Cathedral Window Patchwork Maths – How Many Windows? 

Caution: Loaded with primary school level Arithmetic. Read at your peril ( or if  you plan to make a traditional cathedral window quilt). 

There are plenty of tutorials which tell you how to make a traditional window quilt, including mine, here. There are also tutorials which tell you, given the finished square design, how big your background fabric square and window (pane) square should be.  For example, if you want to finish with a 5″ square, your background fabric should be 10.5″ square, and the window fabric 3″. This is the tutorial I referred to for measurements for my current project. 
However, did you know that the number of window squares you need are not equal to the number of background squares in your quilt? What was that again? Well I was working with these 3×3 patchwork pieces, and I cut 9 window patches for each. The result is here for you to see! 

There are three blank ( white) window ‘panes’ in each. I should have cut 12 window (black and white) squares for the centre windows. If I wanted the printed fabric in the (half) windows on the edges, I would have had to cut 12 more squares ( which I would have folded diagonally and attached to the ‘frames’). 

Things get even more complicated when you are working on a larger quilt.  If you are working with, say, 24 squares and making a 6×4 or 2×12 or 3×8 quilt, you would now have guessed that you need more than just 24 window squares.  But, did you know that the number of windows is different for each one of these? And none of them is 24. 

So how does one do the Math? If you are one of those people who just can’t wrap their head around figures, well…I guess there is nothing to be done but to cut the fabric in batches as you go along. It is impossible for me to make a chart here with all the possible block configurations! 

For the others, here is the way it works! 

The Arithmetic

All you need to know is 

– the total number of background squares you are working with and 

– the configuration of your quilt. What is meant by configuration?  If the total number of squares is 36, you could be joining them in a 6×6  or 4×9 or 3×12 configuration.  

It does not matter what the size of your squares is.

Step 1. Multiply the total number of squares in your quilt by 4. If my quilt has 36 squares, I will get the figure of 144.

Step 2. Calculate the number of ‘half’ window panes at the edges. This is equal to the total number of squares at the edges (perimeter). 

If my quilt configuration is 6 x6, the total number of half window panes is  6 + 6 + 6 + 6 = 24

If my quilt configuration is 4×9 , the total number of half window panes is 4 + 9 + 4 + 9 =  26

If my quilt configuration is 3×12, the total number of half window panes is 3 + 12 + 3 + 12 = 30

If I plan to add a ‘pane’ fabric to these half window panes, I need to cut these many squares in addition to the rest I will be cutting. ( Like mentioned earlier, these will be folded diagonally and attached to the window, with the diagonal fold at the edge. )

Step 3. Subtract the number of half window panes from the figure obtained at Step #1. This result is divided by 2 to get the number of full window panes for the centre! 

If my quilt configuration is 6×6, the total number of half window panes is 36. If I subtract this from 144 , I get 108, which I divide by 2 to get 54!  So that is the number of window fabric squares I need! 

For the 4×9 configuration, I get 144 minus 26, which is 118 and the number squares will be 59. 

The 4 by 9 configuration. Ignoring the 26 brown half squares at the edges, can you count 59 window squares in the centre, including the 12 left blank?

For the 3×12 configuration, it will be 57 squares in the centre and 30 ( half) squares at the edges. Check this out! 

57 window panes in the centre and 30 half panes at the edges…

Not so complicated, right? Let us crosscheck this with my 3×3 cushion cover! 

Cross-checking the Calculations
Here is my cushion cover, with the nine blocks in a 3×3 configuration.

The red lines mark the background blocks in a 3×3 configuration

Had I added the black and white printed fabric to the half windows at the edges,  I would have needed 12 squares ( folded diagonally into half) for those.

The number of panes at the edge are equal to the number of blocks along each of the edges totaled together.

As for the centre squares, I subtract 12 from 36 ( total number of background squares multiplied by 4) to get 24 and halve it to get 12!

That is 12 printed fabric window squares needed for the centre panes ( marked in lime green).


But I had cut only 9 black & white printed squares.

Not enough fabric squares to cover all the windows?!

Explains my 3 missing squares quite neatly, doesn’t it? 

Where did those 3 blank squares come from?!


