Quails Nest Quilt Pattern

Quails nest quilts

Quails nest quilts

Two quilt patterns for one this week!  What a difference a background makes.  You probably know this quilt block by one of its many other names, but I adore the name Quails Nest so that’s what I’m using for this quilt pattern.  In case you’re not sure, these are some of its other names:  churn dash, broken plate, double monkey wrench, fisherman’s reel, hens and chickens, hole in the barn door, Lincoln’s platform.  There are more, but that’s plenty to be going on with.

I have used the same quilt blocks in two different quilts, one with a white background and the other with a black background.  I didn’t mean to make two quilts, but it just seemed such a good opportunity to show you how much difference a dark or a light background can make.  Both quilts measure 55″ by 46″ and to make the pair of them I used 1/2 yard of pink fabric, 2.1/4 yards of black and 2.1/2 yards of white.

Cutting requirements

3.7/8″ squares:  thirty two each in black and white

3.1/2″ squares: sixteen white

3.1/2″ by 2″ rectangles:  sixty four each in black and white – but don’t cut these yet as it’s easier to use strip piecing

9.1/2″ by 36.1/2″ strips:  three black and three white

For the borders:  nine 1.1/2″ pink strips cut across the width of fabric, nine 2.1/2″ black strips and nine 2.1/2″ white strips

Make half square triangles

Make half square triangles

Making the Quails nest quilt block

Make half square triangles with the 3.7/8″ squares.  Place a white and a black square with right sides together and mark a line along the diagonal.  Sew a 1/4″ seam either side of the marked line and cut along the line.  This produces two half square triangle units which are 3.1/2″ squares.  Press the seam allowance towards the black and trim the corners where the triangle tips stick out.

Sew black and white strips

Sew black and white strips together

Make the strip blocks by sewing together 2″ strips of black and white.  Cut this panel at 3.1/2″ intervals to make 3.1/2″ squares which are half black and half white.  Do this with four strips each of black and white in total to give you the required number of these blocks (sixty four).

Quails nest quilt block layout

Quails nest quilt block layout

Lay the squares out in three rows of three – this really is a simple quilt block!  Place the 3.1/2″ square in  middle with a half square triangle in each corner – white triangle on the outside and black triangle on the inside.  The remaining four spaces are filled with with a black/white strip square, placed with the white on the outside and the black on the inside.  Make sixteen of these.

Colours reversed in the quilt block

Colours reversed in the quilt block

You don’t need this for the quilt, but just for interest I made the quails nest quilt block with the colours reversed.  The one on the bottom looks bigger than the one on the top, doesn’t it?

Sew the blocks together in fours

Sew the blocks together in fours

Alternate white strips with rows of quilt blocks

Alternate white strips with rows of quilt blocks

Assembling the quails nest quilt

Sew the quilt blocks together in four rows of four.  You will need two of these rows in each quilt.  For one quilt use three strips of white fabric 9.1/2″ by 36.1/2″. For the other one use three strips of black fabric 9.1/2″ by 36.1/2″.  Sew the strips together:  white strip, quilt blocks, white strip, quilt blocks, white strip for one quilt and the other the same but with black strips instead of white.

First two borders of the black quilt

First two borders of the black quilt

Quails nest quilt borders

I have used three borders for this quilt.  The first one is made using 2.1/2″ strips of white fabric on the black quilt or of black fabric on the white quilt.  You will need two lengths of  36.1/2″ for the short edges of the quilt and two lengths of 49.1/2″ for the other two edges.

For both quilts this is followed by a pink border made using 1.1/2″ strips.  Any strong colour will be suitable for this border – a strong blue or red would also be effective.  You will need two lengths of 40.1/2″ for the top and bottom and two lengths of 51.1/2″ for the sides.

Third quilt border

Third quilt border

Finally the third border is the same colour as the first border.  You will need two lengths of 42.1/2″ for the top and bottom and two lengths of 55.1/2″ for the sides.

That completes the quilt tops.  They are now ready for layering, quilting and binding and full details of these steps can be found in the beginner quilting section.

Here’s the video:


My unfinished dress

My unfinished dress

For those of you kind enough to ask about the dress that I was making last week, it is finished except for the hem.  I’m wearing it in the video above and I had to be careful how I sat because of the pins.  I’ll try and write an article about it next week.

The competition and fabric giveaway

I was stunned by the number (195) of wonderful names that you sent me for the mosaic quilt.  Details of the names which I have grouped to cut down on the number of options are available here.  You can vote for your favourite group on the competition page and one of the commenters will be randomly selected to receive a fabric giveaway of four yards of fabric.  Take a look at the quilt name list.

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About Rose


  1. No 7 group. Love the feeling of freedom they suggest.
    Hope I am not posting this loads of times!

    • Thanks, Ann. When your comment doesn’t appear immediately it’s because I moderate each comment individually to avoid all the hundreds of spam comments that I get sent each day.

  2. 31

  3. What a lovely quilt. As a starting quilter I do love the video and the step-by-step explanation.

    Have a nice day.

  4. Hi Rose,
    have voted on the other link. Would like to say how much I like the quail’s nest as a name for this block so much more romantic than ‘churn dash’ which I used to call it. I love the contrast of the two quilts too. But… Must comment on your dress, such a pretty colour and flattering design. You are a very talented lady. Have fun counting the votes and thank you for the competition, I am sure we have all enjoyed the interaction with you and your band of quilting followers.

    • Hi Marilyn. Thanks so much for your comments. It’s rather nice when a quilt block has so many names and you can just choose the one you like, isn’t it! Glad you like the dress – I really enjoyed sewing something so completely different from my usual.

  5. Patricia Hurdle says:

    Hi Rose
    I don’t quite know what I want to say.
    I have to start out telling you how much I love your site. I just feel so comfortable when I visit your site. I have been quilting for awhile but I am going to go through your learning posts and I feel sure that I will learn a thing or two!
    And your quilt designs are wonderful!
    Thank you for all your hard work……

  6. Sandra Barnett says:

    30 love the dress my favorite color and yours too I guess looks very nice on you.
    have a great weekend

    • Thanks, Sandra. Normally I get stuck on blue, but I was really pleased with the colours in the dress fabric.

  7. 25:)
    it is a nice thing to see you allow people like me from wayyyy up here in Canada to be part of your contest:)
    I enjoy watching your tutorials and I cannot get over how patient you sound.
    Thx for being a great teacher:)

  8. MarleneC says:

    Another great quilt and video. Thank you for sharing the dress with us–purple is my favorite color.

  9. Maargaret Birks says:

    Number 9

  10. Pataricia A. Lutsie says:

    34. The quilt resembles all three of the descriptions.