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Make Scrappy Patchwork Quilt Blocks
Here's an easy patchwork quilt block pattern that's a perfect choice for scrap quilts.
The quilt block is made entirely from half square triangle units, sometimes called triangle squares. Each unit is made up of two triangles, and each triangle occupies half of the square.
Triangle square units are probably the most common patchwork component, so you'll see them in a large number of quilt patterns.
It's easy to avoid handling individual triangles (with stretchy bias edges) by assembling the... triangle squares with a quick piecing method.
Finished Block Size: 12" x 12"
Scrap Quilts vs. a Controlled Color Scheme
The block is perfect for scrap quilts, but can be designed using a controlled color scheme if you prefer that look.
- Choose an assortment of fabrics in light shades and dark shades.
- The fabrics in each range should be somewhat close in value to each other, but it isn't necessary for values to be exact. In fact, you can create more visual interest if values are slightly different.
Choose your own starting points for light and dark fabrics. In the block above, the dark triangles in each corner are warm colors in shades of red. Most of the dark triangles that make up the block's interior are cool colors, but with a few warm colors mixed in.
Become familiar with a simple color wheel, especially the elements of color dominance, because a warm color can pop out in the design to become a dark.
Alter color and contrast in any way you choose.
Make One 12" Quilt Block
For our quick piecing method, we'll sew a light square and a dark square together to create two identical units. Each block requires sixteen completed units. Cut more squares and make extra units from different fabrics to avoid repeating identical triangle squares in the same quilt block.
- (8) 3-7/8" x 3-7/8" light squares, and
- (8) 3-7/8" x 3-7/8" dark squares
I like to cut my squares a bit oversize, and then trim my completed triangle squares to the exact size needed before sewing them into a quilt block. That technique is very helpful when working with small squares, such as the fabric used to make the 4" finished blocks listed in the optional sizes below.
Cutting for Optional Quilt Block Sizes
Blocks finishing at 16" x 16"
- cut (8) 4-7/8" x 4-7/8" light squares and the same size and number of dark squares
Blocks finishing at 8" x 8"
- cut (8) 2-7/8" x 2-7/8" light squares and the same size and number of dark squares
Blocks finishing at 4" x 4"
Continue to 2 of 2 below.
- cut (8) 1-7/8" x 1-7/8" light squares and the same size and number of dark squares; for tiny units, it's usually best to cut oversize squares, and then tri the units to the exact size after assembly (1-1/2" x 1-1/2" for this mini block)
02 of 02
Assemble the Scrap Quilt Blocks
Construct the Triangle Squares
Use another quick piecing method if you prefer, but change cutting instructions as necessary. Try the Magic 8 method if you plan to sew lots of identical units.
- Draw a diagonal line from one corner to the opposite corner on the reverse side of each light square. Pair each light square with a dark square, right sides together and all edges matched.
- Follow the instructions in my quick pieced triangle square method to sew each pair of squares together. Cut apart and... press as directed.
- Once you're sure that units are accurate, use chain piecing to speed up the assembly process.
- You should now have 16 triangle squares that measure 3-1/2" x 3-1/2". Make additional triangle squares if you do not want to repeat identical units in the same block, since each pair of squares produced two identical units.
- Arrange the 16 units into four rows as shown, each row with four units. If you prefer, flip the positions of dark and light fabrics. When making a quilt, alternating those positions from block to block is one way to create visual movement in the quilt top.
- Sew the four units in each row together with a quarter inch seam allowance.
- Press seam allowances in adjoining rows in opposite directions. Handle rows carefully to avoid stretch.
- Sew the rows together.
- Press the quilt block. It should measure 12-1/2" x 12-1/2". If yours is off a bit, try one of my quilt block problem solvers.