I hope I have been able to make some sense. Remember to bookmark this post if you plan to sew up a cathedral window quilt anytime. It will make more sense then, I am sure. 


Scallops and Irises – A Wonky Log Cabin Mini Quilt

Scalloped borders with facing on the mini…

I don’t remember if I blogged about this miniature quilt, which I began exactly a year ago, to the date! 

The nine 2.5″ blocks had been foundation paper pieced and joined, waiting for the border and the binding, all of which was cut out and waiting.  I have been long wanting to experiment with a scalloped border and this seemed a good place to try it out!  It took me hours to do this, because I could not find any tutorials on this. It seems every time I want to go somewhere, I have to invent the wheel!

So here is a pictorial tute on how to make scallops on the border to your mini! If anyone is interested in the scallop pattern for a 10″ mini quilt, you can message me on my Facebook page ‘Patchwork of my Life’ and I will be happy to share it with you.  You can increase the number of scallops in 2″ increments ( or reduce them!). 

1. Get your quilt top ready. Add the batting and backing, ready for quilting. 

2. Quilt the centre of your quilt, leaving the outermost border ( which will be scalloped) unquilted. I did a simple stitch in the ditch around the blocks and  inner deep purple border.

3. Pin the scallop pattern on the border, leaving 1/4″ seam allowance beyond the paper pattern.

The 1″ wide scallop pattern was pinned in place on the border. Note the 1/4″ seam allowance beyond the border.

4. Mark the outline by stitching on the scallop line. I used a 1.5 stitch length. 

Sew along the scallop line.

5. Remove the paper; the small stitch length makes it easy. 

Remove the paper.

6. Trim the seam allowance to 1/4″ beyond the scallop. ( I also added a line of echo quilting within the scallop). 

Do any further quilting that you wish to. Trim the seam allowance to 1/4″ beyond the scallop.

7. When I reached this stage, I realized that I needed a bias binding for the scallops! And all I had was a 1.25″ wide straight binding, which I had no intention of letting go waste. So I decided to do a facing. 

-If you wish to add a binding, remember you need bias binding! Sew it on as you would regular binding. Just one thing,  you will need a much longer strip than for a straight edge. I have not calculated, but for this quilt, I had made a strip 70″ long instead of 50″ which I would have done for a straight edge. Also, sew down the binding very slowly and use the needle down option if your machine provides it. Stop as often as you need to adjust the layers. Curves are not difficult to handle – look only at the stitch immediately ahead of the needle, ignore the rest! I would suggest notching the seam allowance on the inner curves, especially, before turning over and securing the binding. 

– If you want to add a facing ( much simpler), here is how you go about it. 

Attaching a facing to a scalloped border

i) Prepare the facing:  The facing should be wide enough to go at least 1″ beyond the inner curve of the scallop. Put a ruler on the quilt, the ruler edge touching the outer ‘fat’ convex edge of the curve. See the reading on the inner edge of the curve. For example, if this is 2″, the facing should be 3.25″ wide, including 1/4″ seam allowance. I had originally intended to add a binding to my mini quilt, so I had ready 1.25″ strips. I decided to go ahead with these. I think a 1.75″ strip would have been more convenient. 

The total strip length needed for this 10″ square was about 50″. Turn in one long edge about 1/4″. I did a machine zigzag after folding the edge. 

Fold in one long edge about 1/4″ and secure it. A zigzag stitch is used here.

iii) Preparing the quilt: This may look tedious, but will give you a great finish! Remove the batting ( use a pair of sharp embroidery scissors) from between the two fabric layers on the outermost seam allowance on the quilt edge.

Trim away as much of the batting as you can from inside the seam allowance. Use sharp embroidery scissors.

iv) Attaching the facing. Line up the raw edge of the facing with outer ‘fat’ curve edge on top of quilt . Begin at one corner – remember to extend the facing a couple of inches beyond the corner. Pin if you are more comfortable with that. Turn over to backing side.  Start  sewing  over the scallop outline already marked by the stitching line.

Line up facing strip on edge of top of quilt. Sew over scallop outline from backing side

v) When you reach the corner, make a mitered corner as you do with regular quilts and turn the strip.  Pin in place and continue sewing over the outline.

