Backwards Friday: The Blockade

What does Backwards Friday mean?

It means I am going backwards in time to play with quilt blocks of times gone by.

Each Friday, I will introduce a new block from some of the old magazines that I have laying around. I have a few hundred of them, so it will be fun to find new blocks for each Friday.

I will research the block. I will write it up, the best way I know, using “modern” methods. Then, I will post the block here for y’all to play with. If you make it, please let me know. You can share pictures on my Facebook wall if you are unable to do so here.

  • Block: The Blockade
  • From: The Quilter’s Newsletter
  • Issue Date: January 1971
  • Description: Reprint from the Kansas City Star, 1938.


There was no other description given, not even the originally intended size. I played with the simple picture that they showed and went from there. I did a little looking around the internet and the Blockade is shown quite a few times; however, quite a few of the remakes have other pieces inserted. Mine will go with what the Quilter’s Newsletter shows.


Obviously, the first thing I did was cut it into sections so I could convert it to a 12.5″ finished block. I played with a few different drawings before I went to the sewing machine. The first block was a failure as I had decided on the wrong initial size of the fabrics. The second was a grand success!



  • Color 1 (purple in my pictures): (2) 7.5″ x 7.5″ AND (2) 3.5″ x 3.5″
  • Color 2 (blue in my pictures): (2) 7.5″ x 7.5″ AND (2) 3.5″ x 3.5″
  • Color 3 (white in my pictures): (2) 7″ x 7″

They are odd sizes; however, to achieve perfection at the end, we must start bigger than intended.


To start, take the 7.5″ x 7.5″ of Color 1 and Color 2 and create HSTs. DO NOT cut apart when finished. I have two sewn HSTs as you see above and, when they are cut apart, they will be FOUR HSTs. DO NOT CUT at this point.


Place them on your cutting table and cut them diagonal NOT where you’ve sewn but across where you’ve sewn. Click the above picture to see it up close if you do not understand. You’ll see my sewn lines (two of them) and I’m cutting over the top of them.


A picture after they are cut. Now, you may cut on the center line you drew to create the HSTs.


When you open and iron them, you’ll have 8 pieces.

This next step, I did neglect to get a picture. I’ll attempt to explain it properly. Take two pieces that are identical – with the purple (color 1) in the top left corner and bottom right corner – and the blues (color 2) in the top right corner and bottom left corner. Sew them back together where the cut was made. This will give you a full square to work with again. Do this with the HSTs that you just created and ironed open.


When you are done sewing those back together, lay one of the two you created on top of Color 3 (the white) – right sides together. Click on the picture to see it larger if you need to.


The easiest way to sew this is to use the seam you created when sewing the HSTs back together (if you look, you can see how the colors are opposite each other, not the way they were originally sewn – you are looking at the wrong side of the step above where I did not get a picture). Using the seam created when sewing these back together as your guide, sew a quarter inch on each side of it. Click the picture to see it larger to understand.


When done, cut on the stitching you used as a guide (the middle stitch if done correctly) and then iron open. If done correctly, you’ll have four completely identical pieces.


Take all four to your cutting table and trim to 6.5″ x 6.5″ – mine were really close so only a titch needed to be shaved off.


Take the four 3.5″ x 3.5″ (colors 1 and 2) and draw a line diagonally from one corner to the other. Using this line as your guide, sew ON the line you drew. Not beside it as if you were doing HSTs but ON it. Trim a quarter inch past the line when finished and then iron open.


Assemble. If you look, you can see the purple is always on the left (Color 1) and the blue (Color 2) is always on the right side of the purple. The small triangles are in the center and they alternate – purple (Color 1), blue (Color 2), purple (Color 1) and blue (Color 2). The white (Color 3) is the center square turned on point. Sew together, two rows of two.




Take your block to the cutting table and make sure it is 12.5″ x 12.5″ and you’re finished. On to the next!


When finished, you have 4 HSTs remaining that you did not use. You could create whatever you want with them. I do not recommend using all four to make another Blockade block as two of the remaining pieces will be backwards. However, the two that are the correct direction could be used with another two extra from a second block created.

As always, any questions, please ask!


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