Make a Memory...Quilt Block...That Is!

From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library

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Our Memory quilt block stitches up in a flash. Quick-pieced half square triangles. Paper pieced Flying Geese.

Both make all this pointy goodness doable...quickly.

The Memory quilt block tutorial starts here.

In this tutorial you'll find:

It's time to cut up and sew!




General Instructions


Several abbreviations are used on this page. They are:

  • SA - seam allowance
  • RST - right sides together
  • HST - half square triangles
  • FG - Flying Geese

1/4" SA are used through this tutorial. 

Each time you press, the first time is with the patches 'closed', just as they were sewn. This sets the seam. Then open the patches and press again with SAs towards the darker fabric unless otherwise noted.

Paperpieced SA are always pressed toward the last added patch.

Pressing instructions are highlighted to make them easy to find.

The block can be a little lumpy between the units. Check out my favorite (super simple) pressing technique to squash them into submission.

I've recently acquired a Magic Pressing Mat—2 actually—and it's really upped my pressing game. Read my review here to see if one might make it into YOUR bag of tricks.


Download and print paper piecing pattern


You'll need the most current version of Adobe installed on your computer to download the pattern.

On the Adobe Print Menu page, 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.

Choose your finished block size from the chart below and print the corresponding number of copies for a total of four units.


Print the Flying Geese Pair Units

Finished
Block Size
# of copies Link to
PDF Download
6" 1 2"
9" 1 3"
12" 2 4"

After printing, use the 1" square graphic on the printed page(s) the patterns printed at the correct size.



Step 1: Cutting for a Memory quilt block


Memory quilt block patternMemory quilt block design

Sample Block Size:
   9" Finished
   9-1/2" Unfinished

This is a dramatic block. To up the wow factor use fabrics with high contrast.

If at all possible, make the dark fabric duller (grayer) than your light choice.That makes the lighter fabric really glow.

Label all your patches. Their numbers are used throughout the tutorial.

Click here to print a copy of the block design and cutting chart to use at your cutting table.

Generations Quilt Patterns logo

Cutting Chart for a
Memory Quilt Block

~Traditional Plus Paper Piecing ~

PatchFabricQtyFinished Block SizeSub
Cut
6" 9" 12"
1 Dark 1 3⅝" x 3⅝" 4⅝" x 4⅝" 5⅝" x 5⅝" Symbol for a quarter square triangle
2 Light 4 2⅜" x 2⅜" 2⅞" x 2⅞" 3⅜" x 3⅜" Symbol for a half square triangle
3 Light 1 3⅝" x 3⅝" 4⅝" x 4⅝" 5⅝" x 5⅝" Symbol for a quarter square triangle
4 Dark 4 2⅜" x 2⅜" 2⅞" x 2⅞" 3⅜" x 3⅜" Symbol for a half square triangle
5 Light 1 4¼" x 4¼" 5¼" x 5¼" 6¼" x 6¼" --
6 Dark 1 4¼" x 4¼" 5¼" x 5¼" 6¼" x 6¼" --
7 Light 4 1½" x 1½" 2" x 2" 2½" x 2½" --
8 Dark 4 1½" x 1½" 2" x 2" 2½" x 2½" --
9 Dark 1 2½" x 2½" 3½" x 3½" 4½" x 4½" --
Unfinished Block Size 6½" 9½" 12½" --
Grid Size 1" 1½" 2" --

My go-to thread for piecing is...



Step 2: Assemble the units for your Memory quilt block


Flying Geese pairs design


Flying Geese Pairs (FG)

Make 4


General Sewing Machine Setup for Paperpiecing

  • Reduce your stitch length to 15-20 stitches per inch. This perforates the paper. It also provides stability to the seam as you remove the pattern. 
  • Install an open toe applique foot if you have one (it's easier to see where you're stitching with one installed). 
  • Use a larger needle (90/14) if you have problems removing the pattern.
  • As you stitch each seam, start and stop a generous 1/4" before and after the solid stitching lines. Future lines of stitching secure the ends.

After adding each patch, press the unit as it came off the sewing machine to set the seam. Then press it open. It is automatically pressed towards the last patch added.

Steam is optional and usually curls the pattern. If that bothers you, don't use steam. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. It really just depends on my mood.

Use a tiny swipe of Elmer's Washable glue stick to position #1. Use the dashed placement lines (white arrows) for perfect positioning.



Position #1 Goose


With RST, align the long, bias edge of a #2 sky with one short side of #1. The point of the patch should be lined up with the corner (white arrow).


Position the first #2 Sky


Stitch starting and ending a good 1/4" before and after the solid line between #1 and #2. 

I do not backstitch at either end.

However, if you are a backstitcher, only the outside edge is a good candidate here because no future line of stitching crosses these stitches until after the paper is removed and the FG is sewn to other patches in Step 3.


Stitch on the line between #1 and #2This line of sewing should end at approximately the tip of the white arrow at the dashed line.

Press this #2.

Add the second #2 in the same manner and press.

Next we trim to establish the placement line for #3.

At your cutting mat, place the stitched pattern printed side up. Tear the stitches away from the paper a bit at the solid line between #2s and #3 so that you can fold the paper pattern back along this solid line.

I position my line on that line creasing the fold with my thumbnail.

Fold the pattern back along the line.

Now position the 1/4" mark on your ruler along the fold line to identify the 1/4" SA. Trim with your rotary cutter.


Trim the seam allowance after adding both #2 Sky


Align the long edge of #3 with this cut edge for perfect placement!

The point on #3 should be opposite the point at the top of the Goose (white arrow).


Position #3


Stitch starting and ending a generous 1/4" outside the solid line between #2 and #3.