Turning the corner – view from the back.

Turning the corner – view from front

vi) Go around sewing over the outline, stop a couple of inches before you reach the corner where you began. Turn the strip end ( where you began sewing) to form a  ‘mitered’ 45 degree fold.

When you reach the corner where you started, fold the binding to form a sharp 45 degree fold.

vii) Now bring the other end of the strip to lie over the folded end. Pin in place, turn over to backing side and sew over the scallop outline, continuing around the corner and beyond. Trim the excess fabric, extending beyond the corner! 

Simple! Isn’t that?

viii) Just a couple of steps more and we are done! Trim the seam line – from the backing side, of course – and make notches all along the curves. Careful! Don’t get too close to the seamline! However, where there are lots of layers of fabric, like in the corners, try to trim off as much of the excess fabric as you can.

Trim off the excess fabric on the facing strip…

Notch, notch, notch!

ix)Slip stitch the overlapping corner folds together. ( Right bottom corner in the pic below)

Slip stitch together the overlapping folds in the corners.

x) Turn the facing over to the back …

Facing turned over to the back…

xi) …and press the life out of that edge! 

Press down the edge as flat and sharp as you can. Lots of layers here, so this is an effort!

xi) Secure that edge with stitching about 1/8″ within. This quilt is exactly 10″ square, outer curve to outer curve, unlike if it had a binding, which would add the width of the binding to it. 

Done! I like it with a facing instead of a binding!

Now for some close ups…

Secure the facing with stitching 1/8″ from the edge

A picture to show you that I make mistakes, have fabric bunching up, etc, etc…

One final close up! 

I used Fossil Fern by Benartex for the quilt top. The backing fabric is batik from The Square Inch…

I will be happy to clarify if there is any confusion regarding this method! 

How to do a Simple Quilt Binding

What if you do not wish to do a mitered binding? I was working with scraps and did not have enough fabric to cut out a length of binding without too many joints. I decided to do a simple quilt binding instead – where you bind two opposite edges first, and then the other two. I have always finished with very untidy bumpy corners where the binding overlaps and I searched for a tutorial which would tell me how to go about it properly. I did not really find anything, so I recorded my method as I went along. It is nothing new, but I hope it will help new quilters obtain a fairly neat result!

My small quilted piece finished at 10.5″ x 14.5″, inclusive of the seam allowance along each edge. I prefer a single rather than a double binding for small pieces, so I cut two pieces of binding 1.5″ wide and about 11″ long for the shorter edges. I sewed the binding on the top and pressed it open. I folded it to the back twice and hand sewed it to the back. Both of the shorter edges were finished before I trimmed it to size, to get a sharp, square corner. I have no photos of this stage, I guess this is simple enough.

I again measured the longer edge, it was just under 15″. I now cut the binding length at 16.5″, that is 1.5″ longer than needed. I lined the binding to the edge of the front of the quilt ( right side down) , folded it to the back about  3/4″ over the bound edge and began sewing. I secured the seam with some back stitching, sewed to an inch short of the other end, similarly folded the binding over and sewed to the end; took a couple of back stitches to finish. I think this picture will explain better than I have been able to! I suggest you make a tight, crisp fold to get a neat finish.

Do the other longer edge similarly.


For the longer edge, fold the binding over about 3/4″ and sew.; finish the other corner similarly.


This is how it looks from the back.

Now open out the binding…Here it is from the front.


From the front…

…and from the back.


Needs to be pressed before being sewed down

Now press the binding, especially at the corner where a crisp fold will mean a neat finish. If you like, you can press it to the back, fold in and press again … and pin in place if you are a pinner! Some people like to use binding clips, I get along fine without any of these.


Press to fold the binding to the back. You can see a bit of a bumpy  extended edge of the binding at the bottom right corner; this will have to be taken care of in the sewing!

Start sewing at the corner , crimping and pulling in the fold to get a straight edge!


Start at the corner, pressing and pulling in the binding to get a straight edge…


As good as a mitered edge, isnt it?


I use a variation of the ladder stitch to bind my quilts. In such a small quilt, hand binding is the way to go, I do believe! The end corner is finished similarly.

