Hello! Welcome back to Manx Quilting part 2 – how to make a Manx quilt block! If you’re looking for the background of Manx quilting and where it comes from, you can find it in Part 1 here. I was so tickled by the reaction to that post. There really is something about the Isle of Man and its people that pulls you in and makes you love them. It was fun to find out that it wasn’t just me!
I’m so excited to walk you through the process that I learned for making a traditional Manx Quilt block. As you can see, it is similar to a traditional American Log Cabin quilt block in terms of appearance and layout. The construction has some similarities and some differences. (Others have commented that they learned a similar piecing technique elsewhere – I don’t know if those techniques were developed independently or inspired by this traditional Manx version. I’d be curious to know!)
My blocks are made with my Gretel fabric collection. More details at the bottom of the post where you can find Gretel fabric. 🙂
Thanks for your patience while I finished preparing this tutorial. (Writing tutorials always takes me about 3 times longer than I expect them to take!)
In addition to the how-to, here’s a little bit of the history of why this method was developed. As I mentioned in Part 1, the main reasons this method evolved was that it was very inexpensive and did not require any fancy notions – only what was had on hand: scraps of fabric from worn-out clothing, a needle and thread, and literal hands. No batting, no rulers, no rotary cutters, and often no scissors!
Keep in mind, almost everything on an island has to be imported, which made everything more expensive, particularly in the beginning of the 19th Century. So everything already on hand was carefully used and reused as much as possible, with as much material sourced from the Island itself – people even built their homes from peat bricks cut out of the side of hills because it was the most economical construction tool available.
As a result, this method was developed to not require any extra supplies. It’s also traditionally done with big hand-stitches, which would have been much simpler in the evening in darker homes where lighting would have also been expensive.
The strips were an ideal use for scraps (still are!) and they were pieced on a foundation backing in a quilt-as-you-go method. There was no batting (or wadding) in these quilts, making them lightweight and mostly decorative. Heavier rag rugs (also made from fabric scraps) were made as bed covers that would provide needed warmth.
How to Hand Piece a Roof Pattern Manx Quilt Block
Here is my effort to demonstrate the steps of making the Roof Pattern block in the traditional Manx method and goes back to the beginning of the 19th Century.
A foundation square was cut using the span of the hand as measurement. This would keep block size consistent without the need for a ruler, but would obviously vary from quilter to quilter.
The length of the center square (traditionally red, like the American style Log Cabin blocks symbolizing the hearth of the home), came from the length of the middle finger. For me that was 3″.
The width of the surrounding strips were measured from the length of the base of the thumb joint to the bottom of the thumbnail. For me that was 2″. All fabric pieces would have been torn after an initial cut with a knife or by biting, but I was lazy and used a ruler and rotary cutter because I am a wimp. 😉
I think that cutting system is pretty ingenious! No ruler needed, and every maker would have different size blocks or strips, but they would all be perfectly proportioned for each maker.
If you choose to make your own, you can of course use a ruler and or cut them to any size.
The next step to prepare and “mark” the backing fabric is equally clever as it creates a simple guide for uniform strips without any other kind of measurement. First, fold the backing square on both diagonals to get an X in the fabric.
Using the X creases as a guide, center the ‘hearth’ square in the middle of the foundation fabric.
The next step is to create a grid guide for placing the fabric “logs”. Again, no ruler or math required. Simply fold the edge of the foundation square up to meet the edge of the center hearth square. Finger press to crease at the fold.
Now fold again, bringing the creased fold up to meet the edge of the hearth square and crease the fabric again at the new fold. Repeat steps on all four sides.
This will mark 3 even crease lines on all four sides of the center hearth square. You’ll later use these lines as guides.
Place the first ‘log’ or 2″ strip at the top of the hearth square matching the raw edges. Keeping the knot on the front of your work, hand stitch at about a ¼″ seam allowance using a running stitch. (You could do this by machine if you want. I enjoyed having a little handwork project to carry around.) As you can see, I didn’t stress about beautiful stitches or an accurate seam allowance (so liberating, right?!) – you’ll see why in a minute.
Also, don’t cut your thread. A ¼″ before the end of the strip, drop the needle and thread to the back of the foundation block – you’ll bring the needle up when you add each new strip and continue to stitch.
