Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Squirrel at the Wheel block tutorial

July is my month as queen bee of the Siblings Together Quilting Bee 2. This entails deciding on a block and a colour scheme for the quilt that bee members will contribute to this month. After a lot of indecision, I have finally come up with a block which is based on a traditional quilt block variously known as Squirrel in the Cage, Broken Wheel or Rolling Stone. I was particularly inspired by Camille Roskelley's Puddle Jumping design and Riel Nason's scrappy Rolling Stone quilt.

I'm going to call my variation Squirrel at the Wheel. My colour choices were inspired by the tangerine palette of Joel Dewberry's Notting Hill fabric line.

Joel Dewberry's Notting Hill fabrics inspired my colour choices for the quilt

Please use solid white or white-on-white fabric for the background. I'd like this to be as white as possible, so no cream please. For the centre and wheel fabrics (see picture below), please use oranges and bright pinks...

I'd like to have some blocks with pink centres and orange wheels, some with orange centres and pink wheels, and others that are all orange or all pink. Make whichever you would prefer. The 4 options are shown below. I just need one block from each of you.

4 alternative colour arrangements

The rest of this post shows how I made my block with a pink centre and an orange wheel.

From the background fabric:
cut 10 3.5 x 3.5 inch squares and 4 3 x 5.5 inch rectangles

From the centre fabric (pink in my case):
cut 2 3.5 x 3.5 inch squares

From the wheel fabric (orange in my case):
cut 16 3.5 x 3.5 inch squares.

All the squares are going to be used to make half square triangles.

Pair the 2 centre colour squares and 8 of the wheel colour squares with background squares. Pair the remaining 8 wheel colour squares with each other.

For each pair of squares, draw a diagonal line on one of the squares and sew a seam 1/4 inch either side of the line. I chose to draw 1/4 inch lines either side of the diagonal and sewed along the drawn lines.

Cut the squares along the diagonal and press open. Press your seams however you prefer - open or to one side. Then trim the squares to 3 inches lining up the diagonal line on your ruler with the diagonal seam line.

cutting along the diagonal

trimming to 3 inches square
At this point, I laid out all my blocks and fiddled with them until I had an arrangement I liked. You will have:
8 squares made entirely of wheel fabric (orange)
16 squares made of wheel and background fabric (orange and white)
4 squares made of centre and background fabric (pink and white)
4 rectangles of background fabric

triangles all sewn
The next step is to sew the wheel coloured squares and background rectangles together. Take two squares made completely of the wheel colour and sew them together. Sew this unit to the long side of a background rectangle. If you have chosen to press seams to the side, press towards the background rectangle. The following 3 pictures show this step which you will repeat for all 4 background rectangles.

The next step is to sew the remaining half square triangles together in groups of 4. First the centre colour ones...

Then the wheel coloured ones...

If you are pressing seams to one side, the following picture should help you with pressing directions to allow the seams to nest together more easily...

Each of these mini blocks should measure 5.5 inches square.

Sew the blocks together in 3 rows, pressing the seams in each row in alternating directions.

Finally sew the three rows together. Give the block a good press. Your completed block should measured 15.5 inches square.

Make yourself a cup of tea, or pour a glass of wine. You deserve it!

1 comment:

Helen Ryan said...

I am SO LATE making this, but I've just finished it! I completely forgot about the STII bee. :(

I will do my best to post it out to you tomorrow. Thank you for a great tutorial!