Snail’s Trails and Monkey Wrenches

Yesterday I was exploring the Houndstooth patchwork block, and the fact that the patchwork block mimics the Houndstooth fabric pattern. Sometimes, I get locked into a design and want to research it and look at all the beautiful sewn examples on the internet. I share some of these findings on my facebook group ‘Beginners Quilt Patch’.

Snail Trail

Single block

Today I’ve been excited by the snail’s trail or monkey wrench block, and found some lovely examples. The base block in each being placed in various ways to give very different results. It’s one of those blocks that are slow to sew but look great – although if you get the order and placement of any piece wrong it can look a bit of a mess! I found a lovely piece of writing about this block, and it’s history, by the amazing Barbara Brackman (click here to view the page) so I won’t say too much here. Funny thing I didn’t know is that some think that the snail’s trail is an imitation of the pattern seen woven in some fabrics that is called ‘Houndstooth’. Sometimes you just can’t invent the weirdness of co-incidence! 

Sorry – rambling…

I often wonder exactly how a block gets it’s name. This snail trail block doesn’t look like the trail of a snail to me, unless it was a drunk and disorientated snail that was moving in ever decreasing circles. And it doesn’t look much like a monkey wrench, at least not the ones my dad uses. To me it looks more like a snail’s shell, with the coil effect.

Now, I don’t know how you think, but I get lost down all sorts of rabbit holes once I start thinking about a thing, and today the mathematician in me got lost down the perfect symmetry that is exhibited in a snail shell…

There is a ‘perfect’ number sequence that is present in hundreds of natural things, from flowers to snail shells to galaxies to DNA. Apparently, we would describe these things as beautiful whether we know the maths or not. The sequence is called the Fibonacci Sequence, named after the clever fella who discovered it. I could waffle over the maths for hours so I’ll stop now. But as a last thought, if a Fibonacci sequence is so undeniably beautiful, perhaps we ought to design a patchwork block based on it than everyone couldn’t help but admire our work? (Like they don’t anyway!!!)

That’s enough of me for now.


ps. If you want to visit our facebook group – click on the orange text…

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