(PS Traditionally with this block, as with log cabin blocks, start with a light colored log, rather than a dark. In my excitement to start this project I picked up a blue/dark strip, so there are more light logs than dark logs in my blocks. This is not the end of the world.)
Now fold the first ‘log’ strip back and line up the outside edge with the first crease in the foundation square. These creases, or fold lines, on the backing fabric are what creates the uniform-sized logs.
Pin the strip in place to keep in from slipping out of place before adding the next log. Rotate the foundation block clockwise 90 degrees, ready to add your next log.
Instead of folding the strip all the back for a nice, flat open seam like we traditionally do in quilting, this will create about a ¼″ pleat at each seam. The pleats in the block nicely hides the big stitches as well as adds extra weight to the quilt, where batting was not available.
The guide in the home (see video in Part 1) did tell us that the quilts weren’t necessarily used for warmth – that heavy rag rugs would have been used on beds for real warmth.
When working on this project I kept a pile of light 2″ strips and a pile of dark 2″ strips next to me while I stitched. When it came time to add the next log/strip I just trimmed the end with my scissors before stitching it in place. Again, so very little measuring and math.
Repeat the same step, adding another log, this time along the edge of both pieces. It’s traditional to keep all of the logs the same width, but don’t stress about the perfect length of your logs – you can always trim after the log is stitched in place.
Bring the needle and thread up where you stopped stitching the first strip. This will not be at the beginning of the second strip, but you will catch the fold of the first strip. The unsewn half inch will be secured by a next round of stitching. (I changed my thread color so it would be easier to see, but recommend using a light or neutral colored thread.)
Fold the new log to the first crease on that side, rotate the block and prepare to repeat these steps to continue building your block.
Continue stitching and folding each strip in place, then rotate the block and repeat.
As with a traditional log cabin quilt, always add the next strip above the shortest log.
Continue to build the block, moving the pins to the outer strips as you go, until you have 4 logs or strips on each side of the hearth center.
Use continuous thread all the way around. (I doubled mine to keep the needle from sliding off.) When you get to the end of your thread, knot it by running 2 backstitches on top of each other before trimming the thread away.
Also, remember to stop stitching ¼″ away from the edge of each strip. This is particularly important to leave a ¼″ free around around the entire edge of the foundation square so that there is space to join the pieced blocks together.
Here is a finished block. All blocks will have 4 strips (or logs) on each side of the center hearth square, but the widths of the finished logs will vary in size depending on the size of the finished block.
How to Hand Sew Manx Quilt Blocks Together
Joining the blocks together: first decide on your layout. I used the traditional Sunshine and Shadows layout for my blocks.
I’m sure there are more effective and efficient ways to do this, but I’ll share how I did it. It’s a little tricky to depict in photos, so bear with me. (If someone knows of a better tutorial for this process, feel free to share the link in the comments!)
Place the blocks right sides together. Carefully fold back the backing/foundation square fabric. (This is the reason for not sewing the seams for your logs all the way to the end of the fabric.) I put pins in place to hold the foundation fabric out of the way so they don’t catch in the seam allowance.
Sew the two pieced blocks together using a ¼″ seam allowance. You can continue to hand piece, if you like. (I chose to sew these seams with my machine for the sake of time.)
Finger press the sewn seam to one side. Pull the background fabric back in place, overlapping the two. I folded down the edge of one of them to create a finished edge and then sewed the folded side down to the other foundation with a simple whipstitch. (Be careful not to go through all of the layers of the fabric, just the two background squares.)
Repeat the same process with the other two blocks for a clean, finished joining of the back sides. (If you are making a bigger quilt, sew all the squares in one row together this way before adjoining the rows.)
While we’re here, feel free to notice my imperfect stitching. I used non-white thread for the demo so it stands out even more. I knew I wasn’t going to have this be a full quilt – it will either be a mini quilt hanging on my wall or a pillow, so now one will ever see the stitches. I decided this was part of the learning and trying something new and I chose not to stress about it. So I give you that permission too. By the time I pieced my fourth block, I’d finally figured out the rhythm, found a needle that I liked etc, and my stitching looked improved on each block.
