December 23, 2011

Snake Charmer Quilt Tutorial

Last week a few readers asked me to make a tutorial for my Three Autumn Snakes Quilt and HERE IT IS FOLKS!!! I am calling it "Snake Charmer" and it's a fun, EASY quilt to make. There is only one kind of block in this quilt, it's called a half-square triangle block. This block is used in many different blocks and will be a good way to practice making half-square triangle blocks!!!

Before getting started, this is the first time in a long time that I followed a pattern ... and I'm happy to say that it turned out like the first quilt I made. That said, I might not write instructions in the usual way so PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE write in any questions and I will update the pattern as soon as I can figure out how to improve the problem!

- 1 pre-cut pack of 5" squares, you will need 30 to complete this quilt (it works out to be a yard of fabric if you are not using pre-cuts)
- 2 yard background (1 3/4 yard if you feel confident in your cutting)

(You will need additional fabric for the binding and the backing,  I'm letting you figure that out on your own since this is a free tutorial and my head is aching from all this quilt math I've been attempting today!)

Material Selection / Cutting:
  1. Choose 30 of your favorite prints from the charm pack
  2. Cut thirty-six 5" squares from the background fabric
  3. Cut three 8"x5" rectangles from the background fabric
  4. Cut seven 4" strips from the background fabric (these pieces will be the sashing)
Half-Square Triangles:

You will need 30 half-square triangles to make this top. If you already know how to make half-square triangles, feel free to skip ahead. Here's how I make the half-square triangles:
  1. Draw a diagonal line dividing the square in half using a fabric pen or a pencil. I drew my lines on the background squares, choose which works best for your fabric selection (for example, if you choose black for your background and don't have a white fabric pencil, draw your line on your print).
  2. Take a background color square and a print, place them on top of each other with right sides together, and sew a 1/4" seam from the line that you drew. 
  3. Repeat this step on the other side so that the diagonal line that you drew is in the center of your two rows of stitching.
  4. Use your rotary cutter to cut down the center line of your rows of stitches
  5. Here's a diagram of what you should do and a link to a video that gives you more information. 
  6. You should have 60 half-square triangles when you are finished.
 Assemble The Snakes
  1. Take six half-square triangles and put the rest of your half square triangles into a pile. I try not to put too much thought into selecting which ones go with the other, the quilt should look moderately scrappy and since these prints are from a charm pack they almost always coordinate. Sew them together so that the prints create a "mountain unit" (they look like mountains to me). Repeat until you have 30 mountain units.
  2. Sew 5 mountain units to create one half snake.
  3. Sew 1 5" background square to the right end of your half-snake.
  4. Sew two half-snakes together so that the prints form a snake.
    Row 1 (from top) = Step 1, Rows 2-3 = Step 2, Row 4 = Step 3, Row 5 = Step 4
  5. Sew the 5"x8" rectangle on to the right side of the snake.   
Assemble the Quilt Top:

For the following steps I sew two strips together to form one long strip, sew the strip to the top and then trim for each side. I find that if I measure, I spend a lot of time measuring and then re-measuring. Some people like to pin the pieces together, basically, use whatever way you find easiest to sew two long strips of fabric together!

1. Choose your lead snake and sew a 4" strip of the background fabric on the right and left sides. You can use pins to sew the strips onto the snake .
2. Sew the other two snakes onto either side, right sides together, ensuring that the snakes are staggered. One of the snakes should be in the lead!
3. Use the remaining 4" wide strips as a border.

And finally .... admire your quilt top. The first time I made this quilt, I used simple wavy vertical lines space 1.5 inches apart. I think stippling would look nice on this quilt. I recently saw someone pebble an entire baby quilt ... I'm not sure if she used a computer program but it looked amazing. 

I haven't decided how I will quilt this one yet, right now I'm just enjoying the view of another quilt top on the clothes line! Happy quilting y'all!!!

PS - Please feel free to use this pattern for your own personal use. If you end up making this quilt, send me a picture (I will seriously do a happy dance of joy!) or add it directly to the Snake Charmer Finishes Flickr group. If you end up blogging about your quilt that you make from this pattern, please show me some blog love by linking to this post and send me a link!!! If you somehow find a way to profit from this quilt pattern, congrats and send me a cut! I can be contacted directly at if you have any questions :)

I'm linking this up with Southern Institute's Creative Me Monday!


  1. Nice! I was wondering what to do with my charm pack. Now I can make a nice baby quilt ready for anybody! Thanks for the tute.

  2. Thanks, looks great. will be perfect for using charms from a swap I just did

  3. Am just starting will let you know how it goes.
    Hugs Tanya

  4. I can't wait to get started! I received a new machine for Christmas and cannot wait to learn all the ends and outs so I can get started on this project.

  5. I am a new follower...thank you for the tutorial. I just got a new sewing machine for Christmas, and I love, love, love quilts. It is nice to have a new blog friend, stop by and follow too if you like, Lori

  6. Great job on your tutorial - one of these days I'll make a quilt that big . . .

  7. oh thanks for this, will keep it on my list of possible quilts, its gorgeous

  8. How fun! Lots of movement and thanks for the tutorial!

  9. I'm so glad you linked up Melissa! I featured your link today at SewHappyGeek! Hopefully this will get you a few more hits :)


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