June 14, 2018

Cat's Cradle quilt block

The Cat's Cradle quilt block is the perfect choice if you would like to make a "scrappy" quilt. The quilt block uses half square triangles and squares -- easy peasy. All of those bits of leftover fabric can be used in this block to make a stunning quilt. The big decision is whether you want to make a light or a dark quilt.

CAT'S CRADLE quilt block images © Wendy Russell
CAT'S CRADLE quilt blocks
The second decision when using this nine patch quilt block is to take a serious look at all of the possibilities of a quilt layout as this is another of those directional quilt blocks. By using 90 degree rotations of some of the blocks, a secondary pattern appears. All sorts of variations are possible.


These two sample quilts show two of the possibilities you can create when you use the rotations of the blocks. In the light quilt, the blocks are used in groups of four blocks, creating large stars.The dark quilt is just one of many that can be created as an overall design by selectively rotating the blocks to form the desired result.

Quilts designed using the CAT'S CRADLE quilt block


All images © W. Russell, patchworksquare.com

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June 07, 2018

Mexican Star quilt block

The Mexican Star quilt block utilizes a quilt patch that is often called a three quarter square triangle unit by quilters. This quilt patch uses three right angled triangles inside a square. The learning part in sewing this unit is that you use both half square triangles and quarter square triangles. This seems strange until you realize that it is always favourable to have the straight grain of the triangle fabric on the outermost edge. Whenever possible you do not want to have a bias edge on the outer edge of a patch.  As you construct this patch you will understand what I mean.

Mexican Star quilt block image © Wendy Russell
Mexican Star quilt block

The construction of this quilt block is done in what I call "chunks" and then arranged as a uneven nine patch block (so named because it is constructed as a nine patch but with uneven rows).


I liked this quilt block for its simplicity and because it has an often underused patch (in my opinion) -- the three quarter square triangle as I mentioned above.

The two sample quilts shown below are constructed with common settings of the blocks. I just really liked how all of the colours came together.

Quilts designed using the MEXICAN STAR quilt block - images © Wendy Russell
Quilts designed using the MEXICAN STAR quilt block


All images © W. Russell, patchworksquare.com

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May 29, 2018

Road to Rome quilt block

Italy in the summertime. What could be better? I can only speculate as I have never been, but I will get there someday.

On that note, today's featured quilt block is called Road to Rome. If you are a beginner quilter, then this block is one for you. You will practice using the two most commonly pieced patches that are found in oh so many quilts -- the half square triangle and the flying geese units.

Road to Rome quilt block image © Wendy Russell
Road to Rome quilt block image
The two sample quilts shown below are both designed to continue with simplicity. The quilt on the left uses an on point setting and features extra, blank blocks to showcase your quilting designs. The quilt on the right sets the quilt blocks side by side, separated with sashing strips. Both are striking versions.



Quilts designed using the ROAD TO ROME quilt block
Quilts designed using the ROAD TO ROME quilt block


Check out these other "ROAD" quilt blocks:
~ Road to California
~ Road to Kansas
~ Road to Mississippi
~ Road to Vegas
~ Rocky Road



  All images © W. Russell, patchworksquare.com

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May 21, 2018

Peony and Forget Me Not quilt block

Well, I am a little late. The royal wedding this past weekend revealed two interesting things and each had a subtle role in the big day.
  • Meghan's favourite flower is the Peony - used in the floral arrangements at St George’s Chapel
  • Diana's favourite flower was the Forget Me Not - included in Meghan's bridal bouquet
How fortunate that this quilt block is a tribute to both of those flowers -- The Peony and Forget Me Not.

Peony and Forget Me Not quilt block image © Wendy Russell
Peony and Forget Me Not quilt block

The Peony and Forget Me Not quilt block is a wonderful choice if you want to make a larger block, hence less blocks to make. This block is not a choice I would make as a beginner quilter, but if you like a challenge, there is nothing difficult in the making of this block -- just lots of pieces, and therefore, precision in your sewing is critical. So, go for it!


The two sample quilts illustrated below both use on point settings, but give entirely different looks to the final project. Will you choose one of these or create an original design of your own?

