Rocky Road to California Quilt Block Pattern

Close up of machine sewing a quilt
SusanHSmith/Getty Images
  • 01 of 02

    Getting Started

    Rocky Road to California Quilt Block Pattern
    Janet Wickell

    About the Quilt Block Pattern

    Here's a Rocky Road to California quilt block pattern that finishes at 12" square.

    The names Road to California and Rocky Road to California have been used for several quilt block designs, some very similar to this and some with different components. Jacob's Ladder is one very similar quilt block and the Road to California bed quilt is made from another.

    Fabric and Cutting for One Block

    Choose any fabrics you like for the Rocky Road to California quilt block. This example uses only three fabrics, but your blocks can be sewn from more. Don't hesitate to use multiple fabrics in the small squares that flow diagonally between the larger half square triangle units.

    Rocky Road to California makes a wonderful scrap quilt.

    Tone on tone green or other print:

    • (2) 4-1/2" x 4-1/2" squares for block corners
    • OR (6) 2-1/2" x 2-1/2" squares if using different fabrics for the diagonally positioned squares

    Small scale cream for background:

    • (2) 4-7/8" x 4-7/8" squares for half square triangle units
    • (1) 2-1/2" x 15-1/2" strip for small squares in four-patch units
    • OR (6) 2-1/2" xx 2-1/2" squares to use with diagonally placed squares above

    Paisley (or other) print for darker portions of half square triangle units:

    • (2) 4-7/8" x 4-7/8" squares

    Squares for half square triangle units can be cut larger to make oversize squares that are trimmed back to their exact unfinished size (4-1/2" x 4-1/2") after assembly.

    Alter cutting for those squares if you use a method that's different from the technique described on page 2. If you plan to make lots of identical half-square triangle units, try the Magic 8 method to construct eight identical units at the same time.

    Continue to 2 of 2 below.
  • 02 of 02

    Sewing the Quilt Blocks

    Make Rocky Road to California Quilt Blocks
    Janet Wickell


    1. Sew a 2-1/2" wide green print strip lengthwise to a 2-1/2" wide background strip.
    2. Press to set the seam and then press the seam allowance towards the darker strip.
    3. Square up one end of the Step 1 strip set and then cut (6) 2-1/2" segments from it.
    4. Sew two segments together, flipping one of them around so that like colors are on the diagonal.
    5. Sew together to create a four-patch unit as shown and press the seam allowance either direction. You might prefer to fan the seam allowance open to reduce bulk.
    6. Create two more four-patch units. Note: Use the 2-1/2" squares to sew units if working with individual patches.
    7. Draw a line on the reverse side of each light 2-7/8" squares.
    8. Pair a 4-7/8" multicolor square with a light background square of the same size. Use an easy quick piecing method to create two half-square triangle units from the pair. When complete, each of the units should measure 4-1/2" x 4-1/2".
    9. Repeat to make two more half-square triangle units from the remaining 4-7/8" squares.
    10. Read trim-back instructions on the last page of the tutorial if you sewed the units with oversized squares.
    11. Arrange your plain squares and patchwork units into three rows as shown in the illustration, bottom left. Squares are in opposite corners and green squares in the four patch units form a diagonal in the quilt, as do multicolor triangles.
    12. Sew the components of each row together. Press seam allowances in adjoining rows in opposite directions and then sew the rows together. Press the quilt block.
    13. The Rocky Road to California quilt block should measure 12-1/2" x 12-1/2".