Remember – trying something new is about broadening your horizon and having fun – don’t let yourself get stuck on perfection.
Repeat the same process when sewing the rows together. Fold back the foundation layers (I double fold one side to get a crease for finishing later.) Place the rows right sides together and sew using a ¼″ seam allowance.
Lay the seam flat in one direction and layer the two foundation squares over each other, turning down one edge for finishing. Whipstitch closed to finish.
And there is my finished mini Manx quilt. Mine finishes at 16″ x 16″ (16 ½″ x 16 ½″ unfinished) because I started with 8 ½″ x 8 ½″ foundation squares. The great thing about this method is that you can start with any size foundation square you want. You can go traditional Manx style and use the span of your hand as your measurement, or you can choose a specific size you want your blocks to finish at (remember to had ½″ for seam allowances).
So there you go! It’s not a perfect tutorial, but hopefully you can understand the Manx quilt block process from my photos. My biggest advice is to just jump in and try and see what you think. I’d love to hear what you think.
For this Manx quilt block, I used my recent fabric collection, Gretel, for Riley Blake Designs. I love the scrappy feel! You can find Gretel from Gordy & Mick’s or Etsy.
Looks really interesting. I love a great scrappy handbseeing project. Do you think you could use a piece of batting as a beginning square?
Really enjoyed your post on this type of Manx quilting! So interesting – I just might have to try it! Thank you for sharing and the lovely stories behind the reason for it!
While I enjoy having so many beautiful fabrics at my disposal, it is nice to be reminded of the basic utilitarian roots of this wonderful hobby. Thanks for sharing.
I was so intrigued by your first Isle of Mann article that I taught myself how to make a block over the weekend. I had just finished a pine burr block and was very curious about folded fabric in other blocks. I even took a pic and posted it to the National Quilt Museum BOM FB page giving you credit for your history of the delightful block and story. Many thanks. BTW, I used my sewing machine.
I just love this so much! I definitely need to try it. Plus, now I want to visit the Isle of Man!
Thank you so much for this interesting Manx block tutorial!
OK that’s just really cool!
I also Rug Hook and even in North America it’s a bit of an old Wives Tale that quilts were used on beds in the winter (in the Northern parts) quilts were for summer bedding, never had any batting. Sometimes a quilter would use an old quilt inside a new one, just so it wouldn’t go to waste and for added warmth.
Rugs (called Bed Rugs) were used as warmth because there was no way anyone would allow perfectly usable fabric to be put on the floor! Later on (early 20th century, it became the norm to put rugs on the floor, fabric was easier to acquire) and quilts began showing up on beds for all seasons.
Love the history of how we lived…it’s really fascinating.
Fascinating! Thanks so much for sharing this information. It really adds dimensions to the history I’ve carted around for years, such as those charts about the cotton production during the Civil War and the availability of imported fabric. As a youth I thought about it with regard to fashion–now I am imagining not being able to keep one’s family warm during winter because there were no bed rugs left intact.
Thank you! I want to give this a try.
Thanks so much for the interesting tutorial. I love log cabin blocks and would like to try this. How do you finish off the edges? I didn’t see any binding.
Good question – I haven’t got around to finishing mine yet! (And forgot to address that in the post.) I think I’ll just put a regular double binding on mine, but probably cut my strips at about 2″ since they don’t need to fold over any batting.
New quilter here. Love this! How do you measure the length of the longer strips? Can’t wait to try, so beautiful. Living in TX, a lighter weight is ideal. Thank you.
Thanks for the tutorial! I enjoyed this post, and really loved part one, as well. Your pictures from the Isle of Man were wonderful! It was raining buckets the two days that I read and reread that post, so, it nearly felt like I was there!
Haha – then yes! You got the feel of that actual day I was there!
Very interesting, I will definitely give this block a try. Thank you for the wonderful tutorial.
I just love this tutorial, the history is just fascinating. I am definitely going to give it a try. Thank you so much!
Thank you so much for sharing this. I think I’ll have to give it a try!
I love when history and creative arts collide. It’s almost like folk music. Remembering our past with words and music and fabric and art. Thank you Amy! 🙂
Me too! Well said!
