The Bird of Paradise quilt block is usually shown in blues, pinks and purples, but I have chosen to make it in the brown and yellow of the flower called Bird of Paradise, strelitzia. This was the flower that my niece used as a focus of her wedding decorations last year.
I have made the block here as an 18″ square finished size.
Cutting requirements for the bird of paradise quilt block
3.1/2″ squares: six yellow, six brown, eight white
3.7/8″ by 6.7/8″ rectangles: two yellow, two brown, four white
Making the bird of paradise quilt block
Cut the rectangles along one diagonal to make two triangles. Match up the triangles with one white triangle to each yellow or brown triangle to make a rectangle. Using a 1/4″ seam, sew each pair of triangles together. Before you sew them, place the triangles so that they are offset from each other by 1/4″ – so you’ll have a small tip of white sticking out at one end and of yellow or brown sticking out at the other end.
I’m showing the layout in two stages for clarity. There are yellow squares along one diagonal and brown squares along the other diagonal. On either side of each corner square, place two white triangles. You’ll see that you now have five four patch units – one in the middle and one in each corner.
Place the half rectangle triangles in pairs (one yellow and one brown) on the sides of the central four patch unit. Note that these are placed so that the white triangles combine to form larger white triangles pointing towards the middle. Make sure that you place them so that the yellow triangles form around the yellow diagonal and the brown triangles form around the brown diagonal.
Sew the pairs of half rectangle triangles together and sew the squares of the four patch units together first in pairs and then sew the pairs together. You can see that you now have three rows of three squares. Sew the squares together across each row and then sew the rows together to complete the bird of paradise quilt block.
For a quilt idea, I have shown sixteen blocks laid out in four rows of four. By rotating the blocks you can form these wonderful circular shapes within the design. What I have done is rotate every second block – if you focus on the brown diagonal of each block, you can see more easily where the rotations are.
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