Hi everyone and welcome to my first ever Block of the Week! I thought it would be fun over the next nine weeks to make a different scrappy block and then put them all together into a mini sampler. These blocks will measure 6 1/2 x 6 1/2″. If you do not want to make a sampler at the end, you can use each block as a “mini” quilt by adding a few borders. You can also make several of each block and make table runners or wall hangings from just the one style each week. It’s up to you what you do with them! I will also share some quilting tips each week that will help you while making these blocks. So, here we go!
Block #1 – Braced Star
This is the block we will be making this week. Find the free pattern here: Block of the Week – Block 1. For the remainder of this post, I will share some tips on how to make this block go together as smoothly as possible.
One of the steps in piecing a quilt block that I never skip and highly recommend is to measure the units of the blocks you are making as you go. That’s why I keep these tools by my machine:
A 4 1/2″ ruler, a 2 1/2″ ruler and a wood pressing stick!
In the first step of the pattern, you will see that I have you laying a smaller square on a larger square with the raw edges matched.
As you can see from the photo, the edges of the squares are lined up and I have pinned them so the pieces don’t shift while stitching. Once I stitch on the line I’ve drawn (it’s hard to see on the black fabric in the photo), that’s when the measuring comes in.
You can “finger” press or use the wood pressing stick to press open the small square. Do not cut off the excess fabric yet until you measure the square as I show in the second photo. You want the square to still measure the size it was before you stitched and pressed back the corner. Once you determine your square is not “wonky”…. you can cut off the excess seam allowance and press the unit open with an iron.
This blog post from January, What is Stitch and Flip, has a good detailed explanation of the steps. It’s a good review!
The other unit in the block that may give you a bit of a headache is the one that is made from the quarter-square triangles. I have found it best to use a scant 1/4″ seam when stitching these units together and make sure to line up the seams when stitching the units. The diagram below demonstrates what I’m talking about.
Once that unit is pieced, it’s time to measure and trim a bit. The key to measuring and trimming half-square triangle squares and quarter-square triangle squares is to place the diagonal line on your ruler on the seam. Notice also that I have the 1 1/4″ marking where the four triangles meet. That assures me that I am trimming my square evenly.
I hope these tips help you to make this one block… or several!
What Can I Do with This Block?
If you do not want to make the sampler, here’s a few ideas! The first is to make a small candle mat or wall hanging by adding a few borders.
Put several of these together and you have a small table runner!
Use your imagination and your scraps! Things like this make great gifts for your friends and family.
Enjoy and come back for block 2 next week!