The Clay's Choice quilt block can add "movement" to your quilt with its elongated pinwheel design.
Clay's Choice quilt block pattern is a simple block since it's made up of half-square triangles and squares. The four-patch quilt block is assembled by creating the four-patch quadrants and then sewing them together into the block.
The dark fabric in the center can also be swapped out for the light fabric for a different look.
The Clay's Choice quilt block is named after a politician named Henry Clay (1777-1852). He was a well-known figure in politics from the early days of the United States. Quilting in America has a bit of history of this Clay's Choice block and other names for this block.
This tutorial will show how to use an Accuquilt Go! Qube and Accuquilt Go! cutter to cut and assemble the free quilt block pattern. Watch our complete step-by-step video tutorial by clicking the link below or keep reading this photo tutorial.
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WHAT YOU NEED for the clay's choice quilt block
Find links at the end of this tutorial for supplies including the Accuquilt cutter & Go! Qube including the current coupons and discounts!
- Accuquilt Go! Cutter
- Accuquilt Go! Qube - any size - Uses #2 and #5 dies
- Four Fabrics - Light, 2nd light, medium and dark fabrics (amounts will vary depending on the number and size of the blocks)
- Sewing Machine
- Scissors, Seam Ripper, Iron and Ironing Board
INSTRUCTIONS For the Clay's Choice Block
This Clay's Choice quilt block tutorial will demonstrate cutting the pieces for this block with an Accuquilt Go! cutter and dies from a 10” Go! Qube and a 5" Go! Qube. This block can be made with any size Go! Qube.
The two blocks will be 10 ½” and 5 ½" square after assembly.
The advantages of using the Accuquilt Go! cutting system and Qube for making this block is that the pieces are cut precisely and the triangle pieces have the "dog ears" cut off. So, no need to trim after sewing the triangles together! With the precision-cut pieces and the ironing tips provided in this tutorial, it's very easy to get matching points.
This block is included in the 72 Block Patterns PDF that can be downloaded for free from the Accuquilt website. Scroll to the end of this tutorial for a link to the PDF download. This PDF includes 72 free quilt block patterns!
The Clay's Choice pattern page inside the PDF lists the dies, shapes to cut and the fabric requirements for one block. It also provides some basic instructions for assembling the block.
The block in the PDF uses only three fabrics. Our free block tutorial will use four fabrics as in the book below.
This Clay's Choice block is also included in the book “Quilt in a Day” Go! Qube, Mix & Match Blocks and Quilts. This book came for free when I purchased my Qube. Find a link to the book at the end of this tutorial.
Cutting the Clay's Choice Block
This free quilt block pattern will mostly show photos of the 10" block. Assembly for the 5" block and any other size are identical. All Go! Qubes have appropriately sized dies used in this tutorial and will make a Clay's Choice block in the finished size of the Qube.
This block uses the #2 and #5 die from any Go! Qube.
The photos above are showing the dies from the 10" Qube. The two dies are:
- #2 – 3” Square (2 ½” finished square)
- #5 – Half Square Triangle (2 ½” Finished Square)
If using the 5” Qube, the two dies to use are also the #2 and #5 dies.
- #2 – 1-3/4" Square (1-1/4" Finished Square)
- #5 – Half Square Triangle (1-1/4" Finished Square)
Note that for the 5" Qube, the dies include four squares and eight half-square triangles. So, when making blocks with this size Qube, fewer passes through the cutter are needed to cut the fabric for the block.
If you are using another size Qube, the sizes of the squares and triangles will be different. Don’t worry, they are sized to assemble into the final size of your Qube blocks.
Step 1: Prepare the fabrics for the clay's choice quilt block
For the Clay's Choice block, four fabrics are needed:
- Light (background)
- Light (corners)
- Medium (pinwheel)
- Dark (inner triangles)
This tutorial will be cutting the pieces to make one block of each size. To make more than one block, calculate how many of each shape and fabric color you will need by multiplying the number needed by the number of blocks.
Fabric can be saved by cutting strips and fan-folding the fabric into 6 layers. So, if the pattern says 1/8 yard is needed, you may be able to cut more shapes from the same 1/8 yard than it says in the pattern.
For Clay's Choice block pattern, one block requires the following pieces.
