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Quilt Block Mania 2021: "Petrichor" Block (Free Pattern)

Greetings quilters! I'm so excited to report the growing evidence of spring here in Washington. I hope you are experiencing a lovely season change in your neighborhood. I am always so grateful for the cyclical tendencies of Mother Nature, even as the rest of the world seems a little sideways.

This month I'm bringing you something a little different. My block is called "Petrichor" and it uses wool applique. Before we get started, here is how the Oxford Dictionary (via Google) defines Petrichor:

I love the smell of petrichor after it rains. I know we cannot smell color but I feel like smelling petrichor is the closest thing!

Let's get started making the Petrichor block:

  • Step 1: gather your supplies. For this project you will need pearl cotton, needle book, Creative Stitching book by Sue Spargo (for inspiration), wool scraps, background fabric, printed templates, freezer paper, and (not pictured) scissors, pencil, tape, and decorative beads.

Tip: use scraps and bits of leftover wool for this project
Tip: keep the printed templates in strips so there are fewer pieces to keep track of
Tip: admire the batiks and then leave them behind because they are hard on stitching hands.
  • Step 2: trace the printed templates onto the freezer paper. You can use a light box for this if you prefer. I taped the templates down to the counter and then taped the freezer paper WAX SIDE DOWN on top of the printed templates. The tape helps hold everything in place.

Petrichor Block Templates
Download PDF • 119KB
  • Step 3: cut out the freezer paper templates and iron them to the back side of the wool. The freezer paper templates will stick long enough for you to precisely cut out the shapes. In fact, I leave the freezer paper in place until I'm ready to begin stitching because it helps to keep the freshly cut edges of of the wool looking nice. Be sure to peel the paper off before you start sewing the wool shapes together.

  • Step 4: begin layering and stitching the rain drop shapes on top of one another as shown in the block outline. Stitch the pieces together using a variety of embroidery stitches. Use the Creative Stitching book by Sue Spargo for inspiration. Another suggestion is to visit Sue Spargo's Instagram where she shares all kinds of lovely tips for creating beautiful embroidery.

Tip: when traveling with family, take lots of pictures! We flew over Mt. Rainier and it was GORGEOUS!

My favorite place to embroider with wool is on an airplane! ON our recent family trip to the desert, I spread out my supplies on the plane tray table, randomly flipped open the Creative Stitching book, and got to work on whichever stitch came up. My favorite stitches for this project were the French Knot, Whipped Back Stitch, Fly Stitch, Beaded Fly Stitch, Raised Fishbone, Pistil Stitch, and Woven Circle.

Step 5: cut and/or piece a background square that is 12.5" x 12.5" if you plan to quilt your background piece individually as I have done then cut it a little bigger, 13" x 13", so it can be trimmed after quilting.

Step 6: attach your wool rain drops, one at a time, onto the background fabric. Use another layer of embroidery stitches to secure them. I like to add a few beads to some of the drops to help them sparkle. Sometimes I add a few too many because I once heard that "more is more" and I believe it, haha!

Tip: add some hand quilting into the mix. Here I used Wonderfil Glamour thread.
  • Step 7: Finish as desired. Here is my progress so far. I have a few more drops to add, likely with more beads, and then I'll bind my piece with those lovely batik blue bubbles and use it for a small wall hanging in my dining room.

Tip: look for pieces of nature, like this driftwood, to hang your wool projects

I hope you enjoy making a Petrichor block or wall hanging of your own. I always love a project like this because it slows me down, gets me away from machines for a bit, is perfect for travel, and produces such a lovely result.

Below is the grand tour of all the Quilt Block Mania blocks this month. Please enjoy these gorgeous designs! I wanted to let you know we have a Facebook Group for Quilt Block Mania participants and designers. Please consider joining us!

If you make a Petrichor block, please share it on Social Media using these hashtags:

Quilt Block Mania April Tour:

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Forrest Sheppard
Forrest Sheppard
Apr 06, 2021

I want to fly with you!!!!! Love being up in the air and don't even care where we're gong - just up! But absolutely starting the raindrop right after breakfast. Enjoy the trip and thanks for the "smell-a-vision! and the pattern.

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