Skill Level: Beginner
The Old Maid's Puzzle quilt block is a two fabric block built on a 3x3 grid.
All it takes are half square triangles and cut squares, which makes it a good block for bee and guild block exchanges.
You may know it by one of it's other common names (with its attribution in parentheses):
There are a couple of variations that involve changes to the fabric placement that are shown further down on this page, as are additional cutting instructions for a total of 6 different block sizes.
These abbreviations are used on this page:
SA are 1/4".
When you are instructed to press, first press the pieced unit flat to set the seam. Then open the patch, pressing from the front. Seam allowances are pressed to the dark fabric unless otherwise noted.
Sample Block: 6"(6-1/2" unfinished)
Attributed to: American Farmer 1895
AKA: Jacks on Six (Ohio Farmer), Double X #1 (Ladies Art Company), Three and Six (Nancy Cabot), Kindergarten Block (Needlecraft Supply)
Design Type: Even 9-patch
I like to cut larger patches for making half square triangles and then trim the units to the exact size after stitching. I have done just that in this example.
A chart is provided where you need it in the instructions to trim those HST to the perfect size.
All the number in the chart represent squares. For example, for our 6" finished sample, Patch #1 is cut 2-7/8" x 2-7/8".
Cutting Chart for an~Traditional Piecing ~
|Patch||Fabric||Qty||Finished Block Size|
|Unfinished Block Size||3½"||5"||6½"||8"||9½"||12½"|
| **I prefer to cut my patches extra large for HST, stitch, and then trim them to size. If you prefer to do the same, add a bit extra to the measurements for Patches #1 and #2 above. |
There is a chart further down in these instructions where you need it for trimming them to size.
These are our cut patches.
We use the Quick Pieced method for making our HSTs.
On the back of each light #1 square, draw a diagonal line from corner to corner. I've used pen for this tutorial simply to make the lines easier to see. In 'real life' I prefer to my trusty Bohin mechanical chalk pencil, marking only as dark as needed to see the line.
With RST, align the edges of a #1 and a #2 patch. Stitch a quarter inch away from both sides of the line. Repeat for the remaining two pairs.
Cut the sewn units in two along the drawn line for a total of 6.
Press them flat and then open with the SA towards the dark fabric.
The six HS triangles are ready for trimming.
Use the chart below to check that your sewing was accurate. Trim as needed.
|Trim HST to…|
For our 6" sample Old Maid's Puzzle, trim the HST to 2-1/2" x 2-1/2".
Lay out your HSTs and cut patches.
Stitch the units in each row together, pressing the SA as indicated by the arrows.
Your seam allowances will nest making it easier to match your seams. Stitch the rows together, pinning if needed.
Your finished Old Maid's Puzzle quilt block looks like this.