Grandmothers spool quilt

Grandmothers spool quilt

This simple quilt pattern is based on the Grandmother’s Spool quilt block, but in fact the spools end up looking more like background while the outlines of the spools become the main pattern.  I have made sixteen quilt blocks and then placed them in opposite directions (like a zigzag) which has created the two different main designs – one like a think diamond and one like a thicker more circular pattern.

The quilt measures 58″ square and I have used 1.1/2 yards each of black and white together with 1 yard of red fabric.


Cutting requirements for the spool quilt pattern

3.1/2″ squares:  sixty four black and thirty two white

3.7/8″ squares:  thirty two each in black and white, forty eight each in red and white

Making the grandmother’s spool quilt block

Make half square triangle units

Make half square triangle units

Completed spool quilt block

Completed spool quilt block

Make half square triangles with all the 3.7/8″ squares by placing two squares with right sides together and marking 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.  Trim the corners where the triangle points stick out and you will have 3.1/2″ squares.




spool quilt block layout

spool quilt block layout

Sew the squares across the rows

Sew the squares across the rows

Lay the squares out in four rows of four squares.  There’s a red/white half square triangle in each corner.  Along each edge of the block there is a black square and a black/white half square triangle.  Check the photo to be sure which way to place them.  In the middle there are two red/white half square triangles and two white squares.

Sew the squares together across the rows and then sew the rows together to complete the grandmother’s spool quilt block.


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Completing the Grandmother’s spool quilt

Spool quilt layout

Spool quilt layout

Make sixteen of the blocks and sew them together in four rows of four blocks.  Rotate the spools so that each spool points a different way from the one beside it and the one above or below it.  Begin the top right corner with a spool going up from left to right and then you’ll end up with one of the circular designs in the middle of the quilt with a diamond on each side of it.



Borders for the spool quilt

First border

First border

Second border

Second border

For the first border I have used 1.1/2″ strips of black fabric.  You will need two lengths of 48.1/2″ for the top and bottom of the spool quilt and two lengths of 50.1/2″ for the sides.

For the second border you will need 2.1/2″ strips of red fabric.  Cut two lengths of 50.1/2″ for the top and bottom and two lengths of 54.1/2″ for the sides.



Third border for the spool quilt

Third border for the spool quilt

Finally, for the third border I used 1.1/2″ black strips again – two at 54.1/2″ for the top and bottom and two at 56.1/2″ for the sides.

That completes the grandmother’s spool quilt top.  It is now ready for layering, quilting and binding.



Here’s the video:

Christmas table topper

Christmas table topper


I have made a Christmas table topper which is festive more because of the colours that I have used than anything, but it is very simple to make.


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  1. Gerti Milsom says:

    Lovely pattern,i like it very much only i have one problem my place is very small and all the quilts are a bit too large for me. so how can i make them in a smaler size like for a new born babyquilt.The spools are to big to make a small quilt.I am also new to the sewing but enjoy it very much. Everything is exelent explaint.Thank you so much
    p.s. please excuse any mistakes but i am austrian.

  2. Nola Strang says:

    Wonderful! Its amazing how you make the cutest quilts so easy! Thank You so much Rose. You never fail to make my day.

  3. Moyra Myburgh says:

    Hello Rose, I cannot believe my eyes to see you on FB after all the years that I have been receiving emails from you. Thank you for all the wonderful blocks and information that is given with each one, Now I will be following you so much better and can also look at your video’s.
    This is just great now I can be in contact with you more. Thank you.

    • Hi Moyra. Glad to see you on facebook. That’s where I put the links to articles that I write during the week in addition to the Friday patterns.

  4. Donna Holst says:

    Dear Rose, I look forward to getting your quilt patterns; you always have such good ideals. Please post more Christmas patterns.
    Your follower from the USA

  5. Hi Rose, I had to tell you, I always feel excited anticipation when your name pops up in my inbox, your tutorials are so inspiring.

  6. Like the runner idea . Just returned from Shropshire on holiday went into Watsons fabric shop in Shrewsbury to buy some material for the sashing on my layer cake quilt from afewweeks back. We did stop in Ludlow but there were 11111000000s of people there for the food festival so brought cheese and legged it !

    • Hi Sandy. Thornton & Watson are great for fabric, aren’t they. They are always so welcoming. Yes, it was a bit difficult to move in Ludlow during the food festival. Lots and lots of people in town!

  7. Hi Rose, Really love this quilt,and the name,[grandmother reminds me of lots of hugs and love].It’s going to be on my “2do” list.Have been unable to quilt for a while but hopefully will soon be back on track.I look forward so much to your weekly patterns,they are such a joy,Thank you so much
    Love Carole

  8. Rose, thank you once again for such a great blog post

  9. Lovely Rose, once again, i love it and am going to look for fabric tomorrow to start working on copying it!! Your instructions are perfectly clear, as always!! The material was more expensive in London and the quilting shop Pissott here seems to have a much larger selection of beautiful fabrics and quilting tools!! Wishing you well and enjoy quilting! Best regards Karen

    • Hi Karen. Thanks for your comments. Glad you like the pattern. Interesting to hear your thoughts on fabric shops in London. I suppose that if we lived there we would get to know all the must-see shops.