From #2 Square Die:
- 4 from the Light fabric (background)
- 4 from the 2nd light fabric (corners)
From the #5 Half-Square Triangle Die:
- 4 from the Light fabric (background)
- 4 from the Dark fabric (inner triangles)
- 8 from the Medium fabric (pinwheels)
To make more blocks, multiply each of the required fabrics above by the number of blocks.
Cut fabric strips 1/2" wider than the width of the die cutting area. The dies are made with two colors of foam so the cutting area is shown. Measure the width of the cutting area and then cut a strip 1/2" wider than that area.
For example, for the 10" block and the #2 die (3” Square), cut a strip 3-1/2" wide. To make one block, you would need 14" from the strip. If you are making more blocks, the fabric can be fan-folded to cut more layers at once.
Only cut up to SIX layers of quilters cotton at once.
Step 2: Cut the fabrics
Set up your Accuquilt Go! cutter to prepare to cut the fabrics.
The Clay's Choice block needs four triangles each of the first light, medium and dark fabrics. These will be cut with the #5 Die.
To make assembly quicker, you can layer the fabrics together and cut them. Then the colors to be sewn together are in a stack and ready to sew together.
Take your medium and dark fabrics and layer them on top of one another.
Place them on the die and fold the fabric in half.
Add the cutting mat on top and send it through the cutter.
This will cut the eight triangles needed for the half-square triangles made of medium and dark fabrics (4 from each fabric). The fabrics will be layered together and ready to sew.
If you need more tips for cutting fabrics with an Accuquilt cutter, please visit our page on the Accuquilt cutting system.
Next stack my first light (background) with the medium (pinwheel) and then fold them in half. Add the cutting mat and send it through the cutter.
This will cut the eight triangles from the light (background) and medium (pinwheel) fabrics (4 from each fabric). The triangles will be layered and ready for sewing.
The Clay's choice block has eight squares, four corners (second light fabric) and four light fabric squares.
From the #2 Die, cut four of each of the light fabrics. For each fabric strip, fan fold across the die, add the cutting mat and send it through the cutter.
All of the fabric pieces will be cut for the Clay’s Choice block.
Step 3: Show the Block
To help with the block's assembly, a photo of the block will be shown after each step.
Below is a photo of both the 10" and 5" block pieces with all of the fabrics in their proper locations.
To assemble the block, the half-square triangles will be sewn together first. Then the four quarters will be sewn together into four patches. Finally, the four patches are sewn together into the finished block.
Close-ups of each block are below.
Step 4: Sewing machine setup
Thread a sewing machine with a neutral thread. A white or cream is recommended to piece blocks together. The bobbin thread should also be a neutral white or cream thread.
Use a quarter-inch piecing foot and have the machine set for a straight stitch at the standard length. If you do not have a quarter-inch foot, be sure to follow the machine markings to sew a quarter-inch seam.
Step 5: Sew quarter-square triangles
Start sewing the quarter-square triangles together with the right sides of the fabrics facing together and a 1/4" seam allowance.
Sew the following:
- 4 quarter-square triangles with Light (background) and Medium Fabrics (pinwheel)
- 4 quarter-square triangles with Medium (pinwheel) and Dark Fabric (inner triangle)
Chain piecing the quarter square triangles will speed up the sewing of the block. Chain piecing is a technique where you sew a couple of stitches off the edge of the piece and then start sewing the next one without cutting the thread between.
You will end up with a chain of fabric triangles.
Cut apart the quarter-square triangles. See later in this tutorial for a quick tip on cutting the chain pieced blocks apart quickly.
With most blocks, it's important to iron after each step and to iron the seams consistently in the correct directions. Taking care to iron now will save you time and also will help to have perfectly matching points and corners!
Iron the half-square triangles with the seams going towards the medium fabric. Ironing the seams in the correct direction will help later in the block assembly.
To quickly iron, the half-square triangles, place them on your ironing board with the dark fabric facing down. Take them one at a time, and flip the medium fabric up, keeping the seam facing towards the medium fabric. Iron the block.
The half-square triangles are sewn and shown laid out in the block.
Step 6: Sew Four Patches
The block is made up of four four-patches. These four patches are assembled in the same way and then rotated to get the final block.
First, sew the sections of the four patches together. Since all of the four patches are identical, stack all of the matching fabrics onto the four-patch in the bottom/left side of the block.
As shown in the photo, make four stacks, matching the fabrics and the orientation of the half-square triangles.
The vertical seam between the fabrics will be sewn next. So, the two half square triangles will be sewn together and the two squares will be sewn together.
