BLOCK Friday: Cathedral Window Quilt Block

Forever in Blue Jeans
Forever in Blue Jeans

Think lofty vaulted ceilings made of handcrafted wood beams in a grand and spacious cathedral with floor to ceiling stained glass windows. It’s no wonder the Cathedral Window quilt block is so popular – its inspiration is so lovely!

Orange Peel Quilt
Orange Peel

These quilt blocks are so much fun because they make such a different statement depending on the colors and materials used and how they’re incorporated into designs featuring solely Cathedral Windows or alongside other quilt blocks, like Orange Peel blocks.

A fine example of a quilt featuring the Cathedral Window block is the Forever in Blue Jeans quilt by Maho Schwartz. Maho took old jeans and scrap fabric and combined them to create a quilt with a one-of-a-kind look that resembles a rag quilt. I love this quilt! Not only does it offer a ton of visual interest, it’s incredibly sturdy, as well. Make sure to use a hefty needle, like a denim needle, when piecing this one together!

Big Windows Quilt
Big Windows

For a classic feel with an updated arrangement, Mark Lipinski used two traditional blocks — the Orange Peel and Cathedral Window — in his quilt called Orange Peel (makes sense, right?). The colorful fabric he chose creates a fresh and clean air about the quilt that brightens up any room it resides in. Combining two classic blocks like this does so much for a quilt: it ups the energy quotient, causing the eye to jump around a bit more, and may sometimes create a secondary design. The white fabric throughout this quilt is a wonderful way to ground the otherwise vibrant fabric choices, helping everything to work together wonderfully.

Florentine Tiles Quilt
Florentine Tiles

Our last BLOCK Friday was all about Rainbow quilts and it was difficult not to include Big Windows by Sandi Irish in that discussion, but it’s such a marvelous Cathedral Windows design, I had to include it in today’s BLOCK Friday. Talk about vibrant! This quilt is the definition of vivid. Again, the white fabric is the perfect neutral to ground the color explosion that gives this rainbow quilt its charm. An awesome detail about this quilt? It’s a quilt-as-you-go project, so once the quilt is assembled, add the binding and it’s done! Having the option to finish the quilt top, quilt back, and quilting all at the same time is always a plus. Such a time saver!

Orange Peel blocks and Cathedral Windows make a great pair in the quilting world. You can see this in the designers’ choices when combining quilt blocks. We saw Mark Lipinski’s design above, and now Nancy Mahoney’s Florentine Tiles follows suit. These two traditional quilt blocks alternate in this lovely design and the color choices in this quilt are deeper, earthy tones. What a beauty!

The Cathedral Window is a classic quilt block that has been, and will continue to be, used in quilts all over the world. Inspired by beauty, it’s no wonder this block is so special. Have you made this quilt block before? It’s definitely one that deserves to be featured on at least one of your quilts!

Carrie Sisk, Online Editor, Fons & Porter


Happy Quilting!

Carrie Sisk, Fons & Porter, Online Editor

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Carrie Sisk

About Carrie Sisk

Carrie's first sewing machine was a gift from her dad—a better gift was never given. A crafter, trained pianist and experienced paintballer, when the opportunity arises, she's hiking in Yosemite or Rocky Mountain National Park.

2 thoughts on “BLOCK Friday: Cathedral Window Quilt Block

  1. I developed a way to do the background blocks on the sewing machine, saving a lot of time. I made a full size quilt starting with 6″ white blocks so it took a LOT of blocks. I never counted them. Background fabrics came from a lot of my husband’s shirts. Eventually, I ran out them and had to supplement with purchased fabrics. Center fabrics included a lot of fabrics from my daughters clothes. I did most of the work while traveling in the car on vacations. Didn’t do any of the hand sewing at home till it got too big to handle in the car. Took several years to complete that way! But it’s a jewel hanging on my wall now, with many memories in the blocks.