Here we are, all done! Almost perfect edges!

You don’t have to do a mitered edge for a perfect binding, after all!

Final Countdown – That is Half a Dozen Done.

Two more blocks of the Round the Year quilt done today, using the porthole method described  by Sobana Sundar in a previous blogpost. 

The first was Card Trick, Block Three, which got done quickly. 


The Card Trick block was not tricky at all! joined to the background using the ‘porthole ‘ method.

 I used the points on the triangles on the edge as a guide to glue the background to the circle. 
The other block that I did was Wedding Ring, which gave me a lot of trouble as I did not glue the background correctly. The resultant seam ranged from 1/8″ to 3/4″. I had to rip it and re-do it. 


This block gave me a lot of problems!

I was not very happy with the end result. For the next block, I will do something different. I will mark the seam line on the front of the circle, and glue the background accurately from the top, using the seam line as a guide. I will take pics to clarify what I mean. 

Meanwhile, I had promised to show you how I stitched the background with no fabric wastage. 

In the normal course, one would stitch together two rectangles 9.5″x 18.5″ in the two blues ( along the longer edge, and end up with an 18.5″ circle. On this one would mark a 7.5″ circle and cut about 3/4″ inside that. 

What I did was this…


I added a circular strip on the inside edge of the freezer paper template to increase the seam allowance to about 1/2 ” .

I ironed the templates on the background fabric and cut out a further 1/4″ inside. I also took an extra 1/8″ on the outer long edges. I will trim the blocks to accurate size once they are done. Remember, NOT to take and extra allowance on the small straight edge! That has to be exactly 1/4″.

This method saves fabric!

You need 10.5″ x 12.5″ fabric for 2 quarters as above. Which means that for one block you need either 10.5″ x 25″ or 21″x 12.5″, depending on how you place the templates. 

Piece the full backgound directly on the freezer paper.

I then cut out the freezer paper template described by Sobana in her post – an 18.5″ square with a 7.5″ radius circle cut out of the centre. I pieced my background using two light blues and two darks directly on this template.

You will need to probably refer to Sobana’s post on setting circles onto background squares to understand exactly what I did differently here…

If you have any questions, please feel free to seek clarifications! 

Final Countdown – A Dozen More…

The first four completed blocks. In all of these, the background is pieced to circle wedges/ quadrants.

A quick photo post to share the four Round the Year blocks completed.
Clockwise, beginning from top right, these are

Block Four – Sapphire Fire

Block Two – Evening at the Pond

Block Five – Venus at Dusk

Block Thirteen – Feathered Star

You want to make your own blocks? You can find the links to the free patterns from the Round the Year page.( Link above) 

Mariner24 – Block Sixteen, Round the Year Quilt

Mariner24! The Sixteenth Block...

Mariner24! The Sixteenth Block…

Am I excited and relieved at the same time, or what, to present the sixteenth and final block of the Round the Year Quilt !?! This 24-spoke Mariner’s Compass is foundation paper pieced and is, like the other blocks of this Block of the Month quilt, drafted as a 15″ (finished) circle set in an 18″ (finished) square. I learnt to draft this block from a workshop by Adina Sullivan, “Mastering the Maddening Mariner” in “Quiltskills – Workshops from The Quilters’ Guild Australia” (published by The Patchwork Place, 1998). Adina has the most fabulous quilts based on the Mariner’s Compass and I had been gathering the courage to attempt these since the last six years or so, when I bought this book. You may recall that Southward Bound was also drafted using the method taught by Adina. She uses the English paper piecing method to construct her blocks, mine is completely machine pieced!

I used Quilt Assistant, a great free quilt design software for designing the block. The pattern instructions and paper piecing templates can be downloaded in PDF format from the links at the end of this post.

Fabric Requirement

Fabric Code for Mariner24

This block uses 2 shades of blue and 4 contrasting colours in the yellow-gold-light orange spectrum for the Compass, set in a third shade of blue for the background.
Trivia – This block contains 269 pieces! But don’t worry, we will be working with strips, so that you need not worry about cutting dozens of pieces.

