The Snails Trail block is based on the Square-on-square block with 5 layers, combined with a Four-Patch. The Four-Patch is inserted as the center block. By changing the colours the Snails-Trail is created.
A block that is sometimes confused with the Snails Trail is Monkey Wrench. Can you see the difference? Monkey Wrench is based on a four layered Square-on-Square. The Four Patch in the center is now turned on-point.
And then there is the Pig Tail Block. It is based on a six layered Square-on-square block. It doesn’t have a Four Patch in the centre.
When you combine four Snails Trail blocks, the pattern is called Virginia Reel.
Snails Trail can also be combined with other blocks to create interesting secondary patterns. Combining Snails Trail, Monkey Wrench or Pigs-tail with Storm-at-Sea, the illusion of curves is further advanced.
It is almost impossible to believe these quilt patterns are made without curved piecing.
Monkey Wrench was first published in 1922 as part of the Lady’s Art Quilt pattern. Snails Trail was first published in 1928 in the same collection. The first references were made to the Virginia Reel in 1930.
Other patterns that use Snails Trail and or Monkey Wrench are:
- Romantic Trail by Tammy Vanderschmitt
- Let’s Dance – published by Beaquilter
- Sea Scapes by Shirley Sickenger
- And the scrappy friendly version Tornado, published by QuiltingDaily.com
My last design for the day is a design that might pass for a modern quilt using Pig-Tails and Storm-at-Sea. Using 12” blocks with 4 ½” sashing these finishes at 95” x 95” for a big queen.
I call it Dragon Star.