Modern Monday - Block 1

Welcome to the first installment of Modern Monday! I have an urge to make a sampler quilt so I thought I'd make it a Quilt Along for anyone who wants to join me! Each Monday, I'll post a Modern interpretation of a traditional block. Then on Tuesday, I'll post the instructions to make the Traditional block! 2017 Edit: Originally I did Tradtional Tuesday in addition to MM, but overtime, interest in TT was much less (non existent!) than MM. The posts are still live, but you'd need to hunt for them in my blog if you're curious!

Before we start, here's some info you might find helpful:

The blocks will finish 6" square. That's a nice size that doesn't require too much fabric per block, making this quilt a perfect scrap-using project. Right now, I plan on making 64 blocks which will make a 64" square quilt with the setting I chose (see below).

For my Modern quilt, I'm using a variety of orange solids, orange prints, grays and white. I might throw in some blues occasionally because I like the orange/blue combination. Of course fabric selection is subject to change at my whim, and you are free to do what makes you happy.

The Finished Quilt:
I plan on putting a light gray frame around half the block and a dark gray frame around the other half. When set alternately, it will look something like below. If you want to leave it up to serendipity, you can add the frame as you go. You'll have to make sure you keep the light and dark frames pretty even as you go though so you end up with equal amounts of both. If you're a control freak, you can wait until the end and add the frame when you can place each block in just the right place. I'm going to add the frames as I go. One less decision won't kill me! If you choose this setting option, you will need 1 1/3 yard of light gray and 1 1/3 yard of dark gray. If you're adding the frames as you go, I'd make sure you label this fabric so you don't cut into it for something else!

About the Instructions:
Since this Modern quilt is largely improv, writing directions (and following them!) is a bit tricky. I will show you photos of how I make my blocks and will use words, not necessarily measurements to tell you how I did it. You'll have to "wing it" a lot of the time. This means your blocks will never look exactly like mine - and that's okay. If at anytime, you want to deviate from my path, do it! That's the basic nature of improv - don't think too hard about it, do what works for you and enjoy the results! (And as always, you can make this quilt with me, give away or sell the quilt if you like when you're done, and share the link to this Quilt Along with  your friends, but please don't profit monetarily from these patterns in any way.)

  • Keep all your scraps as you go. Sometimes the scraps might make a cool improv block all in themselves!
  • If you want a larger quilt, consider making each block twice in different colorways. For example, you could make one block in the orange and the second block in it's complement - blue! I think that would make a very interesting quilt!
  • And as always, if you don't like one of the blocks, punt and do something else! You don't have to follow my directions exactly!
Okay, here we go...
Block 1: Crossroads

You'll need two fabrics for this block. I chose dark gray and an orange solid.

First cut a dark gray square about 7 1/2". Cut this on the diagonal twice, making 4 triangles (but it doesn't have to go exactly from corner to corner, it can be "off" a bit). Then, cut two wedges of orange about 11" long. Wedges are strips that are tapered slightly at one end. Cut one of these in half. Lay out the pieces as shown. The block will start to take shape. Now is the time to recut anything you don't like. If you think your wedge is too wide or too skinny, determine that now and recut. Remember the seam allowance will take away 1/2", so don't get your wedge too skinny at the point.

Piece the two triangles to either side of the short orange wedges. It's okay if the orange hangs off the ends. We'll trim it up after it's all pieced. I like to press after every seam is sewn, usually to the dark, but this time I pressed to the orange.

Notice that the long edge of the pieced triangle isn't straight. To get the block to work, this needs to be trimmed so it will join the long orange wedge properly and lay flat. Do this to both pieced triangles if necessary. Join the pieced triangles to the long orange wedge to finish the block.

It's helpful to have a 6 1/2" square ruler for trimming the blocks to size. Lay it over the block how you want it and trim. Something to keep in mind is the bias. On improv blocks, sometimes the bias gets in the way of construction!  I don't think a little stretch on the edge of these small blocks will matter, especially when the frame is added, but try to keep the outside edges on the straight of grain as much as possible. (Your quilter will thank you, too!)
The Frame:
Cut strips of either light or dark gray. Cut 2 - 1 1/2" x 6 1/2" strips and cut 2 - 1 1/2" x 8 1/2" strips. Sew the short strips to the sides of the block and sew the long strips to the top and bottom. Press to the strips.

Look for the Traditional Crossroads block tomorrow!


  1. I was thinking the same thing, Sharon. Let's both Quilt Along with Jenifer!

  2. I think I'll have to do this one. I love modern.

  3. I like to do this. Have you a pdf to print? When I print your side the printer will need to much black becauso of your sites and I have difficulties to read it.

    I hope you could understand me.

    Guilitta from germany

  4. I joined late to the party, but I promise to catch up! As a traditional handquilter whose age will remain a secret, this is just what I need to spice things up! Block one modern done, now to block one traditional!
    Thanks for sharing...great fun!


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