There are several blocks called Monkey Wrench – this one is sometimes called Snail Trail and is essentially a 4-patch within several squares, so we’ve added it to the blocks associated with the Square-in-a-Square tutorial.
Just set on its own this two fabric block can look a bit so-so . . .
but turn alternate blocks around and you get the classic Snail Trail pattern.
But what if you add another colour?
The quilt could then look more like this
Or add yet another colour
which gives you more opportunities for playing with the arrangements
or this – which reminds me of waves breaking on the shore
This time our Square in a Square unit has pieced triangles around the centre square. You can download the instructions for the free block pattern, Right and Left,here. If you need help with the piecing you can download a free step-by-step tutorial from the Tutorials page or go direct to the pdf here.
When put together these blocks form a secondary pattern of Pinwheels at their junctions. You can have fun playing with the colourings of these triangles to create different effects. And, as with most of these Square in a Square blocks, the centre square allows you to play with ‘fussy-cutting’ large or bold prints.
Or you can turn the blocks on point, colour the corner triangles differently and make something like this –
The Improved Four-Patch block is a merger of the Square in a Square and Four-Patch units – essentially a 4-patch ‘on point’. You can download the free pattern for this quilt block here.
You can have fun playing with the colours and shades in this block, changing the emphasis of lights and darks from one part to another. Like the ordinary Square in a Square it isn’t very exciting when straight set on its own, but changing the colours or combining it with other similar blocks can make quite a difference.
or turning it on point –
A similar patchwork block is Coffin Star – this time a 16-patch square turned on point –
Sometimes called Diamond in a Square this unit/block is worth learning how to make as it crops everywhere from a unit in assorted bocks to a simple block used as a ‘spacer’ between more complicated blocks where, as you will see further down the page, it can create the illusion of a star within the quilt design.
This is another block with the three-triangle unit in the middle of the block giving a pinwheel effect. Just four of these units and four big Flying Geese units, together with squares in the corners, make this block with lots of opportunities for changing the look of the block with colour placement. Download the instructions to make the block here, along with ideas for colour and quilt settings.
I’m sure this block has featured on the blog before – probably as part of one the Block of the Month quilts – but no apologies for showing it again. You can download instructionsfor a 12 inch block here along with all sorts of ideas for colouring and quilt settings. Look on the Tutorials page for quick-piecing instructions for the various units in this block (and others in the series).
The instructions show the block in this colourway –
but here’s a few more ideas from almost monochrome, through acid greens to Autumnal –
In addition to the quilt ideas in the instructions, here’s a few more – starting with the block just straight set and no variations –
two differently coloured blocks –
then set on point –
and finally two very different colourways set together (though the same pale fabric does appear in both) –