Lone star quilts can end up looking a lot of different ways when finished. Basically, it is a star shape with 8 points, made of 8 elongated diamonds sewn together. You arrange the diamonds so 8 of the skinnier points meet together in the middle in a circle. Stitch the sides to the mid-point, then the other skinny points are left unattached and sticking out to make the star points. Background fabric is added to fill in these spaces. Each diamond can be cut from one piece of fabric, or you can cut smaller diamonds, sew them together to make a bigger diamond, then sew those into the star. If you think about the edges of the final diamonds that will make the star, there can be one diamond, two, three, four, five or more on each edge, so a diamond will be made of one big diamond, or 4, 9, 16, 25, etc. little diamonds.
The fabric picked for the diamonds, especially when the big diamonds are made of little diamonds, can add another design element to the star. Lone stars often ‘radiate’. That happens when the little diamonds are made from different colored fabrics and the little diamonds are arranged in the big diamonds in such a way that when sewn together the colors make rings around the star. In the center, the rings will go all around, and as you move out further to the star points, the rings keep radiating out like ripples in a pond, but will be interrupted by the background fabric. Lone stars can also ‘glow’. This happens when the fabrics for the little diamonds vary from light to dark within the same color and the diamonds are arranged in a gradient. Stars can both glow and radiate at the same time.
The other way to make a lone star is to deliberately not glow or radiate; this makes a scrappy star, where the diamonds are just random. Being ‘just random’ takes some effort but mostly just a lot of different fabrics. The star I am making now is a scrappy one, and my big diamonds are made of 36 little diamonds. Here is a preview (please Google or check out Pinterest to see awesome examples of different Lone star quilts):