Crossword Puzzle Quilt Block

From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library

by Julie Baird

This post contains affiliate links for which I receive compensation.

The Crossword Puzzle quilt block tutorial

Skill Level: Beginner

Grid: 8x8

The Crossword Puzzle quilt block is a quick and easy to stitch which makes it an ideal block for a spur of the moment baby quilt.

A bit of strip piecing. The twirling of a few seam allowance. This asymmetrical block is as easy to set into a top as it is to put together.

Let's solve the riddle of assembling this Crossword Puzzle!

General Instructions

Seam allowances (SA) are 1/4" and are pressed to the dark unless otherwise instructed.

I like to prewash and starch all of my fabrics before cutting. I think this makes my cutting and piecing more accurate with less effort.

Step 1: Cut patches for a Crossword Puzzle

Crossword Puzzle quilt block designCrossword Puzzle design

The cutting chart below is for a two fabric patchwork design.

Strips are cut an inch longer than needed so that you have room enough to straighten an edge before subcutting a stripset into units.

Generations Quilt Patterns logo

Cutting Chart for a
Crossword Puzzle Quilt Block

~ Traditional Piecing ~

Patch Fabric Qty Finished Block Size
8” 12” 16”
1 Background 1 1-1/2” x 10” 2” x 13” 2-1/2” x 16”
2 A 2 1-1/2” x 10” 2” x 13” 2-1/2” x 16”
3 Background 2 1-1/2” x 4” 2” x 5” 2-1/2” x 6”
4 A 1 1-1/2” x 4” 2” x 5” 2-1/2” x 6”
5 A 4 1-1/2” x 3-1/2” 2” x 5” 2-1/2” x 6-1/2”
6 Background 4 1-1/2” x 3-1/2” 2” x 5” 2-1/2” x 6-1/2”
7 A 1 1-1/2” x 7” 2” x 9” 2-1/2” x 11”
8 Background 1 3-1/2” x 7” 5” x 9” 6-1/2” x 11”
Unfinished Block Size 8-1/2” 12-1/2” 16-1/2”
Grid Size 1” 1-1/2” 2”

My go-to thread for all my piecing is...

Step 2: Assemble the units

Our Crossword Puzzle block is made from three different units: a nine patch, an 'O', and sashing.

Crossword Puzzle block - 9 patch unit

Nine Patches

Make 2

With right sides together (RST), stitch a #1 to a #2.

Stitch a #1 to a #2 strip.Starched fabric and a quarter inch foot with a guide is the best way I know to get perfect strip sets.


Add the second #2 in the same manner, pressing afterwards.

Repeat for the #3/#4/#3 strips.

The completed #1/#2/#1 and #3/#4/#3 stripsetsThe stitched #2/#1/#2 and #3/#4/#3 stripsets.

Straighten a short side of both by aligning a line on your ruler with one of the seams (see arrow) and trim off just enough to straighten the edge.

Straighten the short edge of each strip set with your rotary cutter and rulerStraightening the edge of the #3/#4/#3,

Repeat for the #2/#1/#2 set.

Next subcut each #2/#1/#2 into 6 units; #3/#4/#3 into 2. Use the chart below to find the cut width.

StripSet Subcutting Chart
Block Size
Width of Sewn

Arrange the cuts as shown below. (Two #2/#1/#2 are set aside for the O's that come next.)

Stitch the 2 nine patches.The SA are pressed out from the center.

'O' units

Crossword Puzzle block - Big 'O' unit

Make 2

Arrange two #5s and one #2/#1/#2 for each O as shown below.

Stitch the two 'O' units.Did you catch it?

Did you catch it?

Yep! When I photographed the block during construction, I accidentally rotated the patches a quarter turn.

The longer #5 patches run across the top and bottom of the "O" units and not on the left and right sides. My bad!!!

Press, SA towards the #5 strips.

Sashing (SU)

Crossword Puzzle block - sashing unit

Make 4

With RST, stitch #7 to #8 on the long edge.

Stitch #7 to #8


Straighten a short edge.

Cut #7/#8 into four SUs using the chart below to determine the width.

Sashing Subcutting Chart
Block Size
Width of Pieced
8” 4-1/2” 1-1/2”
12” 6-1/2” 2”
16” 8-1/2” 2-1/2”

After cutting, this is what you've got.

