May Blocks of the Month
I got some nice blocks for May. We haven't had any "representational" blocks yet, and I found two nice ones for this month. One caution… don't get ahead of me on quilting the Butterlfly. I will be doing a special quilting pattern to enhance it. I'll get that posted as soon as I can, but I have switched sewing machines and need to work with this one a bit before doing the blocks.
May Block One - Butterfly
This block was just shown to me last week by one of the ladies in our church group. It's a real nice butterfly. The only real trick to making it is the butterfly's head.
To make this block, construct two 6 1/2" half-triangle squares (the wings).
Construct two 3 1/2" half-triangle squares (the "tail")
Construct one 3 1/2" four patch (the body).
To make the head block, cut one 2" dark square. Cut two rectangles of background 2" x 5". Cut one square of background 5". Sew one of the 2"x5" rectangles to the 5" square, giving you a 5" x 6 1/2" rectangle. Sew the 2" dark square to one end of the other 2"x5" rectangle, making it 2" x 6 1/2". Now join these two pieces to make a 6 1/2" square.
To assemble the block, join the top wing block to the head block, per the picture. Then join the body/tail block to the other wing block. Finally, join the two pieces to make the finished block.
Border as usual to your practice.
This block can be enhanced by a special quilting pattern, which I will post as soon as I can.
Quilting the Butterfly Block
This block can be greatly enhanced with a little bit of special quilting. Here is a picture of the quilted block:
Quilted Butterfly Block
AS you can see, I have quilted 3/4 of a circle around the wings and head, and then, using black thread, quilted feelers. Using a compass, place the point in the center and scribe a light pencil line from the back point of one wing to the back point of the other. Then reduce the compass diameter 1 1/2" and place the pencil point on the point of the butterfly's head. Find a point in the wing that will produce a curve that intercepts the other scribed circle at about 1" from the extra seam that comes up from the head. Repeat on the other side. Now, quilt the block, doing the big 3/4 circle and then quilting the pieces within the butterfly as you normally would. Finally, load the machine with black thread and quilt the feelers. I went over them twice, and stitched in place at the ends to produce the black knobs.
May Block 2 - Maple Leaf
The Maple Leaf block is an old favorite that you run into often. It is frequently used to make a whole quilt, sometimes with all the leaves pointing the same direction, sometimes with the quilt split into four parts with the leaves pointing to the corners. Here is how to make a nice one:
Maple Leaf Block
Except for the stem, which we will save till last, this is a very straight-forward block.
Make four 4 1/2" half triangles.
Cut three 4 1/2" dark squares.
Cut one 4 1/2" light, or background, square.
To make the stem square: The instructions I had said to cut a light block and applique a stem onto it. I chose not to do that. I cut an oversized 5 1/2" light square, then cut it diagonally from corner to corner, producing two triangles. I then cut a dark strip 1 1/4" wide and longer that the longest edge of the triangle cut I had made in the square. I sewed the strip to one triangle, then to the other, then pressed the seams outward to the triangle sides (to avoid bulk in the corners). I then used my square cutting ruler with the 45 degree angle line in it to cut the resulting block to size. I placed the 45 degree angle line down the center of the stem and trimmed the upper and right side of the construct to true edges, similar to making a half-square triangle. The I turned the piece around and aligned the ruler on it again, but making sure that the 4 1/2" lines were meeting on the bottom left corner. Then I trimmed the top and right again, producing a perfect 4 1/2" block with the stem in the middle.
To assemble the block, lay out the squares produced and join them as you normally would.
May Block Three - Brandon's Star
Everybody likes stars, and here is a nice easy one. It is from the Dear Jane Collection.
I haven't checked my books, but I think this is just an Ohio Star with a nine-patch center. In any event, it's a nice star block, and you could make a nice quilt by alternating blocks with the colors reversed.
First make a 6 1/2" nine-patch for the center. Cut five 2 1/2" light squares and four 2 1/2" dark squares. (For only making one patch, strip quilting would be unnecessarily complicated. If you were making a whole quilt, then that would be the way to go.)
Next, cut four 3 1/2" dark squares.
Finally make eight 3 1/2" half-triangle squares.
Lay the squares out in the order needed to make the block.
Join the top row.
Next, join the half-triangle squares on each side together, vertically. Then join the resulting pieces to the nine-patch to make the center row.
Join the bottom row.
Finally join the rows you have made to make the block.
May Test Pilot Blocks
Cindy's Butterfly Block
Cindy's Maple Leaf
Cindy's Brandon's Star