This quilt was made from friendship blocks given to Rita Hodges by quilting friends and students
- Per block 10cm of dark blue
(thirty five different for quilt)
- Per block 10cm of medium blue
(thirty five different for quilt)
- 3.5m cream fabric
- 2.4m of yellow for borders,
sashing and friendship block
- 80cm dark navy for outer border
- 50cm of fabric for binding
- 218 x 277cm of wadding
- 218 x 277 of backing (if you can’t
find a wide enough fabric buy 5.5m
and use a vertical seam)
82 x 105in (205 x 265cm)
The block was one Rita designed herself. These 35 blocks are surrounded by sashing with friendship style corners. Rita was spurred into action last summer to finish the quilt in time for Peartree Quilters’ final annual exhibition.
Decide if you are going to have every
block different or some blocks
the same. If you are repeating blocks and
are using fewer fabrics in your quilt you may
like to speed piece some of the sections. A
dark 2in strip and a light 3 1⁄2in strip could
be sewn together and then cut into 2in wide
sections. You will require eight per block and
as 20 can be cut from one width of fabric,
this is sufficient for two and a half blocks.
Similarly the second and seventh rows can
be cut as long strips, cut into 2in units.
The instructions given are for
making each block different.
- Cut Eight rectangles 3 1⁄2 x 2in in dark blue (four for geese unit)
- Twelve rectangles 3 1⁄2 x 2in in cream (four for geese unit)
- Twelve 2in squares in medium blue (eight for geese unit)
- Twenty 2in squares in dark blue (for eight geese unit)
- Eight 2in squares in cream
- One 3 1⁄2in square in dark blue
Figure 1: Sewing the flying geese
Figure 2: Sewing the
- Use four rectangles of dark blue and
eight squares of medium blue to make
the flying geese units as shown in Figure 1.
Press well and put to one side. Repeat
with four cream rectangles and eight dark
- Using the 3 1⁄2in
square and four
medium blue squares
sew the central
diamond as shown
in Figure 2.
- Following the construction diagram
sew the rows. When the rows are
complete press the seams for each row
in opposite directions.
- Assemble into the complete block as
shown in Figure 4. Press and check the
size; it should be 12 1⁄2in square. Make 35
(Rita has 33 and two friendship star blocks).
Figure 3: Block Construction
Figure 4: Completed Block
Friendship Star Blocks
- Cut: Sixteen 2 1⁄2in squares of yellow
- Eight 2 7⁄8in squares in yellow
- Eight 2 7⁄8in squares in pale blue
- Four 2 1⁄2in squares in pale blue
Using the quick method of half square
triangles place your 2 7⁄8in yellow and blue
fabric squares RS together. Draw a diagonal
line across the centre of each square. Sew
1⁄4in on both sides of the diagonal line sew.
Cut apart along the pencil lines. This should
give you 16 half square triangles. Assemble
star following the piecing diagram. Figure 5.
Figure 5: Friendship Block Construction
Note that triangles face in
different directions. Have the diagram by
your machine when sewing. You need four
of these stars to complete the block. Again
note the direction of the star placement.
- Cut: Forty two 12 1⁄2 x 2 1⁄2in strips of yellow fabric
- Eighty four 2 1⁄2in squares in pale blue fabric
- Sew a square of pale blue to each
end of each yellow sashing strip. Follow
Figure 6. to make sure the angles are right.
- Sew to the right hand side of
- Sew to the opposite side of seven blocks
only for the first block in each row.
- Sew five blocks into a strip starting
with one with two sashing strips.
You should end with a row of blocks with
sashing at each end and between each
block. Press well. Rita’s quilt has the
two blocks of friendship stars in the top
row but you can add them anywhere
Figure 6: Short Sashing Strip
- Cut: Forty 12 1⁄2 x 2 1⁄2in strips of yellow
- Eighty 2 1⁄2in squares of pale blue for the sashing corner triangles
- Forty eight 2 1⁄2in squares of pale blue
- Add the triangle ends to each end of
the sashing strips as before.
- Starting and finishing with a blue
square assemble five
strips into one length.
Each strip should
have a blue
between. See the
diagram in Figure 7.
If you need
- Assemble the whole quilt. Pin at each
star joining point to make sure the
sashing lines up correctly
Figure 7: Nine of the 35 blocks with sashing layout
- Cut: Twenty four 16 1⁄2 x 2 1⁄2in strips of yellow
- Forty eight 2 1⁄2in squares in pale blue
- Four 2 1⁄2in squares in yellow
- Add the triangles to the ends of each
strip as before. Check when you have
done one that the star points are in the
- Sew five strips together to make the
outer borders. For the top and bottom
and sew in place.
- Sew seven strips together and
add the yellow squares to each
end. Sew to the sides of the quilt.
Outer Border and Quilting
- Measure the quilt through the middle. Cut a 2 1⁄2in strip of navy fabric this
length (you will need to piece it) and sew to both sides of the quilt. Press towards
- Repeat for the top and bottom measuring as before.
- Piece the backing and press. Lay the wadding on top and then add the
quilt top. Tack or safety pin to keep the three layers together.
- Quilt as desired. As Rita needed her quilt finished quickly she had it
professionally quilted using a long arm machine. The pattern is overall stars and
whirls. Other ideas would be to quilt in the
ditch around the blue star shapes. The
wadding you have chosen will influence the
amount of quilting you need to do.
Maybe this friendship
quilt will encourage
all quilters who
have a UFO
(unfinished object) or perhaps
several in their cupboard. Rita
started this quilt almost 10 years
ago when living in a house called
Woodlands from where she
ran classes and workshops. By
the time she had collected all
the blocks they had decided to
move to a smaller house on the
other side of the village. Two
things happened last year that
galvanised her into action. Her
husband said he was fed up with
a large package of material in
the bottom of his wardrobe and
could she remove it please! The
second was that Peartree
Quilters were having their last
annual exhibition which had
been held in Potten End for the
past 18 years. Woodland Star
had to be completed for the
June exhibition. Rita has been
involved in many friendship
quilts but this was the first time
one was made for her.
Rita’s tips for designing
a friendship quilt
- Make sure the design is simple so that
quilters of all levels can be included.
- Make sure that your instructions are
clear and easily readable. Rita asks
her husband to read all instructions (like
many husbands/partners he doesn’t know
how to thread a needle or a sewing machine)
so she believes that if he understands the
instructions, anyone can.
- To ensure a continuity of colour, to give
friends a piece of fabric which will be
used throughout the quilt. Rita provided
everyone with cream plain cotton.
- Decide on the finished size of block;
smaller blocks are more difficult
therefore harder for a beginner. Think
about how big you want your quilt. This
block makes happily into a lap quilt,
First published in Popular Patchwork Volume 12 Number 4 - April 2003