Corn and Beans Block

Posted by Ruth on 23 September 2013 | 4 Comments


Corn and Beans quilt block is one of the blocks in Carol's class "Anatomy of a Block" which I'm currently teaching at Quilt University. This will be the last time this class is running, but I've had a lot of fun not only teaching it but making many of the blocks. Carol gives instructions for 12" blocks, I like making 6" blocks. This proved a little more difficult than most.

For Corn and Beans block you need a background fabric, a light, medium light, medium and dark fabric. I chose a pale lemon for my background and a yellow for the light fabric. The other three fabrics were shades of blue.


I cut out what was required to make the 6" block.

Background: FOUR 2" squares cut through the diagonal and EIGHT 1 1/2" squares (not cut through diagonal)

Light Fabric: TWO 2" squares

Medium Light: THREE 3" squares cut through the diagonal.

Medium: SIX 2" squares of which four are cut through the diagonal

Dark: ONE 3" square cut through the diagonal and FOUR 2 1/2" x 1 1/2" rectangles


If you are in the class, you can compare the size difference. Notice these measurements are not half the measurements of the 12" block. Why? because we have to still have the same 1/4" seam allowances therefore the seam allowance is removed first, then the amount is divided in half. Of course, the calculation is a little different for the triangles and half square triangles that are required.

There are two common units used in this block. They are the half square triangle (HST) unit and the flying geese unit. I made these first.

HST and flying geese units

Tip: remember to start stitching in the center of the rectangles when sewing the squares to make the flying gesse. Don't start from the corners as the machine tends to chew at the fabric.

sewing from the center of the rectangle

Once these units are made, I like to lay all the sections out to see how they look. This gives me a good idea as to wheather everything is correct. It is easier to change a fabric now rather than later!

all pieces in position

Now to piece the block together. Start in the center with the dark and medium light triangles. Sew the short sides together and press toward the dark fabric. You'll make two of these units and because the seam is pressed toward the dark fabric, the center seam will butt together perfectly.

center section

Now I need to add a background triangle to a HST unit making sure I sew to the medium fabric, not the light. The seam is pressed toward the triangle. You can see I chained stitched this set.

one triangle add to each HST

I can add the other triangle to the other side now. Once pressed I trim off the ears so the unit is nice and neat. I need four of these. One for each side of the center square.

triangle sections ready to add

I added two opposite sides first, and then stitched on the remaining two. Here's how they look attached.

center with triangles attached

This block is now 4 1/2" square. I could stop here, but then it wouldn't be the Corn and Bean block so I continue on.

I have triangles to sew to each side of the flying geese units....

triangles ready to attach to flying geese unit

and then they can be attached too. The seams should interlock. This is where larger blocks have an advantage as there is a little more room to ease the seam in place. Spray starch can help a lot here too with those bias edges.

It almost looks like the block is complete, but the corners are my blue ironing cover :)

Lastly I add the corner triangles to complete the block.

corn and beans block

quilting classes available at the Academy of Quilting

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  • By taking this class and the other one I am enrolled in I just yesterday discovered you can make 4 identical quarter square triangles using the method that you just described. Darn--I thought I dreamed it up all on my own and no one else knew about it. This way you don't have to use all your fabric money making extra units.

    Posted by Thelma Goodnough, 15/10/2013 11:20pm (8 years ago)

  • Great idea to research different variations and to experiment with color variations as well.

    Posted by Thelma Goodnough, 09/10/2013 6:49pm (8 years ago)

  • What a pretty block. You have such patience going with the six inch block. It looks amazing though!

    Posted by claudia w, 24/09/2013 12:15pm (8 years ago)

  • Love your fabric choices. Your block looks perfect and the instructions are really clear.

    Posted by Thelma Goodnough, 24/09/2013 11:31am (8 years ago)

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