Building Blocks-A FREE Machine Quilting Tutorial

Machine Quilting, Lori Kennedy

Good Morning, Quilters!

I trust you had a happy Memorial Day!

Did you #losethosefatquarters?  Move More?  Eat Less?

I will confess my weekend was a mixed bag -Move More + Eat More…but I’m back on track today!

We’re building new attitudes…#No Excuses!


Today’s tutorial is very similar to the Bricks tutorial, but I think it looks different enough to warrant its own tutorial.

Building Blocks would make a great border, all-over or fill pattern and it could be used to fill in the square corners of any border.

This motif scales to any size–from very large to very small.  In the samples below, the grid is 1-1/2 inch by 1-1/2 inch.

Begin by drawing a grid.  You can use a ruler or a grid stencil.  I used a ruler for this size.

The squares will be stitched clockwise then counter-clockwise.  Each square is 1-1/2 revolutions.

Begin on the left side of the grid and stitch one full clockwise revolution, with rounded edges.

Machine Quilting, Lori Kennedy

Offset the stitches, and stitch over the top to begin the next square–counterclockwise.

Machine Quilting, Lori Kennedy

Continue stitching counter clockwise.  As you finish the second square, there will be three parallel lines between the motifs.

Machine Quilting, Lori Kennedy

machine quilting, Lori Kennedy

The next square will be counter-clockwise…

machine quilting, Lori Kennedy

At the corner, stitch a full revolution and a 3/4 revolution…machine quilting, Lori Kennedy

machine quilting, Lori Kennedy

Before you begin the next row….

machine quilting, Lori Kennedy

Continue stitching the grid.


This is an easy motif to stitch, once you see the pattern.  Draw a grid on paper and DOODLE FIRST!

Plain Building Blocks create a gorgeous texture–with a very hand drawn feeling.

This Background motif is very Modern, but I think it would look great on a traditional quilt as well.

Machine Quilting, Lori Kennedy


Once you master the Building Blocks, consider adding embellishments along the way.

The designs can be added once the full square is stitched.

Machine Quilting, Lori Kennedy

Add the interior design, then exit the square and continue around the Block to the next motif.

Small Sailboats or Fish would be great!

Spirals are great!

Machine Quilting, Lori Kennedy

Or add letters…

Machine Quilting, Lori Kennedy

Or my favorite, Stars!

We will be doodling stars on Thursday…

Version 2

Be creative–anything would look cute once you have The Building Blocks!

Speaking of creative…

Try one of my Craftsy classes at 50% off…(shameless self promotion….)


Lots more quilting this week!

But get your steps in first!!!

Happy, Healthy Quilting,


PS…All tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free to re-blog, pin or share with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at  Thanks!



20 thoughts on “Building Blocks-A FREE Machine Quilting Tutorial

  1. This is your first ever tutorial where it is not super clear how to proceed with a row or grid of boxes. On my computer screen the drawn grid is not visible, so I was not even able to tell whether you used the whole space or just a quarter section. With only two boxes showing I could not tell how to finish the pattern, as I never visualized the “three parallel lines between the motifs”. I am not a raw beginner, and I love your tutorials that have easy, step-by-step directions that make me think, “I could do that”. This one just needs a few more steps.

    • Wow! I take it all back! When I first viewed the tutorial, steps 3-8 were missing! No wonder I could not understand the directions. I came back another day to try to understand and lo and behold – the missing steps were there, with the grid marks clearly visible. I knew your work to be always impeccable. Wish I could say the same for my computer.

  2. I have to agree with Kim. It’s cute, but I can’t figure out how to continue it either.
    My holiday was similar to yours. I moved more, but I also ate more. Everyone seems to take their most delicious (and highest calorie) dishes to the family picnic!

    • Hi Rebecca,
      Thank you for letting me know that this was unclear- perhaps I had didn’t have enough coffee (or maybe too much?) I’ve added more photos to the tutorial–so it should be clearer now. Please review the post again…Thanks!

      • Thanks, Lori! I see it now. I can’t wait to try it! Maybe I should have looked at it on my PC instead of my iPad. I love all the different combinations that we can use with it. It should be fun.

  3. Cute pattern, and great fill for a baby quilt. Along with Kim and Rebecca, I’m having trouble getting from block two to three, and how to move on to the next row.

    • Hi Pat–I’m copying my response to the other ladies:

      Thank you for letting me know that this was unclear- perhaps I had didn’t have enough coffee (or maybe too much?) I’ve added more photos to the tutorial–so it should be clearer now. Please review the post again…Thanks!

  4. I didn’t see this post until this evening . What I have found is If I enlarge the pictures. Including the whole sewn grid, on my screen I can follow where Lori has gone to next. Also looking at the motif squares one can see hoe they were begun and then finished to move onto the next square. To do this one would need to plan the motif place et and where they were to go in the grid. I will enjoy trying this Thank you Lori.
    Mary, holidaying in France and photographing old wrought iron balconies which could become great quilting patterns

  5. This will take some drawing practice to learn the pattern, but it definitely is something I want to do. I can see how versatile this filler would be, especially by adding extra motifs within the blocks. Love it! Do you know if you can use gift credit cards on Craftsy?

    I’m back on the nutrition/move more plan after a vacation and some medication adjustments. I will be doing a little more planning ahead this week. I have lots of things to get caught up on. This is a website I think you may enjoy. It was recommended to me by a dietician.

  6. Pingback: Race Car Mini Quilt | The Inbox Jaunt

  7. Pingback: Doodling Stars | The Inbox Jaunt

We'd LOVE to hear! Please reply...