The Shoo Fly Quilt block is a nine-patch format made with square and half square triangle units. It is generally a two-fabric block, with the half square triangles in the corner placements, and a center solid square. This is a perfect quilt block for beginners, as it uses only two basic building blocks, and is quick and easy.
One thing quilt historians do agree on is this quilt block was originated in the 1800’s. Why it was named the Shoo Fly quilt block, well, they don’t agree. Some say it is named after a wild plant, Clover Bloom, used as a natural fly repellent. Others say the half square triangles reflected holes in screen doors that allowed flies to enter homes. Pick which ever story you prefer, and have fun making these easy quilt blocks!
You can make this quilt block scrappy, using up your scraps and stash, or pick two special fabrics for the design for an overall two-fabric quilt. If you go scrappy, pick lights and darks and have some fun mixing up designs and prints! Use a sashing to piece the blocks together, or form a design sewing the blocks together directly. Whatever you decide, the quilt will end up full of movement with the diagonal lines formed from the half square triangles.
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This is the layout for the Shoo Fly quilt block:
Here is a fabric calculator to cut for popular block sizes:
Here is a step-by-step tutorial for making the Shoo Fly quilt block with photos.
Learn the basics of the nine patch quilt and browse through more nine patch quilt blocks on Create Whimsy. Check out all of our free quilt patterns and learn some tips and tricks for your quilt projects in our quilt tutorials.