Thanks, Amy! It’s an excellent tutorial and looks really fun. When I finish my current hand piecing project, I’m going to give this a try.
Thank you, thank you Amy…. that make so much sense and I can’t wait to do this. I have organized my stash and scraps to do this 🙂
This is a brilliant tutorial on the Manx block which I find completely fascinating. I am going to try it out for sure. I had watched your video a few days ago and fell in love with the production method. So lovely using one’s hand and fingers for measurements. I am so relieved to see the use of big stitches as I would love to finish this in my lifetime. (Lol) Your pictures are great and I completely understand what to do. Thank you so much
I worked along with you and made one. I will say my stitches are not that great, but it doesn’t matter! I think my next one will be by machine and see how that works out. Thanks so much for doing this Tutorial!
This was so great. I enjoyed the initial post on Manx quilting. I appreciate the step by step tutorial. I am curious if, traditionally, the blocks were pressed after finishing; or if you pressed your blocks. I do want to give it a try. I like to do hand-work . Thank you.
What a lovely wallhanging! I really appreciate your step by step tutorial. I love handwork so think I’ll try it myself. I have a quilt as you go project started and your method of joining the blocks will help me with that project as well. Thank you for the inspiration.
Amy I think you are great. I appreciate your heart for all of us who do not excel. You do. Thanks so much for your generous spirit.
Thanks for doing this tutorial. I can’t wait to try my hand at one. I think it will be a great vacation (camping) project since I wouldn’t need much in the way of tools to make it.
Thanks, Amy. I can see doing this as an evening hand-sewing project. It would be stress free, I think. I love the idea of using the hand as a measuring tool. Now I’ll have to add the Isle of Man to my travel bucket list!
Thank you for sharing how to do this, love your colors
Amy, thanks so much for a very detailed and easy to follow tutorial. I was intrigued when I saw Part 1. Definitely going to try to make on. As you said, it will make a great hand piecing project for travelling.
I took a class at my LQS called Folded Log Cabin that was similar to this. So glad to know the origin of the proces.
This is really interesting and I want to try it. How did you finish the outer edges?
Thanks for sharing this tutorial, I found it very interesting. I am always on the lookout for something I can make by hand while traveling with the kids for their sport. This will definitely be my next project!
Sooooo interesting…I have to try this!
Your blocks are beautiful in your Gretel fabrics – a perfect choice for the technique. It’s fun to try new things, so I think I’ll have to try it. My grandmother hand stitched her quilts, too. It will be good to have a project that’s portable. Well done, Amy, and so glad to got to visit the Isle of Man again with friends.
I’ve been waiting for the next part of this story. Are you going to show any part of the rag rugs that they had? I immediately zoomed in on the picture of the one on the floor…thank you for sharing!!
Unfortunately I wasn’t smart enough to ask more about (and take pictures of) the rag rugs! Darn. I guess I need to go back!
I’ll see if I can find out for you!
Amy, I thoroughly enjoyed this series of posts on Manx quilting! I think you did a great job, your stitching absolutely did improve thru the process and looked great! I love handwork and the more I read thru this post, the more I was inspired to try this, if even just for a 4 block sample such as yours.
Thanks for your time and efforts to show and teach us new things, I certainly appreciate it 🙂
Peg in Alaska
I love that block and the method looks really fun and enjoyable. But the thing that struck me the most was your adorable fabric. I didn’t think I “needed” to have some, but now I think I do?
Fascinating! And I love the fabrics you used; I’m adding them to my wishlist.
are the second, third, and fourth rows measured and cut to length as you sew outwards to reach them? or is there a formula to determine ahead of time?
I just cut them to the right size as I went along. There may be a formula, but I’m afraid I don’t know it. For me, I liked the freedom of this block and just adding and trimming as I went along.
Excellent tutorial. Thank you!
I’m off to hospital next week and need something to hand sew. Think i might just prepare half a dozen or so and do this. Hospital lighting is not always great, and my new glasses are yet to arrive so nothing that requires fine sewing. So perfect.
Thank You for the tutorial Amy. I love hearing the History. Your Gretel fabrics look terrific in this block!
