Pioneer Quilts

Have Your Cake and Eat It Too!

From Pioneer Quilts: Prairie Settlers’ Life in Fabric • Over 30 Quilts from the Poos Collection • 5 Projects

By Lori Lee Triplett and Kay Triplett

Notes to Instructors & Shop Owners:
Pioneer Quilts tells the tale of the settlers’ life through quilts, and the focus of many of the quilts is a variety of fabrics. Therefore the projects are applicable to a range of fabrics, not just the reproduction lines of the period.  Any store would be able to pull from their particular stock to create the variety of patchwork. The Cake Stand project can be taught from three different approaches:

  1. Color play, with each Cake Stand block reflecting a different color choice, hue, or gradient.
  2. Mix it up, with each student in the class creating 20 Cake Stand blocks, which are then divided up. Each student receives a Cake Stand block from every other student, and the blocks are then assembled.
  3. Musical fabric, with each student bringing or purchasing fat quarters, which are the gifted to the other students in the class. These surprise fabrics create an element of patchwork improv for each student to use as they choose.

The Cake Stand class is the perfect opportunity to explore different techniques for making the perfect half-square triangle: templates, paper piecing, diagonals on squares, commercial grid papers, and tube piecing.

Class Description:

The emphasis of this beginning class is to teach the basics of rotary cutting and piecing half square triangles. Students will learn how to do the math involved in creating HSTs from a square, strip, and template. The pattern is easy enough for beginners, but you could emphasize color dynamics and fabric choice for more advanced quilters. If your students are true beginners, additional classes could be scheduled to teach HST construction, as well as setting the quilt together and finishing the edge.

Class Length:

6 hours.

Class Supply List:

  • Required text: Pioneer Quilts by Lori Lee Triplett and Kay Triplett
  • Fabrics with a wide range of color and texture to create a scrappy look
  • Background fabric in a similar or in coordinating colors
  • Rotary mat, ruler and cutter (may want a square ruler in addition for squaring up; consider using fast2cut Simple Square Templates from C&T)
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread in a neutral color
  • Iron and ironing board (either small for individual work area or to share)
  • Optional: lamp and extension cord (if the room is dark)


Class Agenda:

  1. Show how to use rotary cutter and ruler, as well as how to press seams.
  2. Cut strips of the required sizes for HSTs, basket rectangles, and borders.
  3. Demonstrate how to butt seams together and square up.
  4. Demonstrate how to cut setting squares and triangles, as well as work with biases.
  5. Make 20 cake stand blocks.
  6. Sew rows together 4 across and 5 down.
  7. Teach quilt assembly and finishing.