Building Blocks Puzzle

Yesterday was the monthly Quilters Meet-Up at the Albany library with Angie Woolman. We discussed a range of “show and tell” items folks had brought in, and got rather animated trying to figure out, as a group, how best to piece a version of the block below.  A quilter  named [I think!] Sylvia had used the pattern in a lovely baby quilt, in shades of blues and greens.

IMG_1520When I got home I went looking for directions — which almost always starts with Google Images (a Google Image = 1000 words of blog?). The picture above was one of the most beautiful examples. I followed the link to a blog called  Quilt Ohana. The quilter and I seem to both belong to East Bay Heritage Quilters. Her name is Arlene, but I don’t know her….yet.  There is a picture of the complete and completed quilt on her blog.

Her method was to piece hexagons, each made from two half-hex trapezoids. That’s one way… of many….

IMG_1519I found a simpler representation of the block that makes it clear that either pieced hexagons or half-hex trapezoids work well — as long as you don’t mind one or more Y-seams, per unit. I rejected instructions for either paper-piecing (too tedious) or fusing the half-hexes in place (it’s almost cheating, and it’s just an experiment, anyway!).

So, instead, I cut my half hexes of light, medium and dark, using some 2 1/2″ strips I had on hand and a hexagon template for reference. For these blocks and anything with Y-seams, marking the stitching lines (and corner points) accurately makes stitching the triangles simple. I also learned that a “soldier pin” is the vertical one that keeps the corner lined up, so two other pins can be placed on either side of it to anchor the corner. Nice image.

IMG_0005_2 IMG_0003_2The photo on the left shows the marked stitch lines (pink), but I’ve already begun ironing, so the heat-sensitive Frixion pen lines have vanished where the heat hit them, like in the picture on the right.


So far only two blocks to show for today’s puzzle – and they aren’t even sewn together, since I will be using other fabrics and may want to mix and match. What they ARE is very flat and the same size, sort of surprising for me.


More pictures as the project proceeds, but for now I need to go sew some more! Thanks for everyone who had hints and solutions to share.

UPDATE: 2/12/15

So…this is what I have so far. Pretty rough, and a lot of fun but best for someone who craves order and likes to follow rules. The green is how I will transition from the building blocks to whatever comes next.


After I set in the green hexes at the bottom I realized they were backwards, and took them out and turned them around. It wasn’t too awful to do, but was way too fussy for me.  I have also promised myself not to do this pattern again without a half-hex template. Perfect marking is sufficient to make the Y-seams work, but perfecter cutting would make piecing it more fun. It would be easier the second time, because designing as you go makes for tricky seams. The Frixion pen still appeals to me in general, but for this project it would have been better to be able to iron as I went. A pencil would have been fine for this.

There will be another update, but not until the top tells me it’s done. I’m currently planning to add interesting borders until that point.


About sewberkeley

I'm happiest making things.
This entry was posted in Baby Quilts, EBHQ, Puzzle Quilts, Tools and Notions and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Building Blocks Puzzle

  1. Pingback: Piecing with Accuquilt GO Baby | sewberkeley

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