SURPRISE…Fig Tree is participating in Moda Blockheads 5! Woohoo!

Okay maybe it’s not much of a surprise at all :-)…

We have decided to jump in a week after the “official” kick off last week which featured a bonus signature block [we might still add that bonus block back in at the end of it all]. After settling back in from our summer adventures, we just couldn’t resist this fun program and group of designer friends!

If you’ve done your research, you’ll know that Moda is breaking up the BLOCKHEADS sew along into two phases this year: September – November 2023, [break over the holidays], and then back at it from January – July 2024. I will have a block pattern to share in BOTH series, and we will be combining our blocks into one quilt setting [using all the blocks from phase one and two] – more to come on that as we move through phase two at the beginning of next year. For now, let’s focus on getting our colors and fabrics chosen and some blocks made!

So with that, not only will I be sharing my fabric pull and inspiration today, but also our FIRST block, designed by Betsy Chutchian. Be sure to check out her blog HERE!

Ready?! Let’s get this party started!


For starters, our pull will include all ¼ yds. If you have a good stash, you can pull from that and if not, then this is the perfect excuse to go to your LQS and peruse the shelves for a wondrful scrappy assortment of greens, reds and creams.

We are working with 12(ish) green prints, 12(ish) red prints, 18 or so cream prints, plus 2 yards MODA BELLA IVORY SOLID. We will add to this from our stash if we are in need of something, but this should be more than enough fabric to get us through the quilt! If not, we’ll let you know!

When I am working on a scrappy sampler like this one, for me it is important to have something that unifies it all so that it doesn’t feel jumbled or “messy”, for lack of a better more technical word. The easiest way to do that is to choose what we call a “limited color palette”. That could be different tones of one color like we have done in a previous Blockheads or it could be 2-3 complimentary colors.

For us, we considered summer beach vibe, Halloween, all red but we quickly settled on a Fig Tree Christmas theme. You can never go wrong with this one, I think.

What this means is: 

  • a few tones of red tones in a variety of scale; just a few of them are actually Christmas prints.
  • a few tones of green tones, both warm and a bit cooler, that still work well together as tones of green.
  • a larger variety of cream prints. Some of them super subtle, even tone-on-tone, and some more busy with other colors in them. This will give us a lot of options in each block when we need something for variety and interest!
  • a warm ivory background.


To create that soft scrappy Christmas sampler feel that I love, we will focus on 1-2 red prints, 1-2 green prints and 1-2 cream prints in each block. Depending on how complex or simple the block is, we might use more or less prints to accent each block. I like to look at each block as its own little quilt and will choose fabrics that way for each block, each week. I will use the ivory solid or one of the more tone-on-tone cream prints when I feel like the eye needs a resting spot and not anything too busy in the background.


Since Betsy decided to go a little crazy with her half square triangles [love you Betsy!], this will be a scrappy block to get us started! 

To simplify it just a bit, and it to make it a bit more in the style in which I sew, I have changed all of the cutting instructions to flying geese!

I know some you have a love/hate relationship with half square triangles and others of you have a love/hate relationship with flying geese. I am definitely in the first camp, and I actually LOVE making flying geese instead of half square triangles so I just could not resist.

So, as you can see below, it is all flying geese [or “ribbon” flying geese type units] for us for this block and not a single half square triangle to be found!! If you are with me on your love of flying geese, then this version might just be for you. Assemble the block in 9 units and then in 3 rows. Follow the graphic and cutting instructions below.

Choose the following:

  • (3) red prints and make sure there is enough variation in tone or amount of white in the prints [which makes them feel different and they don’t “fall into” one another as much]
  • (1) simple green print
  • (1) inner cream print
  • (1) simple outer cream print or tone-on-tone.

Cutting instructions:

  • Center Red Print: (1) 4 ½” square.
  • Red Print #2 [red dot]: (2) 2 ½” x 4 ½” and (4) 2 ½” squares.
  • Red Print #3 [red mosaic or gingham]: (2) 2 ½” x 4 ½” and (4) 2 ½” squares.
  • Cream Print #1: (2) 2 ½” x 4 ½” and (4) 2 ½” squares.
  • Green Accent Print [green star or dot]: (4) 2 ½” x 4 ½” and (8) 2 ½” squares.
  • Background Cream Print: (4) 2 ½” x 4 ½” and (12) 2 ½” squares.

What collections the fabrics used are from:

  • Center Red Zigzag: Christmas Figs II
  • Red Dot: Fresh Fig Favorites
  • Red Mosaic: Christmas Figs II
  • Green Star: Christmas Figs
  • Cream Ditsy: Fresh Fig Favorites
  • Cream w/ Red Eyelet: Eyelet Basics [releasing soon but also from Strawberries & Rhubarb]

If you are a beginning quilter and these instructions/alterations make no sense to you, you should most definitely stick to the original pattern, as this is just a suggestion for an alternate way of construction. It is intended for those familiar with the SEW AND FLIP METHOD of sewing units and for those that love flying geese units as much as I do! 

You can, of course, still do the traditional method of piecing half square triangles and just follow our color idea and print combinations as you go!


For ALL the details and specifics on Moda Blockheads 5, I encourage you to visit these useful resources:





And last, but certainly not least, the MODA BLOCKHEADS 5 BASIC PAGE – this is where ALL the block patterns will be saved for easy reference as we move forward!

Happy sewing! See you back here next week!


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  1. Susan Tracey | 13th Sep 23

    I was going to sit this one out but I think I might jump in as I have quite a bit of Christmas Figs in my stash. I would love a bundle of the backgrounds you are using? Just saying as you pick the best low volumes.

    • | 17th Sep 23

      Aw, thank you! We will keep doing bundles as we have fabric available! So happy you are joining in with our Christmas theme!

  2. Karla brooks | 13th Sep 23

    Joanna to the rescue! Thank you so much for your simplified directions. I am SO glad you are participating!!

  3. Karla brooks | 13th Sep 23

    Joanna to the rescue! Thank you so much for your simplified directions. I am SO glad you are participating!!

    • | 17th Sep 23

      Me too! This is going to be FUN!

  4. Susan Koopman | 13th Sep 23

    Thank you for the tips on fabric choice. I have been floundering and you’ve helped me to narrow it down.

    • | 17th Sep 23

      Fantastic! Love that we could help!

  5. Karen Viscontini | 17th Sep 23

    Hello – could you please point me where to find the sewing instructions for row 2? I love the flip and sew method but for the life of me, I cannot figure out the second row. Thank you so much!

    • | 22nd Sep 23

      They are constructed exactly like the “ribbon” sew and flip piece in the top and bottom row? its like a flying geese unit but one of the squares is sewn in the opposite direction. Good luck!

  6. Jacquelyn Kilgo | 17th Sep 23

    Love your method! I think it will work very well with one of my Accuquilt cubes.
    Thank you.

    • | 17th Sep 23

      good to hear it!

  7. CHERIE L BATES | 21st Sep 23

    Love your colors…as always, so fresh and welcoming! Look forward to doing the BH-5. Cherie

  8. Susan Montoya | 22nd Sep 23

    I also can not figure out the second row. Thx

    • | 22nd Sep 23

      They are constructed exactly like the “ribbon” sew and flip piece in the top and bottom row? its like a flying geese unit but one of the squares is sewn in the opposite direction. Good luck!

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