It’s my turn to lead the quilt this month for the Love Circle of do.Good Stitches, my charity quilt bee. I truly love sewing with this group of women, making quilts for Wrap Them In Love.
Him Indoors, The Pup and I have just returned from four months roadtripping and spending time with the California family. One of the highlights of the trip was receiving some family quilts. Damon’s grandmother, Thelma Davison, was a quilter. We were gifted three quilts that Thelma had made - one was finished by Damon’s mother, another by his aunt, and one that is incomplete. All of the quilts are beautiful, scrappy utility quilts - they make my heart sing and I feel so honored to receive them, and to be allowed to to complete one myself. The tops are all hand pieced, and the one that I am going to finish has a beautiful little block with a diamond in the center, and that is what I am using as my inspiration for the Love Circle this month.
The blocks that Thelma made for this particular quilt are four inches square and it would be impossible to reproduce the design on a machine, at least not without resorting to partial seams. (Do you hear my bee mates gasping in horror?) I have worked out a solution to reproduce the same design on a machine, and also I have made the block much larger, to modernize it a little and make it suitable for our quilt bee.
I’m going to call the block Thelma’s Diamonds, in honor of my inspiration.
The instructions are for a ten inch block (ten and a half inches unfinished).
I am asking my bee mates to make their center diamond in any pale neutral shade: white, beige, pink, blue etc - I think it would work best in a solid color or tone-on-tone print.
The outer squares can be anything at all. The only requirement is that all four are of the same print, or are of prints in the same color and similar value. This will give the finished quilt a lovely, scrappy, colorful look - much like Thelma’s original.
Instructions for one block
Please read through the instructions once before beginning.
- Fat quarter or scraps of one color/value measuring at least six inches square
- Small piece of neutral solid or tone-on-tone print approximately 2 inches by 8 inches
- Cut four 6 inch squares of your colorful print. They can be all one print, or four different prints of similar color/value.
- Cut four 2 inch squares of a pale neutral solid or tone-on-tone print.
Piecing instructions (see photos also)
- Take your 2 inch squares and draw a diagonal line on the wrong side, from corner to corner using a pencil or other non-permanent seam marker. Or simply fold the square in half diagonally, and finger press.
- Determine how you would like your four 6 inch squares to be arranged, and place your 2 inch blocks, right-sides together, aligned with the center corner of each.
- Sew along your diagonal lines. Chain piecing is your friend!
- Trim the corners off of each block, ¼ inch from your seam line.
- Press open, seams to the dark side.
- Sew the blocks together in pairs, ensuring that the outside edges of the corners (which will form your center diamond) are properly aligned. You have wiggle room on the outside blocks, which will be trimmed, so don’t worry if they are slightly off. Prioritize the perfect diamond!
- Press the two pairs with seams opposing, so that you can nest them together to help align the final seam.
- Pin the two pairs together, once again working to ensure your diamond edges are aligned. Sew the final seam.
- Press your block flat.
- Trim to 10 ½ inches, making sure to center the block on the intersection of your diamond.
This block comes together quickly, and I have intentionally oversized the four large squares, so that there is plenty of wiggle room and a healthy trim at the end to achieve a perfect 10 ½ inch block. If you are confident of your seams and accuracy, you could easily get away with blocks slightly smaller than 6 inches - but don’t go smaller than 5 ¾ ! The only thing you need to worry about is keeping the points of that diamond aligned, which is not difficult.
I am very much looking forward to receiving blocks from my bee mates and making a new version of Thelma's quilt. And also to using Thelma's original top to make a family heirloom. Watch this space!
Happy sewing, XX Allison