Monday, July 2, 2012

{Tutorial} Gemstone Blocks

It's my turn to lead a charity quilt for the Faith circle of do. Good Stitches.  Woohoo! This time I took inspiration from one of my very first Flickr "favorites", an image by Philistine Made:

{ geometric squares quilt }

I don't recall if I've seen this quilt block anywhere else, but I imagine it has some traditional heritage.  Don't you absolutely adore the triangle-pieced squares and reversed layout she's used?  Simple, but delicious!  Something about the way the triangles intersect reminds me of sharply cut gemstones.

I went back and forth about recreating the exact same block layout or doing something different.  Last night I finally admitted that even if my "different" version is not as pretty as this one, I'll probably feel more satisfied for trying something of my own. So...  I'm asking my circle mates to make this block but in a range of sizes.  Once all blocks are received, I'll scatter them across some negative space and see what evolves.

In this tutorial, I used 5" cut squares as my starting point, and my completed blocks are 12" unfinished.  To alter the size of the finished block, start with smaller or larger cut squares.  I'll ask the Faith circle to choose a starting square size in the range of 2" to 6".  The tutorial makes a pair of blocks (one in each layout) of the same finished size.

Gemstone blocks tutorial
Gemstone Block Tutorial

Cut (8) printed squares in your starting square size.  Cut (4) solid squares in the same starting square size and reserve some solid fabric for a later step.

Gemstone tutorial0001

{Block A}

Choose (4) printed squares to make into half square triangles.  Match these squares right sides together with the (4) solid squares.  Draw a line dividing the solid square in half.

 Gemstone tutorial

Sew at 1/4" on each side of that dividing line (sorry, my thread is SO hard to see).  So, the dividing line will be sandwiched in between two stitch paths.  Cut on the dividing line to separate.  Press seams.  Each set of matched squares produces 2 half square triangles.  Sew all 4 printed/solid square sets in this way to produce 8 half square triangles. 

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Choose 1 half square triangle in each print for your first block. Arrange the solid portion of each half square triangle in a square formation with the prints on the outside.

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Sew as pairs and then again, matching seams to create the center of the block.

Now, cut the remaining (4) printed squares in half on diagonal.  This creates (8) printed triangles.  Arrange as shown around the center block.  Turn the center block on point and use the printed triangles to fill out the 4 corners of the block.  Sew the triangles in pairs and then sew the 2-triangle pairs to opposite sides of the center block.  Always center the triangle on the side of the square with triangle points poking out equally on both sides.

Gemstone tutorial0013

When sewing along the seam of the center block, have the center block on top so that you can be careful to sew just to the point of the center block.  This really helps me not chop off those points!  In this photo I'm sewing Block B, but it illustrates the same idea.

Gemstone tutorial0010

Press seams after sewing.  Prepare second batch of triangle pairs.  Before sewing them into the block, take a moment to measure the short side of the triangle pair.  Round up by about a 1/4" to a nice, happy number.  I rounded to 7 inches.  Note this measurement as "large solid square size" for Block B.

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Sew the second batch of triangle pairs onto opposite sides of the center block.

Gemstone tutorial0014

Press seams and finish!  Square up if necessary, taking care to leave a 1/4" seam allowance beyond all points.

Gemstone tutorial0016

{Block B} 

For the reversed block, arrange your remaining half square triangles as shown, with the solids on the outside.

Gemstone tutorial0004

Sew as pairs and sew again, matching seams to create the center of the block.

Cut two solid squares in the "large solid square size" recorded in the making of Block A.  Cut each solid square in half on diagonal.  Sew to opposite sides of your center block.  Remember, center the triangle on the side of the square with triangle points poking out equally on both sides.  Press seams.  Depending on how much you rounded up for your "large solid square size" your triangle ends may or may not poke out like mine after sewing. 

Gemstone tutorial0007

If they do poke out, you may wish to trim for a straight edge before proceeding.

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Sew solid triangles to remaining sides.

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Press seams and finish!  Square up if necessary, taking care to leave a 1/4" seam allowance beyond all points.

Gemstone tutorial0011

Let me know if you have any questions!  I really enjoyed making this block and especially loved that there is no fabric waste!  Thanks again to Philistine Made for the inspiration.  If you make some, I always love to see the things you make at the Stitched in Color Flickr group.

P.S. My blocks are made using Essex yarn dyed in Flax.  Love that stuff.

Have a lovely day!

39 comments:

  1. This would be a great use of all those colorful charm squares I've gotten in recent swaps! Thanks for another great idea!