Take the stacks to the sewing machine. Be sure to not rearrange them!
Below are the stacks of fabrics at the sewing machine and ready to be sewn together along the center.
Starting with the two half square triangles nearest to the presser foot, flip the first right-side block on top of the left side. Then sew the seam on the right side of the block.
Use the chain piecing method to sew the four half-square triangle blocks together.
Continue with piecing the squares together in the same way. Flip the light fabric (background) on top of the 2nd light fabric (corner) with the right sides together and sew down the right side of the squares.
I have this handy Blade Saver Thread Cutter that holds an old rotary cutter blade and it’s great for cutting apart these chain-pieced blocks.
At the ironing board, iron the seams. For the second light (corner) & light square (background) iron the seam of this set towards the corner square.
For the light & medium and light and dark triangles, iron the seam of this set towards the medium & dark half-square triangle.
By ironing the seams this way, the two sections will interlock when they are sewn together. This helps to get perfect points!
The photo below shows the block layout with the first half of the four patches sewn together. Next, the four patch sections will be completed by sewing the seam in between.
To ensure you sew the seams correctly, turn all four patches so they are in the same orientation as shown below in the photo.
For each of the four patches, flip the corner and background square on top of the half-square triangles. Put each into a line with the seam to be sewn on the right side.
Sew the blocks together on the right side of each set. Since the seams were ironed in opposite directions, when you place the two pieces together, the inner seam should "interlock". This helps to get perfect points and corners!
Nestle the two seams up against one another and then sew the seam.
What are interlocking seams?
When the seams are pressed in one direction, a little bump appears on the front side of the block at the seam. By pressing the seams in opposite directions these bumps will come up against one another and "interlock" when you put the two seams together. This makes it easier to get matching points and corners since they naturally go together and will stay in place easier even without pins.
Step 7: IRON and Swirl the seams of the four-patches
Cut the thread between the blocks. In order to reduce the bulk where the four patch seams come together, swirl the seams. Below is one with the seam swirled.
Notice that the four seams are ironed in a "circle". Mine goes counterclockwise. The direction you have ironed the first two seams for the four patches will determine if the seams will go clockwise or counterclockwise.
To swirl the seam, remove the stitches in the seam allowance of the first seam sewn. Be sure you don’t open the last seam you sewed!
Next, finger-press the seams and the center will open up and swirl. Finger press the seams so that they will go counterclockwise around the block (or clockwise if you pressed the opposite direction originally).
Press the seams with an iron around so they go in a clockwise direction. Since the stitches are removed in the center, the seams will lay down flat and “swirl”.
Below, is a photo of the swirled seams.
The four patch is shown from the front below.
Try this method of swirling the seams and you will notice it’s a lot less bulky! This makes it easier to sew over when quilting the quilt later.
So, now we have sewn most of the block! The four patches are completed and they just need to be sewn together.
Below is a photo of the four sections laid out in the block. At this point, make sure you have the four sections oriented in the correct directions! The Dark fabrics are all around the center and are not next to one another and the second light fabric is in each corner.
Step 8: Sew Vertical Seams
Next, sew the last vertical seams together. Flip the two right sides of the block onto the left side. Take these two blocks to the sewing machine and sew them together on the right side of each block.
As before, I like to line up the blocks to sew in a row with the seams to sew on the right side.
These seams will interlock since the seams were pressed in opposite directions. It will interlock in the center and also the points of the half-square triangles will also interlock.
Take the time to get the seams interlocked and close together and you will have perfect points!
Go back to the ironing board and press both of the seams in the same direction.
Below is a photo showing the block. Only one more seam and the block is complete!
Step 9: Sew the Last Seam
Flip the two sections together. The seams will interlock again since they were pressed in the same direction. Be sure to get this seam interlocked in the center.
Sew this last seam, press and swirl the seams. With all of the points for the pinwheel coming together in the center, be sure to swirl the last seam when pressing.
Below is a close-up of the center of the 10" block with the swirled seams.
And the 5" Clay's Choice block with the swirled seams.
Completed Clay's Choice Quilt Block
The Clay's Choice block is complete! Below is a photo of the 10" block front.
And the back of the 10" block.
Some closeups of the block fronts are below.
Next, see the front and back of the 5" block. As you can see, they assembled in the same way.
We hope you enjoyed learning how to make the Clay's Choice block with your Accuquilt Go! Qube and Accuquilt Go! Cutter.
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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