Rocky Mountain Chain Quilt Block - a Free Tutorial

Posted by Elaine Huff on

The Rocky Mountain Chain block uses easy pieced patches that join to form a complex-looking block. Let's create one using four colors! The traditional block only uses a light and dark fabric but I had to do it my own way!

rocky mountain chain quilt block
This block also goes by the name "Tumbling Block" but so does another popular block that is more commonly known. So I'm sticking with Rocky Mountain Chain which was how it appeared in the Comfort Magazine. 

Fabric Requirements for a 10" Finished Rocky Mountain Chain Quilt Block:

  • Light/White: 4 - 3" squares, 8 - 1.5" x 2.5" rectangles, and 16 - 1.5" squares
  • Medium/Orange: 4 - 3" squares
  • Medium/Blue: 5 - 2.5" squares
  • Dark/Navy: 8 - 2.5" squares
rocky mountain chain fabric requirements

Sewing Directions:

Half Square Triangle Units:

Step 1:

Using the Light/White 3" squares and the Medium/Orange 3" squares, piece together eight Half Square Triangles like the ones in the picture below. Trim/square up to 2.5" squares. You can find the tutorial for making a basic Half Square Triangle block at https://fabric406.com/blogs/fabric406-blog/how-to-sew-a-basic-half-square-triangle-block
rocky mountain chain 1

Square in a Square Units:

Step 2:

Using four of the Dark/Navy 2.5" squares and the 16 Light/White 1.5" squares, sew together four Square in a Square patches as shown in the picture below. I know these are small, but just take your time and they'll turn out great! You will find the basic Square in a Square tutorial at https://fabric406.com/blogs/fabric406-blog/how-to-sew-a-basic-square-in-a-square-block
rocky mountain chain 2

Step 3:

Lay out one of the Step 2 Square in a Square patches and two of the Light/White 1.5" x 2.5" rectangles as shown below.
rocky mountain chain 3

Step 4:

Sew the two Light/White 1.5" x 2.5" rectangles to the Square in a Square patch and press the seam allowance toward the rectangle as shown in the picture below. Repeat Steps 3 and 4 for a total of four Square in a Square units.
rocky mountain chain 4

Corner Units:

Step 5:

Lay out two Half Square Triangle units, one Medium/Blue 2.5" square, and one Dark/Navy 2.5" square as shown in the picture below. The Corner unit goes together like a typical Four Patch block.
rocky mountain chain 5

Step 6:

Sew the patches into two rows and press the seam allowances away from the Half Square Triangle units as shown below. 
rocky mountain chain 6

Step 7:

Now sew the two rows together and press the seam allowances. You can see in the picture below that I used the tweak/twirl/furl method for pressing the seam allowances, but you can press however you prefer. Repeat Steps 5 through 7 for a total of four Corner units. 
rocky mountain chain 7

Putting It All Together:

Step 8:

Lay out the Square in a Square units, the Corner units, and a Medium/Blue 2.5" square as shown in the picture below.
rocky mountain chain 8

Step 9:

All that's left is to sew the units together like a uneven Nine Patch. Sew the units into three rows as shown below.
rocky mountain chain 9

Step 10:

Press the seam allowances away from the Square in a Square units as shown below.
rocky mountain chain 10

Step 11:

Almost done! Sew the three rows together - and...
rocky mountain chain 10

Step 12:

Press the seam allowances toward the center of the block as shown in the picture below.
rocky mountain chain 12
 

Conclusion:

This block was fun to piece together! While it has a some small pieces, the piecing isn't difficult and produces a complex-looking block.

Layout Options:

Here's just a plain Jane 4 x 4 layout. I do like the way it looks in a quilt. 

quilt 1

Here's how it looks with a simple sashing and cornerstone layout. Each block shines on its own in this type of layout.

quilt 2

And here's a basic on-point layout. I think if the setting triangles continued the Medium/Orange triangles, it would look better. 

quilt 3

And here we have on-point with sashing and cornerstones. In this example, I used a 1" wide sashing and I like it better than the 2" in the other example above. 

quilt 4

hope you've enjoyed this Rocky Mountain Chain quilt block tutorial. If 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.

Happy Quilting!

Elaine

P.S. To print a PDF of this tutorial, check out the free app at https://www.printfriendly.com/

P.P.S. To figure out yardage for a quilt, check out this post: https://fabric406.com/blogs/fabric406-blog/how-much-fabric-do-i-need


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