It’s time for the second block in the Year of Traditional Block series. This month is another relatively simply block that’s perfect for those of you just starting in quilting.
Surprisingly, this block wasn’t at all on the list of recommended blocks but it remains one of my favorite traditional blocks so I decided to include it.
March is all about the Cracker Block.
I love this block in both traditional and scrappy forms. Today is focusing on just using two colors for building your block.
I don’t like cutting fabrics on the sixteenth of an inch scale, so I’ve sized my block up from the traditional 6″ finished. I’m also working to make each of the starter blocks the same size so that they can be made into a sampler if desired. Since the Log Cabin was 14.5″, I’ll be sizing as many blocks as I can throughout the year in that size.
Let’s Make One:
Color A (red/orange sketch in mine) :
- Two 2.25″ x 5.5″ rectangles
- One 4.75″ square (you can use a 5″ square if you happen to have a charm handy)
Color B (this is your background fabric. It’s a grey solid in mine) :
- One 2.25″ x 5.5″ rectangle
- One 4.75″ square (again, you can use a precut charm square if you have it)
And that’s it! The block is going to end up at 7.5″ square. Which obviously isn’t 14.5″ like I just said it would be. Cracker blocks are usually grouped in a set of four (two rows of two blocks). So if you’re making blocks for a sampler, then you’d need to make four of the individual cracker blocks to join together.
Start with all of your 2.25″ x 5.5″ rectangles. Using a 1/4″ seam, join the pieces along the 5.5″ side with your background (color B) piece ending up in the middle of the Color A rectangles.
This piece should measure 5.5″ square now (I will be referring to this piece as the center square from here on out).
First you’ll add the triangles in your focus fabric (color A) to the center square. Line up the long edge of your triangle to one of the sides of the center square that includes both fabrics. The points of your triangle should hang off the edge.
Sew right sides together with a 1/4″ seam and press open.
Repeat with the opposite side of the center square and your second color A triangle. You should now have a unit that looks like this:
Now all that’s left is to add the background (color B) triangles to the two remaining open sides of the center square. The points of your B triangles should extend into the A triangles that you just added.
Trim to 7.5″ square.
Since perfect seams are harder to obtain when adding corner triangles, I added a little bit of wiggle room into the block so that you can trim down to size. As you can see from my trimmings above, it’s not a large amount.
Whenever working on the math for my own blocks, if they ever involve piecing on a diagonal I like to work in an extra 1/4″ or so to make things easier. This may mean trimming a stack of blocks but I find that a lot nicer than having a block come up too short.
That’s your starting block for March!
I mentioned previously that these blocks are usually grouped into sets of four and I’ll be showing that layout next week.
Again, you’ll need to make four of these individual units to get a block the same size as the Log Cabin for a sampler.
I’m working on some projects and patterns using the Cracker block for posts throughout the rest of the month.
How would you use a Cracker block?