Pisa Cathedral Quilt Pattern

Pisa cathedral quilt

Pisa cathedral quilt

The Pisa Cathedral quilt is based on one of the floor tile designs in the cathedral which stands right next to the leaning tower.  It is an exquisite building and I could have spent hours wondering around it.  I have used the same three colours that I used for the Florence quilt, but I have chosen a more muted red that is a better match for the tiles.

The original floor tiles

The original floor tiles

I have simplified the design enormously and used large squares to make it more easy to make.  You can see the floor that I was working from in the photo.  I have left out the tiny triangles and I have used straight lines (triangles) instead of the semi circles that surround the plain squares in the original.

I love the design because when you look at it you can see stars or small squares or huge squares – more designs the longer you look at it.

The Pisa cathedral quilt measures 46″ square and I have used 1 yard each of red and white, with 3/4 yard of green.  As usual you can buy these fabrics at a 10% discount in this week’s special offer.

Cutting requirements for the Pisa cathedral quilt

6.1/2″ squares:  sixteen white, five green, four red

7.1/4″ squares:  twelve white, six green, six red

Sew the triangles in pairs

Sew the triangles in pairs

Making the Pisa cathedral quilt

Cut all the 7.1/4″ squares across both diagonals to make four triangles from each square.  These are known (unsurprisingly) as quarter square triangles.  Sew together a cream triangle with either a red or a green one, making sure that the coloured triangle is on the right, the cream triangle on the left.

Sew the pairs of triangles together

Sew the pairs of triangles together

Sew these pairs of triangles together to make squares.  Place them so that the coloured triangles are opposite each other.  I find it best to pin the middle of the seam and smooth outwards to be sure that your triangles all meet in the middle of the square when the seam is sewn.

That’s the only block that needs piecing for the Pisa cathedral quilt – the other block is a plain square.  The design is formed by rotating the blocks when placing them in rows.

If you wish to make this quilt bigger or smaller, you must keep to an odd number of rows and columns in order for the design to work.  I have made this quilt with seven rows of seven, but you could use five rows of five or nine rows of nine if you wanted to make it smaller or bigger.

First row of the Pisa cathedral quilt

First row of the Pisa cathedral quilt

The first row is made with four plain cream squares alternating with three quarter square triangle squares.  I think it will be easiest if I specify where the red triangle is placed:  in the first square the red is on the right, in the middle square it is on the left and in the third square it is on the right again.  Sew these squares together across the row.  Rows one and five are the same as each other, so you need to make two of this row.

Second and sixth rows

Second and sixth rows

The second and sixth rows are also the same as each other.  They are made with four quarter square triangle squares alternating with plain red or green squares.

In the first and third squares the red is on the top while in the second and fourth squares the red is on the bottom.  The first and third plain squares are green and the middle plain square is red.

Third and seventh rows

Third and seventh rows

The third and seventh rows are the same as each other.  Each one is made with four plain cream squares alternating with three quarter square triangle squares.  In the first and third quarter squares the red is on the left, while in the middle quarter triangle square it is on the right.

Fourth row

Fourth row

The fourth row is the middle row and you need make only one of this row.  This is made with four quarter square triangle squares, two red plain squares and one green plain square.

The red triangles are placed at bottom, top, bottom and then top again.  The red plain squares are placed first and third with the green plain square in the middle of the row.

The first four rows of the pisa cathedral quilt

The first four rows of the pisa cathedral quilt

Add the quilt border

Add the quilt border

Here you can see the first four rows ready to be sewn together – it might be clearer seeing them all together like this.

For the border I have used 2.1/2″ strips of the red fabric.  You’ll need two lengths of 42.1/2″ for the top and bottom of the quilt and two lengths of 46.1/2″ for the sides.

That completes the Pisa cathedral quilt top.  It is now ready for layering, quilting and binding.  Full details of these steps can be found in the beginner quilting section.  Here’s the video:

I put my father’s house on the market this week so this weekend I am planning to catch up with some quilting.  I am half way through the Florence quilt and I hope to be able to show it to you next week.  I may even have the chance to work with Minnie, my longarm quilting machine, for the first time in quite a while!


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  1. Bambang Sapto Hutomo says:

    Great work Rose, I realy like your quilt design. Thank you

  2. Rose I am just enchanted with your quilt designs using the cathedral floors as inspiration. Bless you for including a original photo for those of us that will never see them in person. Good luck with the house for sale.Spring is coming soon.

