Fish Quilt Block (and some Scrap Quilt Ideas)

I’m always on the lookout for scrap quilt ideas – how about you? To me, a good scrap quilt pattern has simple repetitive blocks that let me have fun mixing and matching all of my most loved scrap fabrics.

Last week I wrote a post about Quarter Square Triangles and this scrappy fish quilt block uses a QST variant called the Hourglass block. It’s a simple but really fun block for a baby quilt, and I’ll give you some layout ideas at the end of the post. So let’s have a look, shall we?

Sew a scrap quilt from these fun fish quilt blocks at Bonjour Quilts

This fish quilt block has three parts: a flying geese head, a square body and a Quarter Square Triangle tail.

The block is 3-1/2″ x 8″ unfinished (with seam allowance) and will be 3″ x 7-1/2″ when sewn into a quilt.

We’ll make the fish 2 at a time (as the method for making Hourglass blocks creates 2 at a time).

Sew a scrap quilt from these fun fish quilt blocks at Bonjour Quilts

Scrap Fabric Requirements

If you’re using directional print fabric, read all the instructions first before you cut so you can see how to align the print all the way across your fish block.

For each pair of fish blocks you’ll need the following fabric pieces:

Scrap:

4-1/2″ square

Two 3-1/2″ squares

Two 2-1/4″ x 3-3/4″ rectangles

Background:

4-1/2″ square

Four 2-1/4″ squares

Sew the Hourglass Block Tail

Take a 4-1/2” background and a 4-1/2″ scrap square. Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of the background square and pair right sides together with the scrap square. Sew a scant 1⁄4” from either side of the marked line. Cut on the drawn line to yield 2 HST units. Press seams toward the darker fabric.

Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of one of the HST units, perpendicular to the HST centre seam. Place the two HSTs right sides together, making sure different fabrics are facing each other.

Sew a scrap quilt from these fun fish quilt blocks at Bonjour Quilts

Sew a scant 1⁄4” from either side of the marked line. Cut on the drawn line to yield 2 Hourglass units and trim them to 3-1/2” square (I like this ruler* for QST trimming because the extra lines make centring the block easier).

Sew a scrap quilt from these fun fish quilt blocks at Bonjour Quilts

For tips on how to accurately trim Quarter Square Triangle blocks, make sure you check out this post here.

Sew the Flying Geese Head Block

Take two 2-1/4″ background squares and draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of each one. Align one square on one corner of the 2-1/4″ x 3-3/4″ scrap rectangle as shown, then sew on the diagonal line.

Sew a scrap quilt from these fun fish quilt blocks at Bonjour Quilts

Press the corner of the background square away from the unit. Repeat the process with the second background square on the opposite corner of the scrap rectangle. You’ve just made a flying geese unit. Repeat so you have 2 in total.

Sew a scrap quilt from these fun fish quilt blocks at Bonjour Quilts

Trim the flying geese units to 2″ x 3-1/2”, making sure to keep the points centred. I use these Bloc_loc rulers* to trim my flying geese. They’re pricey (as they’re made in the US) but I couldn’t go back to life without them.

Sew a scrap quilt from these fun fish quilt blocks at Bonjour Quilts

Sew the Fish Together

Now you have your fish components it’s time to sew them all together.

Sew a scrap quilt from these fun fish quilt blocks at Bonjour Quilts

I like to press my seams inward. They just sit better for me that way.

Sew a scrap quilt from these fun fish quilt blocks at Bonjour Quilts

A note on directional fabrics. When you sew your Hourglass blocks you’ll get one block in each fabric orientation:

Sew a scrap quilt from these fun fish quilt blocks at Bonjour Quilts

You can see above that it’s easy to rotate your tummy square to match the tail, but it will take a bit of forethought to match the head. If you just remember to cut one flying geese rectangle in each direction of the fabric you’ll be fine.

Sew a scrap quilt from these fun fish quilt blocks at Bonjour Quilts

So, what do we do with these fishies? How can we turn a school of these blocks into a fabulous scrap quilt?

Scrap quilt ideas

The easiest layout would be a lovely ordered layout of fish. I’ve put them all facing the one direction below, but you could alternate directions in the rows, too, for a bit of variation. A colour gradation would also be very pretty.

Sew a scrap quilt from these fun fish quilt blocks at Bonjour Quilts

Or how about a single, rebel fish? (We all know a red fish, right?)

Sew a scrap quilt from these fun fish quilt blocks at Bonjour Quilts

Perhaps you could add a pair of kissing fish in the middle:

Sew a scrap quilt from these fun fish quilt blocks at Bonjour Quilts

Then there’s this one, which I’m calling The Party Starters:

Sew a scrap quilt from these fun fish quilt blocks at Bonjour Quilts

So lots of scrap quilt fun to be had with this block, to be sure.

