From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library
Skill Level: Confident Beginner
This Monkey Wrench quilt block pattern is a variation of this version.
Instead of using plain half square triangles in the corners, Birds in the Air units are substituted in, adding a bit more interest with little increase in difficulty.
On this page you'll find directions and downloadable patterns for paper piecing the majority of this block, making it quick, easy and precise.
Don't you just love it when all the points on triangle are right where they should be.
Let's get started!
Sample Block Size: 10"(10-1/2" unfinished)
Grid Size: 2"
All seam allowances (SA) are 1/4".
Pressing instructions are highlighted for easy reference.
When you are instructed to press, first press the pieced unit flat to set the seam. Then open the patch, pressing from the front.
You may want to reduce or eliminate the use of steam for pressing these paper pieced blocks. Steam tends to curl the paper.
Take a minute to review our favorite technique to getting the flattest quilt blocks you'll ever see. It works even with the paper attached. Now THAT'S sweet!
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.
Print the Birds in the Air Units
|# of copies|| Link to PDF|
After printing, use the 1" square graphic on the printed pages to confirm they are printed accurately.
My favorite paperpiecing papers are:
The patches for the paperpieced blocks are generously sized to making positioning them a breeze. The remaining patches (6, 7, 8) are cut to the exact size needed.
All the dimensions in the table below are for squares.
That means for Patch #1 for a 10" finished block cut two squares 2-7/8" x 2-7/8". Then sub cut it once on the diagonal.
Cutting Chart for a~ Paper Piecing ~
|Patch||Fabric||Qty||Finished Block Size||Sub|
|B||2, 3, 4||2||2-3/8”||2-5/8”||2-7/8”||3-3/8”|
All the patches are cut and ready to go!
Birds in the Air Units
For detailed instructions to make this unit, visit Birds in the Air block.
Cut out each of the units from the page you downloaded, cutting just beyond the dashed lines.
Use Elmer's Glue Stick, the kind that goes on purple and dries clear, to stick the wrong side of #1 to the unprinted side of the pattern. Use the dashed placement guidelines to help position it.
With RST, align the long bias edge of a #2 triangle with the long bias edge of #1.
Stitch from the printed side, starting and stopping a 1/4" off the solid line.
Press. (If you've starched your quilt fabric, you should be able to fingerpress for this short piece.)
With RST, align #3 with #1. Stitch and press.
With RST, align #4 with the other side of #1. Stitch and press.
Establish the placement line for #5 by trimming the seam allowances of #3 and #4 to quarter inch. (Click here for instructions if needed).
With RST, lineup the edges of #3 and #4 with #5.
Stitch #5 from the printed side, starting and stopping a 1/4" off the solid stitching line. (see arrows below)
Trim these four units to size with your rotary ruler.
With RST, stitch a light #6 to a dark #7, repeat for the remaining three pairs.
Press with the SA to the darker fabric.
Your finished units look like this and measure 2-1/2" x 4-1/2" at this point.
Layout the pieced units and cut patches into rows.
Stitch the units together into rows. Press with the seam allowance in the direction of the arrows below.
Stitch the rows together. The nested SAs will help you match the seam lines.
The is your finished Monkey Wrench quilt block pattern!
There's lots more patterns where this one came from. Find them in our Free Quilt Block Pattern Library.
Need design inspiration? Then go to our Quilt Design 101.
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!
...chosen by our readers.
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