BLOCK Friday: Snowball Quilt Patterns & Quilt Blocks

Grandma's Favorite Quilt
Grandma’s Favorite by Barb Mapes

Whether you’re basking in the summer sun and heat or enjoying the brisk winter air, the Snowball quilt block is a welcome addition to any quilter’s home, year-round. This quilt block is one of the most well-known Amish quilt blocks, seen in many Amish quilt patterns, and is actually an optical illusion!

Can you see these quilt blocks in Grandma’s Favorite? Take a close look – they’re white, surrounded by bits of color. The Snowball has eight sides, making it an octagon, but appears to be a circle from a distance. A little sigh of relief can be heard from those of use who prefer to quilt using straight lines!

If you’re interested in making a quilt featuring these traditional quilt blocks, start with a square of fabric and four smaller squares that become the corner units. To learn how to stitch the block, take advantage of two free quilting video tutorials: How to Make a Snowball Block with Mary Fons and Showcase Your Fabric: Snowball Quilt Blocks with the McCall’s Quilting Staff. You can try out your new skills on this lovely table runner called Square Peg Round Hole — a wonderful table quilt done up in batiks!

Square Peg Round Hole Quilt
Square Peg Round Hole by Wendy Sheppard

Take a look at some of these wonderful quilts that feature this fun quilt block, like the simple and scrappy Snowball Quilt, by Liz Porter. This quilt is the result of a block swap with a few friends. This one is reminiscent of old-fashioned quilts — the use of many different prints contributes to that impression.

Snowball Quilt - Bed-Size Quilt Patterns
Snowball Quilt by Liz Porter

Depending on the level of contrast you use for the corners of the your blocks and how you arrange them, you’ll create a secondary pattern across your quilt. You can see this with the quilt below, simply named Snowball, with the obvious chains that are created by combining white and a stark contrast fabric in the corners.

Snowball Quilt
Snowball Quilt by Quilty & Co

The quilt below, Four Patch and Snowball, is a similar design as the quilt above, but with a totally different look. The white areas stand out, which are the Snowball units. But, take a look at the colored parts, and you’ll see patchwork chains sneaking into the quilt. This is another example of a secondary design coming through, making this quilt even more visually appealing with that added touch.

Four Patch and Snowball Quilt
Four Patch and Snowball by Jenny Doan

It’s almost more of a challenge to create a quilt using Snowball quilt blocks that don’t form a secondary pattern. This block is particularly good at tricking the eye. Sometimes these quilts challenge you to find the quilt blocks hiding in plain sight. Piece Out is a great example of that.

Piece Out Quilt
Piece Out by Jenny Doan

I’ve come across quilters who love every Snowball quilt they see, as it allows for versatility and creativity in their quiltmaking. Have you ever made a quilt with this block? Share photos of your quilt with us on the Fons & Porter Facebook page or tell us about it in the comments below.

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.