The Busy Bean

Virtual Quilting Bee – Block #9 Tutorial

If you’re visiting for the first time today, welcome! I’m glad to have you for my stop on the virtual quilting bee. The blocks so far have been great, go here to check them all out.

vqb blocks

This block is pretty easy, but does contain some itty bitty half square triangles. I’ve discovered that I really like to make things tiny.

Start by cutting your fabrics.

vqb cut


Orange Stripe:
(4) 1.5″ x 4.5″
(4) 2.5″ x 2.5″
(8) 2″ x 2″

Green Scallop:
(4) 1.5″ x 4.5″

Gray Dot:
(4) 1.5″ x 1.5″
(8) 2″ x 2″

Next you’ll make your half square triangles. Match up your orange stripe and gray 2″ x 2″ blocks. You can draw your lines from corner to corner to make your half square triangles, sewing a scant 1/4″ on either side of the line. Or, if you’re not keen on drawing lines on all of them, here’s my method. This is especially handy if you’re working on a new machine, or a borrowed machine and you’re not familiar with where your scant 1/4″ should be.

vqb hst

Draw your lines on one block, from one corner to the other. Then, draw a line a scant 1/4″ away on either side. Line up one of those lines on the side with your needle. Then, use some masking tape (or washi tape) to mark where your center line is. Just tape it down on the top of your machine, making sure you don’t cover the feed dogs, and make sure it extends to the very front of your machine.

vqb tape

Now, instead of marking lines on all of your squares, you’ll just line up the corners with this piece of tape and sew away. It’s easiest to chain piece going down one side of all your squares, then grab the whole chain without cutting anything apart yet and sewing down the other side.

Once you’ve sewn both sides of each square, you can line up your ruler on the center line (the one you didn’t have to draw) and cut your half sqare triangles apart. Press the seams towards the darker fabric. OR you can press all your seams open, but I don’t really enjoy doing that on my tiny pieces, so I pressed to the side. Just make sure you’re pressing towards the same fabric so your seams won’t be too bulky when you’re putting it together.

Trim your HSTs down to 1.5″ each. Then sew four together to make a pinwheel. When you do this, you’ll find your seam in the middle is quite bulky, no matter which way you’ve pressed. So to deal with this, you can snip a thread on the back in the seam allowance and press half your center seam to one side and half to the other.

vqb pinwheel press


Next, you’ll make the pinwheel in the center of the block. Take your 1.5″ square gray pieces and draw a line from one corner to the other on the back. Line these pieces up with one edge of your green scallop pieces. This time, you’ll sew directly on the line you drew.

vqb center


Press these towards the gray fabric, and trim the seam allowance to 1.4″

Now we’ll assemble the four quadrants of our block.

vqb piece


Grab a 2.5″ square of your orange stripe fabric (A) and sew it to a pinwheel unit (B). Sew your 1.5″ x 4.5″ orange stripe piece (C) to the green scallop piece (D) along the sides indicated in the picture. Press towards the solid orange stripe pieces.

vqb piece 2


Then sew your (A+B) unit to the (C+D) unit along the long edges.

You should have four 4.5″ square blocks. Just check them for size and trim them up in case any of your seams got a little askew while you were sewing.

vqb piece 3


And now we’re almost done. Sew the four quadrants together, placed like the picture above, starting with the top two, then the bottom two, then sew your two sections together.

vqb happy

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7 Thoughts on “Virtual Quilting Bee – Block #9 Tutorial

  1. Lynn b on June 28, 2013 at 8:28 am said:

    I lve this block! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Love the block!!

    Do you mean to say cut 8 not “16” of the 2×2″ grey and orange blocks? Or am I missing something?

    • Thanks Melissa! It should have been 8, not 16. I’ve updated the directions. I counted my half square triangle units at the end and forgot to divide by two when I typed it up. Thanks for catching that so soon so others didn’t try making an excess of the little pinwheels.

  3. Fun block! Love the little pinwheels:)

  4. Corine on June 30, 2013 at 8:24 pm said:

    Fun! Love it all.
    Working on my block tonight and ending up with 16 extra squares?? Not sure how that happened so I checked your directions…hmmm, quess I made a mistake…then I checked the comments and…I didn’t make a mistake!!! Yeah!! But better some extra then ending up with not enough fabric.
    Thanks for your tutorial. I really enjoy this whole quiltalong!
    Corine from Alberta, Canada

  5. I love your block and I want to make it for a swap partner. I need to make a 12.5 inch unfinished block. You don’t say the size of your block, but I think it might be a 6.5 inch – which I could convert. Is it?

  6. Muito obrigada

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