December Blocks of the Month
Well, here we are at the end of the year. I had planned to load December up with really tough blocks, but I ran into a load of computer problems and just didn't have the time or energy to do instruction pages and test runs for stuff like Pickle Dish or New York Beauty. I will leave exploring those incredibly demanding blocks for you to tackle, or not, in the future. I doubt that I will. Life is short, and there are plenty of other blocks that are lovely.
This is a block that was often used in the past for exchanges, with the maker information in the center. It would be perfect for that application in the 6 1/2" size. As made here, in 12 1/2", the center seems a bit too large and bare. I am showing a second example, with an additional square in the center. Paper Pinwheel is based on a four by four pattern, or 16 building units, with a unit size of 3" squares in the finished block.
To make Paper Pinwheel:
Cut four 3 1/2" dark print blocks, the blue corners above..
Make four 3 1/2" half-triangles of the same dark material.
Cut four 3 1/2" contrasting blocks, the orange blocks above.
Cut the center piece, which is equivalent to four building units… i.e. it finishes as a 6" square, so cut your piece 6 1/2" x 6 1/2".
Arrange the pieces as shown and join the top and bottom rows of pieces.
Join the two right hand pieces vertically, then the two left hand pieces. Next join the two units you have just created to the center unit, making, in effect, rows two and three.
Finish by joining Row 1, the center unit, and Row 4 to make the block.
Paper Pinwheel with a center square added.
To make this variation, you will need to cut an additional 3 1/2" square for the center, and you will have to rectangles to finish the center square. I just pasted this center on for the moment. If I were making it this way, I would cut two rectangles 6 1/2" x 2" for the top and bottom, and two rectangles 3 1/2" x 2" for the two sides. Sewing all that together, you should end up with a 6 1/2" blue and white center square for the block (if I did the math correctly in my head as I was typing this… as I said, I didn't actually make this version.)
This block is very similar to a lot of the "Road to" blocks. Why it has the name it does, I couldn't say, but there it was, asking to be made.
You can quickly see that Contrary Wife is actually a nine patch, so the building structure is units of 4" blocks, plus necessary seam allowances. (Lordy but I'm glad to finish up having to constantly type in about the seam allowances.) Anyway, by now, this one should be duck soup.
Make four 4 1/2" half-triangle squares.
Cut three 4 1/2" squares on a contrasting color (the southwest to northeast squares in the picture).
Cut two 4 1/2" squares of a different but complimentary print (the northwest and southeast corners in the picture).
Arrange the units per the picture. Join your units into rows and then join the rows.
I really studied and looked at a lot of blocks to select the one to end this project with. This one isn't really difficult, though it is a bit complex. It is a 36 patch, with a basic building unit of 2" squares. That's a lot, but we have done a couple this complex previously, and all of the units are in forms you have already made during this project.
Cut twelve 2 1/2" squares of background fabric. These go in the four corners.
Make twelve 2 1/2" half-triangle squares of the dark material. These surround the center piece.
Cut four 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangles of the dark fabric.
The center is a 4 1/2" quarter-triangle square. See last month's block Fireside Visitor for instructions. Now, the actual pattern I was working to was all one color print… i.e. red print and white background. Truth is, I ran out of the red, which I really liked, so, reasoning that it was supposed to be a flower, I gave it a different colored center. You can do it either way.
Sew the units of Rows 1 and 2 together, then Rows 5 and 6.
Next, sew the two right hand squares together vertically, then Sew that unit to the rectangle on the right of the center piece. Repeat on the left hand side.
Join the right and left hand units to the center piece to make what would be Rows 3 and 4.
Join the completed Rows 1 and 2 together, then the completed Rows 5 and 6.
Finally, join the top two-row unit to the center two-row unit, then join the bottom two-row unit to complete the block.
Well, there you have it… the Treadle On Blocks of the Month Project is complete… at least if you finish bordering all the blocks and assemble them into a quilt. I know that some of the participants are experienced quilters… far better than I am. I hope that my selection of blocks was satisfying for you, with at least a few new ones. Many other participants were "newbies". I hope that the instructions were clear and that the project led you to an ability to study and break down most blocks that you see and figure out for yourself how they would be made and assembled.
I enjoyed the project, even though it grew from the original concept of 12 blocks to 36 and seemed rather long by the time I finished it. It's hard to believe I spent nearly a year on this.
Anyway, best wishes to you all. May your seams be straight and your ripper gather rust…
Keep on treadling!
Dick Wightman…The Captain