Fabric Code Colour Fabric Required Cutting Instructions
1 Pale Blue

19″ square*

2 Medium Blue

6″ WOF

Cut 3 strips WOF 2″ wide

2 squares 4.5″

Cut along both diagonals to get 8 QSTs

3 Deep Blue

6″ WOF

Cut 3 strips WOF 2″ wide

4 Deep Orange

3″ x 30″

5 Gold

3″ x 30″

6 Yellow

3.25″ x 30″

Cut into strips 2″ x 30″

1.25″ x 30″

7 Light Orange

3″ x 24″

*I have given a template for joining the background by piecing, but for this block I suggest appliqueing the compass on a square.

Do remember to spray starch and press your fabric before cutting it. I do not have access to spray starch, so I make my own by adding two capfuls of the locally available liquid fabric stiffener (sold by the name of Revive) to 100ml of water in a spray bottle.

Your best friend when piecing - spray starch!

Your best friend when piecing – spray starch!

Printing Instructions

Print the Templates File at 100% / actual size in portrait mode. Cut out the templates. I suggest you ignore the background template AG( in two parts), as we will be appliqueing the compass on a background square. It may prove useful for marking the circle on the background fabric.

Print the Instructions File, which includes the Fabric Requirement chart and Master Template, and keep at hand for piecing and assembly.

Step by Step Piecing Instructions

If you are attempting a block from this quilt for the first time, or even if you have not foundation paper pieced for a while, you may like to see this blogpost for decoding the paper piecing patterns for this BOM and this one, which reminds you of certain do’s and don’ts for paper piecing these blocks. If you are new to paper piecing itself, there are several great tutes online on the subject!

Outer Ring

First we piece the spokes of the outer ring (Templates A to X), using (majorly) the chain strip piecing method, that we have used for several earlier blocks. To avoid confusion and efficient use of fabric, the following order of piecing is suggested. We start with templates A to F and fabric strips which will come at piece#1 and piece#2 ( Fabric Codes#4 and #3 respectively). The following photos will explain how we chain piece the templates to the strip pair.

Align the edges of strips for A1 (Fabric#4 and Fabric #2) and place the template A ready for the first seam.

Align the edges of strips for A1 (Fabric#4 and Fabric #3) and place the template A ready for the first seam.

Template B is aligned just below template A, leaving some space in between the two.

Template B will be aligned just below template A, leaving some space in between the two.

This shows Templates A to F ... first set of seams done!

This shows Templates A to F … first set of seams done and strip for piece#2 pressed open.

Cut to separate the templates...

Cut to separate the templates…

Trim the excess fabric up to paper template. Preserve the trimmings!

Trim the excess fabric up to paper template. Preserve the trimmings!

Fold back the paper template on seam line and trim the seam to 1/4

Fold back the paper template on seam line and trim the seam to 1/4″

Now fold the paper template at seam line between piece#2 and piece#3. Trim the fabric (Strip#2) 1/4

Now fold the paper template at seam line between piece#2 and piece#3. Trim the fabric (Strip#2) 1/4″ beyond this seam line.

How templates A to F will look after the first two pieces are in place...

How templates A to F will look after the first two pieces are in place…

...All these trimmings will be used...

…All these trimmings will be used…

We are now ready to add the strip which will come in at Piece#3 (Fabric Code#2).

Chain piece the templates to strip for piece #3

Chain piece the templates to strip for piece #3 and press open before cutting apart.

Trim the seam allowance to 1/4

Trim the seam allowance to 1/4″ and the fabric on piece#3  to 1/4″ beyond seam line between piece#3 and piece#4

We are ready to add piece #4, for which we can use the trimmings from before! Similarly, piece templates G to L up to piece#4, i.e G1 to G4, H1 to H4…L1 to L4. Piece templates M to R up to piece#4, i.e M1 to M4, N1 to N4…R1 to R4. Piece templates S and T up to piece#4 Piece templates U and V up to piece#4 Piece templates W and X up to piece#4 Now, all our templates for the outer ring our pieced up to Piece#4.

Once we have reached this stage, order of piecing is not important. We are ready to add Piece#5 to all these templates, for which we can use the trimmings from Piece#2. Similarly, trimmings from piece#3 can be used for piece#6. This upcoming pic shows the spoke templates pieced till piece#6.

