Star of Bethlehem Quilt: Planning a colour scheme

Star of Bethlehem: Planning a colour scheme.

It only seems like yesterday that I was talking to a group of students at last year’s Summer School about a Star of Bethlehem quilt design. “Can we make that next year” someone asked? Before I knew it I had said yes. If you are coming to the Easter School this year or are planning a Star of Bethlehem colour scheme read on. Have a look at my Pinterest board for some historical and contemporary examples.

Brooklyn Museum

The design goes under a variety of names. In the mid-19th century when the design emerged in quilts, it was called the Mathematical Star. Native Americans called it the Morning Star, and it was highly featured not only in their quilts but also in clothing and various forms of art. Other common names are the Star of the East and Bethlehem Star. It was dubbed Lone Star by quilters in Texas because it’s the Lone Star state.


The  design is made up of eight diamonds. In choosing your colours for this design you need to bear in mind where the points of emphasis need to be for a really successful design. The star centre tip, the outermost point of the star and what is known as the radiant point are the areas where your choice of colour needs to have the most impact.

Here I am playing with some of my favourite colours. I have chosen to use 11 different fabrics for the star and a plain dark blue background.


It’s helpful to have one of these fabulous Colour Tools created by Joen Wolfrom.

When I am not sure about my colours this is one of my favourite tools.


In order to check whether the colours I have chosen for my star are going to work I have used a paper mock up. I had a really enjoyable afternoon playing with my coloured pencils arranging the colours into different orders until I felt they really popped! Click on the link to download a design sheet.


This is my final arrangement a dark blue green star centre point (A) and a bright orange outermost point (K). For the radiant area (F) the yellow green contrasts well with the aqua blues on one side and is really zingy with the pinks and oranges on the other side. I have a couple of light tones (B) & (C) that provide a strong contrast to the darker centre point. You can of course cut small strips of the fabrics you are going to use and stick those onto the paper instead of using coloured pencils. Take some time to plan your fabric colours. An hour spent playing with your fabrics will reward you with a design that works. I’ll post the results of my quilt soon and show you how my Easter School students got on with their colour choices.

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