Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Desert Caravan | Quilt Block Tutorial

It's my turn today (along with many other talented bloggers) to share my creation for the Fabri-Quilt New Block Blog Hop.  Yay!  

My creation is loosely inspired by this Kilim Rug.  The design process involved lots of graph paper and coloured markers, and sketching, simplifying, and editing some more until the end result barely resembled the initial concept.

Have you been following along with the Fabri-Quilt New Block Blog Hop?  If not, it isn't too late to check out the many tutorials that have been created for this fun event.  

Today's Hoppers, hosted by Stephanie at Late Night Quilter are:
In addition to these lovely ladies, be sure to check out our other hosts, Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl, Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs, and Terri Ann at Childlike Fascination.  They'll link you up to lots more block tutorials, and a generous giveaway of the Fabri-Quilt Watermelon Summer Bundle!

And for some more good news, our hosts will be assembling the blocks from this weeks hop into charity quilts in support of: Meyers Center (a non-profit organization that helps prepare physically and/or mentally disabled kids for school), Teen Impact (an organization that helps kids with cancer) and Project Linus (an organization that gives handmade blankets to critically ill children).

Each blogger in the hop was provided with a fat eighth bundle of the six colours that make up the Watermelon Summer Palette, from Fabri-Quilt's Prairie Cloth Solids Collection.  We were challenged to create a new quilt block using the fabrics provided, and incorporating at least 3 of the colours.

So, lets get on with that tutorial, shall we?


The instructions below will yield one 12” x 12” finished block (12 ½” x 12 ½” unfinished). At most, you will need a fat eighth of each of four fabrics.  Use a scant ¼” seam allowance at all times, except where noted otherwise. If you’re using printed fabrics, make sure you always join your pieces/seams with right sides together.  I recommend that you pre-wash your Fabri-Quilt Prairie Cloth Solids with similar colours.

Step 1 – Cutting

Refer to the chart below to cut your fabrics. 

A – Coral
4 ½” x 4 ½”
B – White
2 ½” x 2 ½”
B – White
2 ½” x 4 ½”
C – Lapis Blue
4 ½” x 4 ½”
C – Lapis Blue
5 ¼” x 5 ¼”
D – Aqua
3” x 3”

Step 2 – Piecing the Corner Units

a)  Stack a B1 piece over the top right corner of an A piece, aligning the top and right edges.  Mark a line from corner to corner of B1 as pictured below. 
b)  Sew along the marked line, with your needle positioned slightly towards the corner in order to create a scant seam. 
c)  Trim away the corner leaving a ¼” seam, and press seams towards the centre of the unit.
d)  Repeat the above steps for the lower left corner.  If needed, trim the corner unit to a size of 4 ½” x 4 ½”. Hint: Use the edges of A as a guide for trimming.

Repeat 3 more times to create a total of 4 Corner Units.

Step 3 – Piecing the Flying Geese Units

The directions listed below, and cutting instructions above detail the “No Waste” method for flying geese.  If you prefer to use an alternate method, please adjust the cutting directions accordingly. The four Flying Geese units finish at 4 ½” x 2 ½”.  

a)  Stack one D piece over the top right corner and one D piece over the bottom left corner of C2, aligning the edges.  Mark a line from corner to corner.
b)  Sew a scant ¼” on either side of the line, then cut along the marked line.  Press. 
c)  For each of the two resulting “Heart-shaped” units, place a D piece over the corner of C2. Again, align the edges and mark a line from corner to corner to corner.
d)  Sew a scant ¼” seam on either side of the line, then cut along the marked line and press.  
e)  Trim the resulting Flying Geese unit to a size of 4 ½” x 2 ½”, making sure that the point is ¼” from the edge of the unit. Trimming the Geese should also take care of the dog-ears, (the pointy corner bits that extend beyond the finished unit) but if not, trim them off as well.
f)  Join each Flying Geese unit to a B2 piece, at the fabric D side of the Goose as pictured below. Use a true ¼” seam.  Press the seam toward B2Hint: I like to piece this with the “Goose” side on top so I can see exactly where the point is when I’m sewing. This helps prevent the tip of the point being cut off)

Step 4 – Joining the Units into Rows

a)  Join the units into three rows, as pictured below.
b)  Press the seams in Rows 1 and 3 toward the Corner units and Row 2 toward the center, C1 unit.  This will allow the seams to nest together when joining the units.  Hint: if you are making several blocks to create a quilt, I recommend you alternate the direction the seams are pressed for every other block so you don’t end up with bulky seams when joining the blocks together.

