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How to Assemble a Quilt that Uses an Alternate Grid – video tutorial

quilt showing applique woodland animals - fox, raccoon, owl, deer squirrel, bunny, bear, etc.

Quilts that “break” the traditional simple checkerboard grid can be really fun and dynamic, but if you’ve never worked with an alternate grid before, figuring out how to assemble the blocks can be kind of tricky. Take a look at the Noisy Farm quilt.

applique farm animals quilt

You can’t just sew all the blocks into rows and then sew the rows together!

Instead of rows or columns, you break these quilts into chunks – and there’s an easy way to figure out how. That’s what I show you in this new video. 🙂

See? Now that you know how easy it is, try breaking the grid on your own! You could take the Playful Puppies pattern – a simple grid. . .

applique quilt featuring lots of cartoon puppy faces

. . . and add a bunch of half-blocks with puppy sounds using this free alphabet pattern. Arf! Woof! Yip!

Copy the layout of this Woodland Critters quilt. . .

Woodland Critters quilt pattern from Shiny Happy World

And you could have a really fun and dynamic version of the puppies quilt all your own! Noisy Puppies!

Here are a few more posts you might find helpful. . .

Find links to all the posts about pattern size and layouts here.

Quilt Sizes and Supplies Needed

Play with Your Layouts – Multiple Possibilities for One Quilt Pattern


How to Make Applique Bust Out of Its Frame

Alternate or Broken Grid layouts (adding half and double blocks)

How to Make an Applique Rag Quilt

How to Make a Polaroid Quilt

How to Make a Wonky Churn Dash Frame for Any Block

Finished with this topic?

Return to the Let’s Make a Quilt main Table of Contents.

Move on to the lessons about choosing your fabric.

Happy quilting!


  1. Wendy Theisen SAYS...

    Thank You Wendi!! As Always your lessons are Fabulous! You make learning fun, Not Scary, easy to follow…. This is Exactly what I needed. I am So excited to be finishing up my Very First quilt. You are So Awesome! :0) Wendy T

  2. joellen dunlap SAYS...

    Once again, Wendy, you make the impossible (to a newbie) actually seem doable. Thank you for your easy to understand tutorials. Jo Dunlap

  3. Kathy SAYS...

    Excellent Video. Straight forward and easy to understand. I Enjoy your Tutorials. You are a terrific teacher. Kathy

  4. Mary Lynn Bartram SAYS...

    Awesome tutorial. Thanks for passing on your knowledge

  5. Pam Holer SAYS...

    Thank you for your brilliant tutorials. I have assembled the quilt top and want to back it with cuddle fleece, sewing in the ditch. Do you have any advice for quilting an alternate grid design?

    • Yes. Quilt it just like normal except that any time your stitching runs into the middle of another block, just backstitch a big, raise the needle, slide over the block, and pick up stitching in the ditch again on the other side.

  6. Pam Holer SAYS...

    That really helps, thank you. I’d got into a pickle doing bits here and there, ending up with a baggy mess of cuddle fleece. All unpicked and ready to try again!

  7. Carlotta M SAYS...

    Hey Wendy,
    first of all I want to thank you a lot!
    I’m about to quilt my first quilt ever, and it is a memory quilt, so I want to turn it out the best it can. Therefore I watched aton of tutorials by now and am still unsure which qayg method I should choose. Maybe you could give me some advice.
    My quilt has a center piece, a sashing border, a larger patched stripes border, another sasghing border, and a large triangel border. I think the quilt world might call it medaillion quilt. So there are no lines from top to bottom or side to side I could use for attaching the backing. Is there a way to use your method anyway? My backing fabric is patternd, so I would like to keep it in one piece. The only other alternative I see is you quilt sandwiches with batting and backing and then put it all together…
    Thanks a lot and greetings from germany,

    • For what you describe, I’d probably do the traditional method. It might actually be easiest.

      • Carlotta M SAYS...

        So that would mean sewing the quilttop, basting it with batting and backing and then quilting it?
        Mmh, I think my domestic sewing machine can’t handle the amount of free machine quilting I imagine to do 😉
        Maybe then I have to do the sandwiches with batting and backing and give up on saving my patternd backing…