Category Archives: tutorials

Simple Blocks – Monkey Wrench

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.

Monkey Wrench block 1

Just set on its own this two fabric block can look a bit so-so . . .

Monkey Wrench quilt 1

but turn alternate blocks around and you get the classic Snail Trail pattern.

Monkey Wrench quilt 2

But what if you add another colour?

Monkey Wrench block 2

The quilt could then look more like this

Monkey Wrench quilt 3

or this

Monkey Wrench quilt 6

Or add yet another colour

Monkey Wrench block 3

which gives you more opportunities for playing with the arrangements

Monkey Wrench quilt 4

or this – which reminds me of waves breaking on the shore

Monkey Wrench quilt 7

or this (which looks more like arm wrestling!)

Monkey Wrench quilt 8

You can download your free block pattern here.

 

 

 

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Simple Blocks – Coxey’s Camp

This block comes under the heading of ‘Square in a Square’ although in reality it is a 4-patch turned on point and then given a fancy border.

Coxey's Camp block

 

There are many different ways to colour it in changing the emphasis of the block by changing the dark and light colours around.

Using the different colourings can add interest to the quilt setting too.

Coxey's Camp quilt 3

Coxey's Camp quilt 7

As does turning on point –

Coxey's Camp quilt 5

It makes a good block to alternate with other blocks – more complicated ones or much simpler ones. Have a play with some of the other blocks we’ve already featured.

Coxey's Camp quilt 6

You can download the block instructions here.

Simple blocks – Right and Left

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.

right-and-left-block

right-and-left-block-aWhen 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.

right-and-left-quilt

right-and-left-quilt-c

right-and-left-quilt-a

right-and-left-quilt-fOr you can turn the blocks on point, colour the corner triangles differently and make something like this –

right-and-left-quilt-e

Simple blocks – Improved Four-Patch

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.

improved-four-patch-block-aYou 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.

improved-four-patch-block

improved-four-patch-quilt

improved-four-patch-quilt-a

improved-four-patch-quilt-b

improved-four-patch-block-b

improved-four-patch-quilt-cor turning it on point –

improved-four-patch-quilt-dA similar patchwork block is Coffin Star – this time a 16-patch square turned on point –

coffin-star-block

coffin-star-quilt

improved-four-patch

Simple Blocks – Square in a Square

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.

The basic block is, as it says, a square within a square and you can find the instructions to make it on the Tutorials page or download them here.

square-in-a-square-blockBut suppose we keep adding squares around our square?

square-in-a-square-block-aand again

square-in-a-square-block-band again

square-in-a-square-block-cThe basic block on its own doesn’t make much of a quilt –

square-in-a-square-quiltBut if you alternate the colours it starts to look a little more interesting

square-in-a-square-quilt-aOr suppose you alternate the different variations of the block?

square-in-a-square-quilt-bor

square-in-a-square-quilt-cor

square-in-a-square-quilt-for

square-in-a-square-quilt-eor

square-in-a-square-quilt-dand then change the colours completely and emphasise the star in the centre –

square-in-a-square-quilt-h

Simple Blocks – Martha Washington’s Star

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.

mw-star-block-aMove the colours around –

mw-star-block-bAnd then put the blocks into a quilt –

mwquiltc

mwquiltdmwquiltbmwquilta

martha-washingtons-star

Simple Blocks – Mystery Flower Garden

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 instructions for 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 –

mystery-flower-garden-blockbut here’s a few more ideas from almost monochrome, through acid greens to Autumnal –

mystery-flower-garden-block-a

mystery-flower-garden-block-b

mystery-flower-garden-block-cIn addition to the quilt ideas in the instructions, here’s a few more – starting with the block just straight set and no variations –

mystery-flower-garden-quilttwo differently coloured blocks –

mystery-flower-garden-quilt-bthen set on point –

mystery-flower-garden-quilt-aand finally two very different colourways set together (though the same pale fabric does appear in both) –

mystery-flower-garden-quilt-cmystery-flower-garden