I hope this gives you some ideas to help reduce your scrap pile. Do know a someone (a Pisces?) who’d like a fish quilt of their own?

Which is your favourite quilt layout – let me know in the comments.

Happy sewing!

Kirsty

Sew a scrap quilt from these fun fish quilt blocks at Bonjour Quilts

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30 thoughts on “Fish Quilt Block (and some Scrap Quilt Ideas)”

  1. I love this quilt. I am making one right now for a sweet couple who just had a little girl and the whole family loves fishing.
    I have mild cognitive disorder (very beginning dementia) I have quilted for many decades.
    Just today after having already doing some fisheys last week. I am brain blocked on show to do this step.
    I took the 2-4 1/2″ blocks and made the hourglass shapes. I have the omni grid 6″ square…. and I can not get past this step. Grrr… I can’t trim the 4 1/2″ block to a 3 1/2″ block! It’s maddening to me.
    Can you give me a clue?

    Sew a scant 1⁄4” from either side of the marked line. Cut on the drawn line to yield 2 Hourglass units and trim them to 3-1/2” square (I like this ruler* for QST trimming because the extra lines make centring the block easier).

    Thanks, MsMyra

    Reply
    • Not a problem – you just need to make sure your centre point is 1.75″ from all the edges. So identify a 3.5″ square in your ruler (if your ruler is larger than 3.5″, which most are) and lay it over the block, making sure you put the centre point on the 1.75″ mark. Then you can trim two sides, turn the block around, line it up again and trim the other two sides.

      I hope that helps! I also have a post on sewing/trimming QSTs – it can be handy to pin it to your Pinterest account for future reference.

      Happy sewing and I hope the fishing-loving family enjoy their quilt!

      Reply
  2. I’m definitely always on the lookout for scrap quilts! I like the top version best and I also think if you flip it on it’s side it would be a men’s ties quilt

    Reply
  3. I like them all, for different people and purposes. 2 and 4 might be slightly ahead of 1 and 3. I can either go with it from here or wait for a pattern. I think I might use leftovers from the FALL into a QAL blocks, so I would do it in 2019 anyway.

    Reply
  4. I’m usually not a fan of modern quilts; but I absolutely love the party starters layout! It gives your eyes a place to rest and it’s just fun and fresh.

    Reply
  5. Love this idea! Thanks for the tutoials. I’m good with all the layouts. Pattern with several sizes and fabric requirements would be a great help. I also really like the bloc-loc rulers. Where to start?

    Reply
  6. Block Lock rulers are the best. I hesitated because of the price but once I started using them, I love, love, love them. The Party Starters is definitely my fav.

    Reply
    • Yes, they’re an investment, but I’ve found they’re worth it for me. My HST ones have probably saved me a whole day in added up trimming time!

      Reply
  7. I really like your fish quilt. This looks like something I could do as a confident beginner. I have 1 request/suggestion. In your diagram of the flying geese there is no seam allowance at the point. I do my trimming to match pictures, and trimming in that manner has caused me to cut off seam allowances. Then when trying to join my blocks, I lose my points. Is it relatively easy to change the diagrams? Thank you for the tutorial.

    Reply
  8. What a clever and fun block this is! I’m particularly drawn to the red fish version and the party starters, but each version is super appealing. I’m in the midst of a scrap granny quilt as I try to beat back my overflowing bins, but I am strongly thinking about making a fish quilt now. Thank you for the tutorial and for the inspiration!

    Reply
  9. i was looking for a pattern for a black and white quilt. Notice I said looking I am going to use your fish for it and I love the idea of one red fish I think I will put it in there my husband made a patriotic quilt so I have plenty of red scraps and white and blue too One fish two fish red fish blue fish? Thank you Dr. Suess LOL

    Reply
    • Oh snap, I was thinking of that book too while I wrote this post. It’s a favourite in our house! I think a red fish amongst the black and white will look smashing.

      Reply
  10. Ooh! Nice fish block and again you have excelled in make ng the pattern look simple. Waiting to try this pattern and will share with you for sure the final product.
    Thank you

    Reply
  11. Thanks Kristy! I love the fishies and the tutorial. I’m good with the tutorial. I was thinking of another layout too-sewing the fish in rows, and offseting them so they are staggered, and they could be going in different directions!
    I’m putting it on my to do list!
    Liz

    Reply
  12. Your fish are adorable and such a great combination block. I’m excited to try these and have had an interest in the bloc loc rulers for some time…I think now is the time! Oh, definitely one unruly fish! (or two or three ;)

    Reply
    • Ha, thanks Linda. There’s always one fish that swims against the school ;)

      You’ll love the Bloc_locs – I have the flying geese, HST and HRT rulers – they’re soooo good!

      Reply

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