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Siobhan Rogers is the author of By the Block: 18 Surprisingly Simple Quilts from Interweave/F+W. The book shows you efficient ways to create beautifully complex, modern quilts from log cabins, half-square triangles and curved piecing.

Siobhan has a background in photography and fiber arts, and she teaches patchwork in and around Sydney, Australia. She’s here to show how you can mix and match certain aspects of patterns, taking basic designs up a notch with just a few changes. Siobhan’s design pulls from two different patterns in By the Block: 18 Surprisingly Simple Quilts, with a little extra twist. If you love the look, you’ll love her book!

In addition to the free tutorial we have a giveaway! Your comment below enters you to win By the Block: 18 Surprisingly Simple Quilts. (U.S. street address required; no P.O. boxes or international addresses this time please.)

Find more from Siobhan on her website, and on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. You can also find more via various social media outlets searching for #siobhanrogers and #bytheblock!

I have always used quilting/craft books, looking through blogs, Pinterest, Instagram and participating in group sew-ins as a form of inspiration. I like to take aspects of patterns and mix them together or resize patterns to suit my own needs. I often spend my classes working out the quilt math for a student to change a new favorite pattern they have bought to fit a specific bed, or to change it from a square format to a rectangle format.

I would like to think that people can easily do this with my book. If you are making a quilt and you know who it is for and where it’s going it may as well be made to measure! In this little example I have given I have taken inspiration from two of the patterns in my book “Cool Pixel” (page 35) and “Love and Be Loved” (page 31). In the “Cool Pixel” quilt I used lots of different colors and randomly pieced them together. This pattern uses a 2.5 inch square. In the “Love and Be Loved” quilt I used 3.5 inch squares and a half square triangle to create words.

The little technique I wanted to share with you, taking a simple repetitive square quilt up a notch, is using squares and half square triangles together.


  • 64 Mixed Color 5 inch Squares
  • 16 Mixed Color 5.5 inch Squares
  • 16 Background Color 5.5 inch Squares
  • 4 Background Color 5 inch Squares
  • 6 Strips X 7.5 inch Background Colored Fabric

These measurements make a 61 inch square finished quilt top.

You could easily change this pattern by adding more squares. Making it a rectangle for bed sized or just bigger for your needs.

Begin Your Quilt:
I had two charm packs (5 inch square) in my studio and I stitched them together into rows of eight squares and then sewed the eight strips together to form a colorful square.

You could leave the quilt top at that and it would be a lovely little baby quilt or throw. I wanted to add a little more shape and pattern to it so I added the geometric border.

To create the border I needed to raid my stash of colored scrap solid fabrics and cut 16 – 5.5 inch squares and then cut 16 – 5.5 inch scraps in the background color (in this case white).

Using a rotary cutter, cut a diagonal line through the 5.5 inch colored and background squares to create a half square triangle.

Sew 2 X rows of eight HST (half square triangles) in a row.

Sew 2 X rows of eight HST in a row and add on a 5 inch white square to the start and end.

To give the graphic look I added a border in the background color to make it appear the colors are floating and also to make the quilt top a little bigger.

Find more complex, contemporary designs in By the Block: 18 Surprisingly Simple Quilts!