Diamond-in-a-Square Tutorial

My friend Donna inquired about using the Folded Corner Clipper to make a Diamond-in-a-Square (or Square-in-a-Square) block.  So Donna, this tutorial is for you!


One of the advantages to using the Folded Corner Clipper for many blocks is that the math is much easier.  I’ll have more on that at the end of this post.  For this example, I’m making a 4″ finished block, 4 1/2″ unfinished.  These are the pieces that I will need:


Since my unfinished block is 4 1/2″, the large square is cut to that size.  The finished corners will be half the length of each side, or 2″.  Add seam allowances to the finished size, and they will be cut 2 1/2″.

Next, start doing the folded corners (as seen before in the Snowball Block tutorial ). Trim the first corner and stitch:

SIAS 2SIAS 3Press that corner open and repeat for the opposite corner:

SIAS 4Continue to make a folded corner in the remaining two corners:

SIAS 5SIAS 6And here is the finished block:

SIAS 8Now, back to my statement above about easier math.  If, instead of folded corners, I chose to make this 4″ finished block with triangles, I would need these pieces:


As you can see, it would take some calculations to get to these numbers, and they don’t fall into our traditional 1/8″ proportions.  I could try to explain those calculations, but I’d rather not!  We would just round up or down to the nearest 1/8″, and then wonder why the blocks don’t come out just right.  But when doing folded corners, the only math is:

finished size + 1/2″ = cut size

As you can see, the Folded Corner Clipper is much easier for calculating sizes!


Posted in Folded Corner Clipper, Photo Tutorials | 2 Comments

Border Print Stars #2

On my Border Print Stars project, I mentioned that I ran into some problems.  Here is an EQ image of the quilt:

quiltI constructed the first block, and had problems with the triangles fitting into the star points.  The arrow below shows where I had to ease in fullness on the triangle piece.

block diagramBut after I steamed the block, it seemed to be OK, and I worked to improve my methods on future blocks.  Sometimes, my block could be steamed into place, but other times, it looked like this side view, very wavy:

bad blockNot good!  I kept checking my measurements, and confirmed that the triangle was 4″ on each of the short sides, so I had cut a 4″ square in half:

HSTNow I’ve made 6 blocks, and my accuracy has not improved.  I looked at the templates, as printed from EQ, for the umpteenth time, and finally found my mistake.  I presumed that the triangle was a 90 degree angle, allowing it to be cut from a square.  However, the template showed that the angle was actually less than 90.  Here is a picture of the wrong triangle in black, compared to the correct one in tan:

corrected triangleIt never occurred to me that this was not a 90 degree corner.  Now what?!  Do I hope that the distorted blocks will be tamed into submission during quilting?  Do I salvage the pieces in the 6 completed blocks by ripping out the stars to re-use, risking distorting the bias edges?  Or do I fussy-cut new stars, a very time consuming process?

One consideration has become apparent as I prepared this post.  The secondary stars that are formed in the corners do not have much contrast with the medium fabric:

blocksSo if I do salvage some pieces, it would be a good time to find a new light fabric for the corners.  I always photograph test blocks when preparing quilts for pattern covers – I often find that things don’t contrast as much as I want them to.  Now I see that I should be using “camera auditions” on all of my quilts.  Another lesson learned the hard way!

Posted in Other Projects | 2 Comments

Border Print Stars

We all have fabric that we bought years ago, never used, and still love.  For me, that fabric is this border print:

fabricThe selvage says that this was made in 2006!  I had collected several more fabrics to go with it, unsure of what the final project would be.  I imagined that it would make a good quilt for my son, but he was never enthusiastic about it, so I never got around to it.

I picked up this project recently, and chose a block that would show off the “fussy-cutting” of the border print, but in a classic block and setting.  I can’t devote enough time to make it a show quilt.  I chose this block from Electric Quilt, and even found digital fabric images that resembled my fabric.  For some reason, I can “fussy-cut” the image in EQ but it doesn’t translate into this jpeg:

blockWhen I put these blocks into a quilt, I liked the secondary pattern made from the corners, with interesting shapes where the blocks are joined:

quiltLooks great so far!  I started fussy-cutting my star pieces, and it leaves my fabric very funny looking:

Trimmed fabricI’ve run into a few obstacles, and I’ll share those with you next time.  This project will take a while!

