In week 3 of the Birch Gnomes Quilt Along we will make the birch tree blocks!
You’ll need the yardages of medium or dark gray solid fabric and the white or cream with black/brown/gray print fabric that we went over in the first week, or as listed on the pattern!
Let’s talk about sharing our progress and projects! Post any questions or share pics of your progress on my Fb page! If you have a questions I’m sure others so too so let’s all chat about it in one spot on Fb!!
And…post pictures of your blocks on Instagram! Tag @lakegirlquilts with #birchgnomesqal to be eligible for prizes!!
I’m so excited to be pairing with Fabric Shack for this quilt along! They have donated some really cute Charm Packs for prizes and I’m donating digital quilt patterns! I’ll randomly choose winners at the end of the week!!
Let’s get started!!
Spray and press all fabric with starch before cutting it. Because you’ll be cutting on the bias and working with narrow strips the starch will help prevent the fabric from stretching wonky!
Using a self-healing cutting mat and your favorite rotary cutter, follow the directions below to cut all of the pieces to make this simple block.
Medium Gray Solid Fabric
Cut 48 rectangle strips according to the size listed on the pattern. Each birch tree block will use 2 of these rectangle strips!
White or Cream with Black/Brown/Gray Print Fabric
Cut 24 of the widest strips as listed on the pattern. Use a plastic ruler and rotary cutter to diagonally trim one side of each strip so it’s tapered toward the top. The top will now measure 1 1/2″ across. You don’t need to be exact with the 1 1/2″ measurement, you can just eyeball it!
Each birch tree block will use one of these tapered strips as the tree trunk.
Cut 24 medium-width strips as listed on the pattern and cut 24 narrow strips as listed on the pattern.
Each birch tree block will use one of each of these medium and narrow strips as the branches!
Making the Birch Tree Block
Lay the two medium gray rectangles vertical on your cutting mat, about 2” apart from each other.
Use your ruler and rotary cutter to cut apart these rectangles in the places you want the branches to be.
You can follow the lines on the template included in the pattern, or just cut them by eye-balling where you’d like your branches!
The branches of your birch blocks don’t need to all look alike. Each tree can be a little different!!
Keep the narrow branches close to the inside edge or they’ll be cut off when the block is trimmed to size.
Sew the Narrow Branches into the Tree
Use the narrowest strip of cream print fabric to sew in the narrow branches. Start with one branch at a time rather than sewing in all the narrow branches at once.
Select a branch to start with. Sew the strip between the cut sections for where the narrow branch will go.
After you sew the two gray pieces of cut fabric to the cream strip, trim both ends of the cream strip to be close to the angle of the gray pieces. You don’t need to be exact when trimming, just eyeball it.
If needed, you can always trim the cream strip to the a bit longer than the length of the cut branch before sewing it in so it’s not as long to work with.
Press seams toward gray background.
Repeat until you have all of the narrow branches sewn in for both gray rectangles. Use your ruler and rotary cutter to trim the sides of the branch units that will connect with the wider branch. Trim at the same angle of the gray pieces, just enough so the unit doesn’t have any cream overhang and is nice and straight.
You don’t need to trim the outside edges of the unit right now.
Sew the Wider Branches into the Tree
Next you’ll sew in the wider branches! Use the medium-width strip of cream print fabric to sew in the wider branches.
Follow the same directions as when you sewed in the narrow branches, only now you’ll be working with gray pieces that have a narrow branch sewn into them.
Press the seams toward the wider cream print branch this time! Repeat until you have all the wider branches sewn in for both rectangles.
Trim the Gray/Cream Units and Sew in the Tree Trunk!
Layout both Gray/Cream Units in their “tree” position again.
Use your rotary cutter to slightly trim along the edge of each rectangle where the tree trunk will be sewn in. Trim inside of rectangles at a straight 90° angle.
Sew the wide and tapered cream print strip to each gray unit to connect them and form the tree trunk.
Press the seams toward the cream trunk.
The block will look a little wonky, but now we’ll trim it to size!
Trimming the Birch Tree Block to Size
Trim the birch tree block to measure the size listed on the pattern.
Use an 8 1/2” x 24” ruler, or you can use your plastic ruler and the lines on the cutting mat.
First trim the bottom of the tree block so it is straight. Don’t cut off too much, you can always shave a little more off when you measure the height of the tree and where you want your top branches to be.
Now turn the block around and line up the trimmed bottom edge to the bottom of your ruler and measure the height of the block as listed on the pattern. You can adjust the bottom of the block and trim a bit more if the measurement at the top is cutting off too much of your top branches.
Use your ruler and rotary cutter to then trim the top of the block.
Trim the Sides of the Birch Tree Block!
Find the half-way mark on the ruler of the width size that the block needs to measure according to the pattern.
Eyeball this half-way measurement on the ruler to the middle of the tree trunk.
You can decide if you want more branches or more trunk by adjusting the block to the left or to the right before you cut it!
Make your cut along the right side of the block using the edge of the ruler and your rotary cutter.
Turn the block around and now measure from this “squared-up” right side to finish trimming the left side of the tree block so it is fully trimmed to the block size indicated on the pattern!
Repeat these steps to make all 24 birch tree blocks.
Share Your Progress!!
Follow lakegirlquilts on Instagram! Post a pic of your gnome block to Instagram! Mention @lakegirlquilts and use #birchgnomesqal to be eligible to win prizes for the week!
Follow the lakegirlquilts page on Facebook! We can all chat about the Birch Gnomes QAL there!! Folks can post questions and I’ll answer them for everyone. If you’re wondering about something it’s likely someone else is too!! As always, you can also email me a question if you’d prefer.