Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Classic stitches--Light blue

Hi, and welcome back to the Classic Stitches row quilt!  If this is your first time here, jump in! Make a block, a row, a short row, or a mini block. Add a row to a quilt you're planning. If you are planning to make some Row by Row Experience pieces, this month's block would be especially good to mix in with water-themed rows.

This month's color is a cool light blue, and I've chosen the Water Wheel block for our row.

Doesn't that look like an old-fashioned water wheel?  Blocks like this always look to me like someone is throwing something, like snowballs. (Probably the result of having many brothers.) This block dates sometime between 1930 and 1970 and resembles a much more complicated Snail's Trail block, but Water Wheel uses easier and more straightforward shapes to create the turning illusion.  This block is quick and easy and turns out just lovely with very little effort.

Instructions below are for cutting and assembly of a 6-inch finished block.  Cutting directions for other sizes, including a 12-inch block, are given at the end of the assembly instructions.


For a 6-inch finished block, you will need a light blue and a background color.  My backgrounds are white, but yours can be any color.  From the background, cut 2 2-7/8 inch squares, 4 1-1/2 inch squares**, and 4 1-1/2 by 2-1/2 inch rectangles.  From the light blue, cut 2 2-7/8 inch squares, 4 1-1/2 inch squares,** and one 2-1/2 inch square.  (**NOTE: if your scraps are long enough, you could cut a 7 inch strip of each of the blue and the background instead of cutting the 1-1/2 inch squares.)

 That's it for the cutting!


First, use the 2-7/8 inch squares of each color to make 4 half-square triangles that measure 2-1/2 inches to finish at 2 inches in the block:

Next, make the corner units. Pair up the 1-1/2 inch squares and stitch together to make this small unit:

(If using the strips, stitch them together lengthwise, press, and then cut into 4 1-1/2 inch segments.) Next, match this little unit with the 1-1/2 by 2-1/2 inch rectangles and stitch as shown:

These units should measure 2-1/2 inches square.

As quick as that, all that's left is to lay out the block and stitch it up! Lay out your pieces as shown, paying attention to the orientation of both the half-square triangles and the small blue squares:

Stitch it all together and ta dah--

A finished Water Wheel block! This block should measure 6-1/2 inches to finish at 6 inches in the quilt. Ten blocks will make a row that should measure 60-1/2 inches wide to finish at 60 inches in the quilt. Six blocks will make a 36-inch row.


Switch the colors in order to have white water wheels on a blue background.

Use a 4-patch unit made with 2 blue and 2 white squares instead of the corner units shown.  This will "hook" the blocks to each other when stitched into a row.

I made a tiny 4-1/2 inch block using 2 2-3/8 inch white squares, along with 1-1/4 inch white squares and 1-1/4  by 2 inch white rectangles, and 2 2-3/8 inch blue squares, one 2-inch blue square, and 4 1-1/4 inch blue squares. 

Isn't it darling? If you are thinking of making a row of smaller blocks, this would be an easy-to-construct choice.

For a 9-inch block, cut 2  3-7/8 white squares, 4 2-inch white squares, and 4 2 by 3-1/2 inch rectangles, along with 2 3-7/8 inch blue squares, 4 2-inch blue squares, and one 3-1/2 inch blue square. Assemble as above.

For my row, I chose to make blocks that will finish at 7-1/2 inch each. This row takes 8 blocks to make a 60-inch row. 

For the 7-1/2 inch size, cut 2 3-3/8 inch white squares, 4  1-3/4 inch white squares, and 4 1-3/4 by 3 inch white rectangles, along with 2 3-3/8 inch blue squares, 4 1-3/4 inch blue squares, and one 3-inch blue square.  Assemble as shown above.

For a 12-inch block with a giant water wheel, cut 2 4-7/8 inch white squares, 4 2-1/2 inch white squares, and 4 2-1/2 by 4-1/2 inch rectangles, along with 2 4-7/8 inch blue squares, 4 2-1/2 inch blue squares, and one 4-1/2 inch blue square.

Of course, the 12-inch block looks more interesting when made with 4 6-inch blocks.  I chose this option for my block, made up with an aqua pin dot fabric:

And here are all three of my blocks together:

I would love to hear from anyone out there who is making some blocks and/or rows! One person I know suggested a link-up for people to show off their rows or blocks at the half-way point, but it turns out there is a cost for using those link widgets.  I don't want to give a party and have no one show up, so let me know if you are interested! I was thinking about the last Tuesday in June, which is June 30th.

Enjoy making the Water Wheel blocks, and come back on July 1 for the next row! (This is a change from the earlier posted dates since the first Tuesday in July is well into the month!)

Linking to Linky Tuesday, Let's Bee Social,  and soscrappy for RSC15, and also to Tips and Tutorials Tuesday.


  1. These look great. I think I will try a new size and do the 7.5" blocks. Thank you for the monthly tutorial Mari!

  2. You have done so many. Great work in many sizes. Well done

  3. Love the waterwheel block. Great tutorial. All blocks look great but I really like your mid size blocks in a row.

  4. Very pretty, I really like the fabrics in the first picture, great photographs. Yes it does look like a water wheel.

  5. I'm really liking those water wheel blocks. Wonderful pattern.

  6. What a fun block! Looks like a water wheel to me.

  7. Very pretty block! Thanks for the tutorial... I have some hand dyed fabrics left over that would look great in this block.

  8. Love those, especially the blue at the top. It's similar to Milky Way, too, just one less dark square in the corners.

  9. Mari...l couldn't I piece strips for the 1 1/2"squares of blue and white? Seems like I could cut a strip of each, 1 1/2" wide and sew the strips together and then sub cut the pairs. Am I missing something? (I often am so I wanted to check and see what you thought?) 😂😂


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