Crown and Thorns Quilt Block

Instructions Written for the Beginning Quilter

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Skill Level: Confident Beginner

The Crown and Thorns quilt block with all it's prickly points shouldn't stop you in your tracks.!

Making half square triangles is a breeze with the Quick Pieced method and I'll show you just how easy it is!

No special tools, rulers or paper piecing needed!

Other names for this spiky block include Georgetown Circle and Memory wreath.

The Crown and Thorns quilt block tutorial starts here...

Cutting instructions are included for 4 different sizes. All you need to do is choose a size and liberate three fabrics from your stash.

We're ready to begin our Crown and Thorns block!

General Instructions

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Several abbreviations are used in this tutorial:

  • SA - seam allowance
  • RST - right sides together
  • HST - half square triangle
  • BAC - background fabric

A good press is crucial in this block due to all the seams. Try our best pressing technique for the flattest patchwork ever!

All seam allowances (SA) are a 1/4" and pressed towards the darker fabric unless otherwise instructed.

New fabric to drool over!

Click any of the images below to see the full collection and find pricing and ordering information.

To see ALL the current fabric lines displayed on this site in one place, click here.

Step 1: Cut the Crown and Thorns patches

Crown and Thorns quilt block design

Sample Size: 7½" finished / 8" unfinished

Grid: 5x5

Attribution: Marguerite Ickis

AKA: Crown of Thorns (Capper's Weekly), Georgetown Circle (Carrie Hall and Rose Kretsinger), Memory Wreath (Carrie Hall and Rose Kretsinger)

Design Type: Uneven 9-patch, small center, 25-squares

Personally, I like to cut oversized patches, sew the triangle squares and then trim them to the perfect size. I will add a 1/4" to #4-#6 before I cut them.

This is explained more fully in the tutorial for the technique we'll use.

Choose fabrics with good contrast so that all those points stand out. If it's about anything, this block is about points!

The measurements in the chart for the HST patches (#4-#6) are exact.

All the numbers in the chart are for squares, so 2" means 2"x 2".

Choose a block size, it's time to cut!

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Cutting Chart for a
Crown and Thorns Quilt Block

~ Traditional Piecing ~

Patch Fabric Qty Finished Block Size
5” 7-1/2” 10” 15”
1 BAC 4 1-1/2” 2” 2-12” 3-1/2”
2 Dark 4 1-1/2” 2” 2-1/2” 3-1/2”
3 BAC 1 1-1/2” 2” 2-1/2” 3-1/2”
4 BAC 8 1-7/8” 2-3/8” 2-7/8” 3-7/8”
5 Medium 6 1-7/8” 2-3/8” 2-7/8” 3-7/8”
6 Dark 2 1-7/8” 2-3/8” 2-7/8” 3-7/8”
Unfinished Block Size 5-1/2” 8” 10-1/2” 15-1/2”
Trim HSTs to 1-1/2” 2” 2-1/2” 3-1/2”
Grid Size 1” 1-1/2” 2" 3”

Step 2: Assemble the units

Two-Square-Pairs

With right sides together, sew a #1 to a #2 square. Press.

Make a total of 4 pairs.

The two-square-pair after stitching

HSTs

Make 4 units

Crown and Thorns quilt block, HST unit

We'll use the Quick Pieced Method for making our half square triangle units. Click here for a refresher if you want one.

To start, draw a diagonal line on the back of all eight of your #4 squares. A mechanical pencil is my marker of choice. It always creates a fine line.

With RST layer each #4 with a #5 or #6 square until all these squares are paired.

Sew a quarter inch away from the line on both sides for all 8 pairs.

Press.

If you added a bit extra to the #4/#5/#6 measurements in the cutting (as I did for this example) you'll need to trim these HSTs to size.

In the Cutting Chart in Step 1 you can find this number at the intersection of the 'Finished Block Size' column and the 'Trim HSTs to...' row. Click here to see it. For our 7-1/2" finished block, they are trimmed to 2"x2".

If you cut using the exact dimensions from the chart, they should be equal to the 'trim to' size. Give 'em haircut if you need to!

If you need more detailed instructions on this method, see Technique #1: Quick Pieced Half Square Triangles.

Now assemble the HST into pairs as shown below:

Stitch the HST into two different sets of pairs

Press so the SA is in one direction for one set and the opposite direction for the other set. It doesn't matter which is which, only that you are consistent.

Sew one pair of each set together.

Stitch two different sets of HST

Press and repeat for the remaining 3 pairs. (I do use pins so that the center match comes out nice!)

The 4-HST unit from the pretty side

To reduce some of the bulk in the center, loosen a few stitches in the SA in the center of the unit as needed to twirl the seams like this...

Twirl the seam allowance to reduce bulk in the 4-HST units

A last pressing, and all your units are ready.

Step 3: Assemble the Crown and Thorns quilt block

Lay out the sewn and cut patches into the Crown and Thorns design.

At this point it looks more like an uneven 9-patch than a 5-patch, don't you think?!

Lay out the patches into rows

Stitch the units into rows. Press with all the SA toward the two-square-pairs (red and white here).

Stitch the units into rows

Stitch the rows together. The SA nest to make matching a breeze! Use pins if needed to hold things in place as you sew.

One final press—make it a good one—and your Crown and Thorns quilt block is finished!

The finished Crown and Thorns block

Variations on the Crown and Thorns design

There are two closely related designs based on the drawing of our Crown and Thorns quilt block.

English Wedding Ring quilt block design


In this first block, one color is removed from the Crown and Thorns design. The background is now the darker fabric. It's known by the following names:

English Wedding Ring
Mill Wheel
Odd Scraps Patchwork
Old-Fashioned Wedding Ring
Vice President's Block

Wedding Ring quilt block design


Here, the two-patch is replaced with a solid rectangle. This block is know as either Wedding Ring or Old English Wedding Ring.

Now that your HST-making skills are razor-sharp...

...you can find more to make in my collection of Free Quilt Block Patterns. Click here to see them all.

Which will you make next?

Share your work to inspire other Quilters!

If you use our tutorials to make your blocks and quilts, there are some easy ways to share your creations so other quilters (including me!) can enjoy the fruits of your labor:

  • On Instagram please tag your blocks and quilts with the hashtag #GenerationsQuiltPatterns.
  • Visit our Show n'Tell page on the website. Click here to share photos and tell your own story, just start typing at 'The name of your quilt is...'. If you'd prefer to submit more photos than the form allows, simply email them to me at julie@generations-quilt-patterns.com.

I love seeing your work!

Our readers do, too!

For even more blocks to make...

Click here to learn about my favorite quilt book resources that inspire my patchwork designs.

For you, are quilt block patterns like potato chips...

...you can't have just one?!!

Check the amazing resources I rely on for the majority of the quilt block designs you see on this website. 

To see if they're worthy of spot in YOUR quilting library, read about them HERE.

NOTE: All the attribution and alternate names shared in the Free Quilt Block Patterns Library came from these four resources.

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