Woodland Star


  • 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)

Finished Size

82 x 105in (205 x 265cm)

Skill Level


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.

Main Block

  • 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 1: Sewing the flying geese
Figure 2: Sewing the
central diamond
Figure 2: Sewing the central diamond
  1. 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 blue squares.
  2. Using the 3 1⁄2in square and four medium blue squares sew the central diamond as shown in Figure 2.
  3. Following the construction diagram sew the rows. When the rows are complete press the seams for each row in opposite directions.
  4. 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 3: Block Construction
Figure 4: Completed Block
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
Figure 5: Friendship Block Construction
Important: 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
  1. Sew a square of pale blue to each end of each yellow sashing strip. Follow Figure 6. to make sure the angles are right.
  2. Sew to the right hand side of each block.
  3. Sew to the opposite side of seven blocks only for the first block in each row.
  4. 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 you choose.
Figure 6: Short Sashing Strip
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
  1. Add the triangle ends to each end of the sashing strips as before.
  2. Starting and finishing with a blue square assemble five strips into one length. Each strip should have a blue square in between. See the partial assembly diagram in Figure 7. If you need guidance.
  3. 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
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
  1. Add the triangles to the ends of each strip as before. Check when you have done one that the star points are in the right direction.
  2. Sew five strips together to make the outer borders. For the top and bottom and sew in place.
  3. Sew seven strips together and add the yellow squares to each end. Sew to the sides of the quilt.

Outer Border and Quilting

  1. 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 the border.
  2. Repeat for the top and bottom measuring as before.
  3. 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.
  4. 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

  1. Make sure the design is simple so that quilters of all levels can be included.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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, single bed or double bed quilt.

First published in Popular Patchwork Volume 12 Number 4 - April 2003