Welcome to another block in the Summer Sampler Series! Today we'll be making the Minnesota block. I just love the vintage charm of this block.
Minnesota is block #1979 in the Encyclopedia Of Pieced Quilt Patterns. It is in the "Unequal Nine Patch with Small Center Square" pattern category—a huge category with an amazing variety of designs represented. This block originally appeared in the magazine "Hearth and Home," which was popular with women in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Hearth and Home published a series of 50 quilt block patterns, one for each state (there is a book that collects all 50 state block patterns, which you can buy here). I couldn't find any information on whether there is design significance to each state's block (I'm guessing there isn't). But Wisconsin's is pretty interesting too, so you might see that one from me one of these days! It might be kind of fun to make a "travel quilt" of blocks for all of the states that I've been to over the years.
Minnesota Block Tutorial
This is another block that combines traditional piecing and paper piecing. But if you've made it this far in the quilt-along, I promise you'll think this one is a piece of cake. No, seriously!
• (4) 6.25" print squares for hourglass units
• (4) 2.5" x 5.5" pieces for diamond units
• (1) 2.5" square for center diamond
• (8) 3.5" x 4.5" pieces for background of diamond units
• (4) 2" squares for background of center diamond
2. Let's start with the paper-piecing this time. You can download the paper-piecing template here. (Please note: Printing directly from Google Docs can cause your template sizes to be inaccurate. To avoid this, download the PDF to your computer and print it from Acrobat—for information about how to do this, see this Flickr discussion.) You will need 4 copies of the rectangular template and 1 copy of the small square template.
3. Starting with the rectangular templates, adhere the 2.5" x 5.5" pieces to the back of the templates, right side facing out, so that your fabric is on one side and the printed template is on the other. I use double-sided tape to put my fabric onto the template, but you could also use a glue stick, fabric glue, or pins. Your fabric pieces should be the same size as the template and should completely cover the back of the template. In the photo above, mine are all adhered to the templates.
4. Take your 3.5" x 4.5" background pieces and cut them in half diagonally, so that you have 16 triangular pieces.
5. Position a background triangle onto the back of your template/fabric, right side facing, as shown.
6. Flip the entire thing over, so that you're looking at the printed template. Hold it up to a light source to check that the triangular background piece is in the correct position. It's hard to tell in this photo because my fabric is black, but at least 1/4" of the triangular background piece should be above the line you'll be sewing on, and the rest should be below the line.
7. Sew directly onto the line between Section 1 and Section 2, as shown. Be sure to use a shorter stitch length to make it easier to tear off the paper later. I'm using 1.4 on my machine.
8. Fold back the triangular piece and press into place, as shown. (My paper is curling in the photo above, due to the nine-thousand percent humidity we're currently having.)
9. Sew the other three pieces into place in just the same way. When you're done, you should have something that looks like this.
10. Using the paper template as a guide, trim off the excess fabric.
11. Tear off and discard the paper templates. Fold back the background triangles and carefully trim off the excess fabric underneath. (So I'm trimming off the black fabric from underneath the white fabric.)
12. You should now have a diamond unit that looks like this. Repeat the process to make a total of four diamond units.
13. Now follow the same process one more time to make the center diamond. Use the 2.5" square paper template, your 2.5" square of fabric and your 2" square background pieces. After sewing and trimming, you should end up with a unit that looks like this.
14. Now that your paper-pieced diamond units are complete, we'll use traditional piecing to make the four hourglass units that complete the block. Start by cutting the 6.25" squares in half diagonally, and then in half diagonally in the other direction. You should now have a total of 16 triangles like the ones above.
15. Match up one triangle of each print and sew them together along a short edge. Don't sew together the long edges—if you do that, you'll end up with an HST, and we actually don't want any of those this time! : ) I pressed my seam allowance to the side, toward the blue print.
16. Do the same thing with another pair of triangles, but this time, swap the sides the prints are on. Yes, it does matter which sides the prints are on, so pay attention to that. Again, I pressed my seam allowance toward the blue print.
17. Join the two triangles together for a completed hourglass unit. Pressing your seam allowances to the side should give you those "locking seams" that will help you nicely align your points. The completed hourglass unit should measure 5.5" square. Repeat to make a total of four hourglass units.
18. Arrange all 9 units as shown, join into three rows, and then join the rows together to complete the block.
See, that wasn't too bad, right? And look what you've made (and learned!) in only three weeks! My blocks are above—I can't wait to round them out with the final three blocks. I hope you guys are enjoying this as much as I am! Stop in at Swim, Bike, Quilt on Monday for Kate's final block in the series, and don't forget to upload photos of your progress to the Flickr group. I have been so impressed and amazed at the wonderful creations that have been showing up there! Happy sewing!