Gobble up the Turkey Tracks Quilt Block:
9", 13½", 18" finished blocks 

From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library

This post contains affiliate links for which I receive compensation.


Stitch up a surprisingly simple Turkey Tracks quilt block for Fall.

The secret to getting crisp, pointy corners on the half rectangle triangles?

Paper piecing!

By stitching right on the line, your points will be precise. My step-by-step photos show you how.

You'll soon be making those Half Rectangle Triangles just like you eat potato chips...you can't have just one! All without having to buy a specialty ruler. Or cut with templates.

What's not to love?

Our Turkey Tracks sample quilt blockThe jaunty little Turkey Tracks quilt pattern in all its pointy glory!

I'll be with you every step as you turn your fabric into magic. With a little confidence and some pre-cutting, you'll be gobbling up this beginner-friendly project.

As always, beginner-friendly, illustrated instructions are the backbone of the tutorial. There's more free goodies available for you to download to help you. They are:

It's that time. Cut. Sew. Press. 

General Instructions

Several abbreviations are used on this page. They are:

  • SA - seam allowance
  • RST - right sides together
  • HRT- Half Rectangle Triangle pairs - A unit

A 1/4" SA is used in this tutorial.

Highlighted in yellow, pressing instructions are easy to spot.

First press the patches in the closed position as they came off your sewing machine. This sets the seam, melding the fibers of the threads into the fibers of the fabric.

Then press the SA to the dark unless otherwise noted.

Paper pieced seams are always pressed towards the last patch added.

While I'm a big proponent of using starch in your piecing, I'm particularly for it for the sharp, super pointy points in this block. Starched fabric cuts more accurately, stitches more accurately and is easier to fingerpress. All things that help you while you sew.

My go-to starch is a 50/50 mix of StaFlo Liquid Starch Concentrate to water.

Learn more about how to starch your quilt fabric.


Download and print the paper piecing pattern

Print the paper piecing patterns you need

To download the pattern, use the most current version of Adobe.

For accurate results, on Adobe's Print Menu page, under 'Page Size and Handling' set 'Custom Scale' to 100%. Then print.

Click here to see what it looks like on the Print Menu page.

Find your finished block size from the chart below. Print the corresponding number of pages for a total of 8 HRT units.

Print Paper Piecing Patterns
for HRT Pairs, Unit A only

Finished
Block Size
# of copies
to print
Link to HRT Pair
Finished Size
9" 2 2"
13½" 2 3"
18" 4 4"

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

Then cut out the required number of patterns from your copies. A rough cut is good enough—an 1/8"-1/4"-ish away from the outside dashed square.


Read my review of 6 paper piecing papers available on the market

Not sure which paper to use?

Take a look at my review of several of the most popular brands available to us quilters on the market.

You want a super-easy paper to tear away—less stress on the stitches. 


The newest quilt fabrics to tickle your fancy...

Click the images below to see the full collection. We share any commercial and/or free patterns that showcase them, too. (For inspiration, of course!)


Step 1: Cutting patches for a Turkey Tracks quilt pattern

Turkey Tracks quilt block design

Sample Block Size:  7" finished / 7½" unfinished

Grid:  9×9 

Attribution:  Ladies Art Company  

AKA:   Resolutions (Nancy Page), Pigeon Toes

Design Type:   Uneven 9-patch, small center. | Paper Piecing 

Label all your patches. You'll use their numbers throughout this tutorial.

I thought I'd share a selvedge to selvedge view of the dark fabric I used. Without any markings on the selvedge I can't tell you want collection it's from.

While the patterning of the fabric holds the block together, I did choose to fussy cut around the green parts for this block. 

The 'dark' fabric choice for the sample Turkey Tracks quilt blockHow I wish this 1/4 yard had printing on a selvedge so I could order more!

