Gnomes and Trees quilt block

Have you started your Christmas sewing yet? Ha, ha. Funny. I generally start Christmas sewing on about December 15th, but I’m way ahead of the curve this year because I asked members of my Stash Bee hive to make Christmas blocks for my turn as Queen Bee last month. I realized I hadn’t shared the tutorial here and thought I would do so!

Gnomes & Trees quilt block tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

This block was inspired by this quilt, but a wonkier version. It’s a great block for using up some of those scraps, and other than the open squares, doesn’t require any sort of precision. These instructions are for individual 3×3 blocks that finish at 15″ square, but if you’re making the whole quilt by yourself you could just as easily sew together the subunits in rows and columns.

Click below for the full tutorial!

Cutting

Low volume background:
3 squares 5 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ (open squares)
6 rectangles 5″ x 6″ (background for trees and gnomes)
6 rectangles about 1 1/2″ x 6″ (bottom part of backgrounds)

Trees (green):
1-5 rectangles, 3 1/2″ x 5″

Gnomes:
1-5 red rectangles, 3 1/2″ x 5″
1-5 skin-colored scraps, about 3 1/2″ x 1″ or 1.5″

Tree trunks/gnome legs (brown):
Rectangles, about 1″ x 2″ (1 per tree, 2 per gnome)

Piecing:

The trees and gnomes are essentially done the same way. We’ll start with making a tree. (Note: these go quickly if you assembly-line sew, but only do half of them at a time. Otherwise, later on you will have to cut more background fabric and then you will be sad.)

TREE: Place your green rectangle right side up on top of one of the 6″ w x 5″ h background rectangles. It should be about 1 1/2″-2″ from the right side of the background rectangle.

Trees and Gnomes block tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Line up your ruler with the bottom right corner of the green rectangle, and make a cut at an angle. Any angle!

Trees and Gnomes block tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Sew the background and the green tree fabric together along the cut you just made. Set the other piece of background fabric aside for now. You will want the background fabric to protrude a little, about 1/4″-1/2″ or so:

Trees and Gnomes block tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

It will look like this:

Trees and Gnomes block tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Press towards the dark, and place your sewn piece on top of a second rectangle of background fabric. This time, line the green up about 2 inches from the left side. Line the ruler up with the top corner of the green (you can go about 1/8″ beyond the actual corner if you want) and on or near the bottom left corner of the green, and cut:

Trees and Gnomes block tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Again, line up your pieces along the line you just cut, setting aside the other piece of background fabric, and sew.

Trees and Gnomes block tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

When you open it up, there should be at least 1/4″ above the tip of the tree to account for seam allowance.

Trees and Gnomes block tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Take one of your narrow strips of background fabric and make an angled cut somewhere near the middle.

Trees and Gnomes block tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Insert the brown scrap into this cut you just made, trying to keep the background fabric aligned as much as you can:

Trees and Gnomes block tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Press seams in towards the brown, and straighten up the top. Also straighten up the bottom of your tree:

Trees and Gnomes block tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Apparently the tree will magically change its fabrics while you’re making the trunks. 🙂

 

Sew the trunk you just made to your tree:

Trees and Gnomes block tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Square up to 5 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ and that’s one tree done!

I’ll show how to make a gnome using the background fabrics that you set aside, but if you are making more trees, it works exactly the same–you just won’t insert faces! (This is where you’d make the other half of your trees/gnomes if you are assembly-lining.)

GNOME: Take your red fabric and make a cut about 1 1/2″ down from the top. Insert your strip of skin colored fabric. I made my skin insert a little wonky, but you can also just insert a straight strip. (If you want to make it wonky, I recommend cutting both the red fabric and the skin strip a little bigger.)

Instructions for wonky face: Place your skin strip on top of the red fabric and make an angled cut.

Trees and Gnomes block tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Sew the skin strip to the top red piece that you just cut off.

Trees and Gnomes block tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Then place your remaining red fabric on top:

Trees and Gnomes block tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

And make another angled cut, making sure that your whole cut is through both pieces of fabric.

Trees and Gnomes block tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Sew the bottom piece on to the face strip.

Trees and Gnomes block tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Once you have inserted your skin strip for the face, take one of the remaining right-side background fabrics and place it on top of the gnome fabric. If your gnome body ends up longer than the background fabric, it’s best to line up at the top, so that the gnome’s hat doesn’t get too small.

Trees and Gnomes block tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Either cut the gnome fabric right along the line made by the background fabric, or cut through both fabrics at a slightly different angle:

Trees and Gnomes block tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Then sew together, lining up as before with the background fabric protruding slightly:

Trees and Gnomes block tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

That’s your first seam done:

Trees and Gnomes block tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Line up with one of the remaining left-side background fabrics. Again, it’s OK to place it up to 1/8″ away from the top point.

Trees and Gnomes block tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Cut:

Trees and Gnomes block tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

And sew together. Again, there should be at least 1/4″ above the tip of the hat.

Trees and Gnomes block tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

The legs are done the same way as the tree trunks, except you will insert 2 brown strips instead of one:

Trees and Gnomes block tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Again, straighten the top of the legs and the bottom of the gnome, and then sew together:

Trees and Gnomes block tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

And square to 5 1/2″ x 5 1/2″.

Trees and Gnomes block tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

FINAL ASSEMBLY: Once you have your 6 trees/gnomes, take your 3 remaining background squares and put them all together. You can lay them out any way you like!

Trees and Gnomes block tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts   Trees and Gnomes block tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts    Trees and Gnomes block tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Sew together. The finished block should be 15 1/2″ x 15 1/2″.

Trees and Gnomes quilt block tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

I’m waiting for one or two more blocks from the bee, then I’ll be able to show you a quilt top!

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6 Responses to Gnomes and Trees quilt block

  1. Laurel Rudolph says:

    Cute!

    The tutorial was very easy to follow and well written.

  2. Ruth says:

    I loved making this block – really great fun and looks brilliant too!

  3. Marybeth says:

    Gnomes disguised as trees, trees disguised as … trees? What a fun quilt!

    Great instructions. Can’t wait to see the finished top!

  4. Frances says:

    LOVE it….what a fun way to make a quick Christmas quilt!!!

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