Step 5 – Join the Rows into a Block

a)  Join Row 1 to Row 2, then join Row 3 to Row 2 as pictured above.
b)  Press the seams toward Row 2.
c)  Verify that your block is 12 ½” x 12 ½”, trim the edges if needed.
    d)  Admire your completed block! 

Here are a couple ways this block could look assembled into a quilt top...

Typical Alignment - Blocks are placed side-by-side

Half Drop Alignment - Create some interesting shapes in the negative space!

Set on Point - this minimalist layout changes the look of the block completely!


There you have it!  If you create your own project using the Desert Caravan block, please do share a picture or two.  I'd love to see how you interpret this block.  

Don't forget to check out the other bloggers in the hop, visit our hosts and enter to win your own Watermelon Summer bundle!

Happy Wednesday!



  1. What a great, crisp block! I can totally see the inspiration point and I bet the process of going from inspiration to final design would be fun to have insight into (it is always fun for me when I think back on "how did I get here?" so seeing how someone else's work evolves would be son interesting). I especially like setting the blocks on point as you point out at the end.

  2. I like the on point layout of your great block.

  3. Cute, cute, cute!!! I love all the different designs from the layouts...and another way to use flying geese is also a good thing :)

  4. Really love the layouts of your block. The first two lay outs, it's almost like the red makes x's or o's and the second one gives some great negative space to play with as well. Great job!

  5. Super cute and love the layout.Thanks!

  6. Beautiful block and great tutorial! It amazes me just how many different looks you can get with one block!!

  7. Such a pretty block with so many options. Your directions were easy to follow!

  8. Liz!!! Such a fantastic block!!! I really love it. It's perfection. Well done

  9. Very cute block, and the secondary designs it creates are fantastic!

  10. You have cleverly created a block that can do so many different things! That is so awesome because it can be made over and over in different fabrics and have endless possibilities. Great job.

  11. Love the block that you designed and the layouts that you created are wonderful. Thank you for sharing and writing a great tutorial. Have a wonderful creative day!

  12. Great tutorial and pictures/diagrams. I love those layouts and the color combination is great! Well done!

  13. This is a sweet design on point! Congrats on a great design

  14. So yummy! I love the simplicity of the block, and the wonderful way it makes such an elegant quilt. A keeper for sure!!
    XX! Lori

  15. Hi Liz, love your block and your instructions have been very clear. The blog hop has been fun hasn't it? A great end to the summer

  16. Such a great block! I love the versatility in the layouts.

  17. Ooh! Great block Liz! I have had a pull towards lozenge (my name) blocks, the ones you use in your corner units. Those layout possiblities!! This is going on the to-do list for sure!

  18. I really like the versatility of this block and the construction is very straightforward. Great job!

  19. Love your design Liz and thank you for such a great tutorial to create it.

    1. You're very welcome, Lu! I'm glad you like the block!

  20. I love this one too. thank you so much for the tutorial. crystalbluern at onlineok dot com

  21. Sweet, simple, and easy to piece! Thanks for inlcuding your inspiration in the post. Rugs are most definitely eye candy for quilt designers.

  22. Liz, I definitely plan to make this block sometime and maybe a bunch of them since I really like how they look in the different configurations you shared. In addition to being a gifted quilter, you are such a talented graphic artist. I just love the feel of your blog. I have blog envy!!!

  23. This is a very interesting block. I like it's clean lines. Your tutorial is very clear as well.