to choose a fabric here that contrasts with the dark-side of the feather squares.

•  S13: Cut 4 squares, 3-1/2″ x 3-1/2″, of the background fabric.

• TT10: Cut 1 square, 6-1/2″ x 6-1/2″, of the background fabric. Cut diagonally twice to make 4 quarter-square triangles.

QSTTrim points for match using the PT3 as shown. Line up the dashed center line of the ruler with the long side of the triangle and the solid diagonal line with the short side. Trim off the 3/8″ triangle that sticks out beyond the ruler. Repeat for the opposite side.


• T9: Four of these triangles fit around the center Ohio Star and eight are used for the  star points. Following the rule of straight grain placement (it needs to be on the outside edge of the pieced unit), these will be cut as half square triangles.

HST— For the T9 triangles that fit around the Ohio Star center, cut 2 squares, 3″ x 3″, of a medium value print. Cut diagonally once to make 4 half square triangles. Before moving the triangles, use the PT3 ruler as shown to trim the triangle points for matching. Line up the ruler’s center dashed line with the diagonal cut and the solid diagonal line of the ruler with the side of the square (short side of the triangle.) What sticks out will be 3/8″ triangles for both triangles. Trim them off. (If you forget to trim points before moving the triangles, they can be trimmed using the method used for the TT10 triangle above, only start with the center line lined up with the long bias edge.)



— For the T9 triangles that are the star points, cut 4 squares, 3″ x 3″, of a dark value print. Cut diagonally once to make 8 half square triangles. Use the PT3 ruler as shown above  to trim the triangle points for matching.


• T3: This is the single triangle at the end of the feather row. Cut 4 squares 1-7/8″ x 1-7/8″ from the same fabric that is the dark side of the feather squares. Cut each square in half to make 8 half-square triangles. Trimming these points for matching is done differently than for the previous two triangles. Instead of the PT3 ruler, use the square ruler that you used to cut the 1-1/2″ feather squares and place the ruler as shown. The 90° angle of the triangle is placed on the 1-1/2″ square marking and the points that extend beyond the ruler are trimmed off. The trimmed part is 3/8″, leaving the short side of the triangle at 1-1/2″, the same dimension as the feather triangles.


With all the pieces cut, the next step is to lay them out on a Portable Design Board in preparation for sewing.


Notice in the photos for this post, a lot of different fabric are used. In my quilt, I played around some with a variety of prints and values to make each block look different.

WSScrappy fabrics

Next time, I’ll show you the piecing.

Wow! I can’t believe I’m doing this!

My name is Marsha McCloskey. I’m a quilt designer, author and teacher specializing in Feathered Star quilts.

I’m a fairly well-known author and teacher in the quilting world, and have written or co-authored thirty books on quiltmaking since 1981. Specializing in the Feathered Star and other traditional pieced designs, I have taught drafting, rotary cutting and machine piecing to quilters all over the United States and in ten foreign countries. My specialty rulers promote accurate cutting and piecing for intricate designs. For over 30 years, I traveled about once a month to teach and lecture.  I have my own small publishing company, Feathered Star Productions, Inc., a website, and have designed fabric for quilters since 1996 when my first Staples line was introduced by Clothworks Textiles.

I’m traveling less now, so I’ll have time to “teach” on a blog. Please have patience with me as I learn the WordPress program.

My website is: www.Marsha

Find me on FaceBook at: