Beltane May Day Quilt Block Pattern

Beltane May Day quilt block

Beltane May Day quilt block

I designed the Beltane May Day quilt block as a celebration of today being the first day of May.  It’s got heaps of symbolism – or you could just regard it as a colourful scrappy quilt block!

I have made it as an 18″ square finished size using lots of different colours.

Cutting requirements for the Beltane May Day quilt block

3.1/2″ squares:  seven white, four green, two purple, two lilac, one yellow

3.7/8″ squares:  three each in red and white, three each in blue and white, one each in blue and yellow, two each in purple and green, two each in lilac and green

Make half square triangles

Make half square triangles

Make the half square triangle units

Use the 3.7/8″ squares to make half square triangle units in all the colour combinations listed above.  Place two squares with right sides together and mark a line along the diagonal.  Sew a 1/4″ seam either side of the marked line and cut along the line.  This produces two half square triangle units which are now 3.1/2″ square.  Press the seam allowances towards the darker fabric and trim the two corners where the fabric sticks out.

Please note that you will end up with one blue/white and one blue/yellow half square triangle surplus to requirements.  This is because the units are made in pairs but only an odd number of units is required of these two colour combinations.

Central area of the block

Central area of the block

Make the Beltane May Day quilt block

The central area of the block is floral, to represent summer flowers – you can tell I’ve been working in my garden over the weekend!

Place a four patch unit of purple and lilac in the middle.  Add a purple and a lilac half square triangle on each edge of the central four patch.  Lay them so that the green triangles together form larger green triangles pointing towards the middle.  Place a green square in each corner.

Full layout of the Beltane May Day quilt block

Full layout of the Beltane May Day quilt block

Now add the frame around this central area.  Across the top of the block lay five blue/white and one blue/yellow half square triangles.  Place these so that the blue triangles together form larger blue triangles pointing downwards.

The blue and white represent the sky and clouds while the yellow represents the sun.

Down the right hand side of the block lay one yellow and three white squares.

Across the bottom row place six red/white half square triangle units.  Lay them in pairs so that the red triangles together form larger red triangles pointing upwards.  These represent the fire used in the Beltane Fire Festival.  Finally lay four white squares up the left hand side of the Beltane May Day quilt block.

Sew the patchwork pieces together across each row and then sew the rows to each other to complete the block.

Basic quilt design

Basic quilt design

Quilt design suggestions

The basic quilt I’ve shown here uses nine blocks sewn together in three rows of three.

Alternate design using rotations

Alternate design using rotations

As an alternative I rotated every other block and I was quite pleased with the way zig zag lines of red triangles began to form.

Here’s the video:

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  1. Another really unusual design and so colourful! It very much reminds me of a laundry basket my dear mother made for me whilst at Arundel School, which she made out of all my old dress fabrics…which she’d made herself.

    • Hi June. Wow, your mother was really talented, wasn’t she!

      • Yes she was – she even made our underwear until we were about ten.

        • It sounds like she enjoyed sewing, rather than making things out of necessity. I can remember my mother cutting sheets down the middle and then sewing the two side edges together to make them last longer. Not something we do these days.

  2. Love them both. But the red zigzag. Is more outspoken if you get my drift. Stands out that what I’m trying to say.

  3. Carol Tambourine says:

    This is fantastic. I am so plesed that you did this. I have been looking for English blocks with their meanings. Is there a book which concentrates on this topic.?

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