How to Create the Easy Corn and Beans (or Northwind) Quilt Block - a Free Tutorial

Posted by Elaine Huff on

Today let's take a look at the Corn and Beans quilt block. This easy, beginner-friendly block also goes by the name of Northwind. The block uses only half square triangles and squares, can be scrappy, and has lots of layout options that I'll show you at the end of the tutorial.

I did a little research and some say that a Corn and Beans block is green and yellow and that different colorations go by different names. Well, I didn't want to make a John Deere tractor colored block, so I went with purple and gray! 

Also, some Corn and Beans blocks are like four of this one sewn together and using three colors. Lots of options! Let's get started!

corn and beans or northwind

Fabric Requirements for a 12" Finished Corn and Beans Quilt Block:

  • Light/Gray: 4 - 5" squares, and 1 - 4.5" square
  • Dark/Purple: 4 - 5" squares, and 1 - 4.5" square

corn and beans fabric requirements

Sewing Directions:

Half Square Triangle Units:

Step 1:

Using the Light/Gray and Dark/Purple 5" squares, sew together Half Square Triangle units. 

The picture below shows the four basic steps to making a Half Square Triangle.

  • Mark a diagonal line from corner to corner on the back of one of the squares and sew 1/4" (or a little less) on each side of the line.
  • Cut along the diagonal line.  You will have 2 half-square triangle patches.
  • Open up the patch and press the seam allowance toward the darker fabric.
  • Trim the unit to 4.5" square.

For a detailed tutorial check out my blog post at Also, you can check out how to make eight HSTs at a time at

corn beans 1

Step 2:

Repeat Step 1 for a total of seven Half Square Triangle units (you will have one extra unit to use in another block or a different project).

northwind 2

Putting It All Together:

Step 3:

Lay out the Step 2 units and the Light/Gray 4.5" square and Dark/Purple 4.5" square as shown in the picture below. From here the block goes together like a basic Nine Patch block.

corn beans 3

Step 4:

Sew the units together into three rows as shown below.

northwind 4

Step 5:

Press the seam allowances as shown in the picture below. You could also press the top and bottm row in one direction and the middle row in the opposite directions. We just want to have our seams nesting nicely.

corn beans 5

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Step 6:

Sew the three rows together.

corn beans 7

Step 7:

Press the seam allowances however you wish. You're done! Easy Peasy!

northwind 7

Layout Suggestions:

Here's a typical 4 x 4 layout using colors like in the tutorial:

quilt 1

In this example, I've rotated blocks to create this lovely design:

quilt 2 

For this layout the block was made in a planned scrappy sort of way:

quilt 3

And here I've simply added sashing and cornerstones to the previous layout. This is a great way to not have to match up so many points!

quilt 4

And here I've made each block with the same light but mixed up the dark fabric from block to block. 

quilt 5

And this layout is even more scrappy. You could make blocks from leftovers from various projects. Once you get enough blocks made you could sew them together.

quilt 6

I had to do an on-point layout or two. This one is pretty striking!

quilt 7

And this one doesn't look like the same block!

quilt 8


The Northwind (Corn and Beans) block was quick and easy to sew together. I love the versatility of the block and all the secondary designs you can get from it. I think I'll start making two-color scrappy blocks from my leftovers!

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial. If you like it and want to see more, just click HERE to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free PDF quilt pattern called "Chained Weathervane".

Happy Quilting!


P.S. In case you missed it, check out my roundup post of easy quilt blocks at

P.P.S. Check out my patterns I have for sale on Etsy at

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