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!
Thanks for explaining how to sew strips so distortion is minimized….great idea!
I like to look at the block in a special way and make blocks within the block so you are sewing the fabric with minimal handling. This way you are preserving the fabric, get great looking blocks, saving time, using your fabric to reduce waste and minimizing errors. In this block I see 2 blocks to make, 4 half square triangles and 5 4 square blocks. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and your block of the week with us!
Looks like fun! Love your designs. Can’t wait to see the completed wall hanging.
Barb Onken says
Looking forward to seeing along!
Sewing along I mean.
Vicky Schroeder says
Looks like great fun!
This tip is a technique that I know works but often skip when I am lazy or rushed. Thanks for the reminder. Just like a tune up for your car, it makes a difference in the finished product.
I am looking forward to the blocks and more tips.
Your posts are always so informative! Great for newbies and oldies! This BOW will be fun! I have some fabrics already in mind!
Nanette Chopin Cook says
I have found that using the 18″ or less is much better to keep the strips from being wavy! When I first began quilting in early 2000 I used WOF and did I have have a lot of waste! Thx for all the good tips.
Christine Prager says
Thank you so much for sharing your patterns and hints with us. I love your patterns and always enjoy your blog.
Just found your site (was recommended by a friend) and I’m excited to be jumping in on your BOW! I love what I have seen as far as your patterns go. I am about to head over to You Tube and catch some of your videos there. I have so much to learn when it comes to quilting, wool, and applique. Thanks for offering this free BOW!
Your directions are always clear and easy to follow. Thanks!
What a beautiful first BOW! I can’t wait to see what more comes!
Kathy in WV says
Thank you for another great sewing opportunity…I love your quiltalongs and can hardly wait to start this BOW…Your tips are always so spot-on and helpful. I hope you know how much your efforts and generosity are appreciated!