This Propeller Block is a free quilt block pattern by Accquilt Go! and can be made easily with any size Accuquilt Go! Qube.
This propeller block is not your standard propeller block as it has 12-quarter square triangles surrounding a four-patch. This block uses four fabrics to give it a swirling look.
In our version of this block, we will change the center four-patch into a single square block and fussy cut the fabric to take advantage of cute Sweet Bees fabrics by World of Susybee.
Would you like to see the full Sweet Bees Baby Quilt? Click the link to visit the quilt tutorial!
Are you new to Accuquilt? Learn more about the Accuquilt cutting system including pros and cons and a demo by clicking the link.
Keep reading for a full written tutorial of this block and the alternate version or click the link below to watch our video tutorial on YouTube.
Printable PDF Version - Keep reading for a free version of this tutorial. If you would like to purchase an ad free printable version of this tutorial, please visit our
Etsy Shop listing for Propeller Quilt Block with Accuquilt Go!.
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WHAT YOU NEED For One Propeller Block
- 1/4 yard each of two propeller fabrics (blue & pink in the diagram)
- 1/8 yard each of two four-patch fabrics (optional)
- 1/4 yard fabric for fussy cut 5" block (alternate option to four patch)
- Accuquilt Go! or Accuquilt Go! Big Cutter
- Any size Go! Qube
- 72 Block Patterns PDF
- Sewing Machine
- Scissors, Mat, Rotary Cutter & Ruler(s)
INSTRUCTIONS for the propeller quilt block
STEP 1: Download the free pattern PDF from Accuquilt
The propeller quilt block pattern is a free pattern available in the Accuquilt Go! Qube, 72 Block Patterns PDF. A link to download this PDF is at the end of this tutorial.
This PDF shows all 72 free quilt block patterns you can make with any size Go! Qube. I have a 10" Go! Qube so my finished blocks will be 10"x10".
The image below is a photo of the page from the PDF for the Propeller Block. This page gives you information on the Accuquilt Go! Qube dies needed, the number of shapes to cut, and the fabric required for each block.
It also gives instructions on how to assemble the block.
Included in this tutorial are some tips for cutting and assembling this block and an alternate block configuration that swaps the four-patch for a solid square.
Below is a photo of our finished alternate block layout.
STEP 2: Cutting the Fabric Strips
The propeller block will use the #2 and #4 Accuquilt Go! Qube Dies. Each die in the Go! Qube is marked with a number along with the description of the die.
In the 10" Go! Qube, the #2 die is a Go! Square-3" (2-1/2" finished). This die is used to cut the center four patch shapes, if using them. Skip this if you will be fussy cutting the 5-1/2" square for the center like our alternate version.
In the 10" Go! Qube, the #4 die is a Go! Quarter Square Triangle-5" Finished Square die. This die is used to cut the triangles surrounding the center of the block.
Note that this die will cut four quarter square triangles at once!
How wide do I cut my fabric strips for an Accuquilt Die?
For the Accuquilt dies, it's recommended to cut your fabric strips 1/4" - 1/2" larger than the size of the die. Each die has two-toned foam to help identify the cutting lines on the die.
Measure the width of the die with a ruler. My #4 quarter square triangle die is 6-1/4" wide. I will add 1/2" to that size and cut the strips of fabric at 6-3/4" wide by the width of fabric (WOF).
The #2 die is a 3" square so the strips would be cut at 3-1/4" - 3-1/2" wide by the width of fabric (WOF).
How many triangles and squares do I cut from each fabric?
For my quilt, I will be making 4 propeller blocks. To calculate how many triangles and squares to cut, I used the following formula.
(Number of Blocks) * (Number of Shapes to Cut from instructions) = (Number of triangles needed)
4 * 4 = 16 triangles (sample calculation for blue fabric in instructions)
(Number of triangles needed) / (Number of triangles cut from each layer of fabric = 4) = (Number of fabric layers needed)
(16 triangles) / 4 = 4 layers (sample calculation for blue fabric in instructions)
So, for the blue fabric where four shapes are needed for each block, I will need to put four layers of fabric through the cutter to get all of the triangles needed for the 4 blocks in my quilt.
For the pink fabric in the instructions, it says that 8 triangles are needed for each block. To calculate this for four blocks, the calculation would be.