Since we're stitching from edge to edge, you can chain piece this part of the unit.


Add the #3 by chain piecing

See that pesky thread tail in the center of the unit?

Since it doesn't bother me, I don't trim threads from the printed side of the paper until the unit it completely stitched. 

However, I ALWAYS trim to remember to trim the thread from the fabric side of the unit as I go. Much easier that way.


Time to trim again. Again to establish the placement lines for the #4s.

Fold the pattern back on itself along the solid line between #3 and #4.

Position the 1/4" mark on your ruler on the fold line and trim. Repeat for the other side.


Trim the #3


With RST, position a #4 with one side of the #3.

Stitch.

Just as with #3, we're stitching from one edge to the other so we can chain piece these units from here on out. 


Position the first #4 SkyThe point of the triangle #4 patch is opposition the corner of the unit.

After stitching the unit looks like a hot mess (left).

But after trimming, it's perfect.

Trim by aligning the quarter inch on your ruler with the solid outline of the unit and trim, repeating for all four sides of all four units.


Untrimmed and trimmed FG

Don't forget to remove the paper after trimming.

Give the units a final pressing.


HSTs

Make 8



Return your normal piecing stitch length. Install your favorite quarter inch foot.

On the back side of either the #5 or #6 patch (whichever one is easier to see your marks on) drawn two diagonal lines. My (favorite) Bohin Mechanical chalk pencil is easy to see on the darker fabric.

With RST, stitch a 1/4" away from both sides of both lines.


Sewing HSTsFinishing up the last of four lines of stitching for our HSTs

Press flat to set the seams.

Find your Finished Block size in the chart below.

Using the Center Measurement cut your sewn #5/#6 into four equal squares. Then cut each in half along the drawn line. 

You now have eight HSTs ready to trim.

After cutting the sewn #5/#6 into eight HSTs


Referring again to the chart, trim your HSTs to the 'Trim to...' dimensions.

Below is a HST after cutting in eight patches (left), pressed with the SA towards the dark (middle) and after trimming to the perfect size (right).


HSTs, cut, pressed and trimmed

Repeat for all eight HSTs.


Corner unit

Corners

Make 4

Use the images below to create four each of a #7 plus a HST and four of a #8 plus a HST.

SA are pressed in the direction of the white arrow towards the HST for both.


Pinning helps if you have trouble keeping all the edges even...you can chain piece to speed things up.



With RST and nesting the SA join one of each unit together, pressing SA in the direction of the white arrow.




Step 3: Assemble your Memory quilt block


Lay out all your sewn and one cut patch to form the Memory quilt block design. Solid dark squares are in the outside corners. Flying Geese point out from the center.

The units are arranged into rows

Sew the units into rows. If you've followed the pressing directions, the seams of the HST and Flying Geese all nest to make matching the points pretty easy.

I did pin to hold things in position as I stitched. Click here for 'pointers' (no pun intended!) on pinning for perfect points.

My favorite pins for this type of picky matching are IBC Super Fine .50mm show here.

After stitching the SA are pressed AWAY from the Flying Geese units.


Press SA away from the Flying Geese pairs


Stitch the rows together to create your Memory quilt block. Again, pinning as needed to help you hold the patches in position.

These last two seams are pressed away from the center.

Here is our finished 'Memory' in all its pointy goodness.




3-fabric Memory Quilt Block

3-fabric Memory patchwork design3-fabric Memory quilt block design

Though our sample is made with just two fabrics, there's no reason that you couldn't use three.

Here is that Memory block variation and its cutting chart.

Generations Quilt Patterns logo

Cutting Chart for a
3-fabric Memory Quilt Block

~Traditional Plus Paper Piecing ~

PatchFabricQtyFinished Block SizeSub
Cut
6" 9" 12"
1 Med 1 3⅝" x 3⅝" 4⅝" x 4⅝" 5⅝" x 5⅝" Symbol for a quarter square triangle
2 Dark 4 2⅜" x 2⅜" 2⅞" x 2⅞" 3⅜" x 3⅜" Symbol for a half square triangle
3 Dark 1 3⅝" x 3⅝" 4⅝" x 4⅝" 5⅝" x 5⅝" Symbol for a quarter square triangle
4 Light 4 2⅜" x 2⅜" 2⅞" x 2⅞" 3⅜" x 3⅜" Symbol for a half square triangle
5 Med 1 4¼" x 4¼" 5¼" x 5¼" 6¼" x 6¼" --
6 Dark 1 4¼" x 4¼" 5¼" x 5¼" 6¼" x 6¼" --
7 Dark 4 1½" x 1½" 2" x 2" 2½" x 2½" --
8 Med 4 1½" x 1½" 2" x 2" 2½" x 2½" --
9 Light 1 2½" x 2½" 3½" x 3½" 4½" x 4½" --
Unfinished Block Size 6½" 9½" 12½" --
Grid Size 1" 1½" 2" --

Click here to print a copy of the block design and cutting chart for a 3-fabric Memory quilt block.

You need to download and print the same paper piecing patterns to complete this version of the Memory block.



For even more blocks to make...


These are my go-to resources for quilt block ideas. Click the images to learn more.


Maggie Malone's 5500 Quilt Block Designs is my all-time favorite quilt block resource!

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.

However...


BlockBase is the computerized version of the Encyclopedia.

It can be used with Electric Quilt and is a Windows based program.




Finally there is 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.

Why?

Simply because I own the previous three references and find this the least user-friendly of the group.

It does make a fabulous coffee table book.



Don't forget to pin this for later...

Our Memory quilt block stitches up in a flash. Quick-pieced HST. Paper pieced Flying Geese. Both make all this pointy goodness doable...quickly. Step-by-step instructions for 6
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