Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Pickle Dish Variation Quilt Part 2 - A Tutorial

Pickle Dish Variation Quilt - tutorial | Red Pepper Quilts 2015
Pickle Dish Variation Quilt 
measures 72 inches x 72 inches
Today a tutorial for the Pickle Dish Variation Quilt. This quilt is made from two patchwork blocks - a Quarter Star Block (pictured on the left) and the traditional Drunkard's Path Block (pictured on the right):

Quarter Star Block and Drunkard's Path Block
The Quarter Star Block is a four-patch block made from two squares and two triangle in a square blocks.  

Fabric Requirements:
1 printed fabric measuring 3.5" x 3.5"
1 background (light/low volume) fabric  measuring 3.5" x 3.5"
and fabric to piece the two triangle-in-a-square blocks.
To sew the triangle in a square units I have used a 3" Bloc Loc Triangle in a Square Ruler. The ruler is a 3 piece set and includes two over-sized fabric cutting templates (pictured on the right) and a double grooved trimming ruler to lock onto both seams of the pieced unit. You sew the unit with the over-sized fabric pieces, then use the trimming ruler to accurately size the block. This set of templates and rulers is so easy to use and a great time saver. The alternative is to use the exact size templates and piece accurately, or foundation paper piece the units. More on these two alternative methods later.
The next step is to piece the Quarter Star Block:

Arrange the four units as pictured and with a 1/4" seam allowance sew together into horizontal rows, pressing the seam allowance in the direction as indicated by the arrows.

Then nest seams and sew rows together.  Press this last seam in the direction indicated by the arrows.

The Quarter Star Block measures 6 1/2 inches x 6 1/2 inches (including seam allowances).

To make a quilt measuring 72 inches x 72 inches you will need to make 72 Quarter Star Blocks.

Next is the traditional Drunkard's Path Block. The curved seam will nest with the Quarter Star Block side seam and as such the radius of the inner circle needs to be 3 inches after piecing. 

I have used 4 inch Drunkard's Path templates (with a 3 inch radius circle) to cut my fabric pieces. The large background fabric was cut oversize at 7 inches x 7 inches. I then pieced the block - see also Sewing Drunkard's Path Blocks - the no pins method.  

To ensure that the Drunkard's Path block seams nest with the seams of the Quarter Star block press seam away from the circle as indicated by the arrows (above).

Trim the block. Place ruler on top of the block, match the 3 1/4" marks on the ruler with the seams of the curve (see arrows above) and trim the block to measure 6 1/2 inches x 6 1/2 inches. [The ruler pictured here is a left handed ruler - if using a right handed ruler turn your block so that the quarter circle is in the top right hand corner and match the seams at the 3 1/4" marks on the ruler].

To make a quilt measuring 72 inches x 72 inches you will need to make 72 Drunkard's Path Blocks.

A word about contrast and value:  the use of color/contrast  (value) in the Drunkard's Path blocks is an integral part in allowing the "pickle dish" pattern to emerge. For each Drunkard's Path block I have used two fabrics: a light fabric for the outer (the concave or "L" shaped piece) and a darker fabric for the quarter circle (convex) piece of the block. The value of one fabric relative to another is usually immediately obvious, and a fabric that is light in one block can be used as a dark in another block. Don't over think this part of the process. Work instinctively and try not to second guess your fabric choices. 

Once you have completed all 144 blocks arrange the blocks on a design wall or flat surface in pattern and in 12 rows of 12 blocks. Move blocks around until you are happy with the layout and color arrangement. Join blocks into rows. Press seams to one side, alternating the direction of pressed seams for each row. Then join rows into a quilt top.

To assist with successful completion of the blocks and to give you more piecing options I have drafted up templates for both blocks as well as a foundation paper piecing pattern for the triangle in a square unit, available to download (pdf file) from my Pattern Store here:

Please print ACTUAL SIZE.  Do not reduce or scale to fit.
Pattern also available from my Etsy Store (click here).
  • Drunkard's Path Templates 
  • Triangle in a Square Templates
  • Triangle in a Square Foundation Paper Piecing Pattern
  • Black and white outline of the Pickle Dish Variation Quilt so that you can experiment with colors and color placement.
Foundation paper piecing instructions are NOT included. Use the templates and foundation paper piecing pattern in conjunction with this  tutorial to make the Pickle Dish Variation Quilt.

If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask by leaving a comment, and I will explain/clarify as required.

Photos of the finished Pickle Dish Variation Quilt:


Red Pepper Quilts Pattern Store
Pattern also available from my Etsy Store
Sewing Drunkard's Path Blocks without Pins - A Tutorial
Pickle Dish Variation Quilt Part 1 - Work in Progress
Pickle Dish Variation Quilt Part 3 - The Finished Quilt
Bloc Loc Triangle in a Square Ruler purchased from Bloc Loc (USA or Australia)

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  1. Thank you, Rita! Love the quilt and the juxtaposition of points and circles!

  2. I have never seen this variation before. Thank you so much for sharing the details on how to make this pattern, it is one that I would someday like to try. Your choices of fabric designs and colors are always so astute!

  3. This is so great! I have the TIS and the drunkard path rulers from Bloc-Loc. Love them, they sure do make this process fast. I'm going to try and put one together tonight! thank you so much Rita for the beautiful insipiration!

    1. Hi Suzanne - thank you for stopping by! The TIS ruler is great to work with. I tried the 4" Drunkard's Path bloc loc ruler for this quilt but the radius of the quarter circle is not a 3" finished circle and therefore won't work with this design (I tried it :-)

  4. I wondered about that. I've got the 6" and 3" DP ruler sets. I've decided that I really love paper piecing, so I will do the TIS that way, trim with the ruler and then use the templates you made for the drunkards path Super excited!. I need a supplier of foundation paper to buy in bulk!!!

  5. Thank you for the awesome tutorial and pictures! I would not have thought about making the large background piece of the drunkard's path block bigger than the template size. That opens lot of possibilities.

  6. Gorgeous Rita! I wanna try it improvisationally;)

  7. What a fun quilt!! I have just the stash to create this with. HOWEVER, I currently suffer from new quilter ADD - everything I see I want to try and now I have so many WIP's I promised myself I would NOT start something new - no matter how enticing - until I totally finished 6 large lap quilts (including trying to quilt and bind myself). I will get to this, I promise. Thank you for providing such a great tutorial and the option to purchase your drafted patterns. Another winner, Rita.

  8. Love,love.just fantastic design and fabric combo!

  9. Oh I love this so much!! May just give this a whirl!

  10. I may actually make this!!! Thank you for such clear instructions Rita!

  11. This is absolutely lovely! How did you pick your colors though? The colors look so good together and yet I'm a little intimidated when it comes to pulling colors.

  12. Love this! Thanks so much for making the tutorial ... I feel my scraps calling :)

  13. This quilt makes my heart sing! Love the scrappy colorful quilt. Glad I found your blog, thanks for sharing those fabulous tutorials!

  14. Dang!! This is awesome!!! Thank you!

  15. Did you use a 4-inch (for quarter circle) and a 6.5-inch DP template (for the square part)?

    1. Hi Mary - I used a 4" Drunkard's Path Templates that happens to have a 3" radius circle. The pattern includes the Drunkard's Path Templates (with a 3" radius) which you can print. If you wish you can then also make cardboard Drunkard's Patch templates so that it is easier to cut out your fabric.

  16. I have made one block using the 3 inch finished triangle in a square bloc loc ruler and the 6 x 6 finished drunkard's path bloc loc ruler. Worked perfectly. Better get busy and make some more blocks!


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