Welcome! It’s time to start the 2022 Block of the Week project. If this is your first time visiting my blog, my block of the week project (or BOW as I call it) is made up of nine 6 1/2 x 6 1/2″ blocks. I release one each week for the next several weeks, starting today. You will get a link to the PDF instructions for free for each block. On the tenth week, I will provide free instructions for a setting for the blocks to make a wall hanging. You can use my idea to set the blocks or feel free to use your blocks however you like. I will also share some quilting tips that will be useful when making these blocks. So, how about we get started?
2022 BOW Block 1 – The Railroad
The instructions to make the block are found here: 2022 BOW Block 1. The block is made up of half-square triangle squares and four-patch units. Fairly simple units to piece even if you are a beginner.
Like a lot of traditional quilt blocks, this one also has been known by other names. Some of the other names for the block are the Underground Railroad, Jacob’s Ladder, Stepping Stones and Wagon Tracks. This block pattern dates back to the 18th century but was first officially published in 1884.
Tip of the Week – Strip Sets
Four-patch blocks, like those in the Railroad block, are one of the block types that can be pieced by starting with strip sets. What are strip sets? Strip sets are made from joining two or more long strips on their lengthwise sides. You can use width of fabric strips (40-44″ long) if you need a lot of pieces cut for your project, but I prefer to cut those in half to 20-22″ long. It’s easier for your strip sets to distort if you are using longer strips. The strips in this week’s pattern are 17″ long.
To make a strip set, start by laying two strips right sides together and pin in a few places:
The when it’s time to stitch, do not pull on them or push them through the machine as you are joining them with the 1/4″ seam. Just gently guide them along. Doing otherwise can distort your seam.
Finally, press the joined strips open. Make sure to press and not iron. It is important not to distort the seam of the joined strips. If you iron along the seam instead of pressing, you run the risk of stretching the fabric or the seam or both.
If you are joining more than two strips together, alternate which end you start at when stitching. This also helps to limit distortion of the whole strip set. The diagram below shows what I am talking about:
To be safe, after adding each additional strip to a strip set, finger press open and measure to be sure your seams are accurate and the size of the strip set measures correctly. For example, if you are joining two 1 1/2″ wide strips, when pressed open, the strip set should then measure 2 1/2″ wide. Adding another 1 1/2″ strip on will then make the set measure 3 1/2″ wide. It’s important to keep the width size accurate, otherwise the segments you cut from the strip set will not measure correctly.
So that’s block 1 of the 2022 Block of the Week and the tip of the week. I hope you enjoyed this and will join me in the following weeks!
Comment or ask questions throughout this series. At the end, I will have a grand prize giveaway. This will include my book, two of my newer patterns, some fat quarters and sewing scissors!