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Cathedral Window Quilt Block

This quilt, like the Triangle Block Quilt, is a piece and quilt as you go project.

This block requires no batting, quilting, or frame. In spite of that, the Cathedral Window quilt is warm, due to the folded layers.

The example, shown to the left, portrays the same center fabric used in each of the four attached window blocks, but this quilt is much better when made as a "charm" quilt -- meaning with a different print or solid within each window.

We've known many people who take years to put together a Cathedral Window Quilt -- adding a block or three every evening, or every week, as the spirit takes them. The quilts often feature bits of clothing worn by children and grandchildren as they grow, and tell a story, as well as provide an object of love and beauty.

The important thing to do in the very beginning is to purchase enough muslin from the same dye lot to last through the piecing process. We suggest that you will want, at the least, six yards of the finest quality one hundred percent cotton muslin.

It is very important that you remember that your finished block will be one-fourth the size of the piece of muslin with which you begin. The most common muslin square size is probably eight inch block, ending up with a finished two inch block.

Step 1: Iron down, or finger press, a quarter inch around all sides of the square. (If you will be skipping the iron, you will want to be sure that step two lines up extra well.)
Step 2: Fold the square in half, wrong sides together. Make sure your folded under edges stay folded over. Now, blind stitch the sides up from the raw edge toward the folded edge, stopping halfway.

Step 3: Now is where I bet some of you will remember playing a question game in grade school -- this fold is so familiar to me. Pull the opposite corners of your little stitched rectangle, as shown in the picture, to form a square.

Step 4: Carefully, always remembering that you want as perfect a square as you can get, stitch as shown across the open bit, so that you have a sort of cross of blind-stitching across the middle of the square.

You may find it helpful to glue a piece of graph paper to a piece of cardboard to keep an eye on the shape of your square at this point.

4a 4b

Step 5: Flip it over. You should have what looks like a blank square. Fold up each of the corners like an envelope, then stitch all four corners firmly together in the middle, being careful not to catch the back of the fabric.

Step 6: Make another square just like the first one. Blind stitch them together at one edge.

Step 7: You will need a three inch square of contrasting fabric -- calicos or other allover prints work very well -- for the "window" of the block.

Turn down the edges of the calico about 1/2 inch all around, and slip it inside the diamond area, as shown top left.

Hold the window calico inside the block by catching up each corner with a few stitches -- the deeper the stitches, the more three dimensional your finished quilt will look.

I hope you enjoy making your Cathedral Window blocks as much as I have. I must admit that mine is going to be a sofa pillow -- the UFO (unfinished objects) closet is just too full for any more big projects!

Thanks for stopping by!

Want to see more ideas for Cathedral Window Quilts? Try this book from Amazon.com.

Through the Window and Beyond: New Designs for Cathedral Window -- Lynne Edwards, et al; Paperback

Copyright© 1998 April Millican -- All Rights Reserved
Graphics suggested by Erica Wilson's Quilts of America - Oxmoor House, Inc. ©1979 - This is an excellent book, and is sometimes found in used bookstores, as it was one of the first craft book club choices available. The book is notable because Jinny Beyer's first major award winning quilt is featured.

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