    MGM

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    1. oh, you're right! What a great idea for charm squares.

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  2. It's gorgeous!!! What a beautiful use of scraps! :)

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  3. Ooh, yes! I love these colorful blocks. So cheerful!

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  4. Love this - what a great idea for scrap attack!

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  5. Very nice. They would look good as a pillow also :)

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  6. love it!! charm packs would be fabulous for this project!!

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  7. I am IN LOVE with this!! Madly, deeply, truely!! This is going to be my next quilting project :) Can't wait to get started :)

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    1. Oh, that's AWESOME! Thanks for sharing the love.

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  8. ooooo love it. You are so creative! I am going to have to give my next do. Good Stitches quilt a lot more thought!

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  9. This is fantastic! Thanks for the tutorial. I have an abundance of charms in my life lately from all the swaps I have joined/hosted so I am definitely going to make some of these.

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  10. Interesting, I have always made this pattern with a 16 patch of hsts with the solid on one side of the hst and a colour on the other, like the quilt in your photo. People have told me that it is called the Depression Block. Of course, that approach leads to the pattern with all the squares the same size but you can also lay your hsts out differently for part of the quilt instead. I think your approach is more like a pineapple block with with a fun use of the hsts. It will give you a lot of fun variations if you are going for different sizes.

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    1. Thanks for sharing this approach and the name of the block!

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  11. The blocks look awesome! Love the colour schemes! I'll have a go at making them sometime. Thanks!! =D

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  12. This looks cool, although I think I'd have done it like Leanne, I never think to turn my blocks on point - doh!

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  13. Wow! This is such "eye-candy" Love it!
    Thanks for the tutorial, I'm putting this on my list!

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  14. I love these blocks rachel, I am definitely going to give them a go and its a great excuse to buy some charm packs which I alsways wanted but never really knew what I was going to do with them!

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  15. Great blocks. I'm going to try these.

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  16. those look great! i do something similar with charms, but start with a four patch then slice in half on the diagonals. love the quilt layout too!

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    1. That 4 patch is clever. Everyone, listen to Tammie!!!

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  17. This quilt was one of my earliest flickr favorites as well and I've gone back to look at it quite a lot. So glad you shared a tutorial - thanks! And, I LOVE the yarn-dyed essex...might be using it in a special project right now.

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  18. Oh so lovely! And high fives to you for braving your own ideas rather than copying. Ats always something I struggle with when I see something I love! Thanks for the tutorial, I can't wait to see the finished quilt!

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    1. Thanks, Robin! Like I said, I might totally prefer how hers looks, but this way it'll be more of an adventure =)

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  19. Wonderful tutorial! Thanks for sharing :)

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  20. Oh, thanks so much for the tutorial ~ love making half square triangles and this quilt! Looking forward to seeing your quilt ~

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  21. I love it! Thanks for the tutorial.

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  22. Thank you so much i JUST LOVE IT!! If you want the .pdf of this just ask and I'll send it to you.

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  23. These look great and fun to make. Thanks for the tute - will make it nice as I make up my FAITH circle blocks! Will certainly be interesting with various sized blocks!

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  24. beautiful! thanks for the tute. xo p.s. can you tell i am catching up on blogs today! :)

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  25. I know I'm number 31 to comment but I just wanted to say a huge thank you for this tutorial. I am going to be making this quilt top starting tomorrow. It is just absolutely fabulous and I love the linen with it. Unfortunately, I can't seem to get the same color as you've used here in England but I'll get a different one - no problem. Thank you so much again.
    Patti
    American by birth and MOUTH
    but British in every other way

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  26. We are enjoying making your Gemstone Block for our Justice and Liberty July Block. Thank you

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  27. Love the quilt. Thanks for sharing. Another way to do it is to use all the same size blocks with each block made up of 2 triangles- a white one and a color one. Then, lay them all out and sew them together. This is how I'm making mine currently. I'll post a picture when done.

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  28. You were recommended to me by Patti. I want to say thank you also. I too really like this block and the quilt is beautiful. I can see my Amy Butler made into this quilt, but I'm going to start with some charm packs.

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  29. Love this! Thanks for sharing it with us!

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  30. This looks like so much fun and perfect for me. I am trying to recover from a brain injury and am having to relearn my quilting skills.this might be a great one to learn oh. Thank you for sharing

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  31. Beautiful..Love the website...Thanks

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  32. This is wonderful. Thanks for a great tutorial. I have one question. Do you press the seams open or to one side?

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