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The Card Trick Block

the card trick quilt block

The Card Trick Block is not nearly as complicated as it looks at first glance.  Most of the instructions that you will see for making this block consist of a long laundry list of shapes to cut.

We could do that here, but you wouldn't learn anything. This is a teaching site.  You are going to "waste" more fabric cutting, but you can use it for other blocks. 

The first thing I want you to notice is how this block is a 9-patch. It consists of  three different  blocks, which you've already learned how to make
the card trick quilt block grid

The four outside corners and Half Square Triangles,  the other four outside  blocks are Split Quarter Square Triangles, and the center block is a Quarter Square Triangle.

Do not attempt this block, until you've learned how to do each of the above blocks!

As you can see from the picture of the Card Block with the grid lines,  as with any 9-patch, each of the units in this block is the same size.   The real trick is making all the units the same size.  Then it is just a matter of sewing them together.

We are going to make a raw block, and we are going to make each of the units finish at 3 1/2 inches.  We will refer to the picture of the block in progress below.

construction of the card trick quilt block Let's begin with the easiest unit- Half Square Triangle    In review, use two pieces of fabric, draw a line, sew on both sides and then cut.  (You will have an extra triangle you can use later).

 You know that for the Half Square Triangles to finish at 3 1/2 inches raw you need to add 3/8 of an inch to the square before you begin marking, sewing and cutting, So cut your squares at 3 7/8 inches.

Do this for each of the colors in your block, (with a white background piece) and your outside corners are done.   Place them like in the picture.

Next we will do the Split Quarter Square Triangles.  To begin the process of making a Split Quarter Square Triangle, you know that first you make a Half Square Triangle from two colors.

In the picture you can see that you will be using a white square for each block, as well as one of each of the colors of the block. 

Again, you need to add 3/4 of an inch to the square in order for the block to come out at 3 1/2 inches raw.  So begin with 4 1/4 inch squares.

Make your four half square triangles with white and each color in the block.  After this first step, your block will measure 3 7/8 inches. 

So you need to cut your solid blocks at 3 7/8 inches to match to the ones you've just completed.  Now you must stop and refer to the photo to see which colors to use.  In this case, it was two red squares, a blue square, and a green square.

When you pin the two squares together, before you sew them, open them up to make sure they will look just like the ones in the picture.  When completed, place these per the picture also.

construction of the card trick quilt blockThere is only one block left to make -the Quarter Square Triangle.  This is the most challenging block to make, because each of the four triangles is made from a different color, and they must be placed in a certain position.

Begin by cutting out a 4 1/4 inch square in each color.  Then cut each square on the diagonal, from corner to corner.

In order not to get confused, lay them out in the center of the block.  Remember that the long side of the triangle (the hypotenuse) will be parallel with the outside edges.

Refer to the above picture. Once you get them in the correct position,  you can start sewing the block together.

Complete the center block by sewing together the units.  In this case, you might sew the green to the blue and the red to the yellow, and then sew these two units together.

Then proceed to finish the block like any 9-patch. 

When you chain piece down a row, keep the threads together.  It is VERY easy to get confused on this block. 

One last note:  When you see the raw block laid out, you may panic, thinking "Where are my 1/4 seams?".  When you sew the units together, the seams will form at the end of the point.

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