I don’t know if you’ve heard of her, Amy, but there’s a lovely quilter out of Escondido, CA – Donna Poster – who created “Foldy Stuff” patterns which look like they’re based on this method. It’s actually the first quilt I ever attempted (and it’s still not finished, but that’ll change this year). I wonder if Donna had visited the Isle of Man at one time and had the idea to bring this to public attention, as have you. It’s a wonderful, easy way to get into quilting, although the one downside is it takes soooo much fabric. In any event, I’m so glad you’ve presented this method again, and I look forward to not only completing my quilt but to maybe make one using your beautiful Gretel fabrics.
Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and knowledge with all of us, Amy!
Thanks for the tutorial, Amy. I need something to do in the family room instead of always being in the sewing room. Will be trying this out.
I can’t wait to try this. Thanks for the info on log cabin blocks. I’d never heard that, but I will always incorporate that now. Thanks for a new quilting idea.
Thank you! I want to give this a try. My grandmother made me a quilt when I was about 18 that she had entirely hand made. She pieced the blocks (all are different), then layered with batting and backing. She had quilted each, then put the rows together (still by hand) by sewing the fronts together, basting the batting together, then sewing the backing. She used a ladder stitch to join the back. She then bound it. This reminds me so much of that treasured quilt.
That was a brilliant tutorial thank you. Books you might enjoy from a brilliant quilter are Tucks Textures and Pleats by Jenny Rayment .
thank you for all the beautiful photos of England
Wonderful tutorial. love a history to explain the creation of a quilt/sewing project. Can’t wait to make a pillow. One question — Your seams were 1/4 inch. You ended stitches 1/4 inch before end. When you added next strip why did you start at 1/2 inch in and not 1/4 inch? Again, wonderful history and tutorial. I have a church pew in my family room and can’t wait to add a Manx quilt pillow and share the history with all visitors to my home. Thanks for sharing your talents. Proverbs 25:25.
Wow, I’m case you didn’t get enough comments, let me just say you did an outstanding job with the video, part1, and the directions in this part. The history of quilts is always so interesting. Would love to see you giving a video lesson.
I enjoyed reading your last email on your trip to England and visiting the Isle of Man. Did you know the movie “Waking Ned Divine” was filmed in the Isle of Man? Thank you for showing us how to make a Manx quilt, very interesting and I’m sure it would be quite relaxing to quilt it by hand. Thank you Amy!
Very interesting, Amy! Thanks so much for the tutorial. Will try it. And that is interesting that they used the quilts just like that, with no batting. It might be a nice feel for summer…hmmm.
Amy, this was such an interesting tutorial and you did just fine, I understood with the help of the photos what you were conveying. This is excellent for the Southern States, although I must admit that I use air conditioning and sometimes a warm quilt feels nice.
Keep up the great work, I appreciate your efforts.
Loved this and want to give it a try and even show my quilt guild this concept
This was SO interesting! I loved how innovative and intuitive the way of measuring and creasing was 🙂 I have a question, too… I couldn’t tell from the video but would they ever do any type of decorative quilting on this type of quilt? Or extra reinforcing? And what happens to the folds if it is washed? Wouldn’t the creases come out and have to be redone? Or maybe, as a decorative quilt, it wasn’t washed…? And MAYBE I’m just really overthinking all this, LOL!
Alice J. Friedrich
How wonderful to hear that there is a name for this type of log cabin quilt, and I am humbled by the methods used out of necessity. Years ago my guild started making Wounded Warrior quilts and that was the first kind we made. We started with a square of backing muslin and drew a grid with ruler and pencil. I am thrilled that you filled us in with the history. Also enjoyed the video. Thankyou. Alice Friedrich
Thanks Amy for the fascinating story and tutorial. I have only been quilting for a little more than 3 years and have yet to try hand quilting, so I’d like to try this as my first attempt since I love log cabin quilts. I have some men’s shirts from the Goodwill that I have been collecting for a special project, and I think this is it, especially since it’s about repurposing fabric from clothing, curtains, etc. which was the original reason for making quilts! : D
I think this is a great use for those shirts. I bet they’ll look awesome!
