Trail Blaze Quilt Tutorial

Jenny Doan

Trail Blaze Quilt Tutorial

Quilt Size: 55½ " x 60"
Jenny demonstrates how to make a cool modern quilt using 10 inch squares of precut fabric (layer cakes). Learn how to make half rectangle triangles and use them to create a long chevron block. Add a bit of pizzaz with a few blocks of crumb quilting. This quilt is featured in the latest issue of Modblock Magazine.
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video transcript

Hi everybody, it’s Jenny from the MSQC. And I’ve got a really fun project for you. A little bit different technique and I can’t wait to show it to you. So let’s take a look at this quilt behind me. Isn’t this great? Such a different look but wait until you see how I do it. This is just so much fun. So to make this quilt what you’re going to need is one packet of ten inch squares and that’s 42 of them. And we’ve used a gray for our color. And your background is going to be a nice white. You’re also going to need 42 ten inch squares of those. And you can see we’ve already cut this one in half because that’s what we’re going to do with all of them. On our quilt back here you’ll see we didn’t add a border. But we just have this little binding that’s ¾ of a yard. And the backing on this we put a nice lovely cuddle on the back. And it’s 3 ¾ yards of cuddle on the back. So let me show you how to make this because this is really fun.

You guys know how I love half square triangles well this is like half rectangle triangles and so it’s really fun to make. So what we’re going to do first is we’re going to take our ten inch squares and we’re going to cut them right in half. This is going to give us two rectangles that are five by ten. Alright so once you get your pieces cut in half, you’re going to do the same thing to your background piece. And they’re going to be just like this, five by ten inch rectangles. Then to make the half square rectangles, I’m not sure how to say that, but to make these rectangles we’re going to want our lines to go both directions. So half of them you’re going to mark this way like this. And you’re going to draw a line corner to corner just like this. And we have to draw the line because we can’t fold it. You know it’s not a square anymore. It’s a rectangle. So you’re going to draw your lines going opposite directions. So just make sure that half your blocks are going this way and half are going that way. So they’ll be like this. And then we’re going to lay them at an angle on our block. So we’re going to turn these like this so this lines up with opposite corners just like this. Alright. Just like that. And then this one is going to line up on these opposite corners over here. If you find that it’s lining up straight at all you know you’ve got it wrong. So we’re going to line these up opposite corners. And we’re going to sew a quarter of an inch on either side. So let’s go the sewing machine and do that.

Alright line your presser foot up right along your line. And we’re just going to sew right down this line. If you feel uncomfortable about it at all, put a pin in it. And then we’re going to come up this side right here. And then we’re just going to go ahead and do the other one because it’s going to be facing the other direction. Now I’m going to look and make sure this didn’t move at all, line it up. Sew down. My presser foot is following right on that line and I’m going to whip it around and sew the other side. Oop I can feel some of that is folded under. Now if you’re wondering why I didn’t just lay it on there straight and do it like we do a half square triangle, it doesn’t work. It becomes a triangle when you do that. Then we’ve got a half square rectangle/triangle and that’s just way too much. Alright so now what we’re going to do is we’re going to cut on this line that we drew on, just like this. And we’re going to do the same thing to both of them, just like this. And then what we’re going to do is we’re going to press those open. So let me move these out of the way. And move these over here.

And what I’m going to do, I’m going to move this a little bit so you can see a little better. So what I’m going to do is I’m just going to put my gray on the top and iron to the dark side. And I’m just going to crease that back. And you see how that rectangle re-formed right there. There we go. And we’re just going to iron the rest of these. And two of them are going to go one direction and two of them are going to go the other. Now if you make them all go the same direction that’s a different quilt. But to do what I did back here you need some going in opposite directions. This kind of sewing is so fun for me because it’s something different that we’ve never tried before. And we want to see what’s going to happen. Alright so now I want to show you this block right here.

