Northern Lights Quilt Pattern


Northern lights quilt pattern

Northern lights quilt pattern

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.

Completed northern lights quilt block

Completed northern lights quilt block

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

Make half square triangle units

Make half square triangle units

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.

Use strip piecing for the four patch units

Use strip piecing for the four patch units

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.

Northern lights quilt block layout

Northern lights quilt block layout

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.

Sew the squares across each row

Sew the squares across each row

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.

Row 1 of the northern lights quilt

Row 1 of the northern lights quilt

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.

Row 2

Row 2

Row 3

Row 3

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 of the northern lights quilt

Row 4 of the northern lights quilt

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.

First two quilt borders

First two quilt borders

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.

Add the third border

Add the third border

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.

Northern lights quilt queen size

Northern lights quilt queen size

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.


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  1. Esther Edgar says:

    Thanks for another lovely quilt pattern.
    Hope you find a house with enough rooms, most importantly a sewing room.
    We are currently trying to sell our two storey house as my husband now has dilated cardiomyopathy. House sales are very slow here so I am almost jealous. Keep up the sewing. It is so inspiring.
    Esther Edgar.

    • Thanks, Esther. Sorry to hear that your husband isn’t well. I was lucky selling my house – the buyer wants a very quick sale and I was able to agree to that. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for your sale.

  2. Sandra Barnett says:

    Oh Rose,
    As always a very easy (the way you explain it) quilt. Love the colours. Would also love to see the Northern Lights. Glad you got an offer on your house. Good luck house hunting. Finally close on our house Wednesday. Saw the buyers got the paper work done. A nice couple. Now I will get back to quilting. Oh what pattern should I start with, so many of yours to choose.
    Have a great weekend house hunting.

    • Thanks, Sandra. Glad you’ve got your house sorted out now – it’s dragged on a bit, hasn’t it. I’m sure you’re relieved to be able to get back to quilting.

  3. Linda Butler says:

    Hi Rose, Love this quilt and the green is great. Good luck with the house hunting. I love Ludlow. I visit every year for the festival and it’s a town I could quite easily live in. Always look forward to your quilts. There are so many I want to make.

    • Thanks, Linda. I shall probably end up coming back to Ludlow quite frequently. I’ve lived in this area for nearly 40 years now, so it’s going to be quite a wrench to move away.

  4. sue spicer says:

    Thank you so much for this pattern – the colours are so brilliant together – I can’t wait for the fabric – it will make a lovely present for my friend’s 70th!!

    Congratulations on the house sale – always a worrying but exciting time – I moved last year after 27 years in my previous home and it’s the best thing I ever did – Enjoy the search!

    • Hi Sue. Thanks for the order. The fabrics are packed up and waiting to be posted this morning. Thanks for the reassurance about moving – it’s quite a big step and I can’t help feeling a little nervous.

  5. Jo Williams says:

    Glad you could sell your house. Good luck on buying another.
    Thanks for this interesting pattern. Can’t wait to make it.

  6. Rose, Thank you for a very striking pattern and for taken the time, with
    all that’s going on, to post the pattern and tutorial.
    I hope the sale of your house goes quickly.

    Happy house hunting week-end.

  7. Darlene Kvaca says:

    Hi Rose, just want to let you know that I love this pattern and am going to make it one day, if I ever get caught up. Beautiful colors and the name is perfect.

  8. Michelle says:

    Good luck with the house hunting.

  9. MarleneC says:

    Love this quilt. Living in Alaska I’ve witnessed the Northern Lights many times–we don’t get the dramatic colors like further north but they are still something to behold moving across the sky.

  10. Hi Rose, really like this quilt but this is getting spooky, last week Austria and now Northern Lights.Our children and I have recently booked Rekyjavik for January for my husband’s 70th birthday.Well done you for accepting an offer on the house and hope everything works out well for the weekend in Brum.Trish

    • Hi Trish. We can all travel in our imaginations through our quilts. Hope you enjoy Rekyjavik – my sister was there last year and loved it. It’s on my list of places to visit as well.

  11. Hi Rose,love the Northern Lights pattern,[would be an amazing experience to see the real thing].Really thrilled you have a buyer for your house,and good luck with your search for your new home,.Enjoy your weekend love Carole

    • Thanks so much, Carole. Everything seems to be happening so quickly at the moment – I must remember to breathe!

  12. Estelle says:

    Will you still be on your website Ludlow Quilt and Sew when you find a new house and move. I hope so,

    • Hi Estelle. Yes, I definitely plan on continuing the business after I move. I’ve been having to visualise which room would become my sewing room during all the viewings that I’ve been to today.

  13. Good luck with the house Rose. See you at Sandown possibly!

    • Thanks, Jan. I’m definitely planning on Sandown this year. Just trying to tie it in with seeing friends and children at the moment.

  14. Hi Rose,
    Beautiful quilt, interesting pattern and gorgeous color combination. Thanks for sharing.
    Congratulations on the sale of your house. Here’s hoping that you can find another house ASAP. Good luck!

    • Thanks, Claire. At the moment I do my sewing in the dining room, so it will be great fun to plan a sewing room from scratch.

  15. Good Luck and Happy Househunting. This is an especially exciting time for you. I am going to try your Northern Lights Quilt sometime in the near future.

    • Thanks, Sheila. I’ll be so pleased to be able to unpack Minnie again and do some longarm quilting. I had to pack her away while I was having viewings on my house because she just dominated the room.

  16. Debra Friendly (Canada) says:

    Congratulations on the relatively quick sale on your home. I hope you will still call yourself Ludlow Quilt & Sew. I just like the sound of Ludlow! Good luck with your house-hunting and then you can plan a trip to somewhere with the Northern Lights!

    • Thanks, Debra. Yes, I will keep the name of the business – that’s how everyone knows me. Once I have made an offer on a house in Birmingham I can start to plan the rest of the year – and that definitely might include a trip to see the Northern Lights.

  17. Sheila Lymn says:

    Hello Rose I very much like the colours you have used on this quilt so like the colours of the lights as seen on the T V ,so glad you have accepted the offer on your house and good luck finding the right place for you in Birmingham .,fingers crossed for a successful weekend .
    love and hugs Great Grandma Sheila xx

  18. I really like this one, Rose! Congratulations on the sale of your home – on to the next exciting chapter. Enjoy your house hunting!

  19. Such a delightful pattern and yet so uncomplicated . Best wishes on the house hunting, always a hectic time –

  20. Patricia Cash says:

    Congratulations on selling your house. Love the quilt.

  21. I love this pattern and would like to make it in a Queen size, is that possible and still maintain the large diamond shape???

    • Hi Mary. Apologies for the delay in replying to you. I have added an image of a queen size version of the northern lights quilt at the bottom of the pattern. You could use thirty six blocks and that would give you an 82″ square quilt.

  22. Lesley. Cyprus says:

    Love this one Rose, this one is a must I have beem waiting knowing the right one would come along. All I have to do is pick my material and away to go. Hope the move goes well and you find what you are looking for I have moved 7 times so know what you are going through, good luck.

    • Hi Lesley. Glad you like the pattern – it’s a simple pattern to make. Moving house is supposed to be one of the major life events like divorcing, but I’m hoping that my move will be much smoother than that.

  23. Gwendy Burtz says:

    Every Friday I look forward to receiving your e-mail and another pretty quilt you’re working on! Thank you so much for your encouragement and for sharing your ideas and tips. I really appreciate it! Good luck on your search for your new home!
    Gwendy Burtz Ohio