Templates A to X pieced up to Piece#4 ...

Templates A to X pieced up to Piece#6…

Here comes the strip which will occupy space at piece#7.

Piece#7 coming up.

Piece#7 coming up.

You will see that the broader portion of the templates are overlapping. The important thing is to maintain about 1/2″ distance between the seam you are sewing on one template and the next. Round the Year Quilt Block 16 Mariner24 Time for a break and a little bit of fun! Round the Year Quilt Block 16 Mariner24 ALWAYS, remember to press open the strip you have sewn before cutting apart the templates. Also trim the seams, and the fabric just sewn to 1/4″ inch or so, beyond the upcoming seam line. I used scraps for pieces #8, 9 and 10, where I could.  When I ran out of scraps, I used strips. Here is the final strip coming up!

Round the Year Quilt Block 16 Mariner24

Final strip sewn and pressed open, ready to be trimmed!

Trim and put them aside, ready for assembly.

Inner Circle Compass

To piece the inner circle compass, piece as follows: Piece Y, Z, AA and AB. Piece AC, AD, AE and AF Use QSTs from Fabric#2 at piece#1 in all these templates.

The inner circle templates pieced. ( I have added an additional 1/4

The inner circle templates pieced. ( I have added an additional 1/4″ beyond the outer trim line, as I am going to try out something new for joining this to the ring.)

Assembly Instructions

Use the Master Template given in the Instructions File as a guide for assembly.

Outer Ring

I suggest you make piles of the templates as follows: A-B-C ; D-E-F;  G-H-I; J-K-L; M-N-O and P-Q-R. Put aside S-T-U-V-W-X

Templates in piles...

Templates in piles…

To join the templates, pin them first at the outer, broader edge. I like to insert vertical pins, matching the seams, before pinning on the seam line.

Round the Year Quilt Block 16 Mariner24

Vertical pins where seams will meet.

Horizontal pins on seam line. the vertical pins are now removed

Horizontal pins on seam line; the vertical pins are now being removed.

This results in perfectly matched seams and corners!



And so we sew the piles as follows ABC, DEF, GHI, JKL, MNO, PQR. Now bring on the pile S-T..X and add these, following the master template.

Work with the Master Template! Do not let the mirror image confuse you.

Work with the Master Template! Do not let the mirror image confuse you.

So you have 6 sets of partly assembled templates as follows: ABCS, DEFT, GHIU, JKLV, MNOX and PQRW. Remove the paper from the seams. You may like to press the seams open; I like to press them in one direction; all of them then must be pressed either clockwise or anti-clockwise. I also removed the paper from the inner templates, leaving it intact only at the circumference and inner edge. Round the Year Quilt Block 16 Mariner24 Now sew these together.

The 'ring' from the back...

The ‘ring’ from the back…

Round the Year Quilt Block 16 Mariner24

… and from the front!

 Inner Circle Assembly

Assemble the inner circle in quarters … Round the Year Quilt Block 16 Mariner24 then in halves. Again, I like to press the seams in one direction. Round the Year Quilt Block 16 Mariner24 and finally the full circle. I stitch first from one edge to the centre and reverse. Break thread, and stitch from the other edge to the centre.  I then rip open a bit of the crossover seam at the centre to give the seams a ‘twirl’. Round the Year Quilt Block 16 Mariner24

Final Assembly

I have not assembled the final block as of now. But this is how I suggest it be done: Join the ring to the square using your favourite method. Finally, appliqué the centre circle. Another look at the block and what inspired it.

Round the Year Quilt, Block 16, Mariner24

The Inspiration and the Block!

I hope you will love making this block! I assure you the result is well worth the effort. Take it easy, enjoy every seam and then savour all the oohs and aahs your work receives! I have also, more or less, finalised the layout I am going to use for these blocks. I shall share it with you soon.

This is where you download the instructions and templates for the block. You would need Adobe Reader ( download for free online) to be able to read these PDF files.

1.BLOCK16 MARINER24 Instructions

2.BLOCK16 MARINER24 Paper Piecing Templates