It’s been a rough start to the year for many Australians. Bushfires are still raging across many areas and have caused devastating loss.
It’s hard to watch the destruction of human life and property, as well as the large scale loss of native animals and their habitats.
The team at the Wollongong Modern Quilt Guild (WMQG) are putting together quilts which they will distribute to families who have lost everything in the bushfires.
They have chosen the theme of trees for the quilts. Those who’d like to contribute have been asked to make tree blocks that are 12-3/4″ square unfinished. (The blocks will then be trimmed by the WMQG to a uniform 12-1/2″ and sewn into quilts.)
Please check out all the details (block requirements, postal address, etc) in this WMQG Facebook post.
Folks are welcome to make any sort of tree block they like. I have a tutorial here for a tree quilt block for anyone looking for ideas.
The Tree Quilt Block
This full and happy tree has 4 leaf fabrics, a trunk fabric and a background fabric.
Please make life easy for yourself and choose non-directional print fabrics (or solids) to make this block.
You can use scraps (or a 10″/layer cake square) for each of the tree fabrics.
For the background, you’ll need a fat eighth or some larger scraps.
Cut the following pieces from your scraps/fabric:
C1, C2 and C4: 2 squares 3″ x 3″ and 1 rectangle 2-1/2″ x 4-1/2″
C3: 1 square 4-1/2″ x 4-1/2″, 2 squares 3″ x 3″ and 1 rectangle 1-1/2 x 2-1/2″
Trunk: 1 rectangle 2-1/2″ x 3-3/4″ and 1 rectangle 1-1/2″ x 2-1/2″
Background (BG): 2 rectangles 3-3/4″ x 5-3/4″, 2 squares 3″ x 3″,
1 rectangle 1-3/4″ x 13″ and 2 rectangles 1-3/4″ x 8-1/2″.
If cutting your BG from a fat eighth, I’d do it like this:
Sew the HSTs
HST method: Select two 3″ squares. Use a pencil to draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of one of the squares and then place them right sides together. Sew a scant quarter inch from either side of the marked line. Cut on the drawn line to yield 2 HSTs. Press as directed and trim to 2-1/2″ square.
Using the method shown above, pair the following 3″ squares to make the required HST units:
1 BG and 1 C1 square to give 2 BG/C1 HSTs. Press toward C1.
1 C1 and 1 C2 square to give 2 C1/C2 HSTs. Press toward C2.
1 C2 and 1 C3 square to give 2 C2/C3 squares. Press toward C2. (One of these HSTs will be surplus.)
1 C3 and 1 C4 square to give 2 C3/C4 HSTs. Press toward C3.
1 C4 and 1 BG square to give 2 C4/BG HSTs. Press toward C4.
As mentioned in the HST method, trim all units to 2-1/2″ square.
Sew the Trunk
Sew the long edges of the 3-3/4″ x 2-1/2″ trunk rectangle to one edge of each of the 3-3/4″ x 5-3/4″ BG rectangles. Press both seams toward the trunk fabric. See below (I was making 2 blocks at the one time, your eyes aren’t playing up. You’re only sewing one of these units.):
Now sew the C3 1-1/2″ x 2-1/2″ rectangle and trunk 1-1/2″ x 2-1/2″ rectangle together along their longest edges. Press as preferred. You’ll have a 2-1/2″ square once sewn. See below (again, I’m making 2 blocks so you’ll only have one of these):
Lay Out the Tree Quilt Block
Now that you have the 9 required HST units (remember there is one surplus C2/C3 unit) and the two tree units, you can lay out the block as it needs to be sewn:
The shorter BG strips go to the sides and the longer strip to the top. Check your HSTs carefully! If you look at the HST to the right of the trunk above, you’ll see I got it wrong. Luckily I caught it when laying out my 2nd block.
Sew the Tree Quilt Block Together
Now we’ll sew the units in each of the 3 rows of the tree top together.
Press the top row toward the left.
Then press the middle row toward the right.
Press the third row to the left except for the righthand trunk seam. Press that seam away from the trunk so that it will nest nicely with the bottom trunk unit.
Now you can sew the three tree top rows together and press seams as preferred:
Sew the side BG strips to each side of the tree top patchwork unit:
Then sew the top BG strip and bottom trunk unit in place. Be sure to nest the trunk seams.
I pressed the top seam toward the tree (to prevent a seam shadow on the white background) but it feels quite bulky that way. You may prefer to press toward the background so the block lays flatter. I know some people are willing to die over shadow seams, so I’ll let you choose for yourself. 😁
Trim the block to 12-3/4″ square. The lovely WMQG folks specifically asked for a generous 12-1/2″ block therefore I’ve made the block slightly oversized. This gives them some wiggle room when putting the blocks together.
I made 2 tree blocks because I couldn’t bear the thought of that left over C2/C3 HST feeling glum over the lost opportunity to comfort someone in need.
To make 2 blocks at once, you just double all the cutting amounts except for one less C2 and C3 squares (so only cut three C2 and C3 squares, not four).
I hope you get the chance to sew up a tree quilt block for a family affected by the Australian bushfires. You can find all the details for postage, etc at the WMQG’s Facebook Page.
Other Ways to Help
If you don’t have time to sew a tree quilt block, consider a donation. There are many organisations doing good work for the people and animals affected by the fires. Here are 3 that I’ve supported:
Thank you and stay safe, wherever you are.