I Wish You a Merry QAL - Block 2

Welcome to Week 2! I hope you all enjoyed making the first block in our quilt along. If you are just joining us, you can find the pattern for Block 1 here. It's not too late to join us...you can still enter giveaways by the block(s) of the week by the deadline, and enter the grand prize giveaway by making a quilt top with all the blocks. Look what you can win!

Here's my version of Block 1.

Block 2 in our quilt along was designed by April @ JANDA Bend Quilts and it's a tree farm! Here's my version.

I'm using the Shiny Objects in Holiday Twinkle collection by flaurie & finch for RJR Fabrics for this quilt along. From the collection, I chose #3023-08 (Pistachio) for the background of my block and #3022-07 (Tannenbaum), #3026-05 (Tannenbaum), 3164-06 (Tannenbaum) for the trees. For the tree trunks, I used a piece of textured brown fabric from my stash.

Now, as a QAL host, I'm here to help you achieve success with this block. My first tip is, don't do what I did. <grin>

I spent the weekend at a quilt retreat, and brought fabrics to make this block and the next two on the QAL schedule. I started with this block since I needed to get it done and photographed in time for this post. Before I left, I packed everything I would need for the weekend--fabrics, tools, and my sewing machine. I also packed my tablet because I needed to do some pattern design work during the weekend as well. I didn't print any of the block patterns for the QAL since I had them in PDF format on my tablet.

That was my mistake.

I completely forgot that for this block, you’ll need to print templates or paper-piecing foundations. When I sat down to do the block, I realized I hadn’t printed out anything. Ugh. No problem—the instructions say you can also use the Quilt in a Day Triangle in a Square ruler to make the tree units. I don’t have that one, but hey, I’m at a quilt retreat so maybe someone else does.

Unfortunately for me, I looked at a lot of specialty rulers that various people had brought, but no Triangle in a Square ruler. Now, I could have gone to a nearby quilt store in hopes that they had it, but I wanted to get started sewing and not shop. Plus I didn’t want to spend any money to make just one block. So….

I pulled out my tablet and opened the PDF. I set it to 100% viewing and traced the templates. On lined paper because that was all I had. Tracing the templates was not easy, because the stupid tablet kept readjusting the size of the PDF whenever my fingers touched the screen. Eventually though I got it done by tracing only the corners of each template and using a ruler to connect the corners. After I got the templates made, I cut them out with my paper scissors (yeah, I remembered to bring them!) and then I put the three template pieces together and measured to make sure the result would be a 3” block finished.

Guess what! The silly things worked! <grin>

Assuming you aren’t dumb like me and that you actually print out either the templates or the foundations and don't try to just wing it, here are my tips for making the block:

  • First, I highly recommend paper-piecing the block. That’s what I would have done if I’d only thought ahead and printed them out! I know some of you hate paper-piecing like the plague, but it’s very doable. To help you, I’ve got a photo tutorial here for paper piecing.
  • Although it doesn't say so, you can also use Tri Recs rulers to make the tree units in the block. and no, no one had Tri Recs rulers at the retreat. Just my luck! <grin>
  • My next tip is to measure your templates/foundations after printing to make sure they are the right size before cutting any fabric. The block finishes at 3”, so paper-piecing foundations should measure 3-1/2” along the outside edges (which includes the seam allowances). If you’re printing templates, the big triangle should measure 3” along the bottom edge excluding the seam allowances.
  • Read the directions! After making the tree square in square blocks, you cut 1/2” off the bottom of the tree to make room for the trunk. Since I was using my handmade paper templates, I sewed the trees then trimmed them to 3-1/2” square. Later, when I was told to lop of the 1/2”, I trimmed again. You might not need to trim your tree units twice, but it sure helps ensure accuracy! Oh, and when trimming, make sure you keep that 1/4" above the tip of the tree--unless you want the tops of your trees lopped off when you sew everything together!
  • The strip set you make for the trunks is actually finishes wider than it needs to be, so the directions tell you to trim each trunk unit after sub-cutting the strip set into (8) 1" x 4" tree trunk units. If I’d thought about it, I would have made the strip set and trimmed it to 3-1/2” wide before sub-cutting the strip set into tree trunk units that needed to be individually trimmed to 1” x 3-1/2”. But I didn't. Like I said, don't do this like I did! <grin> By the way, I kinda liked making the strip set larger, since after trimming it was perfect. Sweet!
  • If you go the paper template route, you can cut out the trees by fixing the template to the bottom edge of your ruler like I did. That way, you can rotary cut those suckers. Notice that you can save time by cutting a strip the size of the triangles (I think I cut a 3 1/2" strip but I forgot to write that down) and then sub-cutting.
  • You can also cut the side triangles by cutting a strip and sub-cutting. Again, I think it was a 3-1/2" strip but I'm not sure.
  • Me, I like trimming to make things the right size. So, after trimming the tree blocks to lop off that 1/2”and then adding the tree trunk units, I squared up my tree blocks again to make sure they were exactly 3-1/2” square before piecing the block together. And yep, I squared my block to 12-1/2” after it was done to make sure I won’t run into problems putting my quilt together. A lot of trimming, but that’s me and I like doing that a whole lot better than I do unsewing.
  • Just a note: the pattern calls for the four middle trees (diagonally) to be the same fabric, the top trees to be a second fabric, and the bottom trees to be a third fabric. I kept to the plan mostly, but did mix up the outer diagonal trees just a bit because I liked that better. So if you want your block to turn out like April's, again, don't do what I did.
  • After sewing the block together, you might want to press your seams up, away from the tree tops. That usually helps you get sharp points.

Despite my silliness, this block went together reasonably fast. But if you have any questions while making this block, feel free to post them here in the comments. Be sure to enter an email address when prompted so I can get back to you quickly.

Be sure to drop by April’s blog to get your free tree farm block pattern. Don’t forget to visit the other hosts if you want to see other versions of this block.

Abbie at Sparkle On
April at JANDA Bend Quilts
Becca at Pretty Piney
Bobbi at Snowy Days Quilting
Diane at Cwilt
Jennifer at The Inquiring Quilter
Laura at Slice of Pi Quilts
Sandy at SandyStar Designs
Sherry at Powered by Quilting
Vanda at Quilt in Piece

To enter the Tree Farm block giveaway, you must make the block and post it in one of these three places by Monday, August 28th at 11:59 PM EST.

If you post your block by the deadline, you might win wonderful prize package—a $25 gift certificate to the Fat Quarter Shop and one "Geese in the Flower Pots" PDF pattern from April @ JANDA Bend Quilts.

On Tuesday, August 29th, be sure to come back here for the next two blocks in our quilt along! Yep, next time you get to make two blocks! You can follow me on social media or sign up for my newsletter if you’d like a reminder when the next block is posted. You’ll find all the ways to follow me at the top of my sidebar. If you have any general questions about the quilt along or would like to see the complete schedule, click the I Wish You a Merry QAL tab above.

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I really appreciate your comments. Please leave an email address so I can thank you personally!

I really appreciate your comments. Please leave an email address so I can thank you personally!