    • Thanks, Karen. Glad you like the quilt. The estate agents tell me that there is plenty of interest around, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

  3. Marilyn Larkin says:

    Those few days in Florence and Pisa have certainly brought out your creativity and highlighted your ability to work with a design and adapt it for all of us to try. You are a treasure. What a milestone putting your father’s home on the market; the house might go but the memories of the good times will never leave you. Hope it all goes well. Enjoy re-aquainting yourself with Minnie. Thank-you for this week’s design I really like the colours.

    • Thanks, Marilyn. It was a really inspirational holiday, and I’ve realised that I ought to be visiting the cathedrals of the UK as well – maybe when the weather improves. Yes, it does feel like a real milestone to have my father’s house on the market. Fingers crossed.

  4. Sandra Barnett says:

    Oh Rose,
    Another great quilt idea. You give so many good ideas I just want to make them all I usually like to finish one all the way through before I start the next. I could get confused so easily. Love the patterns.And yes you may take the design from the floors but you made it your own to share with us. Thank you for your talent.
    Good luck selling your father’s house. We are still cleaning our homestead house out . Hopefully we can put it on the market come May or June.
    Have a great weekend working with Minnie.

    • Thanks, Sandra. You’re very good to make sure you finish one quit before starting another. I wish that I had your discipline! It feels strange not to feel that I have to go round to my father’s house every day – although there are still plenty of bags and boxes from his house that I brought home to sort out here.

  5. You did it again, Rose. You put together a pattern that (I looked it up) dates back to 1173 – the year the Leaning Tower was built. I was surprised to read that it took 200 years to build it. I like your pattern and it certainly would look beautiful on any size bed. It must be fun finding and trying to figure out how to put these old patterns together.

    Good luck with the sale of your father’s house.

    • Thanks, Claire. Thanks for that – I feel sure that I must have been given that date during the tour, but I hadn’t realised quite how old it is. I had assumed it was 15th or 16th century. Amazing that they could build such huge and beautiful buildings when they had none of our present day technology.

  6. Beautiful piece of work. I love it. You are so generous sharing all the patterns . Thank you so much.

  7. Rose, What a beauty! Thank you. I hope everything goes well
    with the sale of the house.
    Your very artistic and it shows with your patterns.

  8. I love it. Gonna let this be my next quilt. I have to finish my bargello first. Thanks for the many patterns you have put up for us.

  9. Another inspirational achievement Rose, you are brilliant at being able to see all the individual patterns within each square. I need to have them pointed out to me before the penny drops! Best wishes, Barbara

    • Thanks, Barbara. I think sometimes it’s where you focus your eyes that makes the difference – walking away from a quilt has the effect of changing where your eyes are focussing.

  10. Patricia Tarbuck says:

    Hi Rose, love this quilt design and you are superb at putting colours together.Good luck with the sale of your dad’s house, good time to sell coming up to spring.Take care and don’t do too much housework, the dust will soon be back.Trish

    • Thanks, Trish. It’s not the dust that worries me – it’s not being able to walk around the house for all the boxes and bags that still need sorting. At least now I can sort them at my own pace in my house.

  11. Very nice Rose, I like it very much and think I could do this one. I just don’t know how you manage to make one a week. Hope the house sells quickly so that is one less worry for you.

    • Thanks, Irene. Don’t forget I only make the top – it takes a lot longer to do the layering, quilting and binding. I just think that I’m lucky to be able to spend so much time quilting. I feel far more relaxed now that the house is on the market – I was stressing before about getting it to this stage.

  12. Dear Rose – This is so beautiful. I want to have a go at it right now! Just so much else to do I am in a quandary. Help!

    Just curious but what would a quilt this size be used for? Oh dear Rose. You keep tempting me to do so much quilting. that I have no time to do anything much else.

    Thank you again for sharing your inspiration with us.

    all best Janny.

    • Hi Janny. I think that this quilt size is one of those to wrap yourself up in. I tend to have this sort of size just hanging around – they can be a throw on the sofa, or a picnic quilt, or (at this time of year) one to wrap myself up in when I finish work and sit down to read.

  13. You are so inspiring Rose, thank you. I loved the photo of the floor so much I took the liberty of playing on EQ7 with it! I hope you do not mind?
    I love the result so much I wanted to share with you but can’t work out how to attach a bitmap or word doc to this response 🙁

    • Hi Toni. I wouldn’t know how to do that either! You could always email me (rose@ludlowquiltandsew.co.uk) with an attachment. I’d love to see what you’ve done.