Block 5 - Arizona, We Can Do It! Skill Builder Sampler

This is the last week of honing our half square triangle skills.  Hopefully by the end of this block you will feel comfortable with triangles.  Last week for my birthday, my mom sent me The Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns by Jinny Beyer.  I Love It!  This week I chose a block from the book to make.  The block pattern was first published by the Ladies Art Company in 1897 and was called Robbing Peter to Pay Paul.   The same block was later called Arizona by Nancy Page in the Birmingham News, July 7, 1936.  We will call it Arizona since there is another popular block named Robbing Peter to Pay Paul.  (scroll down for instructions)

Edited (5/15):  The Skill Builder Sampler will is available for purchase in book form!  It has been renamed "You Can Quilt!  Building Skills for Beginners" but covers the same skills with the easy, medium and challenging blocks and is a million times better than the original quilt along.  It is perfect for the beginning quilter or the experienced quilter who wants to branch out and learn new skills.  Find more information and order a signed copy in my Etsy shop or order on Amazon.  


1 -  4.5x4.5 inch square (perhaps a larger print)
4 - 3x3 inch squares (out of a medium fabric, similar in color to the 4.5 inch square)
6 - 3x3 inch squares (out of your darkest fabric)

Out of your background fabric:

4 - 2.5x4.5 inch rectangles
4 - 2.5x2.5 inch squares
10 - 3x3 inch squares


Draw a diagonal line down the middle of each of the ten 3x3 background squares.  Match each background block with a 3x3 inch print.  Sew 1/4 inch away from the line on each side.

After you sew down one side of the squares, feed the squares through the machine again with out cutting them apart to speed your sewing.

I recently found this great tip:  before cutting the squares apart, set the seam by ironing  the blocks.  It really helps keep the seams nice when you press them open.

  • Cut the squares in half on the line.
  • Press the triangles open.
  • Trim the half square triangles to 2.5 inches square.  (I have got to learn how to sew an exact triangle.  I thought the trimming would never end.  Should I be admitting that?)
Once you have all of your blocks trimmed, arrange the block components as shown in the picture above.  

A Brief Aside - A few months ago I was thinking that I needed a portable design wall to lay my block pieces on so they wouldn't get messed up as I sewed - I hate it when I sew the wrong pieces together!  I remembered this small flannel board that I used when I taught Sunday School.  I can prop it up right next to my sewing machine, sew pieces together, iron them, and then lay them back out.  It makes it a lot easier to keep them in order.  You could make your own flannel board by duct taping some flannel, batting or felt over a piece of cardboard or thin wood.  Mine is 15x15 inches.  

Moving on...  there is no set way to sew the pieces together, but the following pictures illustrate the order I sewed them together in order to optimize my ability to chain piece.

You have a beautiful block!

Enjoy this last Half Square Triangle block.  We will be moving on to a new skill next week, but will continue to use HSTs in other blocks throughout the year.

Remember to stop by the Flickr group to see the blocks everyone has been making and to post your own.


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