I have two where the slant is this way and two where the slant is this way. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to sew these two right here together like this. And then I’m going to turn these and sew these two together like this. And it makes that long. I mean this is our half square triangle chevron block. But now it’s elongated and it just looks so cool. So we’re going to go ahead and sew these two together and sew these two together a quarter of an inch. So there’s those and then I’m going to line these up right along underneath it. And then what we’re going to do is we’re going to open these up and we’re going to sew these two together just like that. We need to match our center seam but we’re not worried about points on this. But we’re just going to sew a quarter of an inch right down the side. Now I’m going to make sure that this seam stays folded the way I want it to. And sew a quarter of an inch down there. I’m going to take a few seams to anchor it. And then I’m going to match up these center seams. And you just feel with your finger that there’s no room in between so they nest perfectly. And then we’re going to make these two fit as well. One of the freeing things about doing things like this is that you really don’t know what’s going to happen and so everything is just a fun happy surprise and I just love that. Alright so now I’m pressing this open. Oop I’ve got my seam a little catty wampus right there.

Alright so this is the block you get right here. Now let me show you where that goes in here. So just like this. See how that fits in there. And then this one comes down here. We did every other one. We did half a block up here on the top and did them every other one. Well I made the whole quilt with these gray pieces like this. And let me show you how some of them go together. I have some more made over here. So this next one is going to go together just like this so it just goes up, down, up, down just like that. Just sails along. And the whole thing was gray and honestly it was cool. But it was kind of like eh. You know it lacked a little bit. And it might have been my color choice.

But I have to tell you I have been working on, for relaxation I work on crumb sewing. And crumb sewing is where everybody gives me their tiny little leftover pieces like this. And I just take them and I sew them together and I sew them to another piece and I sew them to another piece. And I just keep sewing them together. You know like I’d sew this and trim this and then this would get sewn to a bigger block or to a bigger piece. And you know I just keep sewing them together and cutting and sewing them together and cutting until I get a whole block like this where there’s lots of little pieces that are sewn together. Now they don’t actually come out in blocks. They come out, I mean there’s just pieces everywhere and then I square them up to a ten inch block. And so this is my crumb pieces. And you can see I’ve squared this one so I have very small pieces over here, you know. I mean there’s just no rhyme nor reason to them. It’s just something that I do for relaxation. So I sew these tiny little pieces together and then I square them and make these blocks. Well once it becomes a block, see I’ll show you the seams on the back. So see all these little seams. But once it becomes a block, literally you can treat it just a big ten inch square block. So now I have a ten inch square.

And I’m going to do exactly the same thing to this that I did to the gray one. So I’m going to cut it in half just like this. Just like that. And I’m going to draw my line on this piece just like I did the other one because now I’m treating this just like fabric. You know Victoria Findley Wolf came to see me a while back and she has a wonderful book called 15 Minutes of Play. And that’s what I consider my crumb sewing. I just consider it one of those things that I can just sit and sew pieces together because sometimes we need to do something that we don’t know where it’s taking us but it’s just kind of mindless. So then what I’m going to do is I’m just going to sew on either side of this. And when I iron this back it’s going to be that same half rectangle/triangle.

So you can see this block right here is exactly the same as this block. This block we sewed the two colors together and the two whites together. And this block I sewed my two crumb pieces, the two colors together. Here’s the seam and the two whites together. And here’s the wide part of that color out here. In case you’re having trouble seeing that. But once I ran that color strip right through the center of the quilt it made the whole quilt pop. And it made it come alive. Now this was a quilt that I made for Mod Block. And it’s going to be out in this year’s issue. And so you’ll be able to see it in there with a whole bunch of other fun quilts. But one more thing. I had one block left of those darling, scrappy color blocks. And look what I made over here. So I just took, this is a bonus project if you will. I just took two of those blocks and sewed them together and made this V like this. Now understand this is all scraps. This is just so much fun because it’s all scraps. And you can see I just did straight line quilting. I followed the contour of my block and it just made this darling beautiful pillow. So we hope you enjoyed this tutorial on the Trail Blaze quilt from the MSQC.

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