From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library
Get on board for the 'At the Depot' quilt block. This charming little block is can be made using the On-Point ruler or with templates. The choice is up to you.
Simple Rail Fence units, half- and quarter square triangles is all it takes.
If you're not a Gadget Girl, I've got your back.
It's cents-less to buy another specialty ruler just to try out a single block! There's templates to download for the same three block sizes.
If you've been quilting a while, you might also know this design as 'Railroad Crossing'.
Let's start 'At the Depot'!
Common abbreviations are used throughout this tutorial:
SA are pressed toward the dark fabric unless otherwise noted.
Starching your quilt fabric helps to tame the bias edges of the #3 and #4 patches and minimize stretch.
If you don't have an OPRuler and would like to purchase one, links are provided with the picture below.
If you choose not to purchase the ruler, you can print templates for your At the Depot from the chart below. You'll need one copy.
On the Adobe Print menu, under 'Page Size and Handling' set 'Custom Scale' to 100% before printing for accurate results. Click here to see what it looks like on the Print Menu page.
PRINT the Paper Templates
| # of|
copies to print
| Link to|
The download for the coloring page is here.
Choose three fabrics with nice contrast.
My sample's patches are cut with the OPRuler. Learn more about it here.
In the chart below, #1, #2 and #5 (highlighted in yellow) are cut with the OPRuler. #3 and #4 (not highlighted) are cut with your standard rotary rulers.
If you downloaded templates, the quantity to cut and fabric choices are marked right on the template.
Cutting Chart for an~Traditional Piecing~
|Patch||Fabric||Qty||Finished Block Size||Sub|
|1*||Light||2||1" x 16"||1½" x 24"||2" x 34"||na|
|2*||Dark||1||1" x 16"||1½" x 24"||2" x 34"||na|
|3||Light||2||2⅜" x 2⅜"||3⅛" x 3⅛"||3⅞" x 3⅞"|
|4||Medium||1||4¼" x 4¼"||5¾" x 5¾"||7¼" x 7¼"|
|5*||Dark||1||3" x 3"||4½" x 4½"||6" x 6"||na|
|Unfinished Block Size||6½"||9½"||12½"||---|
|#1, #2 and #5 are cut with the On-Point ruler for accuracy. Templates are available for you to download from the blue chart under 'Construction Instructions'. Choose which alternative works best for you and your budget. Remember to subcut #3 and #4 as directed.|
Learn more about my favorite, new quilting tool, the Magic Pressing Mat. A valuable addition to your quilting tools—regardless of the piecing technique you use.
If you cut your patches with templates, sew a #1 to each long side of a #2, pressing in between stitching.
After your four units are complete, they should be the same size as Template #5. Adjust as necessary.
Using the OPRuler
If you cut with the OnPoint, then with RST, sew a #1 and #2 together along the long edge.
With your OPRuler check that your strip set is the correct width using the chart below.
|SubCutting Chart for At the Depot|
|Width of StripSet||SubCut Width|
Straighten the short edge of your stripset. Line up a line on your ruler with one of the stitching lines (red arrow) and trim off just a bit for a clean, even edge.
Sub cut your stripset using your OPRuler and the dimension from the chart that corresponds to your finished block's size.
For this 6" sample block, the subcut uses the 3" line on your ruler. (Remember it's the diagonal of this unit that finishes at 3". That's exactly what the On-Point measures for you.)
If you used templates, your RF are individually stitched and should measure the same size as the #5 template. Make adjustments as needed.
You end up with four perfect RF and just a bit leftover.
Arrange your patches as shown below. The Rail Fences point out from the center.
To assemble your At the Depot, we'll stitch these patches into two 'corner' type rows and one center row.
First, with RST add a #4 to each #1 patch of two RF units. I like to start my stitching from the nice even edge. That way my machine doesn't crud up the points.
Press, SA toward the darker #4s.
At this point the #4 triangle are a bit longer on the pointy edge than the RF. This is correct.
Now fingerpress to mark the center (red arrow below) of the long bias edge of all four #3s.
Fingerpress a crease into the #2 patch of the two RF plus #4 units you've just stitched.
With RST, match the centers of each. Pin to hold things in place.
That little notch made by the patches (red arrow above) is right at 1/4" inch. Your stitching goes right through this point at both ends.
Below you can see it clearly.
For the center diagonal row, add a RF to two opposite sides of the center #5 patch. Remember the RF point out from the center.
Find the center of outside edge of the RF units and fingerpress to mark.
With RST, match the center of a pre-creased #3 with the center of the RFs.
Pin and stitch.
Repeat of the opposite RF in this center row.
Press the SA away from the RF units.
All that's left it to stitch your rows together.
Your finished At the Depot quilt block! Beautiful.
These are my go-to resources for quilt block ideas.
Can you tell?
It's in color.
It's got a ton of blocks.
What's not to love?
Next on my 'must-have' list is Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.
Unlike the Maggie Malone book, the blocks in this volume are hand-drawn and in black and white—no color—personally, I prefer colored drawings to work with.
This book is no longer in print.
If you can come by a copy expect it to be wickedly expensive. Once in awhile you can find it here on Amazon.com.
UPDATE: Electric Quilt, in cooperation with Barbara Brackman has announced they plan to republish the Encyclopedia sometime in 2020.
However, all is not lost if you can't find a hard copy.
BlockBase is the computerized version of the Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.
It contains designs for over 4300 blocks—pretty much every block published from the 1830's through the 1970's.
It can be used with Electric Quilt and is a Windows based program.
In fact, there are instructions included so that you can pull up the digital patterns within Electric Quilt (PC version for now) without having to open up BB program.
UPDATE: Electric Quilt has announced that they will be rereleasing the standalone BlockBase software for BOTH PC and MAC in 2020.
This is terrific news.
Finally there's The Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns by Jinny Beyer.
Lots of detail and in color, it is a beautiful volume. That said, I check it out of my local library on a regular basis instead of purchasing it—can you see the library sticker on it's spine. Yep, it's from the Plainfield Public Library.
Simply because I own the previous three references and find this the least user-friendly of the group.
And it does make a fabulous coffee table book!
Don't forget to pin these instructions for later.