Backwards Friday: Homing Pigeon

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: Homing Pigeon
  • From: The Quilter’s Newsletter
  • Issue Date: January 1981
  • Description: Mary Lou Smith has created a beautiful patchwork with scraps and a very simply constructed block based on a square and triangle. She wanted her quilt to depict birds returning home at dawn, and she entitled it Homing Pigeon. Because the colors in the sky are constantly changing at dawn, she colored in the background of the blocks differently than the others.
  • Description, Continued: For example, some of the blocks are sewn as in Fig. 1 so that several colors may be used for the A squares; other blocks have these squares combined into one color, as in Fig. 2. The quilt may be made with either block, or with both, depending on the preferred color interpretation. If you choose Block B, note that piece 3A refers to a patch which is 9″ x 3″ finished size (or 3 x A).

This was a fun block to recreate and extremely easy. You can use many different colors to put it together or do all of them exactly the same.


As you can see in the picture, she was creating it to look like a sunrise, with the color changing as it goes up the quilt (the backgrounds) – and it is beautiful! If you look closely at the picture, you’ll see the the quilting pattern appears to be a stitch in the ditch. I find it accentuates the blocks very well and I really like it! Play with your own ideas. I will show you my creation.


Materials List:

  • Color A (light color or the shifting colors of the night/morning sky): (3) 3.5″ x 3.5″
  • Color B (Medium dark or a variety of colors similar to color C): (2) 3 7/8″ x 3 7/8″ (for HSTs)
  • Color C (Dark fabric or a variety of colors similar to color B): (4) 3.5″ x 3.5″ AND (2) 3 7/8″ x 3 7/8″ (for HSTs)

Putting the block together is relatively simple. It starts with creating our HSTs. By now, we should all be familiar with my method. You can use whatever method brings you joy; however, the way I cut my fabrics leans to using my method more than others. You can see the picture above for the placement when you’re done cutting and creating the HSTs.


Or look at my placement using some Christmas charm pack fabrics.


After sewing the rows together (4 rows of 4 blocks each), just put it all together…


If I had it to do over, I’d change the second block in on the third row down. I’d make it a little darker black. I was playing and this is what I came up with. I may do this again as a larger quilt but I’ve quite a few projects I am working on right now, so I will have to table this idea for a bit.



I’ve included the pictures of the other placement ideas. If you wish me to do the math for you, please let me know. I did the tutorial for one of the placement ideas that I came up with. If you wish to try and do the math yourself, each block represents 3.5″ before stitching. HSTs have to be 3 and 7/8″ before creating the HST. Please ask, if you want me to write up another placement for you. I’ll gladly do it but did not wish to confuse by doing all of them in one post.

As I said, a quick and easy block. Very fun to do and it can use a charm pack – mix up the charm packs with the lights (Color A), medium-darks (Color B) and darks (Color C) and you’ve got a fantastic quilt in no time and not very expensive! I wonder how sashing would work on a quilt of the Homing Pigeons? If someone makes one, send me a picture, I’d love to share it!


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