Tumbling Blocks and Two Presidents!

Rhombille Tiling

Rhombille Tiling

Math geeks and fans of optical illusions are familiar with the rhombille tiling, more commonly known as tumbling blocks or reversible cubes.  The design is made with diamonds, with some diamonds set vertically and others set on their sides.  The cool visual effect is that cubes seem to be popping out of the page ... or, wait, are they sinking down into the page?  No, they're popping out ... in ... out ...

"Tumbling Blocks" has been a popular quilt pattern since at least the 1850s, and according to legend the pattern was used as a symbol on the Underground Railroad.  When a tumbling blocks quilt was hung on a fence the "boxes" were a signal to slaves to "box up" their clothes - the signal to leave would be coming soon! 

Even today, to "box up" means to pack.  To 19th century aristocrat planning a summer-long tour of Europe this referred to packing their clothes in a large steamer trunk - a box.  To a run-away slave boxing up meant carrying some extra clothes in a sack, not an actual box.

Some of our presidents have been tumbling blocks quilters!  Well, sort of.  It was common in the 19th century for boys to copy their mother's chores at a young age, often learning to knit, sew and quilt as they followed mother around doing her daily tasks.  As they grew older they moved out of their mother's sphere and into their father's world, learning the more masculine chores associated with farming and business.  Most men denied that they had ever done domestic tasks as a child, but in the case of Presidents Calvin Coolidge and Dwight Eisenhower we have proof that they did!

Calvin Coolidge, president from 1923 - 1929, was born in 1872.  ​When he was ten years old he pieced together a tumbling blocks quilt that is displayed at the Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site. His mother died about a year after the quilt was completed, which would have made this project all the more special to young Calvin.

Coolidge's Tumbling Blocks quilt in the Shed Room at Calvin Coolidge Museum

  Calvin Coolidge's tumbling blocks quilt in the Shed Room at the Calvin Coolidge Museum

Dwight D. Eisenhower, president from 1953 to 1961, was born in 1890.  He and his brother pieced together a tumbling blocks quilt, now at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library and Museum.  According to the museum, his mother sewed the quilt together around 1910.  Eisenhower would have been around 20 years old at the time, much to old for a boy to be piecing together a quilt.  It is more likely that young Eisenhower did the piecing much earlier - and Mrs. Eisenhower had a great big pile of unfinished projects that took her a while to complete (we have so much in common!).

Kaffe Fassett Knit-Along afghan

Kaffe Fassett's Knit-Along afghan,
featuring the popular tumbling blocks.

But you don't have to be a quilter - or a future president - to enjoy the tumbling blocks design!  Kaffe Fassett (his name rhymes with "safe asset") is a painter, knitter and needlepoint designer who is famous for his love of color!  Lots of color!

The new Kaffe Fassett Knit-Along is a vibrant knit afghan that has a total of 48 squares knit from 13 unique patterns - including his instantly recognizable tumbling block design using the intarsia colorwork method. 

Happy Knitting! ... Scout


Michelle “Knit-Purl-Hunter’s” Adorable Ewe KAL

Join Michelle Hunter's "Adorable Ewe Baby Sweater" Knit-Along ...

Featuring HiKoo's Simpliworsted Yarn ... 20% Off!

This April Michelle Hunter (a.k.a. Knit-Purl-Hunter) brings you her next mystery KAL ... knit a baby sweater, the Adorable Ewe! This sure-to-be cute sweater is knit in the soft Simpliworsted yarn and is brimming with essential sweater knitting skills. When you're done, you will have the perfect gift for your favorite baby or grandbaby! As always, we're delighted to help you find all the information you'll need to join the knit along and knit the project!

The Project

"Adorable Ewe" Sweater

by Michelle Hunter
Pattern FREE posted Progressively during the event

Michelle's knit alongs (KALs) are mystery knit alongs. So there are no preliminary photos ... only a general of descriptions of the finished project. But she has told us that the baby sweater has a sheep-theme and will be way too cute to miss! ... checkout the sheep buttons!

The sweater is sized to fit a 6 month old baby and is appropriate for a boy or girl. Pick a boy or girl color ... or a gender neutral color if you are still waiting for the gender reveal!

All of the techniques Michelle uses will be supported by her video tutorials and she answers questions daily on her website and Ravelry group. Michelle's instructions, tutorials and videos have made her KALs extremely popular ... think of her KAL as an online class, worth far more than the price of admission — which is, of course, Free!!

The Adorable Ewe Knit-Along
Thursday, April 6th
Order your yarn Today!

Don't miss out on the fun! The KAL is FREE and Skacel is sponsoring a drawing for one grand prize and two second place prizes. For more information on prizes and how to enter visit SkacelKnitting.com.

You can also connect, ask questions, share photos, and get help via the Knit Purl Hunter KAL Ravelry group. You're also encouraged to share progress photos to the FiberWild and Friends group on Ravelry.





April 6, 2017


April 13, 2017


April 20, 2017


April 27, 2017

The pattern will be released in four weekly installments, so each Thursday the next part of the pattern is revealed. Thus the mystery! This KAL will start on Thursday, April 6th and continue on the 13th, 20th and 27th

The pattern and videos will be available at KnitPurlHunter.com/KAL where you can post questions as well. You can also connect via the Knit Purl Hunter Ravelry group. Questions are typically answered daily. The video lessons along with the forums let knitters of all skill levels participate and get whatever help they need. It's like having a knitting tutor 24/7!