  10. Dear Rose
    I just love this pattern and can’t wait to try it !
    Your instructions are really clear and inspirational.

  11. Dear Rose, How wonderful of you to remind me what my Grandmother did for years. I really was too young to appreciate her work, and all by hand! n You always impress me with your easy to follow instructions. I am going to make this pattern in memory of my Grandmother who has been with Jesus for a very long time, but my best memories are of her at the quilting frame, taking tiny stitches, and making them with so much love. Thank you. Janis

  12. I always liked black and red together. I have never seen this pattern before and it was fun watching you put the quilt together. Do you draft your patterns on graph paper before you make your quilts? I keep saying to myself “how does she do it?” And you make so many in so short a time. Kudos to you, Rose. I love your website. Still can’t find the gold fabric for your Christmas table runner but I keep looking.

  13. I love this quilt Rose. The colours are perfect and nice to hear the memories behind it. I also like the idea about making it into a Christmas quilt from Linda. It is interesting to hear other ideas from your followers. Jennie

  14. Thanks Rose, this looks so good but you have made it look easy to do i dont know where you find the time to put your ideas and videos together but i am so glad you do. I look forward to seeing what you come up with each week this one i will try out. Thanks

  15. I love this pattern Rose…..I love the fact you used only three colors to achieve a great pattern….I will be making a small quilt of this for a donation quilt for Paliative or Kimo …..Lately I have been doing allot of quilts that have a black around the block or somewhere in the block and just love the effect….thank you once again you are an inspiration… Hugs <3

  16. Thank you again Rose from Ottawa, Canada. I look forward to your weekly quilt patterns. Your videos are great and instructions very clear. Keep up the good work!! I have used some of your ideas in quilts and some I save for future reference.

  17. Another great quilt Rose. I was looking for my new project and here it is. Thanks. Linda

  18. Mitts McMaster says:

    Morning from Canada Rose

    I never miss your blog and your teaching me something new, today it is time to say THANK YOU so much for your dedication to our wonderful hobby. I have learned so very much from you and I would like you to know that I appreciate all of your work and efforts on your readers behalf.

  19. Thank You so much for sharing this quilt idea! While i was watching your how to demo:It struck me that changing the black to green it will make a great wreath look for a Christmas quilt! 2 minds are better than one; thank you! Now i have an easy Christmas quilt to make!

  20. What a lovely design doing one of your lovely patterns at the moment but I think this will be my next project. E

  21. Hi Rose, I love this grandmothers spool block. The spool really does disappear giving a completely different look when put together. I too couldn’t understand why the “spool” block but when you look at how you make it up its clearly visible. I will definitely try this block as the final quilt is beautiful. Many thanks for all your ideas and youtube videos. As a relative newbie (about 2 years) to quilting, I really find your website a great source of inspiration.

    • Thanks for your comments, Christine. In the individual block the spool seems unmissable – it’s interesting the way the spool is overshadowed by the other designs when you sew the blocks together.

  22. Joy Thornby says:

    I looked at the top picture of the finished quilt and for the life of me could not see how it had anything to do with spools!
    Not until I scolled down did I see it! quilting help you look at the ‘whole’ not just the ‘one’, then again sometimes look at the ‘one’ to see the ‘whole’!
    I am now getting so many quilts I want to make but dont have the time!
    thank you

    • Hi Joy. It’s amazing how a single block can look so different when several of them are sewn together, isn’t it? If I had used the colours the other way round (with dark for the spools and light for the surrounds) it would have become a different quilt with the spools showing up instead.

  23. Rose, thank you once again for such a great blog post. In fact, because I also view your nice Youtube Videos, when I read your posts I can hear you speaking.

    Wonderful isn’t it. The internet and all it’s great personal features has allowed me to broaden my “friends” base without going outside of my home.

    Love you quilting and sewing gems and loved to see your home renovations with your partner.

    Just a thumbs up from Cessnock AU – keep up the good work.

    Cheers from a distant admirer.


    • Hi Malcolm. Thanks for commenting. I’m glad you like the videos – I sometimes feel quite self conscious talking to myself in front of the camera! I agree – the internet has changed our lives enormously. I love being able to talk to quilters from all round the world.

  24. Cecilia Alcantar says:

    I smile when I hear words like, spools, or crocheting, or crafting, or quilting.
    This quilt pattern I agree, brings about thoughts of simpler times.
    You find ways to pull together the best of the past into our now and future.
    I began making a beginners beanie hat which I consider fun to learn.
    Your last tumbling blocks quilt pattern 3-dimension looks very non beginner,however, you walk us through it so I’ll give it a try and smile!! Thanks,Cecilia

    • Hi Cecilia. Mostly I use traditional quilt blocks so you can think of them having been around for a long time. Do you remember those spools like the one in the block? Made from wood, as I recall. Good luck with the tumbling blocks.

  25. Hi, what a lovely quilt with lots of warm memories. I’m a newbie to quilting and need all the help I can get here in Scotland. Your instructions were very easy to follow and I will have a go at this one. Christmas is creeping up on us so I will have to learn pretty quick if I want to give out any of my trials!!Take care

    • Thanks for commenting, Avril. Glad you like the pattern. Your trials will be lovely – other people don’t see our mistakes, they just appreciate the overall project.

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