Thank you for this tutorial. I’ve just made my first Manx block. They are going to be a baby playmat quilt for a little boy whose daddy is from the island. I’ve used this traditional block but modern Mickey Mouse fabric. I’m going to add wadding and backing because I want it to be soft for the little one to roll around on. On to the next block…
This is fantastic, you do such wonderful tutorials. The history that you shared with your visit to the isle makes it a destination for me in the near future. Thanks
I am currently using your tutorial to teach myself this new-to-me method! I cut a 9.5 inch square from a striped piece in my leftover box because that was the ruler that was handy and 2″ wide strips. I think using the muslin was better, because I cannot find the pressed lines to match up the edges of my strips. I thought about how the back of the finished piece would look and thought that the good side should face the backs and put the fabric strips on the wrong side. I think I can still do this but will have to use a pencil to mark the folded lines that seem to disappear. Thanks for sharing. Roxanna
Amy, Manx quilts are/were used on beds. The air trapped in them helps provide insulation. Log cabin blocks came from Manx quilting. When our children were young we would holiday there … The Isle of Man has steam trains and is the island of Sodor from Rev. W Audry’s Thomas the Tank Engine. Your quilt colours are lovely and your instructions took me back to the Isle of Man. (I made a cushion front with mine so I can look at iit all the time!)
Thank you!! So cute & fun!
My Father in aw lives on the Isle of Man and I use this technique too. Very detailed explanation and tutorial that you have made.
We were told that the simple action of shaking the quilt when making the bed adds air into the pockets you have created which gives the ‘warmth’ rather than batting on traditional quilts. One person would be responsible for the cutting but everyone can sew. Squares would often be slightly different sizes but that is the nature of the quilt that they could be made with very little light and very little space.
You can add battling sandwiched between the top and base layer but this would not then be traditional Manx Quilting.
It is such a lovely method, and such a comfort to make in an easy way.
<3 oh and anyone who thinks they should go to the Isle of Man, stop thinking and start doing – it's a perfectly charming little island with such variety so close together! but beware of Mannan's cloak and rocks flying onto the prom when the sea is choppy!
Thank you so much for your added insights! Ahh, it’s the best place.
Hi Amy. I found your website and loved the Manx quilt block and its Isle of Man history and artistry. The McLaws family comes from the Isle of Man. I thought a wall quilt like this would be a perfect Item to make for the family reunion this summer. It includes a family auction, and someone will go home with something that is a part of their family history. How fun is that? I loved your Gretel fabric so much that I bought it from Lou Lou’s Fabric Shop. They sent it right out and included a little treat as well. I love hand sewing, so this is just right for me. Thank you for your GREAT presentation.
That is so awesome! And I love that you’re using Gretel. 🙂 I’d love to see it when you’re done!
I completed this Manx wall hanging last August, but I don’t know how to attach a picture of it.
That is awesome! I’d love to see it! Go ahead and send it to me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org 🙂
I found using your hand, thumb and finger for measuring quite interesting. Our hands are uniquely made and the proportions are such that they come out “right” for everyone!
Hi again. Now that I’ve made several of the Manx blocks, I’m so impressed at how simple this block is to construct. There is no cutting many various lengths of fabric and keeping track of them all. I just cut the foundation pieces, cut the center squares, cut the strips the length of the fabric, and start sewing trimming the strips to the right size as I sew. Your instructions are so well written. Thx again. Yes, I’m sewing them by hand. Love it.
Awesome! I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed it, Sandra!
I just loved experimenting with your mini quilt. I like trying new things and this was so cute and once you got the idea down it was a lot of fun. Lap quilting is so nice as you can sit down relax and enjoy it. Log cabin was the first quilt I made and I have it hanging up even though it doesn’t go with anything it is my piece of art. Thanks again for sharing.
Oh, that’s wonderful! I’m so glad you enjoyed it.
Thank you, Amy! I just stumbled across your blog and I am so glad that I did! You’re tutorial is perfectly clear and it is such a fun thing to read. I will certainly try this quitting project. May have to visit Isle of Man as well! Thank you again from a new follower of your blog. ?
Amy, this was my first encounter with your work and I’ll confess I know nothing about you yet, but… You should write ‘How to construct quilt blocks’ books.
