Symmetry in Motion Quilt Pattern

Symmetry in motion quilt

Symmetry in motion quilt

The Symmetry in Motion quilt block caught my attention because of its name – I’ve been humming Buddy Holly’s Poetry in Motion to myself ever since I began this quilt!  It’s a simple four patch block and I’ve used a diamond in a square block as an alternate.

The quilt measures 64″ square and I have used twenty five blocks, all 12″ square finished size.  To make the quilt I needed 2.1/4 yards of blue, 1.1/2 yards of red and 1.1/4 yards of white fabric.  The white that I have used isn’t all that white, but basically it’s a light fabric.  As usual you can buy these fabrics at a 10% discount in this week’s special offer.

Cutting requirements for the symmetry in motion quilt

Completed blocks

Completed blocks

3.7/8″ squares:  fifty two each in blue and white, twenty six each in blue and red, twenty six each in red and white

6.7/8″ squares:  twenty four red

9″ squares:  eight blue, four white

For the border you will need to cut six 2.1/2″ lengths of blue across the width of fabric.

Making the half square triangle units

Make half square triangle units

Make half square triangle units

Make half square triangles with all the 3.7/8″ squares in the colour combinations listed above.  Place two squares 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 to produce two half square triangle units.  These are now 3.1/2″ squares.  Press the seam aloowances towards the darker fabric and clip the two corners where the triangle tips stick out.

Make the symmetry in motion quilt block

Symmetry in motion quilt block layout

Symmetry in motion quilt block layout

This block is made entirely with half square triangles – apologies if you don’t like making them.  Lay the squares out in four rows of four.

It’s best if you look at the larger shapes formed by the triangles.  All the red stripes are made with two red triangles side by side while all the blue stripes are made with three blue triangles.  The central area is made with four blue/white half square triangles placed so that the white triangles form a diamond in the middle.

The red stripes all begin in the corners of the block.  Each one has a blue stripe running beside it.

Sew the squares together across each row and then sew the rows to each other to complete the symmetry in motion quilt block.  You need to make thirteen of this block.

Make the alternate quilt block

Sew the triangles two at a time

Sew the triangles two at a time

Cut the red 6.7/8″ squares along one diagonal to make two red triangles from each square.  Place one triangle on each edge of a 9″ square.  Sew the triangles to the top and bottom of the square first.  Press the triangles open with the seam allowance pointing away from the square.  Notice that the triangles stick out 1/4″ from the square at each end.

Completed alternate quilt block

Completed alternate quilt block

Now sew the remaining two triangles to the sides of the square.  Press these open and trim the triangle tips that stick out in the middle of each edge of the completed block.  Make eight blocks with a blue square and four blocks with a white square.

Rows 1 and 5

Rows 1 and 5

Assembling the symmetry in motion quilt

Sew the blocks together in five rows of five.

Rows one and five are the same as each other:  three symmetry blocks and two blue diamond blocks alternating across the row.

Rows 2 and 4

Rows 2 and 4

The second and fourth rows are also the same as each other.  They are made with a blue diamond block at each end, a white diamond in the middle and two symmetry blocks on either side of the middle block.

Row 3

Row 3

Finally row 3, the middle row, is made with three symmetry blocks and two white diamond blocks alternating across the row.

Sew the blocks together across each row and then sew the rows to each other.

Add the border

Add the border

Add the quilt border

For the border I have used 2.1/2″ strips of blue fabric.  You’ll need two lengths of 60.1/2″ for the top and bottom of the quilt and two lengths of 64.1/2″ for the sides.

That completes the symmetry in motion 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:

Stokesay Castle

Stokesay Castle

Last week I showed you a photo of Weoley Castle, a fortified manor house.  This week I can’t resist bringing you photos of Stokesay Castle – a fortified manor house near where I used to live in Ludlow.

It was also built in the 13th century and is regarded as the best preserved example of a fortified manor house.  Apparently during the civil war they fired one cannon shot for the sake of honour and then surrendered, thus saving the castle from being destroyed in the war.

Stokesay Castle gatehouse

Stokesay Castle gatehouse

The Stokesay Castle gatehouse is exquisite.  Many of the buildings in Ludlow have similar beautiful designs.

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About Rose


  1. Hi Rose,
    You sure are one clever lady when it comes to figuring out how to put together all these different block configurations. It’s fun to watch you go about it step-by-step. Well, it’s a lovely quilt and you can pat yourself on the back for another job well done.
    I looked up the Stokesay Castle and ended up reading an entire story of England. Wish I had seen more of the country when I last visited in 1956.

