Columbian Star Quilt Pattern

Columbian star quilt

Columbian star quilt

The Columbian Star quilt block is the centrepiece of this quilt pattern.  I have tried to use elements from this block in the surrounding blocks.  The nine blocks are all huge – 30″ square finished size – giving an enormous 94″ square quilt.  This should cover any size of bed comfortably.

I needed 4.3/4 yards of white fabric, 4 yards of purple and 3/4 yard of the floral border fabric.

Completed Columbian star quilt block

Completed Columbian star quilt block

Cutting requirements for the Columbian star quilt

6.1/2″ squares:  four white

12.1/2″ squares:  one purple

3.1/2″ by 12.1/2″ rectangles:  four white

3.7/8″ squares:  twenty white, twenty purple

3.1/2″ squares:  four purple, eight white

15.7/8″ squares:  four purple, four white

15.1/2″ squares:  four purple

8″ squares:  sixteen white

8.3/8″ squares:  sixteen purple, sixteen white

For the border you will need to cut nine 2.1/2″ strips across the width of a contrasting fabric.

Make half square triangle units

Make half square triangle units

Make the half square triangle units

Use the 3.7/8″ squares to make half square triangle units.  Place a purple and a white square 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 produce two half square triangle units which are now 3.1/2″ squares.  Press the seam allowances towards the purple and trim the two corners where fabric sticks out.

You will also need to make half square triangle units from the 15.7/8″ and 8.3/8″ squares, but for these I have simply cut the squares along one diagonal and then sewn one white and one white purple triangle together along the diagonals.

Top section

Top section

Make the Columbian star quilt block top

I am showing you this layout in three sections for clarity.  Place a 6.1/2″ white square at each end with two half square triangles on two edges of each square.  Lay a 3.1/2″ purple square diagonally in from the corner of each white square.  Between these corner sections place a 12.1/2″ white rectangle at the top with a row of four half square triangles beneath it.  Underneath these place two 3.1/2″ white squares with a pair of half square triangles betwen them.  Check the photo carefully to be sure which way to place all the half square triangles.  In the middle they need to form a V shape pointing downwards.

Partially sewn section

Partially sewn section

Sew the squares together across the two rows between the white squares.  Then sew the two rows to each other.  Now add the large white square on each end.  Sew all the squares together across the third row and add this to the bottom of the section.

Central section

Central section

Middle section of block

Begin this section with the 12.1/2″ purple square.  For the column on either side of the square place four half square triangles.  Lay them so that the purple triangles start to form a V shape pointing towards the central square.  For the next column out you need two white squares with a half square triangle at each end of the column.  For the third column out place one 12.1/2″ white rectangle.  Sew the patchwork pieces together down each column, sew the columns to each other and then sew these sections to the central square.

Bottom third of the block

Bottom third of the block

Lower third of the block

The bottom section of the block is more or less the same as the top section, just the other way up.  The first row of this section contains four half square triangles in the middle with a purple square outside of these and then two more half square triangle units.

Make the second row with two white squares in the middle and a pair of half square triangles on either side of the squares.  Use the final 12.1/2″ white rectangle with a half square triangle at each end for the third row.  Add a 6.1/2″ white square at each end of these last two rows.  Once again sew the small squares together across each row, sew the bottom two rows to each other and then sew them to the white squares at the ends.  Sew this section to the first row.

Finally sew all three sections together to complete the Columbian star quilt block.  This measures 30.1/2″ square at this stage and you just need to make one.

Corner block layout

Corner block layout

Make the corner blocks

For the corner blocks I have used the rosebud shape that appears in the Columbian star quilt block – but made it a lot bigger.  Make half square triangles using the 15.7/8″ squares.  Cut the squares in half along one diagonal and then sew a purple triangle to a white triangle.

Place a white and a purple 15.1/2″ square diagonally opposite each other.  Lay two half square triangles diagonally opposite each other so that the purple triangles form a butterfly shape.

Sew the pieces together in pairs and then sew the pairs to each other.  This block now measures 30.1/2″ square and you need to make four of them.

Third block layout

Third block layout

Make the third block

In the third block I have taken the V shapes in the Columbian star quilt block and again supersized them.  Make half square triangles using the 8.3/8″ squares.  In the first row use four half square triangles placed so that the white triangles form a larger triangle pointing downwards and the purple triangles begin to form the stripes of the V shape.  In the second row place two half square triangles in the middle with an 8″ white square at each end.  Repeat these two rows to form the third and fourth rows.

Sew the pieces together across each row and then sew the rows to each other.  This block now measures 30.1/2″ square and you need to make four of them.

