Category Archives: beginners patchwork

Simple Blocks – Susannah

This is a really simple block but so many design opportunities. Just one Square-in-a-Square unit surrounded by small squares –

You can download the instructions here. Don’t forget to check out the Tutorials page for further details on making the unit.

This is what happens when you change the emphasis of the dark and light blues around –

And when you put them into a quilt –

Mix the two blocks –

Put them on point –

Use striped fabric –

or a completely different colour –

Simple blocks – New Album

New Album is very simple block – a plain Square-in-a-Square block with a border. You can download the instructions here. The centre square is an ideal opportunity for ‘fussy cutting’ your print fabric (it doesn’t show too well on this snapshot from EQ) and you can do the same in the smaller cornerstones of the border.

Swapping the colours over gives the block a different look –

Or you can opt for something completely different using Autumnal batiks –

or in more muted fabrics so the centre square is not so prominent

And then put into quilts – first alternate colours, straight-set

and then on-point

And now let’s play around with the colouring a bit –

or blue –

or alternate with a plain Square-in-a-Square

make the background lighter –


Simple blocks – Right and Left

This time our Square in a Square unit has pieced triangles around the centre square. You can download the instructions for the free block pattern, Right and Left, here. If you need help with the piecing you can download a free step-by-step tutorial from the Tutorials page or go direct to the pdf here.


right-and-left-block-aWhen put together these blocks form a secondary pattern of Pinwheels at their junctions. You can have fun playing with the colourings of these triangles to create different effects. And, as with most of these Square in a Square blocks, the centre square allows you to play with ‘fussy-cutting’ large or bold prints.




right-and-left-quilt-fOr you can turn the blocks on point, colour the corner triangles differently and make something like this –


Simple blocks – Improved Four-Patch

The Improved Four-Patch block is a merger of the Square in a Square and Four-Patch units – essentially a 4-patch ‘on point’. You can download the free pattern for this quilt block here.

improved-four-patch-block-aYou can have fun playing with the colours and shades in this block, changing the emphasis of lights and darks from one part to another. Like the ordinary Square in a Square it isn’t very exciting when straight set on its own, but changing the colours or combining it with other similar blocks can make quite a difference.






improved-four-patch-quilt-cor turning it on point –

improved-four-patch-quilt-dA similar patchwork block is Coffin Star – this time a 16-patch square turned on point –




Simple Blocks – Square in a Square

Sometimes called Diamond in a Square this unit/block is worth learning how to make as it crops everywhere from a unit in assorted bocks to a simple block used as a ‘spacer’ between more complicated blocks where, as you will see further down the page, it can create the illusion of a star within the quilt design.

The basic block is, as it says, a square within a square and you can find the instructions to make it on the Tutorials page or download them here.

square-in-a-square-blockBut suppose we keep adding squares around our square?

square-in-a-square-block-aand again

square-in-a-square-block-band again

square-in-a-square-block-cThe basic block on its own doesn’t make much of a quilt –

square-in-a-square-quiltBut if you alternate the colours it starts to look a little more interesting

square-in-a-square-quilt-aOr suppose you alternate the different variations of the block?





square-in-a-square-quilt-dand then change the colours completely and emphasise the star in the centre –


Dancing Blocks Quilt-along

Happy New Year! And it is time for the third block in our Quilt-along. This month it is the Road to California block combining those Half-square triangles with Four-patches.

block-3-road-to-californiaYou can download the instructions here. But first here’s a couple of other colour ideas –







And if you don’t like the look of that block, but you’ve made the units, there’s no law that says you can’t rearrange them to make a different block as one student did –


Simple blocks – Star and Pinwheels

Like the last few blocks this first one of the New Year contains the Three-triangle unit. Star and Pinwheels has Half-square triangles in its four corners and, like Martha Washington’s Star has the 3-triangle units forming the centre. You can download the instructions for the block here.

star-and-pinwheels-blockThis is what the block looks like when nine are set together to make a quilt –

star-and-pinwheels-quiltThe block is symmetrical so turning it around makes no difference but you can always play with the colour.



star-and-pinwheels-quilt-astar-and-pinwheels-quilt-bThere are more quilt ideas in the instructions.