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

Generations Quilt Patterns logo

Cutting Chart for a
|Turkey Tracks Quilt Block Pattern

~ Paper & Traditional Piecing ~

(Patches shown Width x Height)
PatchFabricQtyFinished Block Size
9'' 13½'' 18''
1, 3 Dark 8 2⅞'' x 3¼'' 3⅜'' x 4¼'' 3⅞'' x 5¼''
2, 4 Bac 8 2⅞'' x 3¼'' 3⅜'' x 4¼'' 3⅞'' x 5¼''
5 Dark 4 2½'' x 2½'' 3½'' x 3½'' 4½'' x 4½''
6 Bac 4 2½'' x 2½'' 3½'' x 3½'' 4½'' x 4½''
7 Bac 4 1½'' x 4½'' 2'' x 6½'' 2½'' x 8½''
8 Bac 1 1½'' x 1½'' 2'' x 2'' 2½'' x 2½''
Unfinished Block Size 9½'' 14'' 18½''
Grid Size 1'' 1½'' 2''


Subcutting

Since all 8 HRT pairs are the same, layer all your #1, #2, #3, and #4 rectangles wrong side up.

The shorter measurement, the WIDTH, goes across the top and bottom of each rectangle.

Make a tick mark 5/8" in on the top-right side and 5/8" in on the bottom-left side. (red arrows)

Align the edge of your ruler with these marks at the edge and cut the rectangles in half. I did sort mine into a few piles to cut through only 4 layers at a time.

Mark and subcut the #1-#4 rectanglesFabrics are layered all wrong side up with the WIDTH (shorter side) on the top and bottom

When you flip over these triangular fabric pieces, so the right side is facing up, the angle of the freshly cut edge should all be pointing in the same direction on each piece.

Why not cut with the right side up?

When cutting patches for an HRT with all the seam lines running in the same direction as in our A unit here, the direction of the cut makes a HUGE difference in the patch you get. 

By ALWAYS cutting with the wrong side up,

  • I only have to remember one way to mark and cut 
  • It's easier to see marks on the wrong side for most fabrics

Step 2: Stitch a positively pointy batch of HRTs for your Turkey Tracks quilt block

HRTs

Make 8    

The HRT unit from the fabric and the pattern side...it's a mirror imageFrom the fabric side (left) and from the pattern side (right)...They're mirror images.

Our HRT pairs are paper pieced. Set up your sewing machine for this technique.

General Sewing Machine Setup for Paperpiecing

  • Reduce your stitch length to 16–20 stitches per inch (1.3-1.6 mm). This perforates the paper and stabilizes the seam when you remove the pattern. [Learn more about stitch length here.]
  • Reduce your machine's speed or just plain slow down. Sew only as fast as you can stay on the stitching lines.
  • Install an open toe appliqué foot (sometimes called an 'embroidery' or 'satin stitch' foot) if you have one (it's easier to see where you're stitching with one installed). 
  • If your machine has a needle stop up, use it. The stitching goes faster when you don't have to lift the presser foot with every seam.
  • As you stitch each seam, start and stop a generous 1/4” before and after the solid stitching lines. ALWAYS. Future lines of stitching secure the ends.

After adding each patch, press the unit as it was sewn to set the seam and then open. The SA is automatically pressed towards the last patch added.

Before adding the next patch, take a look to make sure the one you just added covers the space plus seam allowance that it is supposed to.

Steam is optional and usually curls the pattern. 

If that bothers you, don't use steam. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don't.

It truly depends on my mood.

Remember, as you follow this paper piecing tutorial, the printed and the fabric sides of this block are mirror-images of each other.

At last!

Let's sew!

Use a dot of Elmer's Washable Glue Stick to hold the #1 in place on the unprinted side of the pattern. Use the dotted guide for quick accurate positioning.

Position #1 on the unprinted side of the pattern using a dot of glue stick#1 extends well past the dashed lines on the outside edge on purpose. If you're going to trim, it's nice to have something to trim.

With RST layer #2 with #1, lining up the long diagonal edges. There's plenty of patch to get this positioned properly. Remember we cut these oversized just for that purpose.

Layer #2 RST to #1

Stitch on the line between #1 and #2, starting and stopping past the outside dashed edge of the HRT.

Stitch the seam to join #1 to #2

Because this seam, in fact, ALL the seams in the unit run from one outside edge to another, you can chain piece these patches. A real time and thread saver!

Press.

At your cutting mat, with the printed paper side up, fold the paper pattern back on itself at the solid line between #2 and #3.

You WILL have to pull a bit of the paper back away from the stitches. This is normal for paper piecing.