2 x  Simpliworsted - Main Color - 20% Off!

1 x  Simpliworsted - White or Natural (sheep color)  -  20% Off!

1 x  Simpliworsted - Black (sheep accent) - 20% Off!

Finished Sizes

One size: Infant Six months


24"  US 9 [5.50mm] circular needles OR size needed to obtain gauge

32"  US 8 [5.00mm] circular needles

Note: If larger needle size is adjusted, remember to adjust both needles!


16 sts and 24 rows = 4" in Stockinette


4 x 5/8" buttons - Get the adorable Sheep buttons here!

Skill Level


The Yarn

HiKoo's "Simpliworsted" is a buttery soft yarn that is available in a huge selection of vibrant colors. Machine washable, this perfect all around worsted weight yarn is wonderful for just about any project!

Fiber Content

55% Superwash Wool / 28% Acrylic / 17% Nylon

Yardage / Weight

140 yarns in 100g skeins


16 sts over 4" on US 10 [6.00mm]

Skill Level

Machine Wash, Dry Flat


Afghan Knit-a-Along with Kaffe Fassett

Join Kaffe Fassett's new Afghan Knit-Along ... 

Featuring Rowan's Pure Wool Worsted ... 25% Off

The design team at Rowan has once again teamed up with globally celebrated designer Kaffe Fassett to craft the perfect Knit-Along.  This season, Kaffe has created an amazing colorwork afghan! The last Kaffe Fassett Knit Along was amazingly popular and this KAL will be no different. As always, we're delighted to help you find all the info you need to knit this project and participate in the KAL!

Kaffe kicks off the KAL on Thursday, March 30th!

Kaffe Fassett Afghan KAL

by Kaffe Fassett

Inspired by bold geometric tile designs, Kaffe's afghan design achieves his iconic look without any complicated colorwork.  If you are an intermediate knitter, you will enjoy this project while building colorwork skills!

The afghan has a total of 48 squares knit from 13 unique patterns, plus a border and will be made using intarsia colorwork techniques. The layout of the squares flows around Kaffe's instantly recognizable tumbling block design.  Each square is then placed to achieve the maximum geometric impact.

Did we talk about Kaffe's colorways? ... they are simply amazing! For this KAL, he has crafted only one simple yet effective colorway that captures his distinctive Kaffe signature. But choices are good! We have over 50 colors of Rowan's Pure Wool Worsted ... so if you would like to substitute colors, we have all the project details in the "Materials" section below ...

Kaffe Fassett's 2017 Afghan Knit-Along
Featuring Rowan's Pure Wool Superwash Worsted at 25% Off!

The Pattern and Schedule



KAL Kick-Off

Thursday, March 30th, 2017


Thursday, April 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th, 2017


Thursday, May 4th, 11th, 18th and 25th, 2017


Thursday, June 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd.  Catch-up Week June 29th, 2017

Border and Finishing

Thursday, July 6th, 2017

The first weekly pattern segment will be released on March 30th, 2017 and will be updated every Thursday thru the end of June. 

​Pattern available on March 30th!

You can connect, ask questions, share photos, and get help via the Rowan's Ravelry group. Questions are typically answered daily.

​Follow the KAL on Ravelry

Also "Coming Soon" to Rowan's website ... 

​KAL on KnitRowan.com

You're also encouraged to share progress photos to the FiberWild and Friends group on Ravelry.

Materials and Yarn Pack

The project calls for 31 balls of the Pure Wool yarn in 14 colors ... no worries, we made it simple!  We packaged Kaffe's colorway into a handy, easy to shop yarn pack ... priced at 25% Off!.

Finished Size

Each square is approximately 12 inches x 9.5 inches.
Finished afghan is approximately 5'11" x 6'4" (when laid flat).


You will need 31 balls of Rowan's Pure Wool Superwash Worsted in 14 colors ... or simply order the yarn pack which includes ...




Soft Cream






Charcoal Grey





















Pretty Pink









Rich Red







You will need a two sets of needles, a Size US 6 (4.0mm) circular ... a set of 24″ will work well (we love the addi Rockets!) and a Size 7 (4.5mm) straights or circulars ... 

Adjust your size to obtain gauge.


20 stitches per 4.0 inches/10 cm. in stockinette


Stitch Markers and a Darning/Tapestry Needle

The Yarn

Rowan's “Pure Wool Superwash Worsted” is a wonderfully soft basic worsted weight yarn. This machine washable wool, comes in a rainbow of colors, so finding the right one for your next project will be easy. Make a simple snugly sweater, a warm and cozy hat, or a cuddle-worthy afghan out of Rowan's Pure Wool! All Pure Wool Superwash Worsted is 25% Off!

Fiber Content

100% Superwash Wool

Yardage / Weight

219 yarns in 100g balls


20 Stitches over 4.0 inches/10 cm.
on US 7 [ 4.50mm ]

Care Instructions

Hand Wash, Warm, Dry Flat

Don't hesitate to call or drop a note if we can help with your yarn, needle or notion selections!

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