The Chimney Sweep/Album Signature Block is an old favorite. It is a two-color block which is really appealing to me. There is a chimney sweep signature quilt from 1840 in Sue Reich's book Quiltings, Frolicks & Bees, 100 Years of Signature Quilts. Karen and I met Sue at Jackie's show last Fall. I was especially inspired by the wartime signature quilts.
I chose this block for my month in the Modern Stash Bee, so I went searching for a pattern/tutorial to share with my hive mates. There is one that uses paper piecing, one for a 12" block, and one that came really close to what I was looking for, but has some typos. Hmm. Guess I'll have to write my own!
Using the basic information found at Patterns from History, I got started. My cutting instructions allow for larger triangles around the outside edges of the block. I'm not a perfect piecer, so I needed a little extra leeway.
(Note: Take care to accurately cut the 2-1/4" strips. If desired, you may trim down a jelly roll strip.)
A: (2) 2-1/2" squares, cut across one diagonal = (4) triangles
B: (3) 4" squares, cut across both diagonals = (12) triangles
C: (1) 2-1/4" X 5-3/4" rectangle
D: (2) 2-1/4" squares
C: (2) 2-1/4" X 5-3/4" rectangles
D: (2) 2-1/4" squares
E: (6) 2-1/4" X 4" rectangles
Lay out the pieces as indicated below.
Start piecing the rows. I started in the bottom right corner.
Place a white B triangle on top of a red D square (right sides together if not using a solid), matching one corner. The 45 degree corners of the triangle will be hanging off the square. That's OK. That's the extra leeway I mentioned earlier.
Stitch 1/4" seam.
Press away from the red.
Repeat with the B triangle on the other end of the row. Press.
If you'd like to neaten things up a bit, trim off those little wings, even with the bottom of the red square.
To add the white A triangle in the corner, fold and finger press to mark the center of the red square and the center of the white triangle. I stuck a pin in the red so you could see it.
Match up the edges and centers and stitch. Press.
Repeat to stitch each row.
You can see how I pressed each row out from the enter.
Stitch the rows to each other, matching the centers. There are no seams to match up!
On the back, you can see that I pressed the row seams open for a flatter block. Do what works for you.
Trim the block down to 10-1/2" square. You might be able to see that there are spots where there wasn't much to trim.
All trimmed and ready for the dance!
I'm asking the girls in my hive to make one blue block and one red block that I will alternate in the quilt. I'm planning to finish the quilt for my son Pete and present it to him at his Marine Corps recruit training graduation in December. If he's not too embarrassed by me, maybe his platoon buddies and drill instructor can sign it. I'm tearing up just thinking about it! Edit: See the completed quilt here!
This is really a fantastic block. It goes together quickly and makes a striking quilt. Please let me know if you give it a try.