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Two By Two

Examining the Four-Patch Block.

I'll be exploring quilt blocks occasionally in this blog, and I thought I should start with something easy to flex my blogging and digital image creating skills. Without a doubt the Four Patch block is one of the easiest blocks in the quilt world. So let's discuss some quilt math, and then I'll attach a quick how-to for the Four Patch.

When looking at any block with the objective of breaking it down to its simplest components, it's important to find a grid of rows and columns. The Four Patch is an example of a 2 row by 2 column grid - thus making 4 equal patches or squares.

Next is when we use our math skills. Let's say you want to make a finished 12 inch block using the Four Patch Block pattern. We're going to divide the finished size by the 2.

12 ÷ 2 = 6

Each patch/square will be a finished 6 inch square. But before you cut, remember this is the FINISHED SIZE. We must add a seam allowance to each side which is usually a ¼ inch.

¼ + ¼ + 6 = 6½

Cut four 6½ inch squares to create a 12 inch finished Four Patch Block.

Here's the math for a few other popular sizes:

Now that we have the math finished, let's talk sewing! Take your four patches and lay them out in a pleasing layout. (see right)

This graphic is showing a two-color version, but you can make this as scrappy as you want and add up to 4 different colors/fabrics for each block.

Piece the two pieces of the top row together and stitch; and repeat with the bottom row so that you have the image to the left.

Just a note on pressing... everyone has an opinion, and mine is: press in a manner that works well for you and/or the project at hand. For this block I would either press in alternate directions so that the seam fold will butt up against each other in the next step OR I would press open so that I could really see the seams meeting when I pin for the next step.

Next, place the two sections right sides facing each other; pin so that the middle seam lines up; stitch and press. Again, press in a manner that pleases you. No quilt police here!

Here's a quick mock up of a Four Patch quilt. I'm using a Moda fabric called Love, Lily.

I hope you enjoyed this quilt math post. I gotta get back to the lab! Until next time!


p.s. Big thanks to for the free images. The top image was made by Gerd Altmann. Find out more here:

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