Trim away the excess fabric from #2 with a rotary cutter and ruler

Line up the 1/4" marks on your ruler with the folded edge of the pattern (red arrow) and cut away the excess fabric as shown above.

This establishes the perfect 1/4" seam AND placement for the next patch.

The perfect edge to line up our next patch withFrom the fabric side after this first trim

With RST, line up the long straight edge of #3 with the freshly trimmed #2.

If you're new to making this unit, hold the #3 in place at the seam and flip it open to make sure it's positioned properly. So much quicker to make a quick check (and less frustration and swearing) than having to rip out a seam.

Layer #3 RST with the freshly trimmed edge of #2

This seam is sewn just like the first one and can also be chain pieced.

Trim it just like we did for #2.

Trimming #3, left, and the unit from the fabric side after trimmingFold the pattern back on itself, position the ruler and trim (left), and after trimming, right

Press.

Add #4 just like the previous patches. 

Layer #4 RST with #3

Give your jaunty little HRTs a good press.

Now for the magic.

At your cutting mat, pattern side up, line up the 1/4" markings on your ruler with the solid square that surrounds the unit (red arrow, below center).

Trim away the excess with your rotary cutter.

From untrimmed HRT to trimming a side to the trimmed unit ready to be pieced into the Turkey Tracks quilt blockHot mess (left), trimming the 4th side of 4 (center), and trimmed to perfection (right)

Repeat for all four sides of all the HRTs.

All the paper piecing is finished. Our outside edges are all on the straight of grain—just like they'd be if you'd used traditional piecing methods.

The paper pattern has done it job and should be removed.

Return your sewing machine to your everyday settings.

We stitch the remainder of the block with traditional techniques.

Install your favorite quarter inch presser foot. Adjust the needle position if needed. Return to your normal piecing stitch length.

Corner Units

Make 4      

Corner unit designCorner

Arrange a #5, #6 and two HRTs as shown below. 

With RST sew a #6 to the #4 side of an HRT, and a #5 to the #1/#3 side of the second HRT.

Join #6 to an HRT and #5 to an HRT for the Corner units

Press the SA towards the #5 or #6 (white arrows, center above), away from the HRTs to avoid creating bulk in the SA.

Join the rows together. Repeat for all four Corners.

Press this SA toward the #5 (white arrow above right).

Use the chart below to check your accuracy. For our 9" finished sample block, the measurement is 4½" x 4½".

After sewing, each Corner Unit measures...

Finished
Block Size
Edge-to-edge
Measurement
9" 4½" x 4½"
13½" 6½" x 6½"
18" 8½" x 8½"

Step 3: Assemble your Turkey Tracks quilt block 

Arrange the sewn Corners and cut #7s and #8 as shown below. The darker #5 patches are toward the center.

The units are arranged into the Turkey Tracks design

With RST sew the units in each row together.

SAs are pressed toward the #7s in each row.

The units are sewn into rows

Stitch the rows together. All the SAs nest to make matching them a breeze.

SAs are pressed toward the center.

Gobble! Gobble! Our Turkey Tracks is complete.

The finished Turkey Tracks quilt block

And as always, a quick peek at the backside to see how all the SAs work together. 

I have to apologize. I took all these photos at a quilting weekend at the Quilt Barn and forgot to get this last shot. The lighting is entirely different and the reason the background looks so much more yellow than it really is.

I'm a much better quilter than a photographer, you'd have to agree!

The finished Turkey Tracks quilt block from the backside to see how the pressed seam allowances work togetherLooks like this quilter's got a tiny bit of the paper piecing pattern to remove from each side at the edge!

Fantabulous!

You stitched up a fab Turkey Tracks quilt pattern for fall. You nailed those pointy HRTs.

Now sit back and bask in your quilting glory.

You're a star!


What about a different quilt block?

For a list of all the 220+ quilt block patterns on this site, start here.

If you know the name of the block, shorten your search by using these links:

A-D

E-M

N-Z

Click here if you're looking for blocks with at least some paper piecing.

Click here if you're looking for the basic building blocks of quilting, i.e., Flying Geese, half square triangles, quarter square triangles, etc., along with several techniques to make each.

And finally, use these links to find blocks in these finished sizes:


This article was printed from Generations-Quilt-Patterns.com

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