Modern Snails Trail Quilt Block: Easier (and Faster) Than it Looks

Black Friday comes once a year, but we can celebrate Block Friday every week, if we want, with how-tos for making contemporary designs from traditional quilt block patterns.

I couldn’t wait to bring you this week’s design: a modern take on the Snail’s Trail quilt block by Malka Dubrawsky. It’s one of my favorite patterns from the book Mollie Makes: Patchwork.

modern snails trail quilt block dubrawsky
A modern take on the Snail’s Trail quilt block pattern by Malka Dubrawsky,
featured in Mollie Makes: Patchwork.

When seen put together, from afar, the quilt blocks look intricate. In reality, the visual effect of curving lines is created purely by adding larger and larger triangles to a four-patch quilt square. Patterns like the Snail’s Trail can be made to look like breaking waves, rosettes, a mosaic–in addition to spirals–depending on the number of fabric colors you use.

Malka, who is known for her fresh designs and fearless use of color, used a variety of toned-down contemporary graphic prints with white in the Snail’s Trail quilt, giving this traditional block pattern a light, modern look.

Here’s how to make a simple, two-color, Snail’s Trail quilt block, adapted from the instructions in Mollie Makes: Patchwork:

snails trail quilt block
The basic Snail’s Trail quilt block pattern.

1. Cut two squares from fabric A and two from fabric B. Stitch two different squares together, then stitch the units to one another to create a small four-patch block.

snails trail quilt block pattern step 1
Step 1. Make a 4-patch block.

2. Cut a square from fabric A and fabric B so the diagonal of each square is the length of the side of the four-patch block, plus ¼” (6 mm) seam allowance. Cut the squares diagonally to make two right-angled triangles from each square. Add a triangle of fabric A at the top and bottom of the quilt block. Add triangles of fabric B on each side.

snails trail quilt block pattern step 2
Step 2. Add triangles to the sides
of the 4-patch.

3. Cut another square of fabric A and of fabric B so the diagonal of each square is the length of the side of the block made so far, plus ¼” (6 mm) seam allowance. Cut the squares diagonally to make two right-angled triangles from each square. Add the next row of triangles, keeping both A and B triangles opposite each other.

snails trail quilt block pattern step 3
Step 3. Add larger triangles
to the new square.

4. Carry on this way, making the triangles bigger each time to match the sides of the block. The final quilt block has four different-sized triangles, with two of each size and color.

Now that you know how easy it is to make a Snail’s Trail quilt block, you should try some of the other quilt block projects in Mollie Makes: Patchwork. They range from small and simple one-block projects to larger, more elaborate designs–all from many of today’s most-admired fabric and quilt designers. Plus, the book offers easy-to-follow instructions for beginners and techniques more experienced quilters will appreciate.

P.S. Want to learn a Y-piecing technique for hexagon quilt blocks? Malka gives a tutorial in this Patchwork Party episode from “Quilting Arts TV.” 

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Categories

Easy Quilting, How to Quilt, Modern Quilting, Quilting Daily Blog, Quilting for Beginners

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