From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library
A Sunny Lanes quilt block uses the connector corners technique to avoid messing with any half square triangles—terrific for anyone brand new to quilting.
Simple strip piecing makes the four patch units a breeze.
Twirl or fan the seams and you have a bulk free block.
It's time to cut up and sew!
These abbreviations are used on this page:
SA are 1/4" and pressed towards the darker fabric unless noted otherwise.
I like to use starched fabric when using the Connector Corners technique.
Starch makes fingerpressing easy as pie. And there's less chance for tucks at the seams. Always a good thing.
My favorite is StaFlo Concentrate that I mix 50/50 with water.
Four fabrics are needed for our Sunny Lanes sample block—a background, a light, a medium and a dark.
For the 8" sample, I choose a light and a medium that are pretty close together in value.
They make for a rather 'mushy' four patch.
Choose fabrics for #3(medium) and #4(light) with higher contrast if you prefer more distinctive patchwork.
Cutting Chart for a~Traditional Piecing w/Connector Corners ~
|Patch||Fabric||Qty||Finished Block Size|
|1||BAC||4||2½" x 4½"||3½" x 6½"||4½" x 8½"|
|2||Dark||8||2½" x 2½"||3½" x 3½"||4½" x 4½"|
|3||Med||1||1½" x 25"||2" x 33"||2½" x 41"|
|4||Light||1||1½" x 25"||2" x 33"||2½" x 41"|
|Unfinished Block Size||8½"||12½"||16½"|
These are some of the supplies I use to prepare and cut my fabric.
With RST, stitch the #3 to the #4 along the long edge.
I love my quarter inch foot with a guide on the right-hand side for sewing strips together. They almost sew themselves!
Press. First with the patches unopened to set the seam, then open with the SA towards the darker #3.
Use the chart below to check the accuracy of your stitching. Make any necessary adjustments.
|Stripset Width after stitching||SubCut Width|
Straighten one short end of your stripset with your rotary cutter and ruler.
Subcut into 16 units. Use the chart above to find the Subcut width for your finished block size.
For our 8" sample block, the subcut is 1-1/2" wide.
This next bit is IMPORTANT.
To stitch the pairs into four patches, feed each into your sewing machine the same exact way, medium #3 patch first on top.
After stitching and before trimming the threads in between each pair...
Press flat to set the seams.
Then undo the threads in the center (do not cut the threads) to help 'twirl' or 'fan' the seam allowance in a clockwise direction, pressing one final time.
This reduces bulk in the center of each.
If you make a whole quilt of nothing but Sunny Lanes blocks, the SAs between blocks will nest. That makes quilt top assembly so much easier, faster and more enjoyable to quilt.
With the patches laid out below, you can see that all the SA will nest to make matching seams pretty darn easy.
Set four 4-patches aside for Step 3.
With the remaining four patches we create the center unit.
Arrange the four patches with the #3 patch in the upper left corner of each unit (shown below).
Stitch the two pairs of four-patches together.
This next part is important.
When you stitch the units together, the #3 patch is on top and fed into the sewing machine first.
Twirl the SA.
Press the SA in the direction of the arrows.
Now stitch the two rows together. Pin if needed to help match seam lines.
If you've sewn the units as instructed you'll be able to twirl or fan every single intersection of seams in this center unit.
Here it is from the back.
Why go through all this rigmarole?
Twirling seams reduces the bulk at the intersections. Less bulk means it's easier to quilt on your home sewing machine!
An added advantage occurs when Sunny Lanes blocks are set edge-to-edge with no sashing. ALL the SA nest between blocks.
Make 2 each
We use the Connector Corners technique to create these units for our Sunny Lanes block.
If you have an open toe applique foot, install it now. It makes it much easier to see where you are sewing.
On the wrong side of each #2, draw one diagonal line from corner to corner. Mark only as dark as you need to see the line.
With RST, align the edges of a #1 and #2 and stitch on the drawn line.
On two sides the lines of stitching will go down from the left and two will go up from the left to create mirrored units.
I like to use my open toe applique for stitching on the line.
After stitching, trim away the excess #2 square leaving behind a scant quarter inch SA. Press.
Add the second #2 to the opposite end. The stitching is parallel to the first stitching in the first #2.
Trim as before.
After one final pressing, the sides are ready for your Sunny Lanes block.
Return to your favorite 1/4" foot if it isn't installed already.
Arrange the units into the Sunny Lanes design paying particular attention to the orientation of the #1/#2 units—their centers form light colored lines/bar diagonally through the block.
All of the four patches are set with their #3 (brick fabric) medium patches in the upper left corner.
Stitch the units into rows. SA are pressed toward the four-patches.
Stitch the rows together using pins where needed.
Our Sunny Lanes quilt block is done.
Here's how it looks from the back side.
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!