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Hand Piecing Project

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you might remember that I did a hand piecing project last year.  I never thought this would be an appealing method for me, but it has it’s advantages.

  1. Highly portable – keeps me sewing outside of the sewing room
  2. Needs very few tools
  3. Doesn’t require excellent lighting (the way applique does for me)
  4. Easy sewing, easy shapes, not much concentration required
  5. Works well for short and/or curved seams
  6. Excellent for Y-seam piecing
  7. Easy to start & stop sewing sessions

I wanted a new project, so I went back to my one-patch book and selected an Apple Core block:

bookI’m using up batik scraps, another great perk of this project!  So I traced this template, and cut out enough pieces for a throw-sized quilt.

When I went to start sewing, the pieces didn’t fit!  This template was drawn so the cut edges match, but not the sewn edges.  As a pattern designer, I sympathize with how easy it is to have mistakes show up in the final pattern.  As a quilter, I didn’t appreciate wasting all that time and fabric!

Swirl 1I contacted the publisher, who was willing to work with me to help recover a small part of my losses.  It turns out that this book had a few errors, and is now out of print.  They have corrected the errors, and it is now available in a corrected downloadable version.  So if you have this book from years ago, check your templates before cutting fabric!

I re-drew the template myself (it helps to know your way around some graphics software), cut out lots of pieces, and started sewing this quilt in sections.

sectionI have four sections done:

4 sectionsI’m planning a large throw size, so I will probably need 12 sections.  It looks overwhelming, but I’m really surprised at how fast it goes, just sitting around watching movies with the family.  BTW, I’ve hardly made a dent in my stash of batik scraps!

Does anyone else want to join me on a hand piecing project?

Posted in Hand Piecing | 3 Comments


Finally, the last of the new patterns for Spring/Summer!  This pattern features a focal print in the border, and notice the secondary pinwheels that are formed with the corners of the blocks.  Introducing Whirlwind:

WhirlwindI originally designed this for a new fabric line, but the fabric wasn’t available when I needed to make the sample.  That sample would have had a very different fabric selection, using white for the sashing, and assorted tone-on-tones for the backgrounds:

Whirlwind Folk SongThis fabric is Folk Song by Timeless Treasures.

Finally, I have some machine quilting to show you that is not a pantograph!  I did a freehand swirl, feather, and echo motif:

Whirlwind 1I love the texture that it adds to the finished quilt:

Whirlwind 3Do you have any great prints that would work well for this design?  See more info on this pattern on the website here.


Posted in Folded Corner Clipper, Machine Quilting, Patterns | 2 Comments

FCC Review

Sara Lawson is a blogger for Sew Sweetness who writes about a variety of topics in the sewing and quilting world.  She is a pattern and fabric designer who makes not only quilts, but also bags, garments, and other fun projects.  And, her blog keeps you up to date on current online fabric sales!

This week, she did product reviews for “16 Cool Sewing Tools”, and it included the Folded Corner Clipper!

Folded Corner Clipper web Check it out here!  It includes a link to a video by Teri from Country Living Quilts to demo the Folded Corner Clipper.

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Here is more info on the latest quilt pattern designs.  Travertine is another design that uses only 3 fabrics, making shopping easy:

TravertineThe simple graphic nature of this quilt makes it good for those who don’t like busy designs, including the men in our lives.  It would look good with assorted fabrics too:

Travertine multiMy pattern tester Julie switched the light/medium/dark value placement to get a very different look.  Her sample isn’t available for photography right now, but I think it looked like this:

Travertine JulieThis design also uses the Folded Corner Clipper, and the leftover corners are used to make the Half-Square-Triangle blocks in the border.

For machine quilting, I tried something new and designed my own pantograph.  It’s another small scale, evenly spaced design, but in this case it is bears a loose resemblance to the block design.  It’s hard to get good photos of the quilting, but here goes:

Travertine 2For more info on this pattern, you can see it on my website here.

Posted in Folded Corner Clipper, Machine Quilting, Patterns | Leave a comment