Pony Express Quilt Tutorial

Jenny Doan

Pony Express Quilt Tutorial

Quilt Size: 83" x 83"
Jenny Doan demonstrates how to make a Pony Express quilt using 10-inch squares (layer cake) of precut fabric. She used Mirage Patty Cake by Alex Anderson for RJR Fabrics. This pattern combines half square triangles, flying geese, and sashing with cornerstones in a block that is simple and beautiful. 
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video transcript

Hi everybody, it’s Jenny from the MSQC. And I’ve got a fun project for you today. This quilt is made using squares we’re familiar with but put together in a fun way. Sometimes it’s fun to know how a quilt gets its name. This is the block we’re talking about right here. And we are calling it the Pony Express Block. Now how this quilt got its name is that we have a shop hop that runs along our highway. We’re on Highway 36 and we have all kinds of amazing things that have happened on Highway 36, like JC Penney was born here, Walt Disney was born here and the Pony Express began here. They asked us to put together a block for the Pony Express shop hop so we called this the Pony Express block. Now it’s probably got another name but it works for us. So let’s take a look at this quilt behind me. Isn’t this fun? This is a fabric line by Alex Anderson. And it is as happy as she is. It looks just her to me. It’s bubbly and bright and happy. And let’s talk about how to make this.

So what you need to make this quilt is one package of ten inch squares. And again we’ve used a line called Mirage by Alex Anderson for RJR Fabrics. And it’s beautiful. I just love this line. It’s just very, very happy. And whenever you see Alex she’s always got this bright, happy smile on her face. And it just reminds me of her so much. So you’re also going to need some background fabric. Now you can use ten inch squares for this. We have opted to use yardage. So you’re going to need 4 ½ yards of your solid color. We used this, this color right here for our background. And then you’re also going to need 1 ½ yards for your outer border. It’s just, I mean look at this beautiful little floral outer border. It’s so fun. But wait til you see the back. The back is so pretty. It’s, it’s 2 ¾ yards because it’s 108 inch wide back. Look at this back. Isn’t that beautiful? It’s just fibrant. It just shouts. It’s fun. I mean I just love it. I love it. So that’s what you’re going to need to make the quilt. So let me show you how to do this. Again it’s two blocks. We have our half square triangles and our flying geese blocks that we’re going to make.

So to make our half square triangles when you want to put, when you want to put several blocks together in one to make one quilt block they all have to end up the same size. So math becomes a little important. So our corner half square triangle blocks are going to need to be 4 ½ inches. So to do that, the method we’re going to use for that is we’re going to take one ten inch square and our printed ten inch square. So one of background, one of print. We’re going to lay those right sides together and we’re going to draw a line diagonally on both sides. You can see that I’ve done that. Then we’re going to sew a quarter of an inch from that line on both sides. Now I have that over here. And it’s a little hard to see that sew line. But I’ve actually sewn a quarter of an inch on both sides of my drawn line here. And then we’re going to cut it. So when you’re ready to cut this you’ve got to find your rotary cutter. Here’s mine. You’ve got to find your rotary cutter and then we’re going to cut on the line that we’ve sewn a quarter of an inch from. We’re going to cut this way and we’re going to cut this way. And lay your ruler up so it goes point to point. And then we’re going to cut it this way and this way. So we make four cuts total and that gives us eight half square triangles and we call that the easy eight. So now each one of these is a half square triangle, you’ll see. See there. So now we’re going to take these to the ironing board and we’re going to press them open. And I’m just going to do that by setting my seam. And keeping the dark side to this top and just rolling it back. And you’re going to do that to all of yours. Now you’re going to get eight when you do that this way and you only need four for each block. So four goes to this block and four will go on another block. So then you just want to make sure that they are 4 ½ inches. And so you’re going to lay your ruler on there and make sure that if you need to square anything up or trim any little bits off. You know if you trim anything, it’s just going to be tiny bits. So I’m just going to turn this. And you can use, there’s lots of things you can use to square up a block. You can just use a ruler to make sure that it’s 4 ½ on both sides. I keep laying it over here watching my 4 ½ line. See it’s perfect, so nothing there. And I’m going to turn it one more time. And look at that. See it’s just a hair. These come out so close that, see look at that waste. These come out so close. You almost don’t need to trim them up but if you want it to be perfect you’ve got to trim them up. So you’re going to use four of those for the corners of your block. And we have those right there.

