Creative articles about quilting

Old Block Quilt-Along, Part 21: Old Maid’s Puzzle

Andrea from Quiltmanufaktur and author for the German BERNINA blog is your guide for this fantastic quilt-along over the next 12 months. Together, you will sew classic patchwork blocks and combine them into a sampler. The completed quilt will be traditional, yet modern! The next part has been written and we are delighted that you join this quilt project.

Hello everyone! The weekend is just around the corner and I’m going to show you the 21st block for the Old Block Quilt-Along: “Old Maid’s Puzzle”.

This block is probably familiar to most of you, though perhaps not from the name. The arrangement of the different sized triangles and squares allows a great deal of diversity in this simple block. Whether you work with different colors or let your imagination run wild when it comes to the arrangement, it will definitely be more exciting than the block’s name suggests.

The block shown above is from “Ladies Art Company” from 1897. Ruth Finley named this block “Fox and Geese” in 1929 and Virgina Snow called it “Hour Glass” in 1932.

If the block parts with the small triangles and squares are rotated, this block has also appeared under the names “Double X”, “Crosses and Losses”, “Fireflies” and “Goose and Goslings”.

We are sewing the “Old Maid’s Puzzle” patchwork block

Due to the wide range of options that this block offers, I have planned the layout with both a 6-inch and a 12-inch block (6.5 and 12.5 inches including the seam allowance). How you interpret it is entirely up to you! 

Download the patchwork templates

For cutting out, I have created three PDF documents to download:

  • The first is a coloring sheet. This allows you to try out colors and designs for this block to see what they look like.
  • On the second PDF you will find the templates.

On the PDFs with the templates, I have put a control square with a side length of 1 inch so that you can check whether your printout of the templates is the right size. It is important to set your print options to “Actual size”.

Here are the downloads:

“Old Maid’s Puzzle” coloring sheet

“Old Maid’s Puzzle” templates

Cutting out the pattern pieces

You will need to cut out the following number of pieces:

  • Pattern piece A: 6 x patterned fabric / 10 x background fabric
  • Pattern piece B: 4 x background fabric
  • Pattern piece C: 2 x patterned fabric

For the 12-inch block, these quantities are quadrupled.

Sewing the “Old Maid’s Puzzle” patchwork block

The block is made up of only three pattern shapes, yet there are so many ways to lay out the pieces. I went with a classic design in only two colors.

First make the half square triangles on all sides of the block.

Then join the other triangles on both sides of the block to the respective HSTs.

Now close the diagonal seam with the large triangles.

Next, sew other two block segments with the HSTs and the squares.

Close the panel seam between the block pieces.

Now the two block segments in each row are joined together.

And in the last step, the last panel seam between the two rows is closed.

This block really doesn’t have any difficult elements, so you must have finished it quickly ;-).

“Old Maid’s Puzzle” as a 12-inch block

At the beginning I mentioned that I planned the layout with this block in both 6-inch and 12-inch versions. The possibilities that result from the various small and large triangles as well as the squares are almost infinite. First of all, here is my 12-inch block:

And now a few examples of how the configuration of the different shapes and the arrangement within the block can completely change its character:

Lay out or hang up your block so you can take a good look at it. It’s sure to lift your mood :-). And show us all your pieces. There are already an incredible number of wonderful blocks to see in the Community area of the Old Block Quilt-Along. It’s such fun to see all your fantastic, diverse blocks! If you are on Facebook or Instagram, please also post your blocks there and add the hashtag #BERNINAOldBlockSampler to your picture. Under this hashtag, you can also view the full collection of pieces, here on Facebook and here on Instagram. If you like something, it is always nice to not just “like” the picture, but also to leave a short comment.

New here?

Have you only just discovered the quilt-along? No problem! You can join at any time. Registration is not required, and you can win a BERNINA 570 QE! All the posts will remain permanently available:

In the first post, which was the invitation to participate in the quilt-along, you will find the important initial information about our joint project:

Old Block Quilt-Along – who’s in?

You can find the rest of the blocks from the quilt-along that have already been published here:

Old Block Quilt-Along – overview of all the posts

I’m glad you’re taking part and I hope to see more wonderful pictures of your blocks!

See you soon for the next block,

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