Friday, 14 October 2016

Marti Michell Mini Quilt Mania ~ A Tree Quilt Tutorial

A Pine Tree quilt in an old quilt book* caught my eye when I was looking for inspiration for this project.  I can't say I've noticed too many Pine Tree quilts around, although I did remember seeing this gorgeous Pine Tree block by Amanda from HeyPorkChop. I love Amanda's projects!  I didn't have to look very hard to find loads more Pine Tree quilts online (pop over to my Vintage and Traditional Quilt board on Pinterest to see a few of them). There are so many variations on this block, mainly in the number of 'branches' and the size and shape of the trunk. So I've come up with my own Pine Tree variation. It's based on a five-patch 6" block and is made using Marti Michell Perfect Patchwork Templates Set S. For my mini quilt I made four tree blocks (one for each season) and set them on-point with narrow sashing.  I'm sharing the instructions for this mini today as part of the Marti Michell Mini Quilt Mania organised by Angie@GnomeAngel.  Pop over to Angie's blogpost for all the details, including how to participate (there are prizes!).

My finished mini is 18 3/8", with optional instructions to add a border and increase the size to 20 3/8". Feel free to modify as you wish; you could use four or five of your favourite 6" blocks and follow my setting instructions, or make just one tree block and pop it on a pouch.

* The book I was reading is 'American Quilts and How to Make Them' by Carter Houck and Myron Miller (1974).

So let's get started...

What You'll Need;

Marti Michell Perfect Patchwork Templates Set S (you'll use three of the four templates from this set; S98, S99 and S100)

Fabric for;

  • the tree (I used two or three fabrics for each tree, use as many as you like!)
  • the block background (I used a low volume fabric for each block)
  • the trunk 
  • sashing (I chose a black Cotton and Steel print)
  • setting squares, triangles and cornerstones (I used a Robert Kaufman linen in Ivory)
  • border fabric (optional)
And all the usual sewing requirements.

To make the 6" tree block;

Cutting Instructions;

Tree fabric one;

  • four triangles using template S100, 
  • six squares using template S99

Tree fabric two;

  • six triangles using template S100,
  • four squares using template S99

Block background fabric;

  • ten triangles using template S100
  • one square using templates S99
  • one ~3 1/2" square, cut once on the diagonal to yield two triangles

Trunk fabric;

  • one triangle using template S100
  • one 1"x5" strip

Piecing Instructions;

Step One;

Lay out your pieces as below;

Step Two;

Start by sewing the ten half square triangles together. Iron seams open. Return your HSTs to the layout as shown below.

Step Three;

Sew rows together (note there are three 5-piece rows and two 3-piece rows, the trunk section will be pieced later). Press seams open.

Step Four;

Sew the two sections together as below.  I used pins at this step. Press seams open.

Step Five;

Piece the trunk section...
Centre the trunk strip between the two background triangles and sew. These are the only seams I didn't press open, instead I pressed the background fabric towards the trunk strip to give the trunk a little bulk.

This piece is now ready to be trimmed to size. Template S98 is perfect for this, line the template up so that the angled edge is aligned with the trunk edge, as below.

Now trim the right hand edge with your rotary cutter (sorry if you're left handed!!). The trimmed piece is shown below.

Turn the section around so that the newly trimmed edge is at the bottom. Line up one of the marked square lines on the ruler with the straight bottom edge and trim the right edge (see below). We now have two straight edges with the trunk running through the corner. The trimmed piece is shown below.

Trim the remaining two edges by matching the line marked X on your ruler with a straight edge on the block. Trim the right hand edge by cutting then sliding the ruler up the block. Repeat for the last side.

Now trim the top of the tree trunk by matching the left and top edges on the S98 template with the left and top edges on the block as below. Trim the corner.

Sew the trunk fabric triangle on to the corner to complete this section.

Step Six;

Nearly there!
Piece the two bottom sections together.

Now sew the bottom section to the top section.

The finished block!
 If you're making the mini, you'll need four tree blocks.

Piece the Quilt Top;

Cutting Instructions;

Background fabric;

  • one 6 1/2" square for the centre
  • two 6 7/8" squares cross cut once on the diagonal to yield four side setting triangles.
  • one 7 1/4" square cross cut twice on the diagonal to yield four corner setting triangles
  • four 1" squares for cornerstones
  • four 1 3/8" squares cross cut once on the diagonal to yield 8 triangles, for the cornerstones on the edge of the quilt
  • two 1 1/2" x WOF strips for a border (optional), two strips 18 7/8", two strips 20 7/8"

Sashing Fabric;

  • sixteen 6 1/2" x 1" strips

Piecing Instructions;

The quilt top is pieced in diagonal rows as shown above. I pressed all seams towards the black sashing fabric. Once all the rows have been pieced, sew rows together, use the cornerstones in the sashing to match each section. When attaching the top right and bottom left corners to the sashing, fold both the triangle and the sashing section in half and match these folds to centre each piece.

Optional border; sew the two 18 7/8"  border strips to left and right sides then sew the two 20 7/8" strips to the top and bottom.

Finished size without borders is 18 3/8". Finished size with borders is 20 3/8".

Quilt and finish as desired! I'm still thinking about how to finish mine!!

Pop over to these blogs for more fun ways to use your Marti Michell templates...

12 August ~ Angie Wilson ~
19 August ~ Tonya Grant ~
26 August ~ Lucy Brennan ~
2 September ~ Kirsty ~
9 September ~ Catherine Demack ~
16 September ~ Natalie ~
23 September ~ Alyce Blyth ~
30 September ~ Peta Pearce ~
14 October - Rachel McCormack ~
28 October ~ Lisa Johnson ~
4 November ~ Marti Michell ~

You can also check out #martimichellminiquiltmania on IG.


  1. Wow! Love your creation and the fabrics you put together.

  2. Cute little mini. Thank you so much for the excellent directions and all the photographs. I love the fabric that makes the winter tree look bare.


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