Joyce's Mystery Quilt Block - Free Tutorial

Posted by Elaine Huff on

Today let's look at Joyce's Mystery quilt block. Traditionally, this block has a light center with a dark frame around it but I wanted to see what it looked like with a fussy cut piece in the center. So I dug into my scraps and found this large floral on a dark purple background and put a lighter frame around that - what a difference! Anyway, let's get started!

joyces mystery block

Fabric Requirements for a 12" Finished Joyce's Mystery Quilt Block:

  • Light/Ivory: 4 - 3" squares (I know I only have 2 in the picture - I guess I can't count!), and 8 - 2.5" squares
  • Medium/Tan: 4 - 4.5" squares, and 4 - 2.5" x 4.5" rectangles
  • Medium/Green: 4 - 3" squares (once again I counted wrong), and 4 - 2.5" squares
  • Dark/Purple: 1 - 8.5" square

joyces mystery fabric requirements

Sewing Directions:

Center Square in a Square Unit:

Step 1:

Using the Dark/Purple 8.5" square and the four Medium/Tan 4.5" squares, sew together a Square in a Square unit as shown in the picture below. You can find the tutorial for making a basic Square in a Square block at

joyces mystery 1

Since this unit is so big, when sewing the Medium/Tan squares to the Dark/Purple square, I ran a second line of stitching about 1/2" from the first stitching. I then cut between the two stitching lines and now have four bonus Half Square Triangle units to use another day. You can see what I did in the picture below.

joyces mystery 1-2

Half Square Triangle Units:

Step 2:

Using the four Light/Ivory 3" squares and the four Medium/Green 3" squares, you next will sew together eight Half Square Triangle units as shown below. You will find a tutorial for sewing a Half Square Triangle at Press the seam allowances toward the Medium/Green fabric. Trim the units to 2.5" square.

joyces mystery 2

Flying Geese Units:

Step 3:

The last components you will need are four Flying Geese units. Using the Medium/Tan 2.5" x 4.5" rectangles and the Light/Ivory 2.5" squares, sew together four Flying Geese units as shown in the picture below. A Flying Geese tutorial can be found at

joyces mystery 3

Step 4:

Using the picture below for a reference, lay out a Step 3 Flying Geese unit and two Step 2 Half Square Triangle units (top example). Sew the units together (middle example) and press the seam allowances sway from the Flying Geese unit (bottom example). Repeat for a total of four units.

joyces mystery 4

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Putting It All Together:

Step 5:

Lay out the Center Unit, the Step 4 units, and the four Medium/Green 2.5" squares according to the picture below.

joyces mystery 5

Step 6:

Sew the units together in three rows as shown below.

joyces mystery 6

Step 7:

Press the seam allowances in the top and bottom rows toward the Medium/Green 2.5" squares and the middle row toward the center as shown below.

joyces mystery 7

Step 8:

Now you can sew the three rows together, and...

joyces mystery 8

Step 9:

Press the seam allowances toward the center as shown in the picture below. You're done!

joyces mystery 9


The Joyce's Mystery quilt block went together quite quickly but the seams got a bit bulky in a couple of spots and so my points didn't come out as nice as I would have liked. When multiple blocks are sewn together, a Medium/Green star will form at the intersections - that's always a nice surprise! This would be a great block for highlighting a piece of embroidery or applique in the center. (See P.S. below.)

I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial for the Joyce's Mystery quilt blockIf you liked this post and want to see more quilting tutorials like this, simply click here to sign up for my newsletter and also receive a free PDF quilt pattern called Chained Weathervane.

Happy Quilting!


P.S. My good friend Brenda (The Whimsical Quilter) was inspired by this block. She also wanted to let you know that if you do a piece of embroidery in the center of the block to make it a 4" design directly in the center of the 8.5" square.

joyces mystery ps1

That way when you make the Square in a Square unit it comes out great!

joyces mystery ps2

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