Happy Birthday!

BIRTHDAY CAKE

If today is your birthday, firstly, Many Happy Returns! Secondly, feel free to substitute today’s block with this birthday block … except perhaps if it’s the central medallion, centre borders, or perhaps the corner flowers (in this case, keep this block up your sleeve for when I give you something horribly difficult which you would prefer to avoid). Choose the light or dark version and the size according to where in the cycle you land.

The other alternative is to make it as a bonus block and use it as the label on the back of your quilt. Perhaps one of the fabrics could be fairly plain to allow your writing to be legible?

Birthday dark

Dark Version

Birthday light

Light Version

The block is one of Nancy Page’s. She published it in the Birmingham News, first in February 1936 as Birthday Cake, then again, under the name Birthday Parties in June 1942.

Cutting Instructions

3″, Dark

Birthday dark annotated

A (dark dark): cut one 2¼” x 2¼” square
B (medium): cut one 2¼” x 2¼” square
C (dark or medium dark): cut one 2¼” x 2¼” square, cut in half, diagonally to form two triangles
D (medium, same as B): cut one 2¼” x 2¼” square, cut in half, diagonally to form two triangles; you only need one triangle
E (dark dark, same as A): cut one 2¼” x 2¼” square, cut in half, diagonally to form two triangles; you only need one triangle

F (dark dark, same as A): cut one 1″ x 1″ square

G (dark dark, same as A): cut five 1½” x 1½” squares
H (light medium): cut five 1½” x 1½” squares

6″, Dark

Birthday dark annotated

A (dark dark): cut one 3½” x 3½” square
B (medium): cut one 3½” x 3½” square
C (dark or medium dark): cut one 3½” x 3½” square, cut in half, diagonally to form two triangles
D (medium, same as B): cut one 3½” x 3½” square, cut in half, diagonally to form two triangles; you only need one triangle
E (dark dark, same as A): cut one 3½” x 3½” square, cut in half, diagonally to form two triangles; you only need one triangle

F (dark dark, same as A): cut one 1½” x 1½” square

G (dark dark, same as A): cut five 2″ x 2″ squares
H (light medium): cut five 2″ x 2″ squares

6″, Light

Birthday light annotated

A (white background): cut one 3½” x 3½” square
B (light): cut one 3½” x 3½” square
C (medium): cut one 3½” x 3½” square, cut in half, diagonally to form two triangles
D (light, same as B): cut one 3½” x 3½” square, cut in half, diagonally to form two triangles; you only need one triangle
E (white background, same as A): cut one 3½” x 3½” square, cut in half, diagonally to form two triangles; you only need one triangle

F (white background, same as A): cut one 1½” x 1½” square

G (white background, same as A): cut five 2″ x 2″ squares
H (cream background, light or medium): cut five 2″ x 2″ squares

Sewing Instructions

The large Half-Square Triangles:

HST

3″ Block:
Trim the A/B units to 1¾” x 1¾”, ensuring that you place the diagonal on your ruler on the block diagonal.

6″ Block:
Trim the A/B units to 3″ x 3″, ensuring that you place the diagonal on your ruler on the block diagonal.

Make the C/D and C/E units from the triangles. Sew them right sides together with a scant ¼” seam, taking care not to stretch the fabric as you sew along the bias edges.

Birthday Triangles

3″ Block:
Trim these units to 1¾” x 1¾”, ensuring that you place the diagonal on your ruler on the block diagonal.

6″ Block:
Trim these units to 3″ x 3″, ensuring that you place the diagonal on your ruler on the block diagonal.

Join the units as you would any Four Patch:

Birthday 4patch

The small Half-Square Triangles (the candles on the birthday cake):

Birthday Candles

3″ Block:
Trim the G/H units to 1″ x 1″, ensuring that you place the diagonal on your ruler on the block diagonal.

6″ Block:
Trim the G/H units to 1½” x 1½”, ensuring that you place the diagonal on your ruler on the block diagonal.

Join these, right sides together, with a scant ¼” seam, to make two sawtooth units. Note that the units are mirror images:

Birthday Candles long

Join all the block components as you would any Four Patch:

Birthday Final 4patch

Enjoy your birthday!!!

Reference:
Beyer, J. (2009) The Quilter’s Album of Patchwork Patterns
Brackling Press: Elmhurst, Illinois

Image Credit:
Fabric by Michael Miller, Zoo Littles, Party Streamers – White, CX6589-WHIT-D

Download Birthday Block Instructions.