Backwards Friday: Lover’s Knot

What does Backwards Friday mean?

It means I am going backwards in time to play with quilt blocks of times gone by.

Each Friday, I will introduce a new block from some of the old magazines that I have laying around. I have a few hundred of them, so it will be fun to find new blocks for each Friday.

I will research the block. I will write it up, the best way I know, using “modern” methods. Then, I will post the block here for y’all to play with. If you make it, please let me know. You can share pictures on my Facebook wall if you are unable to do so here.

  • Block: Modern Lover’s Knot
  • From: The Quilter’s Newsletter
  • Issue Date: April 1971
  • Description: Modern Lover’s Knot, a Leman Original —- an easy pattern. Two versions are suggested. The pattern pieces below are for a 12″ block. This size block should be set diagonally with 3″ dark strips as Fig. 1 illustrates. This setting arrangement calls for 7 pieced blocks and a 2″ border, resulting in a quilt about 58″ x 85″. Make border of three strips which repeat design in the block. Cut two 17″ squares of white on the diagonal to get the four large triangles which fill out the corners. Cut a 12″ square on the diagonal to get the two smaller triangles on the sides. To make the version show in Fig. 2, make the pattern pieces three times their present size. Thus the square would be 6″ instead of 2″. Piece C would be 18″ long x 2″ wide; other pieces would be in proportion. This would make a block 36″ square. Outline this block with a 2″ dark strip resulting in a 40″ square. Add 20″ strips of white at both ends (20″ x 40″). Add 12″ strips of white along both sides (12″ x 20″). Add a 4″ dark border all around. Version 2 is recommended for beginners.
  • Description, Continued: You may wish to use a fancy, curved quilting design in the large white spaces to contrast with the geometric block design. Outline quilting of all pattern pieces is also suggested with criss-cross quilting in strips and borders. See issue 16 for estimating yardage.

This block design is a Leman original. Mrs. Bonnie Leman was the founder of the Quilter’s Newsletter. She has a long history of writing this magazine to help quilters learn and share their knowledge. Her family quickly got involved in the process and it became a family business for several years. Following THIS LINK will allow you to download a PDF file that talks about Mrs. Bonnie Leman. It is well worth the read and I recommend everyone taking a look at a pioneer in quilting magazines.


This block gave me quite a few fits. I tried to use what they had written up in the magazine as a template and failed miserably. Perhaps I’m too spoiled with modern methods that I can’t figure out the old way of doing things. I measured and remeasured and still could not figure out how they managed to get that template into a 12″ square.



I upsized the pieces and tried to piece it together on my own. I’m a smart lady! I can do this! Not likely, this time. It was kicking my butt, no matter what I did or tried.

I kept trying and it was nearly three hours before I finally realized I was approaching it wrong. Typically, I take a pattern and cut it up into sections in my mind. I see what belongs where and recreate one piece and section at a time, using a finished part to guide me on sizing for the rest. Why was I trying to cut piece that were all different sizes and mash them together?


I sat down and redrew the pattern, using my section method. When I was done, I finally had a pattern that worked. Instead of trying to cut it like the picture of the template, I cut it using “modern methods,” which is my motto. I can’t believe I fought with this for over three hours for nothing! It was so simple!

My block is 9.5″ when complete. You have to do four at a time to get the effect of the pattern, however, and then it will be an 18.5″ block for use in a quilt or otherwise. You can’t just do one and walk away. So, down below, where I give the instructions, remember that you have to follow those instructions four times to get the desired effect.

Fabric Needs:

Color 1 (White in my sample):

  • (2) 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ (for HST)
  • (2) 9 1/2″ x 1 1/2″
  • (3) 6 1/2″ x 1 1/2″
  • (1) 3 1/2″ x 1 1/2″
  • (1) 5 1/2″ x 1 1/2″
  • (1) 4 1/2″ x 1 1/2″

Color 2 (Blue in my sample):

  • (1) 9 1/2″ x 1 1/2″
  • (1) 6 1/2″ x 1 1/2″
  • (1) 5 1/2″ x 1 1/2″
  • (1) 4 1/2″ x 1 1/2″

Print Fabric (the center Red in my sample):

  • (1) 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″

We do NOT premake the HSTs for this pattern. Please do not premake them as we have done before.

Now, for the instructions:

We are going to start by doing a Log Cabin style with a few of our pieces. The pictures should help with the placement and working around on this block. I made my first block by itself and then, when it worked and I was happy, I did chain piecing for the other three blocks we have to create. Remember, all the fabric requirements above need to be times by FOUR to do this block correctly. When you are done cutting, lay out your pieces like this….


Laying it out this way on your ironing board really helps with the chain piecing. We’ll take two pieces at a time and work our way around.


The first thing we’re going to do is the red center square with the white 3 1/2″ piece above it. Do this one four times and then we’ll move to the next…


As I said, we’ll work this similar to a Log Cabin. Add the side white piece. Do this four times.


Next, the blues… We’ll do the left side and then the top. Yes, I know it is different from the whites but I wasn’t thinking and did it this way.


The blue looks really good with this. At first, I was worried but, as this block came together, I was more and more in love with the colors. The blue is a cheaper, thinner fabric pulled just for playing with and it doesn’t like to be ironed. It warps. My apologies but please know the intent.




By now, I’m sure you know the drill – go ahead and attach the whites as well. Four times – as always, so you have four small blocks.


Lay it back down as it needs to be. It should look like the above picture. Next, we’re going to sew the strips together. You can chain piece these, as well. Don’t mind my blues being warped – it’s just the material I picked. Sew them four times.


With the strips pieced together, we have only to do the HST part, now.



I took the white squares and ironed them once on the diagonal. After setting the crease, I ironed it back flat again. This gave me a quick diagonal line to sew on. Do this four times each set (short strips and long strips).


Trim a quarter inch past the sew line (not on the side with the blue strips) and then flip it to iron it flat.


Now attach. Bottom and then right hand side. Four times.


When finished, you should have four of these blocks measuring 9.5″ each.


Set one block up on your design board and set the second next to it – but – turn it 90 degrees to the right as you set it up there. On the bottom shelf, do the same thing, only you’ll need to watch how you turn the blocks so they look like mine above. You’ll see that each block is turned and none of them face the same way. Sew them together.

Your block is finished and should measure 18.5″ square when done. I think it is an awesome block and I’d love to make an entire quilt out of this block! I think it would look amazing!

Edit, Thursday Night at near midnight: I just finished a creation using only this pattern. I took 5 yards of fabric and, with very little to nothing left of it, created the following quilt top. I still need fabric for the borders; however, 5 yards created a 54″ x 54″ quilt. One could add decorative borders, such as the Ribbon Border Block to size this up to a queen or simply put a couple borders on it and have a great lap quilt as a wedding gift. Lover’s Knot is a great idea for a wedding gift, in my opinion.


At first, I was going to create two lap quilt tops. Both using the save set of fabric just different color matches. I have two gals in my life that will be getting married soon and I figured it would be a great gift for them – they are sisters and it would have been awesome to gift them both a lap quilt of the same style.


However, as I was working on the top, I fell in love with the fabrics. This was going to be my newest favorite. I couldn’t give it up. I’m horrible like that but it’s true! So… I set about working up a lap quilt for myself from the five one-yards of fabrics.


I will get a better picture, which really shows off the colors, when it is not midnight. I’ll take it outside in the morning and probably post a picture on my Facebook of the quilt in the sunshine. However! Can’t you just see the simple beauty of this top? I’m in love with the Lover’s Knot pattern from long ago.


Now to find borders and backing for it…


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