Candy Stripe


In the original version all the blocks are made from lots of different colours. Tricia actually used a large selection of fat eightís of Moda Marbles but you can use a more limited selection of fabrics or even just two. We have also given some ideas of other block arrangements you can make at the end. To give you an idea of the yardage required you need the equivalent of about a fat eighth of fabric for each 9in block.

Finished Size

107 x 92cm (42 x 36in)

Skill Level


Where to start

    If you decide to make different sized blocks then the easiest one to start with is the largest one which is 9in finished size. Then, by the time you get to the smaller blocks you'll already be an expert.

    Figure 1:
    Piecing the Blocks
    Figure 1: Piecing the Blocks

    Sewing the blocks

    1. Each block is made from three fabrics, a centre square (C) which can be the same throughout the quilt or, as in this quilt, made from one of two colours and the two colours of the spiral which are (A) and (B).
    2. Cut one 2in square from fabric C. If you are using fat quarters or fat eighths, cut two strips across the widest part of the fabric (approx. 18in long), 2in wide from fabric A and three strips 2in wide from fabric B (if your fabric is long enough you may be able to use just two strips of B).
    3. Using the column headed 9in from the table cross cut patches A1-A5 from fabric strips A, and B1-B5 from fabric strips B. In order not to waste fabric cut the longest patches first (one from each strip) and then cut the shorter ones from the bits left over.

    For each block cut the following patches:

    Block Size 9in 6in 3in
    Center square C 2in 1 1/2in 1in
    Cut strip width 2in 1 1/2in 1in
    A1 2in 1 1/2in 1in
    A2 3 1/2in 2 1/2in 1 1/2in
    A3 5in 3 1/2in 2in
    A4 6 1/2in 4 1/2in 2 1/2in
    A5 8in 5 1/2in 3in
    B1 3 1/2in 2 1/2in 1 1/2in
    B2 5in 3 1/2in 2in
    B3 6 1/2in 4 1/2in 2 1/2in
    B4 8in 5 1/2in 3in
    B5 9 1/2in 6 1/2in 3 1/2in
    1. Put the A patches in one pile with A1 on the top and A5 at the bottom. Do the same for the B patches. That way youíll sew them in the right order.
    2. Sewing the block. Take the centre square C and sew A1 to one side of it.

    Note: Press the seams open as you go along. Tricia says she often just finger presses but you may want to be more careful and press each seam properly. Also, as long as you don't get the fabrics muddled up, you can usually make two or three blocks at the same time so you can avoid having to cut the thread on the machine.

    1. With C positioned above A1 sew B1 along the long edge (Figure 1). Sew A2 on the opposite side to B1. Sew B2 to the bottom and then A3 to the top. Continue sewing patches to each side of the block as shown. Be careful to follow the spiral of each colour. If you follow these instructions all your blocks will spiral in the same direction. If you want to be more varied then you can spiral the other way by following the arrangement in Figure 2.
Figure 2: Opposite Spiral Block
Figure 2: Opposite Spiral Block

Making other sizes

  1. Once you've got the hang of the larger 9in block then you can try the smaller sizes. Look at the table and cut the centre squares and the A and B fabric strips according to the size required. Then cross cut patches A1-A5 and B1-B5 according to the sizes in each column.
  2. The original pattern for this quilt has eight 9in blocks, twenty 6in blocks and sixteen 3in blocks, made in a completely random mixture of colours. Tricia made a few extra blocks so that she could pick and chose the final colour arrangement.
  3. Before sewing the blocks together lay them out, either according to Fig 3 or in your own pattern. You can put them on a design wall and leave them there for a few days, rearranging them from time to time until you are happy with the colour balance. There is no reason why you could not have a collection of nine 3in blocks in one corner replacing the 9in block shown. Be adventurous as you have nothing to lose if you are just moving the blocks around. Small children and husbands are good at this too: let them play with the arrangement of the blocks. If you have a digital camera, take photos and then compare, otherwise there is a danger you will forget which was your favourite arrangement!
Figure 3: Quilt Layout
Figure 3: Quilt Layout

Quilting and Finishing

  1. Layer the quilt with the wadding and backing and tack or safety pin the layers together.You can quilt this with any pattern you like. Tricia did the quilting in two parts. First, she quilted each of the 9in and 6in blocks using a crazy square within squares pattern. She used a walking foot as all this quilting is in straight lines. So that she didnít have to keep stopping and starting, she started at the centre and completed the first circuit. She then reversed to the corner of the next round and did a larger circuit, fitting it round the centre and so on. She quilted a larger version of the same motif over all the 3in squares at once. After doing the straight bits she filled in the gaps using free motion quilting doing loops and curves.
Figure 4: Piecing the border strips
Figure 4: Piecing the border strips
  1. You can use a plain binding for this quilt, possibly using one of the colours from the quilt. Tricia made a striped binding from all the fabrics used in the quilt and we think this really makes the quilt zing.
  2. From each of the fabrics cut a 2in strip across the widest part of the fabric. You can also use any leftover 2in strips from the 9in blocks. Sew these together offsetting the end of each strip by just under 2in. See Figure 4. This will give you a piece of stripy fabric with all the colours of the quilt. Turn the fabric round and cut across the staggered end at an angle of 45 degrees. You can then cut strips parallel to this edge for your binding. Tricia made a single fold binding by cutting 1 1⁄2in strips which are then joined end to end to make enough binding to go all the way around the quilt. She put the binding on as a single strip, mitring the corners.

Alternative Layouts

  • If you are a beginner you could make this quilt using just one size block and a limited colour range.
  • One example which looks a bit like a Greek key pattern is designed in red, white and blue; we thought it looked a bit nautical.
  • Another variation has each spiral made up of darkening shades of the same colour all set on black. Each curl has a yellow centre for this curly version.
Figure 5: Alternative Patterns
Figure 5: Alternative Patterns

First published in Popular Patchwork Volume 13 Number 12 - November 2005