Quilting Blog

Classic Blocks, Modern Fabrics: Join Along!

Craftsy Classic Blocks, Modern Fabrics
Susanne WoodsAs the Quilting Category Manager here at Craftsy, it's safe to say I think about quilts all the time. I particularly love the idea of taking classic blocks from our shared quilting past, and re-invigorating them, by playing with scale and piecing with modern fabrics. In this brand new monthly series, I’ll share twelve of my favorite blocks with you.

The great news it that you'll even be able to download the corresponding block pattern for free. Included in the pattern are also digitized schematics I put together so that you can create larger quilts from these blocks.

I hope you'll follow along with me each month as we spend 2013 embracing the past…and adding our New Traditional twist by piecing classic blocks using modern fabrics!

Broken Dishes Block
Classic Block: Broken Dishes

The earliest versions of this block appear already in 1937 from Nancy Cabot. Though she even references earlier patterns of this block appearing prior to her 1937 documentation. Nancy describes the block in the Chicago Tribune:

"Perhaps one of the first quilt patterns ever pieced is the block illustrated today, 'Broken Dishes.' The first records of quilt making after the demise of the crazy quilt are found in this simple pieced pattern."

Even in Nancy’s rendering, this appears as a five-grid block. I discovered a picture of a finished quilt that used a six-grid block in the book, Arkansas Quilts published by AQS in 1987 (complete with a forward by then Arkansas Governor, Bill Clinton!).

Modern Fabrics: I like this treatment of the block and have provided cutting and piecing directions using Anna Maria Horner’s Loulouthi range with Buoyancy in Coral and in Deep. The grey is Robert Kaufman’s Quilters Linen.

You can get the free pattern to make this block here (and don't be shy, upload your block to our Projects area). And be sure to join me on the third Thursday of next month for our next block. See you on February 21st!



Sue Cooper

I’ve never seen a “broklen dishes” pattern quite like that. It’s interesting. I’d like to see the whole quilt!


Sure! Download the free pattern from the site and there are four sample schematics I put together for inspiration! Hope you like them!

Pat Ost

Pattern has potential for a beginner like me thanks

Terri Lynch

Hello Susanne – Just what qualifies as “MODERN”? I need a blog post dedicated to what translates as modern vs traditional when it comes to fabric. It seems most blocks that I see labeled as “Modern” have a grey background rather than a white or ivory…. What else?


It’s a great question, and one I would love to hear opinions on. I feel like I have a really great gauge on what makes a ‘Modern’ quilt, but when it comes to fabrics…it’s murky. Is it more like ‘current’ fabrics, or does it depend on the fabric designer? Should we be using ‘modern’ with a lower-case ‘m’ to indicate that the fabric is not vintage, or civil war repro, or 30s repro, or batik? (Terri and all our readers), I’d love to hear your thoughts. What does Modern fabric mean to you?

Debbie-Esch House Quilts

The fabrics I think of as modern (and, of course, this is just me speaking) tend not to be floral or viney. They tend to be graphic and bolder. If they have flowers, they are usually more abstract than realistic. Favorite prints of mine are text, buildings, herringbone, stitch patterns, dots, any abstract print including flower and leaf patterns. Colors tend to be fairly clear and not too muddy. JMHO 🙂

Also solids, can’t live without them!

Marion (Ladymax)

I am not sure what is modern and what is not, but I will have this quilt (baby sized) finished by tomorrow. This is a great block and 24″. How terrific is that.

Debbie Weishaar

How exciting to learn another block each month. I’ve been quilting now for a year and still consider myself to be a beginner. I enjoy learning new blocks, tips, etc. I’m adding this quilt along to my to do list. Already working on the 2013 BOM as well as need to finish the 2012 BOM. I’m also do the Sugar Block Club blocks with Amy Gibson and taking several classes here with Craftsy to learn more. 🙂


I really like this one would be a great idea for my daughter to make


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