Next you’re going to need to do your flying geese blocks and these are ours right here. And to do that what you’re going do is you need white background rectangles that are 2 ½ by 4 ½. And I’ve got some strips here. So there’s two ways to do this with your background fabric. You can cut your strip 4 ½ and then cut it in 2 ½ inch chunks or you can cut it 2 ½ and then cut it this way into 4 ½. So I’m just going to do that for this one right here. So I have a couple. And then you have these little, these little rectangles right there. We need to put corner squares on them. Our corner squares are going to be 2 ½. So you’re going to take your ten inch square, and again there’s lots of ways to do this. But I’m just going to come over here and cut a 2 ½ inch strip off the edge of this. You’re going to do this to your whole square like this and cut your 2 ½ inch squares. So you need one of these for each of your blocks, all cut up, cut four of these. And if I, when I’m cutting them for the big quilt I’m going to stack them. I’m going to get my best use of time out of this. And I’m going to stack those so I don’t, I’m not making little tiny cuts. Now on these right here, what we’re going to do is we’re going to find our center line. So we’re going to press these. And you want to, when you press the line you want to press it so that the wrong sides come together like this because then when you sew you’re sewing in the valley, you know in that V of your press line. It’s a lot easier to sew in the valley than it is on top of the mountain. So you can always know you’re doing that if you press it wrong sides together. So let’s go ahead and do that to ours. So we’re just going to match point to point and run the iron over. And we’re going to do that to all four. It takes two for each rectangle. And you’re going to need 16 of these for your block because you’re going to have, you have eight flying geese that you’re going to put together. And you have eight flying geese you’re going to put together. Right here you can see, two, four, six, eight of these. So there’s 16 but it goes pretty fast. Alright so lay your 2 ½ inch square on the edge of your rectangle like this. Sew right on the line.

So let’s go to the sewing machine and do that. We’re going to sew right on that line. Make sure it’s lined up along the edge. We’re going to sew on the line. Then we’re going to trim this off right here. And iron that back, just press it back. And then we’re going to attach another square on this other side over here. I always make sure I’m going the right way by putting mine across the middle, making sure they cross over. We’re going to sew on this line. And it takes two of these, it takes two of these little blocks to make your, your flying geese unit. So then again we’re just going to trim off. And I just lay my ruler a quarter of an inch away, trim it. So it catches those threads as well and then we’re going to iron this back. Just press that back. And you’re going to need two of these for each block. I mean two for each unit. And I’ve got some made here because you’re just going to sew them together. So see how this one is right here. You just lay this one on top, sew it on. And they just stack up like that. So you just need two of those sewn together. And you’re going to need four of those for each block. So a total of eight of these flying geese units. So let me show you how this goes together because this is just fun.

So your corner blocks are going to, going to face out like this. So let’s put those out. And these flying geese blocks are going to come in right in the center of your corner blocks. So everything is snug right in there just like this. You want to make sure that your geese are flying toward your center block on all four sides. So we’ve got that. And then our little center square is going to match up and it’s going to be a 4 ½ inch background square as well. And it goes in there just like that to make that block. Isn’t that so cute? It’s such a fun little block. I love when you combine different elements and see what’s going to happen. So this just makes a really fun little block. So let me show you how to set this together.

Because you’re going to make all your blocks and they’re going to look like this. Now let’s take a look at the quilt right here. We’ve got one, two, three, four, five by five I think. One, two, three, four, five, yep, five by five blocks on here. And we have sashed them. So this sashing, this piece right here is going to end up being the same size as your block. And you’re going to put a piece in between every time you sew your blocks together. So here’s your blocks right here. And you’re going to put a sashing strip in between every one like this. Just like this. And sew your row together, of five, you’re going to do that. Then you’re going to put a sashing row in there. So that sashing row has a little tiny cornerstone. And that’s one of your 2 ½ inch squares. So when you’re cutting out your 2 ½ inch squares you’ll want to set aside 36 of those for this quilt. Because they’re all popping, you know, every time those little junctions come together you’ve got a little cornerstone. And that actually makes it really easy to set your blocks together. So let me grab my, my strips right here. Oh here they are.

Alright so then right over here, I’ve got to make me some room. Alright we’ve got another strip right here and this one right here. So then what we’re going to do is take this sashing piece. We’re going to start it with a block and we’re going to sew it right in here. Can you see how this is all going to work together? And you’re going to have that long strip. Let’s look again, here it is right here, right through the middle of the quilt underneath all the blocks. And then your next row that is sewn together with the sash striping is going to go right underneath it and finish it up to make the quilt. It’s going to make a quilt that is, let’s see how big this is, 83 by 83 so that’s a good size quilt. It makes a, it just makes a beautiful quilt. These blocks when they end up finished it should be about 12 inches. So that’s what we’re going for. But you know we’re, don’t stress too much over that because what we’re going for is consistency more than perfection. Enjoy the process. We hope you love making this block. Again it’s called the Pony Express block. And we hope you enjoyed this tutorial from the MSQC.

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