Easy Arkansas Traveler Quilt Block - Free Tutorial

Posted by Elaine Huff on

Today let's sew together an Arkansas Traveler quilt block. This Ladies Art Company block is a spool-type block and is an easy block to put together. Of course, there are other Arkansas Traveler blocks out there - one has a lovely diamond shape design. But let's get started on this one!

arkansas traveler

Fabric Requirements for a 12" Finished Arkansas Traveler Quilt Block:

  • Light/Ivory: 8 - 2.5" x 6.5" rectangles
  • Medium/Coral: 16 - 2.5" squares
  • Dark/Teal: 4 - 2.5" x 6.5" rectangles

arkansas traveler fabric requirements

Sewing Directions:

Flying Geese Variation Units:

Step 1:

Using the eight Light/Ivory 2.5" x 6.5" rectangles and the 16 Medium/Coral 2.5" squares, sew together eight Flying Geese Variation units. The unit is essentially a Flying Geese block but a longer rectangle is used. You can find my tutorial for making a Flying Geese block at https://fabric406.com/blogs/fabric406-blog/how-to-sew-a-basic-flying-geese-block. Here's a pictorial rundown of the steps.

arkansas traveler 1

Step 2:

Then you repeat Step 1 on the other end of the rectangle so that the finished unit looks like the picture below. Repeat Steps 1 and 2 for a total of eight Flying Geese Variation units.

arkansas traveler 2

Spool Units:

Step 3:

Lay out two of the Flying Geese Variation units and one Dark/Teal 2.5" x 6.5" rectangle as shown in the picture below.

arkansas traveler 3

Step 4:

Now sew the units together as shown below, and

arkansas traveler 4

Step 5:

Press the seam allowances toward the center. Repeat Steps 3 - 5 for a total of four Spool units.

arkansas traveler 5

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Putting It All Together:

Step 6:

Lay out the Spool units as shown in the picture below. From here, the Arkansas Traveler block goes together like a typical Four Patch block.

arkansas traveler 6

Step 7:

Sew the units into two rows as shown below.

arkansas traveler 7

Step 8:

Press the seam allowances toward the Light/Ivory fabric as shown in the picture below.

arkansas traveler 8

Step 9:

Now you can sew the two rows together to complete the block!

arkansas traveler 9

Step 10:

Just remember to press the seam allowances. I've used the tweak/twirl/furl method for pressing as you can see in the picture below.

arkansas traveler 10

Layout Ideas:

Here's the basic 4 x 4 layout.

quilt 1

For this example, sashing and cornerstones were added.

quilt 2

Here's the basic 4 x 4 layout but done scrappy.

quilt 3

This example shows an on-point layout with alternating plain blocks and setting triangles.

quilt 4

And this on-point layout has sashing and cornerstones and plain setting triangles.

quilt 5

Here's another scrappy idea with a pinwheel in the center.

quilt 6

And another scrappy version with colored sashing and cornerstones.

quilt 7


I told you the Arkansas Traveler quilt block was easy! It was fast to put together too. The center pinwheel is a nice touch. I really enjoyed sewing it together - all the seams nest nicely so that the center of the block comes out looking good.

You could sew this with Half Square Triangles and squares to make the Flying Geese Variation unit but the way I have shown has fewer seams - less bulk and faster sewing!

I can totally see this block being made scrappy by using various prints for the Medium/Coral 2.5" squares. Or, with some planning ahead, you could sew it so that the pinwheels that appear at the intersections are the same color. Or, swap the placement of the Light/Ivory and Medium/Coral fabrics and get a totally different look.

I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial for the Arkansas Traveler quilt blockIf you liked this post and want to see more quilting tutorials like this, simply click here to sign up for my newsletter and also receive a free PDF quilt pattern called Chained Weathervane.

Happy Quilting!



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