When I first saw the Hillary Clinton logo, I thought immediately: quilt block! Not, like some wannabe graphic designers, that it’s beautiful, or ugly, or boldly points to the future, or annoyingly points to the right, or anything else… just, quilt block!
Most of the logo is a simple, symmetrical, easy to construct nine patch — thank you Hillary graphic designer. But it has one distinctive feature: the arrow. Oh, that arrow! it makes the logo bold and instantly recognizable, but it destroys the symmetry of the square block, it’s not easy, it requires thought. And — until now — it has not had the kind of precise measurements and directions that quilters appreciate. Undaunted, I hit the internet, found three separate methods of constructing the Hillary quilt block, and made my own. And I’ve done the math, so you don’t have to, in measuring and constructing the arrow.
Note on colorways: I went with the same combination — white, clear red, and royal blue — as the original logo. You could use white, royal blue, and sky blue, as the campaign is currently using. Or you could use your own radically different colors — check out this I’m With Her mini-quilt in black, burgundy, and pink/white scraps.
Directions for a 12” (finished dimension) square block, using fat quarters (with a lot left over) or scraps in red, white, and blue:
Cut two 3½” squares in white.
Cut two 3½” squares in blue.
Cut one 3½” x 9½” strip in red. (You can cut three separate 3½” squares and piece them together, if you want lots of seams or if you’re using several reds to create more of a scrappy look.)
Cut two squares each in red and blue, 4” each, and make red/blue half square triangles, then trim them down to 3½” each.
Piece the nine-patch in rows: top row = blue, white, half-square triangle; middle = red strip; bottom = blue, white, half square triangle. Make sure the half square triangles are aligned correctly.
You now have a 9½” square nine-patch block sans arrow.
Now, the math of cutting the arrow: all of the directions I found on the internet note that “I had to guess” on the dimensions of the arrow. The arrow is a symmetrical right triangle measuring 3” (finished dimension) on its hypotenuse, so you can calculate the length of the other two dimensions by doing middle school Pythagorean theorem geometry: the square of 3 is 9, so the square of each of the other two sides is 4.5, and the square root of 4.5 is 2.1213… or, in quilter’s terms, 2-1/8” finished dimension, or 2-5/8” before piecing. Cut two red squares this size — but, because the arrow is not easy to line up, add on 1/8” just in case, so that you are actually cutting them 2¾” square .
(Note that the above math can be applied to any size quilt block. Cheat sheet for 2” finished blocks: 1.414” finished dimension = cut 2”. Cheat sheet for 4” finished blocks: 2.82” finished dimension = cut 3-3/8”. You’re welcome.)
Cut two strips in white 2¾” x 5”. Align each red square with the end of a white strip. Sew a line from one diagonal corner to the other — top-left to bottom-right — on one square, and a mirror image of the line — top-right to bottom-left — on the other red square. Fold back along the seam line and trim excess fabric. Sew the two strips together to make one red arrow point (aka symmetrical right triangle) in the middle of one white strip. Baste and then sew the arrow to the right side of the nine-patch block, making sure that the arrow point aligns perfectly with the blue/red half square triangles to form one smooth, straight, bold, elegant arrow line. Trim the right side of the arrow as needed so that the arrow point is ¼” from the edge of the block.
#ProTip: this wonderful quilter’s tool, depicted here, will make all points and arrows appear to align perfectly! It also is handy for viewing the Trumpocalypse.
You now have a bold, elegant, yet thoroughly-annoying-in-its-asymmetry 9½ “ x 11” block. You have two choices: embrace the asymmetry, or add sashing to build up a 12½“ x 12½” block. I added sashing (cut 9½” x ¾” wide strips to the left and right, and 1½” x 12½” strips to the top and bottom, or just cut to fit) and then a blue border to finish at 20” x 20”.
The whole block — including the math — took about two hours to make. I could probably piece a series of blocks into a coverlet or a bed quilt over a weekend. However, I’m a hand quilter, and this needs to be finished and auctioned as a fundraiser before November 8, so it’s going to be a one-block pillow.
Hand quilting and finishing: I hand-quilted a fleur de lis — it was going to be off one center or the other, whether centered on the nine-patch or centered on the finished square, thank you annoying asymmetrical design. I added rosebuds, to echo the roses in the red print in the corners, and stars, to echo the stars in the white print, in the border. Thanks, two weeks of conference calls, candidate debates, and interminable county/local Dem club meetings! I’ll add a backing and insert a pillow form, and the whole completed pillow will go to the Los Angeles County Democratic Party as part of an October 23 silent auction.
Further reading on constructing a Hillary quilt block:
Zibergirl Sews — this is the construction method I used to make the arrow point.
Quilting in the Fog — a different construction method for the arrow point that seemed unnecessarily complicated. Good photo-tutorial on how to make half-square triangles.
Craftsy pattern — I didn’t like the construction method, which basically consisted of making one ginormous red arrow triangle and placing it atop a twelve-patch block.
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Hillary quilt block:
Hillary quilt block: