<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> Continuous pattern blocks
Inner City Block

Continuous patterns

Almost all of these continuous patterns are one-patch blocks, with a single shape repeated as many times as the quilter wishes. Click on a left-column block to see a whole-quilt mockup of each design.

Clam Shells

Clam Shells
Shell Chain/Clam Shell/The Cam Shell Quilt/The Shell/Shell Quilting

The Kansas City Star's 1932 name, Clam Shells, is the one that stuck to this one-patch scrap block. We haven't named a tutorial for making the block; there are many on the web. We've posted a diagram, though. Click on the Make It! icon to see it.

Clam Shells was first published as Shell Chain in the 1897 Ladies Art Company catalog (#62). Ruth Finley, in her Old Patchwork Quilts (1929), called it Clam Shell. The rest of the block names -- from Home Art Studios, Q Book 130, and Nancy Page -- came along from 1933 to 1941. For details, check out Jinny Beyer's The Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns (2009).

Block Patchwork

Caesar's Crown

This unusual block has a hexagonal center, but its outer edge is an irregular octagon, and looking at a single block gives you far less than the whole picture. In the whole-quilt mockup, each block has the feel of a spiky hexagon. Just click on the graphic to see it.

We cannot verify the block name. Our source is the eBay seller French72, who auctioned a quilt of this pattern in September 2016.

The Rope Strands
The Rope Strands

The Rope Strands appeared in The Kansas City Star in 1941. The rectangles were made from a single print fabric, and the long hexagons were a lighter solid. "Some other quilter might substitute red for print and fancy she saw cottage roof lines," the KCS added.

It would work fine in place of a Streak 'o' Lightning, Rail-Fence, or Picket Fence substitute (below) -- or as a border, which is how we would use it.

Ocean Waves
Ocean Waves

The Ladies Art Company published Ocean Waves as #182 in 1897. The block was always intended as a border; the illustration showed ragged edges on each side of the block, and the finished size (if you bought the pattern) was 6 inches by 12.

Thousand Pyramids
Thousand Pyramids
Joseph's Coat/Red Shields/Pyramids/ Triangles

"Let no one imagine that these all-over one-patch quilts were easy to design," wrote Ruth Finley in Old Patchwork Quilts (1929). "They require the eye of a true artist both as regards color and form."

The true artist may well come up with a more elegant color combination than our example at left. Still, our graphic is the block called Thousand Pyramids—or Joseph's Coat (Doyle), Red Shields (Cabot, ca. 1935, Pyramids (Bruce Johnson), or Triangles (Khin, 1980). We thank Barbara Brackman and her Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns for the alternate names.

Rail Fence
Streak o' Lightning/Zig Zag/Snake-Fence/Dog's Tooth

Finley's Rail-Fence is made entirely of triangles. The block and all its names are from Finley (1929) except for Dog's Tooth.

For that name we thank Brackman's Encyclopedia; the book cites Ann S. Wooster's Quiltmaking (1972) as the source.

A rail fence in California's Yosemite Valley.
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
The design is often called Streak o' Lightning, which is also the name of a very popular Log Cabin design.

Right Angles
Right Angles Patchwork

Barbara Brackman's classic Encyclopedia includes this block, originally published in The Dictionary of Needlework (1882). That book was the work of Sophia Frances Anne Caulfield and Blanche C. Saward and was republished in 1972.

The only difference between Right Angles Patchwork (1882) and Inner City, below, is that Inner City splits each piece into half-hexagons.
Inner City Block
Inner City block I
Inner City
Windy City

At left is a single Inner City block and the half-hexagon pieces that create it. The name is from Jinny Beyer's Patchwork Patterns (1977). The name Windy City appears without citation in Maggie Malone's 5,500 Quilt Block Designs (2003).

The dark, medium, and light colors need to be placed as they are in the graphic for the block's overall effect to work. Click on a left-column graphic to see a whole-quilt mockup.


The Ladies Art Company published this block in 1897, showing it as a square block with several repetitions of the block at left.

Click on a left-column graphic to see a whole-quilt mockup.

The Picket Fence
Quilt (
Block #1)

The Picket Fence
Quilt (
Block #1)

The Picket Fence Quilt

This Kansas City Star design from 1954 is a continuous pattern made from chevron-shaped patches, not rectangles. (If it were made of rectangles, it would be a Log Cabin.)

The Star printed a cutout pattern that had different proportions from the illustration.

In the two layouts at left, the block's legs are twice as long as their width, like this:

The layouts at right have block legs three times as long as their width, like this:

Click on any block to see whole-quilt mockups. We've included mockups of borders too.

Ozark Cobble
Ozark Cobble Stone

The Ozark Cobble Stone is not a block per se but a way to lay out octagons on a quilt top by adding a square to four of an octagon's eight sides.

In the Kansas City Star, which published the block in 1936, every hexagon was made from a different scrap fabric and the squares were of a single solid color.