October Blocks of the Month
Well, we'll see what kind of luck I have building a page for this month…
For October, we have a very easy block, a moderate block, and something new that we haven't taught before, so it should be an interesting month for you.
12" Rail Fence
Rail Fence is a very old, traditional block and is actually simply a color variation of our old friend the "Three Stripe TOBE Block". You can find complete instructions for the Three Stripe TOBE Block at:
You will have to scroll around the page a bit to locate the right block, but it's there. The only real difference between that block and the Rail Fence is that the TOBE block used the same print for the two outside strips, while Rail Fence uses different prints. The consistency of the arrangement of the prints is what makes the "rail fence" appearance.
I will give a brief narrative instruction here. If you need a more detailed instruction, use the link above and find the original TOBE Three Stripe instructions.
This is a quick block to make. Cut a 2.5" strip of background material… your middle stripe. Now, when making this block, I always cut the outer two strips wide and then I can center the middle strip and trip the edges. You can do that, or you can just cut the print strips 2.5" and sew a shy 1/4" seam. Once you have the three strips, sew them together and iron the seams over, favoring the dark side. You should end up with a long three-strip piece. Trim it into sections 6.5" long, and then trim the sides to end up with a 6.5" square. You need four squares for this block. Arrange the four squares as shown above and sew the top two together, then the bottom two, then join the two rows. Check finished size, which should be 12.5". Border in accordance with whatever practice you are using for you BOM project.
12" Fireside Visitor
Fireside Visitor is a very nice looking block that isn't really too hard, but does involve a technique we have not used in any of tour Teadle On projects previously. That is the quarter-triangle square. You can see one of these in each corner of Fireside Visitor.
Here is how you create four quarter triangle squares:
Begin by making two half-triangle squares. We have done this many times, so you should be familiar with the technique. If you are not, use the link provided in the Rail Fence instructions above and go to the Treadle On Block Exchanges page to find the instructions for the Half-triangle TOBE block.
Here is a quick narrative recap:
Begin by cutting very oversized squares. When you make triangles, you lose some size. I always cut my squares 1" larger than I want the piece I am making to be. However, in this case, as you will see, we are going to cut triangles twice, so I used 2". If you analyze the block, you can see that it is a nine patch, so each square is going to FINISH at 4". This means that at this stage, you will need 4.5" squares. Hence, I cut two 6.5" squares of background and two 6.5" squares of print. Lay the background on the print, good sides together, and draw a diagonal line from one corner to the opposite corner. Sew a 1/4" seam on either side of this line, then cut on the line. Open the pieces up and iron the seam to the dark side. You will now have two half-triangle squares somewhat smaller than 6". Using a square ruler with a 45 degree angle line, put the 45 degree line on the seam and trim the smallest amount you can off of the top and right side, creating two sides of a perfect square. Now rotate the piece and place the 45 degree line on the seam again and trim off a small bit of the top and right side again. Doing this, and trying to keep my trimming to a minimum, I had no trouble producing perfect 5.5" half-triangle squares. So far, we aren't doing anything we haven't done before.
Now, to make our half-triangles quarter-triangles:
Lay two of the four pieces together, but don't match up the colors… i.e. the print corner of the top triangle should be on the background corner of the bottom triangle, as shown below:
Here are the four half-square pieces…
and here they are laid on top of one another…
Next, we essentially repeat the process. Draw a diagonal line, sew a 1/4" seam to either side and cut the pieces apart, ironing the seams over…
Two half-triangle squares laid face to face and diagonal line drawn…
Seams sewn and pieces cut on the line…
Resulting four quarter-triangle squares, still over-sized and untrimmed…
To trim the quarter-triangles, center the 2 1/4" lines on the intersection of the seams, as shown above. Make sure you have this step right! Trim off the top and right side…
Rotate the piece and center the 2 1/4" lines on the seam intersection again. If you did it right, the bottom left corner will be at the intersection of the 4.5" lines, as shown here. Trim off the top and right side again.
and here is a perfect, 4.5" quarter-triangle square. You should have four of them.
The quarter-triangle square is used in many patterns, and learning the technique for making them accurately will open a lot of new territory for you.
Now, lets finish our Fireside Visitor block.
Cut a 4.5" square of print for the center. You will need to make four three-stripe blocks for the other four pieces. But wait… big "oops" here… Three stripes were easy with a 6" square, but this is a 4" square. 6" divided by three is a nice even 2". Add seam allowances and you get the 2.5" strips we cut above for the Rail Fence. However, 4" divided by 3 comes out 1.3333 etc. Ouch! What to do. Actually, 1 3/8" is pretty close to that measurement, and with a 1/4" seam allowance added would come out 1 5/8". You could probably use that and get away with it, but I always like insurance. I cut the pieces to 1 7/8" and sewed my strips, then cut them to 4.5" pieces and trimmed the sides, which were a little wide. In my finished squares, the center strip is a bit wider than the edge stripes, but in this pattern it really doesn't matter. It just makes the arrows a bit bolder.
So, OK, you have all the pieces, arrange them per the block picture, join the squares and then join the rows and border to your practice.
12" Underground Railroad
Underground Railroad is another old, traditional block. I won't go into much detail on instructions, as you should be able to put this together based on our previous blocks. It is a 12" nine patch, so your squares are 4" (seam allowances not included). Make four 4.5" half-triangle squares and five 4.5" four patches. (Again, we did a four patch exchange in the TOBE blocks, and the instructions can be found in the block exchange section at the link provided above. Once you have the nine squares made, lay them out and join them into rows, then join the rows. Border to your practice.
Well, there you have it… three nice blocks for October.