The Trellis Crossroads block, from the Modern Bee book that many bees are presently using is one of those irritating blocks that looks easy, is hard, and is not for the perfectionists among us. I have made so many of these blocks that I decided to take make a tutorial with my hints for getting the best block possible.
Please check your expectations at the door – I have never gotten this block 100% perfect, but I’m really happy with near enough in this scenario!
Firstly, a key to this block is accurate seams right from the start. When you are joining, and then cutting your 4 strip sections, I learnt to measure from the centre seam and cut on the perpendicular to that… the 12 on my ruler here.
Then, when you are joining your little strips of squares to the narrow background strip, it’s important to line up these two centres as best as possible. Pin well, so that everything stays lined up and you can keep that beautiful scant 1/4″ seam.
I use a lot of starch on these blocks, as you want them to be flat and square for the final trimming.
Next up we add our triangle pieces. If you’ve cut these accurately, which of course you did, you may take the same shortcut I do and simply line up the triangle point with the seam on the opposite strip centre. Because if your seams are beautifully aligned, then your triangles will be. Don’t stress too much over this bit though, as you’ll be trimming that corner away afterwards.
There are your four quadrants, all pressed and starched within an inch of their lives. Yay!!
Now, let’s talk rulers. For the next step, you need to trim them down to the awkward number of 6 3/4″. Obviously you will need a ruler larger than that. I use my 12 1/2″ ruler because I have customised it just for this block (didn’t I tell you I’d made a lot of them?). Just use washi tape or painters tape to make the pivotal points and you’ll be sailing through the trimming.
An L shape of tape marks the 6 3/4″ corner.
Placing another ruler across your square diagonally from the two 6 3/4″ side markings, add 2 separate strips of tape. Alternatively you can line up the 45 degree angle on your cutting mat. Just make sure you remember if you put the tape above or below the line. In this case, it is above the line.
Ok, got that all done? Now it’s time to place our first quadrant under the ruler.
There are several points to watch while you are lining this block up. Firstly as well as lining up the main diagonal 45 degree through the centre of the background strip, you need to position the centre seam in line with the two pieces of tape – as indicated by the two arrows. Secondly that you have excess block left at each end of the ruler…. the two corners circled. In this case, all good. Thirdly, for fine tuning the positioning of the centre strip, I use the quarter inch marks along the diagonal main line – making sure that they are all placed symmetrically up the block. I’ve marked some of those lines above with the small ovals. That’s a lot of looking, isn’t it! But you can see how much easier having those critical registration marks taped off makes this, when you have to line it up 8 times!
Now, cut the side and top off your block without moving your ruler, then rotate the block ready to line up for the other side.
Here I’ve lined the cut sides up along those 6 3/4″ marks. This side should be pretty easy if your block is symmetrical and you lined it up right the first time. As you can see, the centre lines are very close to perfect. It’s just a case of fine-tuning the square, and then trimming off the last two sides.
Before you know it, you’ll have all four trimmed up, lined up and ready to go!
Pin super carefully, and join them four of them together.
In the spirit of keeping it real, here are the same corners, before joining and afterwards. Not 100% perfect, but more than acceptable!
And the finished block, completed.
I do hope that these tricks will have you enjoying this block a lot more, after having made so many of them, I have a soft spot for it! This one went out to Fiona, for her quilt which is going to look incredible! If you have any questions, need further clarification or just want to tell me that you tackled one, please shout it out in the comments!
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