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Apple Block

apple quilt block

Here is a fun block to make that can teach you a few things.

When you look at the block, what is the first quilting shape that you notice? 

The biggest block, the red apple, is the Snowball Block.  Little squares have been put at each corner, sewn, and then folded back.

Next look for the Flying Geese.  It is in the upper left hand corner. There is a matching size rectangle on the right top. 

The stem of the apple is made from two very small rectangles, sewn together.  The background fabric is on the top, the the darker stem right underneath.

construction of apple quilt blockThe construction is really quite easy. You can see the small squares pinned to the larger square ready to be sewn.  The flying geese, and matching rectangle are pictured, along with the two pieces for the top middle.

As with all piecing, you do the small pieces first, then attach them to the larger pieces.

Some people do horizontal rows first, and then vertical rows.  Others do it the opposite way.  It doesn't matter, as long as you are careful that you seam allowances nest when possible.

This Challenge Block is going to teach you  more about the Flying Geese Block.

The Flying Geese Block is always twice as wide as it is tall.  There are many ways to make this block.  Again, we are going to deal with the single rectangles and squares method.

When you add you small squares to the rectangle, they must be large enough that when they "cross" (after you sew them on one at a time), so that you will be left with a 1/4 inch seam allowance from the point of the geese to the edge of the fabric.

How do you know what size to make the squares and rectangles?

There are a couple "standard sizes" you will see a lot- but I want you to learn how the sizes are determined.

Let's say you want your Flying Geese to finish at 1 1/2 x 3 inches.  When I say "finish", it means that this is the size it will be when sewn to other fabric.

You are going to need a 1/4 inch seam on every side.  So the 1 1/2 inches becomes 2 inches, and the 3 inches becomes 3 1/2 inches.

You are now looking at making a "raw"  2 x 3 1/2 inch geese.  The term "raw" meaning this is what the block will measure when you have completed it.

So you cut the large rectangle (the base for the small squares) at  2 x 3 1/2 inches. 

Now this is the important part.  You cut the small squares the size of the height, or small measurement of the rectangle;  2 inches in this case.

Since the width of the rectangle is 3 1/2 inches, when you attach the 2-inch squares, you are attaching  2 plus 2, or 4 inches of fabric.  That is an extra 1/2 inch, or 1/4 inch  from each square.

This extra fabric is what you give you the seam allowance from the point to the edge of the fabric.  Always  press the first square that you sew on the diagonal back before you add the second square.

You will learn when making the Flying Geese, that if you do not perfectly align the small square to the large corner, when you fold back the small square, it will not lay exactly on the back. The corners may not meet, or they will come up short.

When this happens, either your line does not go exactly from corner to corner on the small squares, your fabric has slipped under the presser foot, or you have not sewn on the drawn line.

pieced apple quilt blockThis block will be used over and over, so practice until you can do it perfectly. Use pins, go slow.  Here are the measurements for the one on the left. 

The Geese was made with to finish at 2x4 inches, so you cut one rectangle 2 1/2 by 4 1/2 inches.

The small squares to add to the rectangle to make the geese were cut at 2 1/2 inches.

You cut a matching size rectangle for the upper right ( 4 1/2 inches).  The stem and upper strip were cut 1 1/2 inch wide, with 2 inches of height for the stem, and 1 inch for the background.

When you sew all the top pieces together, it should measure 9 1/2 inches wide.  So you cut a big square 9 1/2 inches, and then add the smaller squares.  I used 3-inch squares to make the snowball apple shape.

When finished, the top point of the geese and the left point should have a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

This is a big block.  Try making it with a smaller geese (1 1/2 x 3).  You should now be able to figure out how to scale it down.

Just do the top first, and then you can measure for the big block to match underneath.  Once you have made this block, you will see how easy it is to scale down.  It is a good learning exercise.

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