Backwards Friday: The Crayon Box

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: The Crayon Box
  • From: The Quilter’s Newsletter
  • Issue Date: April 1976
  • Description: “Mrs. Bills writes, ‘This pieced block is particularly easy for beginners, as there are no cross seams to match. It is easily pieced by machine, and can be made any size to fit any bed.’ The pieced blocks can be set alternately with plain white blocks of the same size, or they can be set together with narrow sashing to frame them. We suggest a very dark color, such as navy, brown, or black for this sashing. A dark shade will unify and tone down the bright colors in the ‘crayon boxes’. The binding should be the same color as the sashing. If alternate white blocks are used, quilt them with a repetition of the shapes in the pieced blocks (Fig. 1). Outline quilt the patches in the pieced blocks.


The Crayon Box is meant to be colorful and would easily make a very cute baby quilt.


I used a Grunge Jelly roll by Moda for the top I was creating from this pattern.


A very good mix of colors and they aren’t solid; they have “scratch” marks on them to give them a little design. I did the math and a jelly roll could make 20 blocks – a quilt of 4 blocks wide by 5 blocks long.




After trimming the selvage, you will cut the following from an UNfolded jelly roll strip. I showed pictures how i started from the selvage end and cut towards the fold.


From a colorful jelly roll measuring 40 strips at 44″ x 2 1/2″ cut (2) 4 1/2″ and (1) 6 1/2″. Unfold the remainder, iron it flat and cut (1) 8 1/2″ and, if there is enough left, cut one more 4 1/2″. From one jelly roll, unfolded when you start cutting, you will finish off with (4) 4 1/2″, (2) 6 1/2″ and (1) 8 1/2″. There is the potential for one more 4 1/2″ from the remaining piece. These extra 4 1/2″ pieces will be used for a colorful binding when done your top.

From scraps of black fabric (or white, if you prefer), cut (20) 4 1/2″ x 4 1/2″. I didn’t even use a half yard of scraps when I cut mine.



Assembly is similar to that of the Log Cabin; however, it is slightly different, so pay attention to the pictures. After mixing and matching your pieces in the above layout, trying for a variety of colors in each of the 20 blocks, you’ll start sewing it together. I lay all of mine out and stacked them, allowing me to chain piece each addition. If you can keep yourself straight and not get mixed up, it isn’t too hard to chain piece these blocks.


Attach one 4 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ piece to each side of your center 4 1/2″ x 4 1/2″. Iron and set back where it belongs in your stack.



Attach one 8 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ to the top and bottom of the first pieces. Iron and set back where it belongs on your stack. Sew the outsides together as shown – two 4 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ at the top, two 4 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ at the bottom; two 6 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ on the left and two 6 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ on the right. See picture for clarity. You can click the picture to see a bigger sized example. Just click back on your browser when done to come back here.


Attach the top and bottom as shown.


And then attach the left and right as shown. You are done. I created all 20 blocks at the same time using chain piecing.


Terribly sorry about the picture. It was late last night when I finished and the lighting wasn’t as good. You can see the twenty blocks, though.


The original picture shows a 1″ sashing between the blocks. I had a black Moda Jelly roll and am using those 2 1/2″ strips to do the sashing. I may alternate the rows as Jenny Doan talks about instead of lining them up and down. We’ll see and I’ll show when done. It could be a few days.

This is a quick and easy block that looks delightful when done. You can use it for a swap or create one for a quick baby shower gift. As always, any questions, please ask. When I was finished the blocks, I had (40) 4 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ pieces left over. You can see them in the featured image of this post. I will attempt to use them as binding when I am finished the quilt top. In effect, one colorful jelly roll, one black jelly roll and I’ve a beautiful lap quilt or baby quilt. You could add borders and make it to just about any size, at this point. Even a nice twin sized quilt for a teenager!

P.S., the finished size of this block is 12 1/2″ x 12 1/2″. I forgot to say that!


Categories: Quilting | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Backwards Friday: The Crayon Box

  1. Ruth

    I love this, I will put it on my bucket list of quilts to do. Thank you

  2. Carol

    I miss seeing you one Facebook. Finally cut my fabric for this one!

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