For the Northern Lights quilt pattern I have used the blue and green that I’ve seen in photos of the northern lights and set them on a dark sky background. As you can probably guess, seeing the northern lights is on my bucket list! I was going to use a solid black for the background but felt that it worked better with a mottled charcoal colour for the night sky.
The quilt measures 58″ square and I have made it with sixteen blocks which are all 12″ square finished size. I have used 1 yard each of the blue and the green, 1.3/4 yards of the black fabric and just 1/4 yard of the cream. The cream is only used for the second border – neither the blue or the green gave the look that I was hoping for so I introduced this additional colour – maybe it represents moonlight?
As usual, you can buy these fabrics at a 10% discount in this week’s special offer. Last week many of you bought fabrics during my sale (many thanks!) but it was pointed out to me that the payment options in the checkout appear to offer paypal as the main option. In fact, you can pay by credit card if you prefer by clicking the ‘worldpay’ option – that’s simply the company that handles the card payments: a reputable and secure option.
Cutting requirements for the northern lights quilt
2.1/2″ squares: sixty four blue, sixty four black, one hundred and twenty eight green
4.1/2″ squares: sixteen green
4.7/8″ squares: thirty two blue, thirty two black
Making the northern lights quilt
Make half square triangle units with the 4.7/8″ squares. Place a blue and a black square with right sides together and mark a line along the diagonal. Sew a 1/4″ seam either side of the marked line and cut along the line. This will give you two half square triangle units which are now 4.1/2″ squares. Press the seam allowances towards the black and trim the two corners of the square where the tips of the triangles stick out.
I’ve made four patch units using strip piecing because it’s quicker. Sew together 2.1/2″ strips of blue and green and of black and green along the length. Cut these at 2.1/2″ intervals to make strips that are 2.1/2″ wide by 4.1/2″ long. Sew these strips together in pairs to make four patch units where the green squares are diagonally opposite to each other – you can see these in the top right of the photo.
Lay the squares out in three rows of three – that’s counting the four patch units as one square. There’s a green square in the middle with a half square triangle on each edge of the central square. These are placed so that the blue triangles form a line along the diagonal.
The four patch units are placed in the corners, with the blue/green units on two diagonal corners and the black/green units on the other two corners. Note that these are placed so that the small blue squares follow one diagonal while the small green squares follow the other diagonal.
Sew the squares together across each row and then sew the rows to each other. You will need to make sixteen of the northern lights quilt blocks.
Assembling the northern lights quilt
The blocks are sewn together in four rows of four. As usual, the design is made by rotating the blocks. I think that the easiest way for me to describe the layout is using the blue diagonal of the block as this stands out quite well.
In row 1 the blue forms a zigzag with the blue diagonal beginning in the top left of the row and finishing in the top right with the fourth block.
In row 2 the blue diagonal goes from bottom left to top right in the first two blocks and then from top left to bottom right in the next two blocks.
In row 3 this is reversed with the blue diagonal going from top left to bottom right in the first two blocks, and then going from bottom right to top left in the next two blocks.
Row 4 is similar to row 1, but the zigzag begins bottom left of the row in the first block and finishes bottom right in the fourth block.
Sew the blocks together across each row and then sew the rows to each other.
Northern lights quilt border
I have used three borders for this quilt, but I have introduced a new colour for the second border instead of using the fabrics from within the quilt – moonlight or starlight perhaps.
The first border is made using 2.1/2″ strips of black fabric. You’ll need two lengths of 48.1/2″ for the top and bottom and two lengths of 52.1/2″ for the sides. For the second border I have used 1.1/2″ strips of cream – two lengths of 52.1/2″ for the top and bottom of the quilt and two lengths of 54.1/2″ for the sides.
For the third border I have returned to the 2.1/2″ strips of black – two lengths of 54.1/2″ for the top and bottom of the 58.1/2″ for the sides.
That completes the northern lights quilt top. It is now ready for layering, quilting and binding. You can find full details of these stages in the beginner quilting section.
Here’s the video:
I have accepted an offer on my house which is really exciting. Now I have a mad whirlwind of viewing houses in Birmingham because my buyer wants a quick sale. Luckily the weather is good so that will help a lot.
PS. Since writing this pattern I have been asked several times for a queen size version of the northern lights quilt. You could make an 82″ square quilt and still keep the design by using six rows of six blocks – thirty six in total. You would need about one and a half times as much fabric as shown above for the smaller version. Hope that helps.