I’ve struggled with log cabin blocks and needed a little clarification before starting my niece’s birthday present… Now I feel extremely confident that it’ll turn out ok now!
Many thanks Lynda x
I’m so glad! Thanks for your nice comment, Lynda!
Hi, I have now made two Manx quilts, the first from my husband’s shirts & ties. He died in 2010. The second for my young friend who was off to college. After learning about Manx quilting my friend & I visited the Isle of Man to see this quilting method in situ. My friend is now into Manx quilting. Because as you said we we can make the squares on the go, but we mainly make them in the winter months while watching the tv or whatever. I am interested how you you have joined your squares as the original Manx folk. Liz Ashcroft.
What a wonderful way to remember your husband! I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed this method – and especially excited that you got to visit the wonderful Isle of Man! And even better to have a friend go with you!
Sounds like so much fun
Thank you for sharing this tradition with us. I found your blog while on vacation. Ran out to the local quilt shop and grabbed some supplies. I did make a few modifications. I wanted to make it a little easier, I chose a jelly roll for my strips, so they are all 2 1/2″ wide not the size of my thumb. The hearth block is also from the roll, so it is 2 1/2′ square. finally I wanted it to be a little larger so i made the base block 11″ the same as a sheet of paper. My 1st block came out great. It is a nice project to travel with. I was going to add a picture of it but I don’t see a was to do it. I did post it to my pinterest page with a link to your tutorial.
Awesome! I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed this project. It is a really pleasant one to work on, isn’t it?
Hi Amy ,love this Tutorials one of the best explained ,would be great for beginner to thankyou Karen
I tried this and love the block. Your instructions are excellent and make my look talented! Thank you!
Thank you very much for this tutorial. It is clearly presented and really interesting ❣️
I was just introduced to your site the night before last and find it addictive. You got my attention and kept it. Marvelous job. I have already done two blocks of the Mannx block and before I was through with the first one, I remembered something from my youth whereas Great Grandma’s house had feather beds and the quilts were, for the most part, wool since that was the fabric that was the most used in Scotland at the time. Those quilts, if done with wool, would not need batting because they would be plenty warm due to the way they were made. Of course, I could very well be wrong but thought it was worth thinking about. Those tartan plaids would be beautiful in those quilts. You have done a wonderful job and I’ll keep watching you. Thank you very much!
Oh! I can’t imagine how beautiful (and warm!) those wool tartan quilts must have been.
Thanks so much for visiting my site and for your kind words. xo
Made your Manx quilt blocks into a tablecloth due to no batting it was easy wash and no lumps to tip over glasses on. Perfect. It was my car traveling project. Also perfect. I also just finished your craftsman quilt pattern in fish fabric for my adult son and he just loves it. Thank you for another great pattern Amy.
That is fantastic! I’m so glad you enjoyed it.
Gay Purdon Broodryk
My mother’s father (Farrant) came from the Isle of Man ……. Jurby area. He came out to a job in South Africa (he was an engineer). Married my grandmother and they had six children. We visited the island about three years ago and found it fascinating so I intend to make a quilt so thanks for these instructions.
What a great connection. I love it!
This is the BEST explanation of the MANX block ever… Time to bring it to our guild, again, after this Pandemic, of course, and get mine out of the UFQ closet and get back to work on it and relax and enjoy the process…
Keep up the good work..
Thank you, Heather. I’m so glad it was helpful!
Nice Tutorial! Thank you. Good memories because that is where the Bee Gees were born! (The Isle of Man)
Yes!! I had friends who told me proudly that the Bee Gees lived nearby before they emigrated!
I am a little behind the rest of you with learning to do this quilt block but I just finished my sample block and it was easy and fun. Now I am trying to decide if i want to make it “scrappy” or have some kind of color theme. Scrappy is more authentic but this is all hand sewn so should be a masterpiece when completed. Thank you for the great instructions. My mother’s ancestors were from the Isle of Man so this was equally historically fun to make.
