Can You Identify This Quilt Block? Giveaway!

At my local guild meeting last night, my friend Mary Olson from Holdrege, Nebraska had a quilt that’s been passed down in her husband’s family. The quilt has this block repeated over and over.

moblock1 Can You Identify This Quilt Block? Giveaway!

I don’t think I have ever seen this block before, and Mary hasn’t either. She is in search of more information about the block, so I offered to ask Quilty Pleasures readers what they might know about it.

We aren’t sure how the block should be oriented. In the photo above, it resembles a kitty: arched back, two ears on the right, front paws on the lower right. No tail!

moblock2 Can You Identify This Quilt Block? Giveaway!

In this orientation it reminded us of a bird. He’s heading to the left with a large beak, one wing is up and the other is down—can you see him?






The quilt itself is rectangular however, which means if you put it on a bed, the blocks would be oriented like this:


mo4 Can You Identify This Quilt Block? Giveaway!

Or like this:


mo5 Can You Identify This Quilt Block? Giveaway!

All of the blocks are oriented the same way in the quilt. And each block is made from just two fabrics: a background and a print. (In the hustle of cleaning up after the guild meeting, I didn’t get a full shot of the quilt.)

6825574825 b3b1af4ff1 Can You Identify This Quilt Block? Giveaway!

Mary and friends have looked through Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns and haven’t spotted it, but with thousands of blocks to look through, it’s possible to miss something.

If you recognize the block and could offer any insight, please leave a comment and let us know. Thanks so much for your help.

QMMS 130033 cover 500 Can You Identify This Quilt Block? Giveaway!

Let’s sweeten the pot. The first person to identify the block and offer documentation (something definitive that’s been published and is verifiable) wins a copy of Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Volume 7 and a little bundle of quilty fun.

About Diane Harris

I'm an editor for Quiltmaker magazine in Golden, Colorado, USA. For six years, I wrote pattern instructions, product reviews and how-to articles. Then I spent four years as QM's Interactive Editor, working to generate much of our online content. Now I'm back to patterns and how-tos, which is a great fit for me. I still love writing about quilt-related topics for Quilty Pleasures, and I always have my finger on the pulse of the quilting world. I teach a variety of quilt classes and give guild programs, too. Reach me by email:
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22 Responses to Can You Identify This Quilt Block? Giveaway!

  1. Sandy Call says:

    Looks like a block from the Kansas City Star.

  2. Claudia says:

    Maybe the first block had a mistake and the maker just kept making them with the same mistake? She wouldn’t be the first one, would she?

  3. Lee says:

    I think its a variation on a windmill block.

  4. Wendy says:

    It’s hard to tell from the pictures shown but, could it be that the blocks were supposed to form a pattern by sewing them together instead of separating them with other blocks or sashing.

  5. Looking on left its a bird.On right its a cat.

  6. Laura Valde says:

    Looking through my 101 Patchwork Patterns by Ruby McKim, there is one block that is close, called Whirlwind. Could be a variation or the quilter made several blocks and then saw the mistake and just left it and designed her own pattern!

  7. Sharon says:

    It looks like a bird

  8. Tanya Stevens says:

    Looks like a hummingbird to me

  9. teri klein says:

    We used to call that windmill.

  10. Jeanne Kingsley says:

    Looks like ‘Peek a boo Kitty’

  11. Loretta T says:

    Looks like a kitty block just need some button eyes!

  12. Patricia Blair says:

    It sure looks like a hummingbird.

  13. Barbara Murphey says:

    A variation of Big Dipper, page 78, 1001 Patchwork Designs by Maggie Malone.

  14. judy Urban says:

    Ribbon block

  15. Laura Valdez says:

    Swallows variation

  16. Debra Mack says:

    bird in flight..for sure.

  17. Debra Mack says:

    I agree seems to be a block with a code possibly..reminds me of a hounds tooth segment much later years. It really does look like a cat.

  18. Rose says:

    It looks like a bird pattern.

  19. Sharon says:

    I went to two resources (antique quilt appraisors) each pulled the same book out – The Collector’s Dictionary of Quilt Names and Patterns by Yvonne M khin
    One thought the Windmill variation on page #122 and the other thought the Ladies Wreath on page #150 – but both said the quilter created a variation to form a cat pattern.

  20. Nancy D. says:

    It does look like a kitty and a bird/hummingbird. Let’s call it a Wounded Shooting Square!

  21. Jean Belle says:

    The block looks similar to #1217 Shooting Squares (Nancy Page) or #1216 Electric Fan (Hearth & Home) in 5,500 Quilt Block Designs by Maggie Malone. The quilter has changed one quadrant of the block at the top from a triangle & square to large & small triangles so the color placement resembles a cat or fox. What a sweet quilt!

  22. Cathy Robillard says:

    Not sure of the name. but it reminds me of one of the blocks from the underground railroad. When the slaves used quilt blocks as codes of what houses were safe.

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