New to Quilting?

If you are brand new to quilting and don't know where to begin, start with the posts in September 2011 (look in the blog archive). The first four posts cover basics such as choosing equipment, choosing colors, how to sew 1/4" seams, how to use a rotary cutter, and how to press (not iron) your block during construction.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Tree - Quilt Block Tutorial

I haven't done a tutorial on Lynne's House block yet because I'm trying to figure out a way to make it easier to cut out, as well as making it easier to sew the bias seams, so watch for it next month or so.

This Pine Tree block is very easy. It's not one of the Block of the Month blocks that we are doing as a group. It's one of the extra blocks I am adding into my quilt since I like having more than nine blocks in my quilt.

Pine Tree block (or Christmas Tree block if you use Christmas fabric like I did)

This block has a few more pieces to cut that are different sizes than we have cut out before. It's isn't hard because almost all the pieces are 2 1/2" in one dimension, which makes a perfect first block with lots of pieces.

The only technique we will be using is sewing along a diagonal line drawn on a square. If you made the Eight Pointed Star, you did the same technique in the first step.

Cut from background fabric
It makes it much easier to cut out a long strip of fabric that is 2 1/2" wide and then cut the lengths you need from the strip (or strips).

(A1) ten 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" squares (woops! I miscounted and cut out 12 in the photo below)
(A2) two 2 1/2" x 1 1/2" rectangles
(A3) two 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" rectangles
(A4) two 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangles
(A5) two 2 1/2" x 5 1/2" rectangles
(A6) two 1 1/2" x 12 1/2" strips

Cut from main fabric (green)
You can cut all the strips from the same color, or for a more scrappy look you can cut the tree strips from different scraps of green. If you are using the same color, it is easiest to cut out a strip of fabric 2 1/2" wide x 30" long.

(B1) one 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangle
(B2) one 2 1/2" x 6 1/2" rectangle
(B3) one 2 1/2" x 8 1/2" rectangle
(B4) one 2 1/2" x 10 1/2" rectangle

Cut from brown (trunk of tree)
(C) one 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" square

The two strips at the bottom of the photo SHOULD read "two 12 1/2" x 1 1/2") Sorry for the mistake!



Making the Tree Points
Draw a diagonal line from corner to corner on eight 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" squares (A1)

Pin each A1 square onto a green strip (B1, B2, B3, B4) with the top of the diagonal line pointing towards the center of the strip, and the bottom of the diagonal line matching the corner of the green tree strips.

 I pin so the point of the pin is facing my sewing needle. I get poked less and I can pull the pin out easily. The top of the tree has only one square pinned on. You must sew on one A1 square, trim the corner (see photos below), press, then position and sew the second A1 square. All green pieces can have an A1 square pinned on both ends and sewn one right after the other.


Line the needle up just to the right of the pencil line. Your machine may be different, but when I sew just a tad to the right of the line (towards the corner that will be cut off) I don't loose any fabric to the seam when I press. In other words, I have a more accurate block when I'm done.

Cut 1/2" from the seam on all A1 pieces. In the photo, I've moved the ruler down just a little so you can see that it is 1/4" from the seam.

This is what the strip looks like when the corners are trimmed off. On the top piece of the tree you must sew on one square, trim, then press before you sew the second square on.

Pin the other A1 background square on as shown in the photo. Sew, trim, and press. This tree top is a Flying Geese unit.

All the "B" pieces have an A1 square sewn, trimmed, and pressed (towards the light fabric). The bottom strip shows the brown trunk piece (piece "C") ready to be sewn to the 5 1/2" (A5) piece. I usually sew all three of the pieces together before I press.

Make sure your trunk section measures 12 1/2" long.
In this photo you can see how each background filler strip is placed.

You can sew the outside filler strips (the background pieces) on in any order that makes you happy! Yes, I pin at the top and the bottom of each 2 1/2" strip because my sewing is more accurate that way, and that makes me happy!

I pressed towards the background fabric because that makes the least bulk in the seam. I also checked to see if each row was 12 1/2". One was a little long, so I trimmed an equal amount of fabric from each side. The center of each row is at the 6 1/4" mark so if you have to trim, too, you know where to put the center of your ruler.





Sew the rows together and your tree block is done!

If you've got any questions, please ask them below and I'll try to explain my steps better.

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