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Category: Basic Units

This is the archive listing of all Quilt Blocks in the Quilt Block Library assigned to the Patterns Category that are considered BASIC UNITS in quilt blocks

Split Rectangle Quilt Block Units

Another advanced basic unit is the Split Rectangle quilt block unit. Sometimes this unit is called the Half Rectangle Triangle or HRT. You can find examples of this unit in action in the following quilt block designs:

Crazy Ann Quilt Block

Flutterby Quilt Block

Now, don't be fooled into thinking these units will work just like half square triangle units. They won't. They are an entirely different animal.

For starters, a half square triangle will always have the same height and width. This is not the case with Split Rectangles. They can come in a variety of height to width ratios, as shown below.

Illustration of assorted sizes of Split Rectangle Quilt Block Units
Note the variety of widths and heights in these split rectangle quilt block units.

 

One important thing to know when making these units is that the diagonal can either go left to right or right to left. Since the two different directions are mirror images of each other, care must be taken when cutting your fabrics to make sure you haven't reversed the unit.

Illustration of pair of mirror image split rectangles
Pair of split rectangles. Note that the diagonal line for the set on the left goes from left to right, while the angle on the other pair goes from right to left.

 

The formula for making Split Recs is pretty differently from making HST's too. Recall that when making Half square triangles, you will add 7/8" to your finished size, then cut on the diagonal. To make Split Rectangles, first determine the finished size of your rectangle, then add ¼” to the width and ½” to the height.

Here's an example: Suppose I want to make a finished Split Rectangle that measures 3"x 6". Then I would need to cut rectangles that are 3.25" x 6.5", draw a line along the diagonal, then sew seams that are 1/4" away from each side of the drawn line. Once the seams are sewn, cut along the diagonal and press open.

A tool that makes easy work of Split Rectangles is the Split Rects Tool by Studio 180 designs. I've found this tool to give me great results and it really speeds up the cutting process when making these units.

 

(The link below is an Amazon affiliate link.)

Corner Beam Quilt Block Unit

Another basic building block unit in quilting is the Corner Beam unit. This unit is not seen as commonly as others, but the Corner Beam unit is an important design to master once you get the hang of the other basic units.

I have constructed this unit successful using two different methods. One method to make Corner Beams is to use Foundation or Paper Piecing. You can download a simple paper piecing template by using the link below.

The downside to paper piecing is the amount of fabric waste. Another great way to make Corner Beam units is to use the Corner Beam Ruler by Deb Tucker of Studio 180 designs. Her ruler allows you to make quick and accurate corner beams with less waste than paper piecing.

(The image below is an Amazon affiliate link.)

The following blocks are examples of blocks that have the Corner Beam unit in their design:

Tumble Dry Quilt Block

 

Quilt Grouping Examples

A popular grouping of corner beam units is the Job's Troubles Quilt Block shown below:

CornerBeam_Block1
illustration of a grouping of Job's Troubles quilt blocks
Grouping of Job's Troubles Quilt Blocks

Another way to arrange four corner beam units is shown below, along with an illustration for how this might look in a quilt grouping.

Illustration of a Quilt block using corner beam units
an illustration of a possible arrangment of corner beam quilt block units
An alternate arrangement of Corner Beam Quilt Block Units

Paper Piecing Template

Click to download Corner Beam template

Coloring Sheets

Click image to download coloring sheets

Candy Stripe Units

What I call a Candy Stripe Unit in quilt block construction is when you have a parallelogram flanked by two right triangles. The resulting unit is a rectangle. You often see parallelograms in blocks that required Y seams.

Below are a few quilt blocks that have parallelograms in their designs:

There are two ways to approach constructing these units.  The first way is to divide the parallelograms into two Half Square Triangles. Many times this will be the best method, as the Candy Stripe Unit method doesn't always lend itself to every design.

Illustration of Parallelogram quilt block constructed using Half Square Triangles
Pair of HSTs that when joined will make a parallelogram

Another approach to making Candy Stripe Units is to make them using a Quick Corner method. This technique is similar to how Quick Corner Flying Geese are made, except that the 2nd corner is stitched down parallel to the first corner. The rotary cutting measurements for each piece are identical to how you would cut Flying Geese pieces when using the Quick Corner method. (You can use the cutting chart located on the Flying Geese Basic Units page.)

As shown in the chart, you will need to cut 1 base and 2 small square for each unit that you make. After you cut your pieces, draw a line down the diagonal of your two small squares. Then sew the pieces following the steps below:

Step 1: With right sides together, align the first small square to one side of the rectangular base. Stitch on the diagonal line.

Illustration of step 1 making Candy Stripe quilt block units showing how pieces are aligned and stitched

Step 2: Trim

Illustration of step 2 making Candy Stripe quilt block units showing how unit is trimmed.

Step 3: Press stitched fabric open.

Illustration of step 3 making Candy Stripe quilt block units showing how unit is pressed open

Step 4: With right sides together, align the second small square to the other side of the rectangular base, making sure that the drawn diagonal line is parallel to the stitched diagonal line of the other small square.

Illustration of step 4 making Candy Stripe quilt block units showing how final piece is aligned and stitched

Step 5: Trim

Illustration of step 5 making Candy Stripe quilt block units showing how final piece is trimmed

Step 6: Press stitched fabric open.

Illustration of step 6 making Candy Stripe quilt block units showing how final piece is pressed open

V Quilt Block (Basic Unit)

Block Construction

Illustration of the Expanded version of V Block

Drunkard’s Path Quilt Block

The Drunkard's Path is a unit used in numerous quilt blocks. Below are just a few:

More can be found in the Curved Piecing section of the Block Library or by searching the library for the Drunkard's Path tag.

Instructions

The Drunkard's Path can be made several ways.  Traditionally, each piece was cut with templates and the patchwork was sewn together with lots of pins and sewing set in curves. If you want to try this method, you can download the templates using the link below. (The download is free or you can make a small donation if you like.)

Most modern quilters make Drunkard's Patch units using an Applique technique, which is described below:

Making Applique Drunkard's Path Units

(Makes 4 identical Drunkard's Path Units)

  • Decide how big to make your finished block.
  • Cut your background square and circle piece according to the chart below.
  • Cut a piece of fusible interfacing the same size as your circle.

 A simple way to cut these circles is to to use a Circle Rotary Ruler such as the Wright's Easy Circle Cut Ruler shown in the Affiliate link below.

Please note that by clicking on the link below you will be taken to Amazon.com, and I will receive a small commission for your purchase.

  • Sew the interfacing and circle together, using a 1/4" seam, along the outer edges of the circles, making sure the right side of the fabric and the fusible side of the interfacing are facing each other.
  • Make a small slit in the center of the interfacing, and turn your circle right side out, so that the seams are inside the circle and interfacing.  Use a point turning tool to smooth out the seams.
  • Find the center of your background square and align the center of your applique circle perfectly in the center of your background with the right sides of each piece facing up.  Using a hot iron, press the circle to the background square.
  • Cut your square in half, vertically and horizontally so that you have 4 equal Drunkard's Path Units.

Drunkard's Path Cutting Instructions

Use this cutting chart to determine sizes needed for background squares and circles when using the Applique method.

Size of Finished Block Cut Size of Background Square Cut Size Diameter of Center Circle
5" 11" 6.5"
6" 13" 7.75"
8" 17" 10"
10" 21" 12.5"

Coloring Sheets