BROKEN DISHES – August 2021

While practicing my piecing and cutting of HSTs, using the accordion method (that was the process used for the project in the class many of us took with Beth Helfter) I stuck the finished blocks on my design wall and then just stared at them all for many weeks.  I had used lots of scraps from my “what can I do with this” box and cut the pieces into  5” squares. Many of the scraps were already five inch squares, which is why I went with that size.  So now I had a wall full of 4-1/2” (more or less!) HST blocks:


It should have come as no great surprise when I found a quilt using all HST’s in solid vibrant colours named “Postcards from Sweden”.

I also might have guessed there was a name for the HST block layout –  which I did not realize was actually a quilt design.  And don’t all quilt patterns have at least one name – if not more?  Of course!  One of the names for this pattern is Broken Dishes. And that is what I had growing on my design wall.

This pattern also goes by the names of Yankee Puzzle, Old Tippecanoe, Bow Ties,  Hour Glass, and Whirling Blade, depending on the layout and final design. Two fascinating things about this quilt design: (1) it was specifically for using scraps, and (2) history records it as one of the earliest piecing designs from around 1790 – after the Crazy Quilt fad. There was a site that had this information, but it seems to have become inaccessible.

Quilting Daily site has photos of beautiful Broken Dishes quilts using a variety of patterns:

Even if you do not EQ (like me) you can still find some information and design inspiration on the following page:

One more photo and description of a silk Broken Dishes quilt:     

Below is a photo of a bit of the Yankee Puzzle quilt I made for my daughter about 3 years ago. I had no idea it was a variation of Broken Dishes. Only two of the blocks used the same combination of fabrics (a total accident). I wish I had known about the accordion method for this!

Pieced by Susan Detwiler and Quilted by Lynn DiAngelis

As of today I have made three times as many HSTs as in the photo at the start of this blog and will have a wonderful twin size quilt – or perhaps larger! – but my goal is for a twin size for the guest room.

The tutorial above can be found at the following link:

For those of you who are interested in tutorials in a video formant, go to Missouri Star Quilt via youtube:

And sew it goes: “Rose is Rose is Rose”

Submitted by your intrepid website editor and blogger – Susan D