Quilts designed using the PEONY AND FORGET ME NOT quilt block - images © Wendy Russell
Quilts designed using the PEONY AND FORGET ME NOT quilt block

All images © W. Russell, patchworksquare.com

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May 12, 2018

Monkey Wrench quilt block

The Monkey Wrench quilt block was one of the many blocks used as codes to help slaves escape and reach Canada along the 'Underground Railroad'. Quilts were strategically placed on fences and clotheslines in such a way as to showcase certain quilt blocks Those blocks were indicators of whom to approach or which direction to take on their escape route. The Monkey Wrench quilt block represented the blacksmith. (Side note: the block was named for the inventor of the tool -- a London blacksmith by the name of Charles Moncke).

You might also be interested in this quilt block ~ Underground Railroad

Monkey Wrench quilt block image © Wendy Russell
Monkey Wrench quilt block

Using the colours shown in this sample block as an example, you might envision a quilt for a special man in your life. (Also, the quilt block represents a "blacksmith" -- a very manly occupation.) :-)

The two sample quilts shown below, both use on point settings. As you can see, you can achieve very different looks while using this simple quilt block.

Quilts designed using the MONKEY WRENCH quilt block - images © Wendy Russell
Quilts designed using the MONKEY WRENCH quilt block


All images © W. Russell, patchworksquare.com

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May 02, 2018

Quilt Blocks for Mother's Day

In North American (and hopefully elsewhere around the world), the second Sunday in May is a special day to celebrate mothers.

Mother's Day was originated by Anna Jarvis in the early 1900s. Anna had even copyrighted the day. However, she was quite appalled at how the day she had originated as a tribute to her own mother, took on the life of a commercial venture, which continues to a far greater scope today.


Here are three different quilt blocks that you might enjoy sewing -- perhaps as a tribute to your own mother. Check out each of the pages by clicking on the images to see sample quilt layouts for each quilt block.

P.S. It's a little early, but Happy Mother's Day to my Mom, up there over the rainbow.

Mother's Choice quilt block image © Wendy Russell
Mother's Choice quilt block

Mother's Own quilt block image © Wendy Russell
Mother's Own quilt block


Mother's Favorite quilt block image © Wendy Russell
Mother's Favorite quilt block

All images © W. Russell, patchworksquare.com

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April 22, 2018

Blueberry Compote quilt block

The quilt block called Blueberry Compote is a quick and easy one to construct. It uses only squares and half square triangles.

My first block was designed using only three colours, but I thought it was a little drab, so I decided to add the bright orange --the complementary colour to the blue. By using a little of this colour, it gives the block just the spark it needed. (However, if your goal is to create a more subtle colour palette, then the choice on the left is the one for you.)

Blueberry Compote quilt block images © Wendy Russell
Blueberry Compote quilt blocks

Below I have used both blocks to create the sample quilts. The first selections show the quilt blocks set side by side in groupings of four blocks. Rotations by 90 degrees of some of the blocks in each group, results in a quilt with a secondary pattern appearing.

Quilts designed with the Blueberry Compote quilt block - images © Wendy Russell
Quilts designed with the BLUEBERRY COMPOTE quilt block. Side by side block setting


This second set of quilts uses the quilt blocks set on point. Several blocks are also rotated to once again utilize the directional nature of the blocks, and create an entirely different quilt design.

More quilts designed using the BLUEBERRY COMPOTE quilt block - images © Wendy Russell
More quilts designed using the BLUEBERRY COMPOTE quilt block. On Point block setting


All images © W. Russell, patchworksquare.com

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April 18, 2018

Auntie's Puzzle quilt block

The Auntie's Puzzle quilt block is a simple five patch featuring squares and half square triangles. Those are the first patches you will learn to use as a beginner quilter, and that is because these are the most commonly used units in quiltmaking.

Auntie's Puzzle quilt block image © Wendy Russell
Auntie's Puzzle quilt block

After having described this block as a five patch, I then change it up because my personal preference for constructing the block is as an uneven nine patch simply because I like to work with "chunks" rather than in rows. (However, if you prefer to work in rows, then that is perfectly fine as well.)

The Auntie's Puzzle quilt block is also a "member" of a group of blocks that are directional in nature. This opens up all sorts of interesting ideas for quilt designs by rotating some of the blocks by 90 degrees, which often results in creating a secondary pattern. If you look closely at the quilt shown on the left you will see "stars" forming when using groups of four blocks. Switching up the colour options and/or including an additional colour can make this feature stand out even more.

Quilts designed using the AUNTIE'S PUZZLE quilt block - images © Wendy Russell
Quilts designed using the AUNTIE'S PUZZLE quilt block


All images © W. Russell, patchworksquare.com

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