Instructions Written for the Beginning Quilter
Skill Level: Confident Beginner
The Crown and Thorns quilt block with all it's prickly points shouldn't stop you in your tracks.!
Making half square triangles is a breeze with the Quick Pieced method and I'll show you just how easy it is!
No special tools, rulers or paper piecing needed!
Other names for this spiky block include Georgetown Circle and Memory wreath.
Cutting instructions are included for 4 different sizes. All you need to do is choose a size and liberate three fabrics from your stash.
We're ready to begin our Crown and Thorns block!
Several abbreviations are used in this tutorial:
A good press is crucial in this block due to all the seams. Try our best pressing technique for the flattest patchwork ever!
All seam allowances (SA) are a 1/4" and pressed towards the darker fabric unless otherwise instructed.
The measurements in the chart for the HST patches (#4-#6) are exact.
Personally, I like to cut oversized patches, sew the triangle squares and then trim them to the perfect size. I will add a 1/4" to #4-#6 before I cut them.
This is explained more fully in the tutorial for the technique we'll use.
Choose fabrics with good contrast so that all those points stand out. If it's about anything, this block is about points!
All the numbers in the chart are for squares, so 2" means 2"x 2".
Choose a block size, it's time to cut!
Cutting Chart for a~ Traditional Piecing ~
|Patch||Fabric||Qty||Finished Block Size|
|Unfinished Block Size||5-1/2”||8”||10-1/2”||15-1/2”|
|Trim HSTs to||1-1/2”||2”||2-1/2”||3-1/2”|
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.
With right sides together, sew a #1 to a #2 square. Press.
Make a total of 4 pairs.
Make 4 units
We'll use the Quick Pieced Method for making our half square triangle units.
To start, draw a diagonal line on the back of all eight of your #4 squares. A mechanical pencil is my marker of choice. It always creates a fine line.
With RST layer each #4 with a #5 or #6 square until all these squares are paired.
Sew a quarter inch away from the line on both sides for all 8 pairs.
If you added a bit extra to the #4/#5/#6 measurements in the cutting (as I did for this example) you'll need to trim these HSTs to size.
In the Cutting Chart in Step 1 you can find this number at the intersection of the 'Finished Block Size' column and the 'Trim HSTs to...' row. Click here to see it. For our 7-1/2" finished block, they are trimmed to 2"x2".
If you cut using the exact dimensions from the chart, they should be equal to the 'trim to' size. Give 'em haircut if you need to!
If you need more detailed instructions on this method, see Technique #1: Quick Pieced Half Square Triangles.
Now assemble the HST into pairs as shown below:
Press so the SA is in one direction for one set and the opposite direction for the other set. It doesn't matter which is which, only that you are consistent.
Sew one pair of each set together.
Press and repeat for the remaining 3 pairs. (I do use pins so that the center match comes out nice!)
To reduce some of the bulk in the center, loosen a few stitches in the SA in the center of the unit as needed to twirl the seams like this...
A last pressing, and all your units are ready.
Lay out the sewn and cut patches into the Crown and Thorns design.
At this point it looks more like an uneven 9-patch than a 5-patch, don't you think?!
Stitch the units into rows. Press with all the SA toward the two-square-pairs (red and white here).
Stitch the rows together. The SA nest to make matching a breeze! Use pins if needed to hold things in place as you sew.
One final press—make it a good one—and your Crown and Thorns quilt block is finished!
There are two closely related designs based on the drawing of our Crown and Thorns quilt block.
In this first block, one color is removed from the Crown and Thorns design. The background is now the darker fabric. It's known by the following names:
English Wedding Ring
Odd scraps Patchwork
Old-Fashioned Wedding Ring
Vice President's Block
Here, the two-patch is replaced with a solid rectangle. This block is know as either Wedding Ring or Old English Wedding Ring.
...you can find more to make in my collection of Free Quilt Block Patterns. Click here to see them all.
Which will you make next?
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!