Hi, This was great help in understanding how to join the foundation squares together, thank you! What about the raw perimeter edges? I’ve never made a quilt, this Manx is my first, and I’m not clear on how to finish off the outside edges once all the blocks are sewn together…If you can help! I mean it to be a washable, usable blanket quilt. Gratefully,
That is a great question! When finishing my mini quilt version I used the same binding method that I use for all of my quilts: https://www.diaryofaquilter.com/how-to-finish-and-bind-quilt/
Because this quilt doesn’t need to wrap around a layer of batting you could cut your binding at 2″ wide for a smaller binding width if you want.
Amy, i loved your stories about the Isle of Man & the Manx blocks, so I started working on one awhile back. I’m about 8 blocks in now, & my 5yo granddaughter was very helpful in choosing which fabrics to use as I progressed. She was enchanted with how the blocks went together, & we’ve agreed that whatever size this turns out to be, the finished quilt will be hers. Thanks so much for sharing this block-making process! It’s the ideal handwork project to do while “watching” TV.
Aww, I love it! What an extra special tie to share the experience with a granddaughter. She will treasure the quilt and the memories with you. xo
Really brilliant, Amy. Your tutorial was so instructive, so clear and perfect, really. So happy I found your site and will be back. Thanks so much!
Michele (Micky) Norbeck
Hi Amy.i watched your manx tutorial and video and read your article in may 2021AQ a few days ago and loved it. I made my first block last night. Can you recommend a good needle ro hand sew with. What i used was very hard to go thru the 4 layers at the beginning and end of each strip.
Oh, I’m so glad! And that is such a good question. I remember trying a bunch of different needles when I worked on that project – I wish I’d recorded the one that worked best. I’d definitely recommend a sturdy, longer needle with a good, sharp point. I think I ended up using one that I also use for hand binding.
Hi Amy. I so loved your tutorial for this wonderful block and the story that went with it. I am definitely going to try this. Makes a beautiful block.
Rose in London
Hi Amy! I loved this but couldn’t work out how the blocks were sized up as the square got bigger. If they are 2 inches deep, how much longer should each one be? I’d like to try this because I enjoy hand sewing, but help!
No sure if I’m answering your question, but here’s what I think you’re asking: the only way to change the size of the blocks is to change the size of the foundation backing square. You can cut your foundation square any size that you want – that will be the size of your finished block. I hope that helps!
Rose in London
Sorry Amy, I didn’t phrase that well. What I meant was how do you work out the length of the next strip as you go round the centre? Can you work it out from the lines on foundation backing square? I love your tutorials, by the way, they’re very helpful. I read your blog a lot!
Ahh. You don’t need to premeasure the length of each strip – just lay down the next 2″ wide strip/log along the edge of the pieces where you’re going to sew and trim the length using those pieces as the guide. Like in this picture: https://i0.wp.com/www.diaryofaquilter.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Add-second-strip-log.jpg?resize=768%2C603&ssl=1
Amy, thank you so much for such a kindly written and well explained blog post, I love the pleat and the stitches and that strong emphasis on keeping it personal tactile and free of perfectionism. Thank you again x
This was such a great tutorial, thank you so much. I live in England and am so pleased to now have my next sewing project. Take care Mx.
Kathy Mitchell Shealy
I’m just getting into quilting, and out of all the different patterns I see, I kept coming back to a Manx quilt I saw. I did some research, said yep, this one. But only today did I learn the history. My brother had his (our) DNA done a few years ago, and interestingly enough, I am 11% Viking.
Amy, thank you for this tutorial and the history of the Manx log cabin block. I did not know that was the name of it. My grandmother made this style of pleated log cabin quilts for years for all her grandchildren. She used only repurposed fabrics, no batting and backed them with flannel. She sewed the flannel backing to the front all around the outer edge, RST leaving an opening for turning it right side out. She tied the layers together with red yarn at the block intersections. She passed away in 1992 at age 101. We grandchildren are now in our 70s and 80s. We have kept many of her well-worn quilts and enjoy recognizing pieces of our childhood dresses, her kitchen curtains and old tablecloths in them. I took up quilting when I retired in 2006 and I always wanted to make a log cabin quilt like hers but couldn’t figure out how she got the pleats in them. Now I know! I’m excited to try this. Thank you so much!
Well hooray! I’m so glad it was helpful. And what a treasure you have with those quilts your grandmother made. I love it.
Patricia A Allen
This was wonderful and beautiful!!