A Beth Gutcheon five patch block
I am not sure if this relates to someone walking pigeon toed or to a pigeon's footprints! This block was designed by Beth Gutcheon and was first published in The Perfect Patchwork Primer in the 1970s. It is nice to find blocks that are not hundreds of years old. There must be many variations out there still without names or even undiscovered.
It is based on a five patch grid, which means it divides neatly into a 10in block but produces unusual measurements for a 12in block. Once you have the squares it is easy to produce the rectangles. They will be much larger than you would expect; this is to take into account the seam allowances. For a square you add 1⁄2in to the measurement to make the 1⁄4in seam allowance each side. However, for a rectangle you add 5⁄8in to the width and 11⁄4in to the length. For example, for a finished triangle 2 x 4in you would cut a rectangle 2 5⁄8 x 5 1⁄4in. The rectangle can then be cut in half diagonally. Take care if you are using fabric that has an obvious pattern or stripe, as when the rectangle is cut in half the pattern will be reversed, which may look odd. Figure 1 shows the block piecing order; it is very simple.
Take care that you do not stretch the bias seams or chew up the points. A useful tip when sewing pieces with sharp points is to start sewing on a small scrap of fabric then feed in the pieces to be joined. When you have finished, trim off the extra fabric. Figure 7 shows an edge to edge layout. The four corners creates a circular effect with a nice area for a quilting pattern.
One idea if you like this block is to search for others along a similar theme. I found the variations shown here. They are all similar in that they all have the 'feet' in the four corners but there are variations in the triangles or diamonds used.
We have provided a template for this block.
The photograph shows another variation sewn using a selection of antique feedsack fabrics. During the depression in America animal feed companies started printing their sacks with bright patterns. When the sack was used up it could be cut up and used for aprons or patchwork. What a brilliant marketing ploy - if only they sold cornflakes like that now.
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