When making a sampler quilt, adding novelty blocks add interest to the over all quilt design. Some sampler quilts add applique patterns to the mix but for this project I have decided not to and just stick with pieced blocks. I set out to find some patterns that would fit the bill. I wanted a tree block because that was a pattern that was used in the second half of the 19th century. The Ladies Art Catalog did have some but they were for much larger blocks and based on 5 by 5 grid. I did find a picture of a pine tree pieced pattern block in a magazine from ten years ago. It was in an ad for quilting flannel. That became my inspiration for this block. This block was set on point and based on a 5 by 5 grid like most that I saw on antique quilts. But I could take this one and use it in a 12 1/2 inch unfinished block. I drafted the pattern and dug through my scrap pile for green, brown and back ground fabric. I found a wonderful forest green square that was only 6 1/2 inches that was perfect for the bottom of the tree. Only it was too small for that piece so I thought about it and decided I could use it by cutting the half squares larger of the background fabric. It turned out looking quite nice. In order to make this block you will need: Nine 3 inches squares of assorted green prints and five 3 inches squares of background print fabrics. One 2 1/2 inches square of background print for the top of the tree. One 2 1/2 inches medium green print for the center of the second row of half squares. One 7 inch square of green print cut from corner to corner for the bottom of the tree. One 5 inches square of background fabric cut from corner to corner. This is going to give you a little extra to square up with. One 2 1/2 inches by 7 1/2 inches rectangle in brown fabric for the tree trunk. This will also give you a little bit extra for squaring up. Two strips of 1 1/2 inch wide boarder fabric from the width of the fabric. One strip does not quite make it. Sew the light and dark 3 inches squares together by putting right sides together and drawing a line from corner to corner. Make sure that the background fabric is mated with green fabric to make the saw tooth outer edge of the tree. Sew a quarter inch from the center drawn line on each side. Then cut on the drawn line to make two half square blocks. Press open and square up to 2 1/2 inches square. Arrange your pieces like the picture above. Make the medium green 2 1/2 inches square is in the top of the second row and the background print is in the center of the top. I moved mine around until I got a good mix of colors. Sew the right side half squares together in two strips first. Then sew them together following the picture below. Checking after each seam to make sure you have sewed a 1/4 inch seam and that each bock is 2 inches from seam to seam. I keep a ruler at my sewing machine to check that as I go. It helps keep your points from being to short or too long. You can see where you need to adjust before going to the next piece. You want the point to come to the quarter inch mark. Then sew the top half squares together. Take care with lining up seams together in the intersections as you sew the half square sections together. Then sew the trunk strip and the two background half squares together like the picture above. Next sew the trunk piece to the large green half square. What I did was fold both pieces in half and finger pressed them so I could line up the center of each piece on that line. This keeps you from having the trunk off center. You can see that my green square is too small but I wanted to use that fabric from my scraps of reproduction fabrics. You can also see that my background fabric is a little larger to make up for it. The brown trunk fabric was already precut left over from another project. It was 8 inches long. I just left it that way because I wasn’t sure how much I would need since I was using the undersized green half square. I knew I was going to square up the corner. You will now sew the top of the pine tree to the trunk quarter. See picture above. When you have the pieces all sewed together square up the bottom trunk piece. This will make the point on the trunk. It is always better to make the point that way then before because you are working with so many biases. Things can get a little wonky and you won’t have a head ache trying to line that corner up. Make the corner in the end is easier and no one will notice the wonky part. Also you won’t be upset and tossing it in the trash. The block should now measure about 10 1/2 inches square. To make it 12 1/2 inches square we will add the 1 1/2 boarder to it. I chose a small brown print. This board piece was already cut left over from a friend’s quilt. She gave me the scraps and it was just perfect for this boarder. You can select a boarder from what ever you may have on hand.
I now have 20 blocks finished for my 19th century sampler quilt.