Beginner Quilts: a simple patchwork

Oh classic, simple quilts...I don't think I'll ever tire of them! There's something so good and steady about making quilts my grandmother made as I muddle through life and find my days filled with wondering (praying) about how things will turn out, worries about this kid or that friend... returning to the rhythms of those who walked these days before me is such a comfort. 

I've been filled with a lot of nostalgia this fall (cue buying all the cute little geese figurines ;) ), and that paired with having a few opportunities lately to teach some newer quilters, I was brought back to this very basic and yet very beautiful patchwork square quilt. Many quilters will remember starting with something like feels quilt-y without introducing too many ideas all at once. It's repetitive but in a good way. And honestly, I kinda think it's hard to mess up fabric-wise. You don't have to really think about if your items match or blend well, you can use whatever scraps you might have lying around, and you're going to have a decent chance that it'll be adorable. 

Now, I love a mismatched, "put it where you want it" I really love those. But I also love playing with color and placement. So I grabbed some of my favorite AGF Pure Solids and kind of arranged them in a ROY G BIV fashion, and made it reflect in the center, and et voila! We have a new "pattern". Well....maybe we have a new pattern-ish. ;) We're going to call her Mabel. You know what Mabel means? Lovable. And who doesn't love a patchwork quilt?


Here's the plan: 

  1. To make a 68" x 68" throw, you need nine 1/4 yd/FQ fabrics (really, for the black in the center, you can do a FE) and 2.25 yds for the main fabric. 
  2. Cut them all to 4.5" squares. I chose this size mostly because it works so well with the 1/4 yds. You'll need 145 squares for the main fabric, and 16-18 for the accent fabrics (only 8 for the black).
  3. The rows alternate A/B. A rows begin and end with the main fabric, while B rows begin and end with the accent fabric. Place your accent fabrics in the order you want and assign them A or B. You need 5 A colors (including the center) and 4 B colors.
  4. For each A row, you need 9 main fabric squares and 8 accent fabric squares. Alternate their order, beginning and ending with the main fabric square, and sew them right sides together (I recommend a scant 1/4" seam). Then press all the seams toward the accent fabric. Repeat this step to get two A rows for each except the center row. 
  5. For each B row, you need 9 accent fabric squares and 8 main fabric squares.  Alternate their order, beginning and ending with the accent fabric square, and sew them right sides together (I recommend a scant 1/4" seam). Then press all the seams toward the accent fabric. Repeat this step to get two B rows for each.
  6. Arrange your rows in order and sew them right sides together, nesting your seams and using a 1/4" seam. Press your row seams open. 
  7. You can use 4 yds of backing fabric and 1/2 yd of binding fabric to finish your Mabel. I love quilting a patchwork with some grid quilting or an on-point grid (think diamonds).

If you make one, will you tag me with @penelopehandmade #penelopehandmadepatterns #mabelquilt 

I really want to see what you come up with! :)  


As I was writing out the details of this for my friend/assistant, Haley, I thought, "you know, this would make a really cute little postcard pattern for people to have on hand so they don't have to do the math!" I think postcard patterns might be in my future. They're so fun to make and the kind of pattern I'd really like to keep around!! Click here if you'd like to add one to your pattern collection! :)