Abacus Baby Quilt Pattern


This quilt was made to welcome my first niece to the family. It's inspired by an abacus, and I hope she'll be good at math. It also looks like lollipops, though, so she might get cavities. :) Finished size: Baby Crib - 32" x 40"


I used 6 fabrics for the beads - 3 oranges, 2 pinks, and a yellow - but as long as you have 84 3" squares, you can stash bust. This could make a good scrap, I-Spy, or Memory quilt.

  • Beads - Fat Eight (9"x22") of 6 fabrics
  • Pipes (dark purple) - 1/4 yard
  • Background (white) - 1 yard
  • Inner boarder - 1/4 yard


  • Cut each Fat Eight into 3" strips, and cut the strips into 3" squares. You should be able to get 21 out of each Fat Eight, but will only need 14, so you have some wiggle room for mistakes.
  • From the pipe fabric, cut five 1" strips, and cut those down to 1"x4" strips.
  • From the background color, cut:
    • Five 1.5" strips. Cut those down to 1.5"x4" rectangles. These will become a part of the pipe blocks.
    • Eight 1" strips. Cut them down to 1"x3" rectangles. These will border the bead blocks.
    • Four 2" strips. Cut them down to 2"x3" rectangles. These will be the spacers for the border.
    • Three 1.5" strips. Cut them down to 1.5" squares, and then cut those squares on the diagonal to make triangles. These will be the corners of the beads.
  • From the inner border fabric, cut four 2" strips.


    • Making the beads can take a little bit of trial and error to get right. Basically, we are just replacing the 3" square's corner with the background color. Take the white triangles and lay them across the corner of the bead. You need to give enough space to allow for the seam. Sew and press. Trim the original corner fabric away.

  • Repeat on all corners for 42 beads.
  • After pressing the beads well, sew the 1"x3" white rectangles to either side. Press.
  • Sew the 1.5"x4" background pieces to both sides of the 1"x4" pipe fabric. You will want to press between adding the pieces, or pressing them later is difficult.
  • Sew the pipes to the beads to make a piece that looks like a lollipop. Press the seam.
  • Sew the lollipops into eight rows of six.
  • Press the seams well.
  • Sew the strips of lollipops together alternating the direction of the strips. Press well.
  • Sew the inner border to the top and bottom. Trim the leftover. Press the seam.
  • Sew the remaining strips to the sides. Press seams and trim excess.
  • For the outer border, alternate the 2x3" white with the remaining 3" squares. You will need two strips with eight colored squares ending in white for the top and bottom. For the sides, two strips with 13 blocks ending in color.
  • Sew the 8 block strips to the top and bottom. Press.
  • Sew the 13 block strip to the left and right. Press the seams, and then press the quilt well.
  • Back, bind, and quilt.