Block Party
Block Busters

As I wander from quilting site to quilting site, I find all sorts of intriguing patterns I think I might want to try. So - what do I do with the all the patterns? I save them in my favourites list and forget about them. Now my favourites list is starting to look worse than my fat quarter pile. Some blocks I try (and save). The not so fortunate hit the recycle bin.

Before I start a new quilt, I use up some scraps and make a block - just to get the feel for it and see how it plays with the colors I have in mind. Sometimes I like them - sometimes I don't. Usually, I expand on the test run blocks and make Kiddy Kat Quilts out of them.

Bear's Paw

The sashing and centre button can be modified to allow more separation and squaring. Since the center is a square it can be filled creatively with another block, another star, fussy cut or patchwork.


Bear's Paw
Delaware Quilts

Traditional Bear's Paw

Re-sizing the sashing and centre block also gives me some wiggle room because I don't sew exactly 1/4 inch. Hard as I try, I always seem to be a tiny bit bigger (albeit consistent) and that eventually reduces the size of my blocks.


The Best Friend
Delaware Quilts

The Best Friend

The Best Friend is a variation of the traditional bears paw block. The only difference is the centre block is a four-patch. Quite effective.

Log Cabin

Log Cabin is one of the most versatile blocks - probably only second to the nine patch. Log cabin quilts are pieced quilts featuring blocks made of strips of fabric typically encircling a small centered square (traditionally a red square, symbolizing the hearth of the home), with light strips forming half the square and dark strips on the other side. Courthouse Steps is a variation of Log Cabin.


Courthouse Steps

I like Log Cabin because it's very easy to keep it square. First I always cut with the selvage. This stops any stretching or shifting. Then as each piece is added I make any slight adjustments that may be needed to keep it square. Between these two steps, I usually end up with a solid square the exact size I need.

Underground Railroad - Fact or Fiction

There are intriguing stories of how quilting was used to help the slaves escape through the Underground Railroad. A Log Cabin quilt hanging in a window with a black center for the chimney hole was said to indicate a safe house. It is disappointing to learn that research on the Underground Railroad has found no evidence that this actually occurred. But these stories have been told from generation to generation filling our imagination with visions of quilting being a part of the flight for freedom.

America's Quilting History
Wikipedia - Quilts of the Underground Railroad

Sawtooth Star

I like the Sawtooth Star for fussy cutting. The 12 inch star has a full 6 inch centre and since it is square it can be filled creatively with another block, another star, fussy cut or patchwork.


Sawtooth Star

A cousin of the Bear Paw, the saw teeth were originally used in borders. There's not a lot of history to be found for the Sawtooth Star other than it appeared circa 1800-1835 at a time when patchwork started to become a popular style with patterns such as a Ohio Star and Flying Geese.

Shoo Fly

The Shoo Fly block is also known as Eight Cornered Box, Simplicity, and Fence Row. This antique quilt block is a nine patch using half square triangles and squares. Also, like the traditional nine patch, Shoo Fly can be arranged in a variety of ways to create different effects.

Shoo Fly is a terrific block for using up scraps and can be made any size desired simply by adjusting the size of the half square triangles. Using light and dark fabrics sets off the pattern favourably.

 

Star of Hope

The Star of Hope block is also known as Ohio Star, Variable Star, Henry of the West, Lone Star, Star of the West, Star Spangled, Texas, and Western Star. It can be made any size desired simply by adjusting the size of the half square triangles. Since the center is a square it can be filled creatively with another block, another star, fussy cut or patchwork.


Star of Hope
Delaware Quilts

Using light and dark fabrics sets off the pattern favourably. Different effects can be achieved simply by changing the way the block are put together.

Star of Hope is particularly good for an I Spy quilt.

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