August 27, 2014

Let's Make a Tree of Paradise Quilt Block

The Tree of Paradise quilt block is sometimes called Tree of Life. It's been a little diagram in our catalog for a long time, and when a quilter named Ellen called us recently to ask about the pattern, we were a little surprised it wasn't in the Encyclopedia of Patchwork Blocks Volume 4.

So we made the block -- beautiful! -- and wrote up the instructions for Ellen, and now we're sharing it with you!  The pattern is also available on our website with full-size paper pattern pieces (visit "Free Patterns," in the About Our Products menu, on our website, where there are also more and bigger pictures).

The underlying grid is 7 squares across and 7 down, which means it can be made with Template Set L. There are variations with two half-square triangles or three half-square triangles "hanging down" on the sides of the tree. We like the proportions of this version, with 2 green half-square triangles hanging down on each side.

Cutting the Pieces for the Tree of Paradise Block

 Light Fabric
    18: #71 triangles*
    3: #70 squares
    1: 6-inch square
    2: #67 squares
    2: #68 triangles

Dark Fabric
    18: #71 triangles*
    6: #71 triangles
    2: #68 triangles (1 trunk)
    1: rectangle 3″ x 4½″ (trunk)
*Layer light and dark fabrics right sides together, then cut 18 #71 triangle pairs. Do not separate; they are ready to sew.

Making the Block

1. Join the light and dark #71 triangles to make half-square triangle units. Make 18.

2. Make the 3 x 3, or 9-patch, unit. Arrange 6 of the units made in step 1 and 2 #70 light squares into rows, as shown, and join the rows.

3. Make the left and right side units. Arrange 6 of the units made in step 1 and the 6 dark #71 triangles into rows as shown and join. Make 2.

4. Join the large * light triangles to the pieced units made in step 3. Make 2.

5. Arrange 6 of the half-square triangle units to make mirror image rows, as shown. Make 1 each.

5.  Join the units made in steps 4 and 5, as shown. Make 1 each.

6. Make the tree trunk unit. Join the light and dark #68 triangles to make a square. Arrange it with the light #67 squares and #68 triangle as shown and join into rows. Join the rows. Make 1.

7. Prepare the dark rectangle for applique by turning under ¼″ on 2 long sides and one short side and pressing.

8. Position the rectangle right side up on the unit made in step 7, aligning the short folded edge at match points shown. The trunk piece is a bit long, to accommodate placement. Applique in place using your favorite technique. Trim trunk piece even with top edge, if necessary.

9. Add the dark #68 triangle to the unit made in step 8. Make 1.

10. Arrange the units as shown. Join into 2 rows, then join the rows to complete the block.

Copyright © 2014 Martha G. Michell