4 * 8 = 32 triangles
(32 triangles) / 4 = 8 layers
In the video, I say I need 9 layers. I had a mistake in my calculation in that I thought I needed 36 triangles instead of 32. Oops! It's actually 32 triangles which are 8 layers. I wondered why I had so many extras!
We can make the same calculation for the squares from the light pink and orange fabric in the instructions. It's a simpler calculation since only one square is cut at a time.
(Number of Blocks) * (Number of Shapes to Cut from instructions) = (Number of squares needed)
4 * 2 = 8 squares
So, 8 squares with 8 layers of fabric need to be cut from each fabric (light pink & orange).
How to Calculate the Amount of Yardage Needed for All Blocks
The amount of yardage needed for all of the blocks may be less than you think. The Accuquilt instructions give a fabric required for one block, but that number is considering that you will cut a width of the fabric strip and then cut the shapes.
For the dies used in this block, the yardage listed will give you more shapes than you need for one block.
So, to roughly calculate the amount of fabric needed for all of your blocks we would calculate the number of triangles from each strip and then get the yardage. Let's start with the quarter square triangle die.
(Width of the Die) + (3/4" for loss when fan folding fabric - your amount may be more/less) = (Size of Block)
6-1/4" + 3/4" = 7"
(Width of Fabric) / (Size of Block) = Number of layers from each strip
43" / 7" = 6.14 layers
So, I was able to fold the fabric back and forth three times for 6 layers (24 triangles).
To make the four blocks, one strip of blue fabric and two strips of pink fabric are needed. This is 1/4 yard of the blue fabric and 1/2 yard of the pink fabric.
To calculate the yardage for the squares for four blocks.
3" + 3/4" = 3-3/4"
43" / 3-3/4" = 11.46 layers
So, for the squares, approximately 11 squares can be cut from each strip of fabric which is 5-1/2 blocks of squares from the 1/8 yard of fabric.
I know this is a LOT of calculations, but I hope it's helpful in figuring out how many blocks you need to cut for your quilt and how much fabric to purchase.
Now that we know how many strips are needed, it's time to cut the strips. Use your rotary cutter, mat and ruler to cut the number of strips needed from each fabric.
Step 3: Cutting the shapes using Accuquilt Go!
I have an Accuquilt Go! Big cutting system that is the electric version. If you would like to see the cutter in action, click the link near the beginning of this tutorial for the YouTube video tutorial.
Fan fold the fabric strips over the die making sure that the fabric is completely covering the cutting blades. Up to six layers of quilter's cotton can be cut with one pass through the cutter.
Depending on the die you are using, you may have more fabric than the six layers allowed to be cut at once. Take the remaining fabric and cut it with another pass through the cutter until you have used the whole strip of fabric.
Place the cutting mat over the die before sending it through the cutter. To get the most use out of your mats, move them around on the die, set them off center, tilt them a bit and turn them over using both sides. If you cut with the mat exactly over the die every time, it will cut grooves faster into the die and the mat will need to be replaced sooner.
With three passes of fabric through the cutter, all 32 triangles will be cut for the four blocks needed for my quilt. Such a fast way to cut triangles!
Another advantage of the Accuquilt triangle dies is that it cuts off the dog ears. This means you will not need to trim them after sewing the blocks together and it also helps align the pieces so you get matching points!
If you are cutting the squares for the four-patch, cut them before moving on to the next step.
Step 4: Fussy Cut the Center Blocks
The fussy cut 5-1/2" center blocks are an alternate layout for the propeller blocks. Either the traditional block layout or this alternate layout.
It's possible the alternate block pattern layout we are using has a different name, but it's not listed on the 72-block patterns.
My quilt will be made with the Sweet Bees fabric shown below (if you want to purchase similar fabric, look at the end of this post for links!). I just LOVE happy bees fabric. These bees are so cute and will be perfect on the baby quilt I'm making.
Since there are larger bee motifs and I have some extra fabric, I want to place happy bees in the center of each of the propeller blocks by fussy cutting.
What is a fussy cut?
In quilting fussy cut is the phrase used to describe when a motif, image or specific area of fabric is cut around and used on a quilt or in a quilt block rather than randomly cutting the fabric.
How to fussy cut.
