Sunday, January 26, 2014

Constructing the Burgoyne Block

I have been a bit absent from blogging for a few days, but trust me when I say I am working diligently on the Burgoyne Surrounded blocks. I seem to have found a rhythm to it, and truly, I am enjoying the process.

The trick is to have enough cutting done so that you can get nice scrappy combinations of the three colors - red, blue and background. At first I thought I'd try to have each block use the same red and blue throughout, but it required too much stopping and starting - I'd get almost done only to find that I needed one more 1.5" square. Do you know how hard it is to make yourself go cut more fabric for a 1.5" square??? It didn't take me long to decide that mixing up my reds and blues would be okay.

So let's take a look at the construction of the subunits. Broken down into these steps makes the formation of the entire block seem so much simpler.

To be most efficient, the instructions say to sew many 1.5" neutral strips to 1.5" red strips and cut them down to 1.5" pieces and 2.5" pieces. Then when sewn together in the design shown above, you will have the subunit that will eventually help to form the circular pattern in the block.

You need 4 of these subunits, and they go together very quickly once all the cutting is done.

Next, let's look at the center block. Of course, only one of these is needed.

Select a nice scrappy combination of background neutrals to go with the blues, and construct a 9-patch block. Easy-peasy.

The most involved subunit is the OTHER 9-patch block - I will refer to it as the blended 9-patch - where the diagonal navy line intersects with the red circle.

 I see that I have the "parts" placed incorrectly in the photo above. but the units are correct. (Just envision the 4-patch  turned a quarter turn so that blue is in the center, not white.) The little blue and white 4-patch is needed in each corner of each Burgoyne Surrounded block, so a lot of them are being constructed. We also need 4 4-patches to make 4 of these blended 9-patch bocks, and here is how it looks when constructed properly. (I should go take another picture with these parts arranged correctly, but I will trust that you'll see how to construct it by looking at the finished block.)

See how the blue runs diagonally through the block? This is important as it creates the larger design of the diagonal through the entire quilt. The reds are placed in such a way as to help create the circle in each block. Four of these 9-patch units are needed.

Above are the subunits needed to make one block. In addition to these, there are a number of plain background pieces in various dimensions that must be used, as well. Here's the tally sheet:

4 blended 9-patch blocks
4 blue 4-patch blocks
4 red narrow rectangular blocks
1 center 9-patch
Additional plain background pieces

This illustrates very clearly why it takes so doggone long to get one Burgoyne Surrounded block constructed, doesn't it? Here is a rerun of a picture that illustrates what I am talking about when I refer to the red circle in each block and the diagonal blue line that runs both through the blocks and also, eventually, through the entire quilt. Can you pick out the subunits?

AACK! I see a mistake!! I have a blended block going all wonky! Can you find it? I guess this illustrates just how very careful you have to be when constructing these blocks. Dangit!

My total currently is 7 blocks completed. By day's end, I'd like to be at 10 or 11. I worked yesterday to get plenty of cutting done and subunits prepped.

Happy Quilting, Friends!


  1. I see the mistake and you are right, I do like this one. Thanks for the emergency sewing, it came in handy yesterday and today. Tomorrow, too, according to the forecast.

  2. I've never seen this block shown in parts. Cool! When it's broken down, it's not that complex a block. Maybe I'll try them some day, thanks to your explanation. Nice fabric choices, Jayne.
    I see the mistake too, but I really had to hunt for it.)

  3. Wow, that is one complex block. Really keeps you on your toes. I can emphasize with stay off the computer, I get a whole lot more done when I'm not on here.

  4. So that's not a block for when you just want some mindless sewing then is it?

    Your blocks do look great though, I love the colours.


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