From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library
Skill Level: Beginner
Our Indian Hatchet quilt block (AKA Indian Hatchets) design is made using the connector corners technique.
No triangles to cut. No bias to contend with...it's just squares.
These connector corners are 3/4 the size of the finished block. Since they overlap, the only place to worry about matching a seam is at the corners of the units.
Truly a beginner friendly block!
If you really want to stretch your stash, you'll learn how to get either eight extra half square triangles(HSTs) out of each block with bonus HSTs. Pretty nifty!
At the end of this page, you'll find design ideas to make your own quilt.
Chop! Chop! It's time to make our Indian Hatchet quilt block.
For the connector corners portion of the block, I prefer to use an open toe applique foot. It provides an unobstructed view of the stitching lines.
When pressing, first press units flat, in the 'unopened' position, to set the seam and squish or meld the thread into the fibers of your fabric. Then press the smaller square out and towards the corner.
If you starch your quilt fabric before cutting, you can usually fingerpress most of your seams. Always give your finished Indian Hatchet a final press with the iron.
Try our favorite technique for pressing for truly flat patchwork!
To save space and include more block sizes, all of the measurements in the table below are for cutting squares.
So 4-1/2" means a 4-1/2" square.
The example contains a block with a light #1, but there's no reason you can't swap values between the patches for a different look.
To download and print a copy of the block design and the cutting chart below, click here.
Cutting Chart for an~ Traditional Piecing ~
|Patch||Fabric||Qty||Finished Block Size|
| Bonus triangles,|
|1 1/2"||2 1/4"||3"||3 3/4"||4 1/2"|
|Unfinished Block Size||4 1/2"||6 1/2"||8 1/2"||10 1/2"||12 1/2"|
|Grid Size||1/2"||3/4"||1"||1 1/4"||1 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.
For each Indian Hatchet quilt block, you'll need to make four of the unit to the right.
On the back side of every #2 square, draw a diagonal line, just dark enough so that you can see it. It is the seam line and you don't want your mark to show through to the front of the block.
With right sides together (RST) align two edges of a #1 and #2, positioning #2 as shown below.
Stitch on the line. I like to start and stop on a scrap of fabric—sometimes called a 'bunny tail' or 'spider—so that my machine doesn't chew up the fabric.
Repeat for all four #1s.
If you find that your #2 edges extend a just smidge past the edge of the #1, give them a little trim so that they're even.
If they fall short of the edge, double check that you've marked the diagonal in the correct place. Try a pencil that makes a finer mark (I like mechanical pencils for that reason). Try sewing on the side of the line closest to the corner to accommodate the turn of the cloth.
There's no need to stress about it because, ultimately, the only place we need to match these blocks when they're set together is at the corners. Sweet!
Let's get back to our Indian Hatchet quilt block. We've got...
There are two options with connector corners. One saves fabric. One doesn't.
If your #2 squares are large enough, you can easily create a bonus half square triangle (HST) from each corner. It's quick, too!
Mark a 1/2" away from the original stitching line. (1/2" gives you a 1/4" inch seam allowance for both units.)
Stitch and press.
Cut between the two stitching lines with your scissors or a rotary cutter.
Voila! Bonus HST!
When our unit is finished, we've got two bonus HST. Store these away for the next time you need scrappy units!
NOTE: In our cutting chart there's a row, 'Bonus triangles, unfinished size'. If you sewed and cut accurately, your triangles will match these measurements.
Now having a bunch of HSTs laying around isn't going to blow everyone's skirt up.
In the photo below, our objective is to reduce the bulk created by the connector corner technique. Simply trim away the excess #2 fabric a 1/4" past the original stitching line (closest to the corner).
After adding both #2 in this manner, you have...
Repeat for the remaining diagonal corner of the #1 square using whichever trimming technique you prefer for the bonus triangles.
In the photo below, you can see my ratty-looking spider behind the needle as I add the second #2. Someone told me they were called 'spiders' because they have 'hairy legs'.
You can easily draw in the line for the bonus triangle at the sewing machine if you choose.
Install your favorite 1/4" foot for the rest of the construction.
Lay out the units. Stitch them into two rows.
Stitch the rows together. Because I choose to cut away only the excess #2, there are extra layers to stitch through. I find I get a better match in the center when I pin.
Give your block a final press.
Your Indian Hatchet quilt block is done!
Seriously. This is a pretty simple block to make.
But what do you do with it?
In this first one, the Indian Hatchet blocks are rotated to form a 'Barn Raising' look. The Indian Hatchet has a strong diagonal just like a Log Cabin block does. The optical illusion of the blocks bowing out is unexpected.
This would be a sweet and simple baby quilt, all X's and O's. It's made from blocks just like in the tutorial, only some have been rotated.
When you look at this last design, can you see a little girl's hairbows? (Tilt your head to the right a little if you can't.)
Use the same fabric in the corners of pairs of different units. To make construction and organization smoother, sew the units, lay them out to your liking and, only then, sew them into blocks.
Much easier to keep both 'loops' of the bow together that way.
You're sure to find the perfect blocks for your next quilt in our Free Quilt Block Patterns library.
Just click the image to the left and go there now.
Strapped for time?
Then Pin It without delay and come back when you have time to indulge your creativity!
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!