Backwards Friday: Garret Windows

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: Garret Windows
  • From: The Quilter’s Newsletter
  • Issue Date: July/August 1985
  • Description: “Twisted Ribbons. Ribbons can weave in and out of the pattern; they can also appear to twist back on themselves. Several effective block and border designs depend on this illusion, and striped fabric makes the most of them. Garret Windows (8), a Nancy Cabot design, is a pattern that can change dramatically if the fabric is thoughtfully placed. In this design the ribbon effect is enhanced by staggering the blocks when they are set together.
  • Description, cont.: “Think of part of the twisted ribbon as shadow. You can use two stripes, a dark and a light, to obtain the shadow effect. You can also use a dark solid for the “back” of the ribbon or use the same stripe and line it up throughout the pattern.
  • Description, cont.: “You may want to adapt a pattern to make the twisted ribbon effect more dramatic. Piecers basically work with two types of intersecting seams. One is the mitered corner and the other is what carpenters call a “butt” joint where one piece butts up against another at a 90° angle, as the latter looks more like a twist. The Ribbon Border Block (9) from the Ladies Art Company catalog is more effective when the mitered seam is changed in this way.


This pattern was found in the middle of a bunch of other patterns and ideas utilizing striped fabric written by Barbara Brackman for the Quilter’s Newsletter. I agree that stripes can change a design and make it spectacular; however, I’m not overly fond of them. I have enough problems with seams lining up. I don’t need to add the frustration of keeping stripes lined up!


A close up of the tiny little picture she had, with no instructions on how to make it up. It is rather simple, though, when it is broken down to it’s squares. At first, though, I attempted to make it as they would have, with Y-seams. It was a miserable failure but I will include my math and methods for anyone who wishes to try it. The finished block should be 12 1/2″.







Isn’t my drawing cute? Scribbled out work after the failed first attempt and then using HSTs for a perfected block. However, to create the block with no seams in the pieces designed to be whole…


  • Dark Fabric (the center square): (1) 4 1/2″ x 4 1/2″
  • Print Fabric (in the above picture, the striped fabric): (2) 4 1/2″ x 8 1/2″
  • Light Fabric (the shaded area above): (1) 8 7/8″ x 8 7/8″ (will create two triangles)
  • White Fabric (tiny triangles beside the center dark): (1) 4 7/8″ x 4 7/8″




First, cut your white fabric in half. You’ll have two tiny triangles for use on the block.









Next, cut your light outer fabric in half, as well, to create two triangles.









This next step is tricky. However, you’ll lay down your print fabric and cut it from the 4 1/2″ mark to the corner, creating a piece 8 1/2″ on the bottom but only 4 1/2″ at the top.








To assemble, start by adding wings to your center dark square as seen to the left.









Next, add the print fabric as shown to the top and bottom of your dark center.








IMG_6217 Attach the pinks to the outsides to complete the block.









My completed block with no seams where there shouldn’t be. It measured just 12″ one direction and close to 13″ the other direction. I’m not sure where I failed. If anyone does attempt this as I wrote and come up different, please let me know! I’d love to know how I goofed it up!







Now, for the block with HSTs….


  • Dark Fabric (the center square): (1) 4 1/2″ x 4 1/2″
  • Print Fabric (in the above picture, the striped fabric): (2) 4 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ and (1) 4 7/8″ x 4 7/8″
  • Light Fabric (the shaded area above): (2) 4 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ and (1) 4 7/8″ x 4 7/8″
  • White Fabric (tiny triangles beside the center dark): (1) 4 7/8″ x 4 7/8″


IMG_6222   IMG_6223

Create your HSTs. Match (1) white 4 7/8″ and (1) light 4 7/8″ piece & (1) print 4 7/8″ and (1) light 4 7/8″ to create four (two of each) HSTs when finished. To create the HSTs, draw a line from one corner to the other diagonally, sew on either side of the line by 1/4″ and then cut along the drawn line.



I took exactly zero pictures of assembly. Assembly is pretty straight forward after creating the HSTs, though. Set up your squares as the picture above shows and sew them together – three rows of three blocks each.

The patterns you can create with the finished blocks is the part I was excited to take pictures of….


I created nine blocks total so I could play with the patterns.


As you can see here, more of the blocks could create quite a unique pattern of a ribbon across the top of a quilt. A sweet looking baby quilt, actually!


What about surrounding another piece of fabric – like the one above, a cheater quilt fabric I got from JoAnn’s a million moons ago?


Split it up and add a solid fabric between them for a neat top?


Wrap it around a center square?


Create a sweet looking illusion?


Or, just play around and create whatever heart desires. I had a lot of fun playing with this and I only created nine blocks! Imagine if I had 12 … or 20? They were pretty quick and easy after creating the HSTs. A quick afternoon quilt top!

As always, if you have any questions, please let me know. If you do create this block, I’d love to see your variations. Also, I found another tutorial about the block HERE. She has some pretty colors in hers, as well.


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