Lay the fabric with one layer right side up on a cutting mat. The fussy cut blocks will be 5-1/2" x 5-1/2" so using a 6" square ruler will work well. Take some tape and place it along the 5-1/2" line in each direction. This will help you visualize the block if the extra part of the ruler is hidden.
Lay the ruler over the image to be fussy cut. Keep in mind that there will be a 1/4" seam allowance all the way around the block. So, keep all of the images you want to show in the block at least 1/4" from the edges.
Use the rotary cutter to cut the first two sides of the ruler that doesn't have the tape.
Turn the ruler around 180 degrees and line the 5-1/2" lines on the ruler along the newly cut edges of the block. Then, cut the last two sides of the block.
The block is now fussy cut with the image showing in the block.
Step 5: Block Layout
Now that all of the pieces are cut for the propeller block, we can see where the shapes will be placed and how to assemble the block. Below is a photo of the block with the shapes in their correct positions.
If we move the corners out, you can see how the block will be assembled. This block has only straight seams.
If you are using a four-patch in the center of the block, the four-patch is sewn together first.
To assemble the remainder of the block, the four quarter-square triangles around the center are sewn to the center block (or center four patch).
Then the quarter square triangles around the outside are sewn together into units. The quarter square triangle units are then sewn to each side of the center unit.
Keep reading for more detailed instructions.
For this block, 1/4" seam allowances are used throughout. If you have a quarter-inch sewing machine foot, use it to assemble this block. This will make your seams more precise.
Thread the sewing machine with a neutral color thread in the top and bobbin.
Step 6: Sewing the four-patch (optional)
If you are placing the four-patch in the center of the block, sew this together first. The light pink fabric (in the diagram) should be on the left and the orange fabric to the right. Sew the two pieces together in the center. Sew a second set in the same way.
Press the seams towards the pink fabric.
Place the sets together so that the colors alternate. Since the seams are both pressed toward the pink fabric, the seams should interlock in the center. Pin and sew together.
Press the seam to either side or open. The four-patch is completed.
Step 6: Sewing the Side Triangles
Next, sew the four quarter-square triangles around the center (pink fabric in the diagram) to the center fussy cut block or to the four-patch.
In my photos, I will be using the fussy cut block, but the assembly with the four-patch is identical.
Align the long edge of the triangle along one side of the center block (or four-patch). Since the dog ears were trimmed from the corners of the triangles, the straight edges will align with the edges of the center block. This makes it easier to sew the block and get points to match!
Sew the triangle onto the block with a 1/4" seam allowance.
Continue sewing the triangle ACROSS from the first triangle in the same way.
Press the first two seams toward the triangles.
Continue sewing the triangles on the other two sides. Make sure the sides are lining up with the sides of the center block, not the added triangles.
Sew the seams.
Press the seams towards the triangles.
Step 7: Sewing Outer Triangle units
The outer triangle units are sewn together next. Be sure to sew them together in the correct orientation putting two short sides together. When they are sewn together, and looking at the long edge, the pink fabric (in the diagram) is on the left side.
For my blocks, that means the green bee fabric is on the left as shown below.
Use a 1/4" seam allowance to sew the half-square triangles together.
Press the seams towards the pink fabric (in the diagram). For my fabric, this is the green bees.
Step 8: Add Outer triangle units to block
Pin the outer triangle unit to the side of the block aligning the center seam with the center of the block. The sides on the first two pieces are not cut in the correct direction to align, so align the corner points as best as you can with the corners of the block.
Sew the two outer triangle units across from one another first as shown in the photo above. I recommend pinning to ensure the points and seams match up. Press the seams towards the outer triangle units.
Continue with the last two outer triangle units. This time the edges of the triangle units will line up with the sides of the triangle units previously sewn on. This makes it easier to get the unit in place.
Sew them with the 1/4" seam allowance and press the seams towards the corner triangle units.
The Go! Propeller block is now finished! I used these blocks in a baby quilt. Watch for an upcoming tutorial on the complete Sweet Bees Baby Quilt.
Printable PDF Version - If you would like to purchase an ad free printable version of this tutorial, please visit our
Etsy Shop listing for Propeller Quilt Block with Accuquilt Go!.
For a small fee, you can purchase a PDF downloadable version of this tutorial. #ad
If you have any questions about this project, contact us through the YouTube Video
comments or our Contact Us page. We respond to questions in e-mails and YouTube comments regularly.
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