Monday, June 3, 2019

Tricia's Favorite Block Tutorials -- Block 4 RAIL FENCE

If you missed the first 3 blocks in my Favorite Block Tutorial series, here they are:

Block 1 -- Shoofly

Block 2 -- Courthouse Steps

Block 3 -- Flying Geese

Now that you're all caught up, let's make Block 4 -- RAIL FENCE.  Rail Fence was one of the first quilt blocks that I ever made.  Mine only had 3 strips whereas this block has 4 strips in each section.

As you know, I like to add a bit of Quilt History to my Block Tutorial posts.  Have you ever wondered where the names for quilt blocks came from?  I have always found this subject fascinating.  Blocks were named for people, special events, political figures and events, common everyday things and activities -- just about anything you can imagine! 

Have you ever noticed that quilt blocks can have a lot of different names, though?  I find that even more fascinating because people in different places were creating the same quilt blocks and calling them something different, based on their own experiences. When quilt block names were published in magazines and newspaper, even more names were added to the list.  For example, look at the Churn Dash block.  It is also known as Monkey Wrench, Puss in the Corner, Love Knot, Hole in the Barn Door, Sherman's March, Indian Hammer, Fisherman's Reel, and several other names.

If you find this as interesting as me, you might want to check out Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.  It is an amazing resource with thousands of pieced quilt blocks, their names, and even the publications they appeared in.  It can be hard to find, so if you are an Electric Quilt user, you should invest in BlockBase, which is a digital version of Barbara Brackman's book.  BlockBase doesn't include all the blocks in the book, but it does have a great selection.

Sew, let's get started on Block #4 -- Rail Fence.

 For a 12" finished block, you will need the following:

4 background rectangles 2" x 6 1/2"
4 light rectangles 2" x 6 1/2"
4 medium rectangles 2" x 6 1/2"
4 dark rectangles 2" x 6 1/2"

(For this block I chose to go with a monochromatic color scheme, but you can make this block as scrappy as you want because anything goes.)

1.  Sew a background, light, medium, and dark 2" x 6 1/2" strip together.  Make 4 units.

2.  Sew the 4 units together into a 4 Patch block, turning units as shown.

And that's it!  This a great beginner block, but it has a lot of possibilities for more experienced quilters, too.


Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing:



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