The four cut sashing units

Step 3: Add sashing

With RST, sew a #6 to the righthand side of all the 9 patches and O's. SA are pressed away from #6.

With RST, sew a SU to the bottom of each.

Add a SU to the bottom of each unit.

Typically these blocks are set edge-to-edge in a patchwork design. To make joining them as easy as possible, we're going to twirl the SA of this last seam.

You may need to loosen a few stitches to do so. This is what it looks like from the backside.

Twill the seam allowance in each join.Our twirled seam allowance creates a miniature four-patch on the back of each unit

It helps to fingerpress the SA before using the iron. As you look at the backs, the SA are pressed in a clockwise fashion.

Step 4: Assemble the Crossword Puzzle quilt block

Arrange the sashed patches into rows and stitch them the pairs in each row together. (An 'O' is in the upper lefthand corner of the block.)

Stitch the units in each row together.SA are pressed in the direction of the arrows.

With RST, sew the rows together. The only place you need to worry about matching is at the corners of the #7's.

The sewn Crossword Puzzle quilt blockOur Crossword Puzzle is stitched, just one more step.

To complete the Crossword Puzzle, we'll again twirl the SA in the very center of our block.

From the back you can see the 5 SA that we twirled.The center twirl is our last one.

The advantage of all this fiddling with SA is when you put blocks together edge-to-edge, those SA nest—making matching easier and reducing bulk all at the same time.

Now give it one last, good press and your Crossword Puzzle quilt block is finished.

A bit about constructing a Crossword Puzzle Quilt

As designed, the Crossword Puzzle quilt block is an asymmetrical block. To complete the design, you need to add additional SUs (sashing units) to the blocks on the left  and top edges of your quilt.

A Crossword Puzzle quilt in two fabrics

And don't forget the one last cornerstone square in the upper left corner (cut from your A fabric.)

Link to Free Quilt Block Patterns Library

For even more blocks to make...

These are my go-to resources for quilt block ideas. 

Can you see the library sticker on the spine of Jinny Beyer's book? Yep. I check this copy out of our local library every few months for research.

Maggie Malone's 5500 Quilt Block Designs is my all-time favorite quilt block resource!

Can you tell?

It's in color.

It's got a ton of blocks.

What's not to love?

Next on my 'must-have' list is Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.

Unlike the Maggie Malone book, the blocks in this volume are hand-drawn and in black and white—no color—personally, I prefer colored drawings to work with.

This book is no longer in print.

If you can come by a copy expect it to be wickedly expensive. Once in awhile you can find it here on

UPDATE: Electric Quilt, in cooperation with Barbara Brackman has announced they plan to republish the Encyclopedia sometime in 2020. 

However, all is not lost if you can't find a hard copy.

BlockBase is the computerized version of the Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.

It contains designs for over 4300 blocks—pretty much every block published from the 1830's through the 1970's.

It can be used with Electric Quilt and is a Windows based program.

In fact, there are instructions included so that you can pull up the digital patterns within Electric Quilt (PC version for now) without having to open up BB program.

UPDATE: Electric Quilt has announced that they will be rereleasing the standalone BlockBase software for BOTH PC and MAC in 2020.

This is terrific news.

Finally there's The Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns by Jinny Beyer.

Lots of detail and in color, it is a beautiful volume. That said, I check it out of my local library on a regular basis instead of purchasing it—can you see the library sticker on it's spine. Yep, it's from the Plainfield Public Library.


Simply because I own the previous three references and find this the least user-friendly of the group.

And it does make a fabulous coffee table book!

  1. Home
  2.  ›
  3. Quilt Block Pattern Library
  4.  ›
  5. Crossword Puzzle Block

If you enjoyed this article and found it helpful, please let me know by clicking this button - thank you!

Share Your Comments, Tips and Ideas

Quilt Blocks... chosen by our readers.

Log Cabin

Autumn Leaf

Broken Sugar Bowl

Card Trick

Rail Fence

Ohio Star

Bears Paw


Friendship Star

Churn Dash

Quilt patterns, books and kits to tempt you...

Click any image or link for more info

"Quilt As-You-Go Made Vintage"
by Jera Brandvig

"Christmas Figs"
by It's So Emma

Subscribe to our StashTalk Newsletter