Civil War Quilt – Block 9 – Birds in the Air

This is block #9 in the Civil War block-of-the-week series offered by Barbara Brackman.  It is called Birds in the Air. Go to Barbara’s blog to get the pattern and to see the story and pictures related to the block.  I cut the pieces for the half-square triangles differently.

This is a simple block.  For new quilters, this is the way I assembled the block.  Use 1/4 inch seams throughout.

  • For the half-square triangles, use a Wonder Cut Ruler, or the following process:
  • Cut 2 squares of dark and 2 squares of light fabric 3-1/2 x 3-1/2 inches.
  • Draw a line down the center of each light square and place right sides together with the 2 dark squares.

  • Stitch 1/4 inch from the center line on each side.
  • Cut along the drawn line to form half-square triangles.  They should measure 3-1/4 x 3-1/4 inches.  You will need 3 of these pieces.
  • Cut 2 squares of light fabric 3-1/2 x 3-1/2 inches.  Cut a line diagonally on each piece to form 4 triangles.  You will need 3 of these triangles.
  • Cut one dark square 8-7/8 inches.  Cut diagonally to make 2 triangles. You will need one of these triangles.
  • Lay out the pieces in the proper order on a mat.

  • Join two half-square triangles in the top row and then a light triangle A.
  • In second row, join half-square triangle and a light triangle A.  Join row 1 and row 2.
  • Stitch a light triangle A to row 2 to form a large triangle.

  • Stitch the piece to triangle B.

  • Trim and press.  Piece should measure 8-1/2 x 8-1/2 inches unfinished.

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Lillian Applegate Westfelt was a mother of 4, grandmother of 6, and great-grandmother of 3. She was an 86-year-old widow living in a nice little bungalow with her oldest daughter and a beagle-dachsund named Addie. She passed away in November, 2018.

11 thoughts on “Civil War Quilt – Block 9 – Birds in the Air”

    1. Thank you for commenting and for introducing me to your blog. I’m going to add it to my feed so I can keep up with what you are doing.

      So sorry to hear about your cat. Lillian

  1. I’ve been looking for a simple block to make my first full size quilt, and I think “Birds in the Air” is it. Thank you for the detailed instructions and photos. I’m looking forward to getting started.

    1. I thought at the time we made the Birds in the Air block that it would make a pretty quilt the way the blocks would fit together. I’d love to see a picture of it when it’s finished. Lillian

  2. I just completed the most wonderful book with the Birds in the Air Quilt as a very important part of the story. It is part of the Elm Creek Quilt series written by Jennifer Chiaverini. I get the large print to make it more enjoyable reading. Any of you readers out there……………may I share this gift. That book made me look this site up and Birds in the Air will be the quilts I will make to pass on to my children. One for each! Im so excited!

    1. I’ll be looking for the large print also. It’s wonderful that you are going to make a Birds in the Air quilt for eachy of your children. That should be a beautiful quilt. Lillian

    2. I have also read some of Jennifer Chiaverini’s books which is why I searched for birds in air. They are wonderful books! For anyone who loves quilting these books are a must read!

  3. The birds of the Air was a quilt made during the Civil war period. It is said that this may have been part of the underground network that gave the slaves a safe place to go to seek freedom! I am proud that so many quilters were involved in helping with this movement. Read the Runaway Quilt. deAnne’

    1. Thank you for the information and for your book recommendation. I’m going to look for it at the library. Lillian

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