Row one

Row one

Assemble the quilt

Sew the blocks together in three rows of three.  In row one place a rosebud block at each end with a V block in the middle.  Place the rosebuds so that they point towards the corner, with the white square forming the corner of the quilt.

Row two

Row two

For the second row place the Columbian star quilt block in the middle with a V block at each end.  Place these so that the V shapes are horizontal, pointing towards the middle.

Row three

Row three

In row three place a rosebud block at each end with a V block in the middle.  The V shapes point upwards towards the middle while the rosebuds point towards the corners.

Add the top border

Add the top border

Finishing the quilt

Normally now I would add the border, sew the blocks to each other and then sew the three rows to each other.  However this quilt is so large that I am going to sew it together using quilt as you go in rows.  I have added the border strip of a contrasting fabric to the top of the first row and the bottom of the third row.  Then I added wadding and backing fabric to each row, making sure that I left a good 3″ of these at either side.  Now I am going to quilt each row separately, sew the rows to each other using qayg and then add the side borders as a final step.  I haven’t had time to do these steps yet, but I will show you the photos when I have completed the quilt.

Here’s the video:


Swallow Falls

Swallow Falls

Last week I spent a few days in North Wales.  On the way back I stopped to see the Swallow Falls which I have always intended to visit.  The falls are just outside a small town called Betws-y-Coed.  They were absolutely stunning, but it was almost impossible to take a photo that did them justice.  They weren’t very wide but seemed to go on in stages for a great distance.  My photos looked terribly flat and didn’t show the force of the falls so I put together a short video which gives more of a feeling of the water thundering down.

[evp_embed_video url=”


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  1. Carole Manuel says:

    Wow, what a gorgeous quilt. I would really love to make this one. Being a bit mathematically challenged, could you tell me how much fabric of each colour will be needed? Many thanks.

  2. Susan Duquemin says:

    Love the pattern so thank you Rose. Sadly I was unable to watch the footage.

  3. As usual Rose thanks for this pattern.
    Like Susan Pannell I thought it looked difficult but I should
    have known your tutorial would be clear and without drama.
    Wales has some lovely scenery.

    • Thanks Mary. I thought it would be more simple if I made the blocks large but then of course the quilt became enormous.

  4. Bonnie Heyblom says:

    Hi Rose: What a beautiful quilt and I like that you have used only two colors (the border is an added surprise). I will put this one on my to-do list. You make everything seem so simple.

  5. Hi Rose,
    Your beautiful quilt would have taken me years to make. Wish I had the time. No luck viewing the Swallow Falls video.
    The weather was better today than it was last week but it’s supposed to rain again on Sunday.

    • Hi Claire. Sorry the video didn’t work. Not sure what I did wrong there. Hope you don’t get too much rain.

  6. Reberta says:

    Rose, precuts are quite popular here in the States and I am just wondering if you have ever designed or might consider designing quilts using them. I am a great procrastinator, and the less I have to cut, the more productive I tell myself I’ll be. I love your large block quilt and hope to see more of them. Thank you for simplifying tops that appear to be so very difficult.

    • Hi Reberta. I do have some patterns for precuts. If you type jelly roll into the search box at the top of the page it should give you some suggestions.

      • Reberta says:

        Found them. Thank you. Two favorites so far are the Clear Cut Dark Quilt pattern (love the black background) and the Interlocking Chevron Quilt pattern. Hope to start one tomorrow. I’m so excited

  7. Sandra Barnett says:

    Oh Rose,
    Beautiful quilt. My favorite colour. It looks like a big quilt but also looks like it would go together very quickly once the blocks are done.
    Love the falls Bet it was amazing in person. Watched the wedding and glad they had good weather there, because our weather was horrible. We now have what I call ponds in our front lawn at least 6 inches deep. Today is sunny but I don’t think it will dry up all the water.
    Putting binding on the baby quilt. Then put it away until August.
    Have a great weekend and Happy Quilting

    • Hi Sandra. I knew you’d like the colour. You’ve done well to finish the baby quilt with so much time to spare. Hope your weather improves soon.

  8. Susan Pannell says:

    Lovely quilt, but a bit too complex for me.

  9. Trish Tarbuck says:

    Love this quilt Rose, quick and easy too.

  10. jan welbourne says:

    Hi Rose. This looks as though it will make a very pretty quilt. Possibly a bit complex for some of us but worth the effort.

    Glad you managed t have a brief holiday and visit Swallow Falls. It is lovely all round that area I think.

    Thank you again for this. Janny

    • Hi Janny. I tried to keep it simple by making the blocks large. I was really pleased to see the falls because they had been on my list for such a long time. Next falls on my list are some in the Brecon beacons.