    • Hi Claire. We certainly have plenty of history for visitors to look at, but I’m guessing that in 1956 it wasn’t nearly as easy to travel around the country as it is now. It’s like when I visit Italy I find myself thinking about how much of the country I haven’t seen. Good luck with the operation on your hand.

  2. Bonnie Jenkins says:

    Hi Rose, another lovely quilt pattern. I love the colour combinations. I still don’t know how you manage to make so many quilts. You are very talented. Best wishes Bonnie Jenkins, South Australia

    • Hi Bonnie. I can only make them because I don’t finish one before I start on the next. My dream is to have the time to actually finish more of my quilts! You’ve seen my house – bits of quilts everywhere.

  3. It was Bobby Vee that I remember back in the 60s. We baby boomers may forget a thing or two but we know a good hobby when we see one. Thank goodness for patchwork and quilting. Am going to do City and Guilds in P and G after Easter. Unfortunately it means a 60 mile or so round trip, but will be worth it! Keep up the good work, Rose. PS off to a quilting day tomorrow near Knutsford.

    • Hi Linda. I wish it was only a thing or two that I forgot! Good luck with your City and Guilds – shame about all the travelling. I hope you enjoy your quilting day tomorrow. I gather the weather should be okay Saturday but not Sunday.

  4. Hi Rose, Love this week’s pattern. The name is very appropriate.. I enjoy
    your emails and the photos you post. Thank you.
    Rose, you are one busy lady. Enjoy your week-end.

  5. Trish Tar uck says:

    It was Johnny Tillotson who sang it first, followed by Bobby Vee in the 60’s, ha ha. Loved this week’s quilt Rose it’s stunning.

    • Thanks, Trish. OK, so I feel really stupid now! I was convinced that it was Buddy Holly – my memory leaves a lot to be desired these days.

  6. vani hegde says:

    Hai Rose. You have done very good job.Really its very nice design. Thanks for tutorials

  7. I really love this Symmetry in Motion quilt and am busy talking myself into making it. Do you think it would work with off white/beige and almost brown fabrics? My bedroom is lilac/purple, but I am getting a little tired of everything being in those colours, so would like to try a quilt in neutral colours.

    The top portion of the Stokesay Castle gatehouse has the perfect design for a quilt!

    • Hi Cindi. I think that it would look brilliant in neutral tones – I know what you mean about too much of one colour. I do it myself with blue. That’s a lovely idea for the gatehouse – now why didn’t I think of that!

  8. Hi Rose. Lovely quilt BUT Poetry in Motion definitely not Buddy Holly!!

    • Oops! Who was it then? I’ve got Buddy Holly fixed in my mind.

      • Arleen Salmon says:

        Foung “Poetry In Motion” and satisfied my curiosity…on youtube: and it was Johnny Tillotson. I love this quilt and will give it a try maybe using florals in the large squares??

        • Thanks so much for the link, Arleen. I shall enjoy listening to the song again (not just the version in my head!). I’m ashamed to say that I can’t even remember Johnny Tillotson.

      • The original song was Bobby Vee. Covered by Johnny Tiltson. Used to sit with my brother & sister glued to the radio on Sunday afternoons listening to Pick of the Pops and the chart rundown.


    • Not many, I’m afraid. I find that I need triangles to give a good design. However, you may like to look at this quilt: It’s made with squares only and can be increased in size just by adding more rows and columns.

  10. Another winner Rosemary! Once again, fantastic fabrics. The completed quilt makes me think of my childhood toy kaleidoscope (had to google the spelling).

    • Hi June. What would we all do without Google. I just find that I have to be careful that I don’t get the American spelling from Google. I wonder if they still make those tube kaleidoscopes that we used to have as kids.

      • Carolyn Skodi says:

        The do! In New Jersey (U.S.) we can usually find them mostly in specialty stores, but once in a while you see them in the dollar parlor or toy section of a department store! And the next generations are enjoying them as much as we did…

        • Thanks, Carolyn. I’m obviously out of touch with what’s available in toy shops. I’ll have to remedy that now that I have a grand daughter!

      • I’ve got one Rose. I think I bought it in Hawkins Bazaar. (Think that’s the name). My two year old great-grandson loves it. He hasn’t learnt to put it to his eye yet – he holds it to the end of his nose, shuts both eyes and giggles!

        • Hi Margaret. That’s a wonderful image – wouldn’t it be lovely to know what he’s thinking when he sees the kaleidoscope at the end of his nose.