Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Diamond Chains Quilt Along: Block Method 1/ Half Square Triangles

Today's the day! It's block tutorial day! There are two tutes so if this is not the one you want to use, scan the rest of the post to find the other option for piecing. I don't know which tute will pop up first in the post so I am starting both with the same information.

There are two methods of completing the Diamond Chains block. The first method is half square triangles. My lovely bloggy friend Kathy pointed out to me that the HST version of this block is Accuquilt Go! friendly (I don't have one so I didn't notice). If you are interested in using your Accuquilt Go! for this project, you can find a free downloadable version of this block here called Mosaic, no. 5. Instructions are provided on what dies you can use. Remember we are making a 12" block. There are a couple of differences in how they produce the block and how we will make it for the quilt along. In our block, the corner pieces will be kept whole, and there will be a different colored fabric on the part of the block that creates the chain. It might be best to determine which die you need to use, then return here for placement of your squares.

If you choose to piece your block using half-square triangles, here is how to cut your fabric to get what you need. If you are using an Accuquilt Go!, determine which die you will need from the site above, and then use the numbers listed below to know how many squares in each color fabric you will need to cut. 

Before starting, I have a few 'ifs'. If you are unfamiliar with cutting strips from a piece of fabric, please refer to a fabulous tutorial Rachel has here at Stitched in Color. Follow steps 1-6. When you get to the point where you are cutting your strips and squares (step 7), refer to this tutorial to see what size squares you will be cutting.

If you are confident in your ability to do exact piecing, cut your fabric strips and squares to 3 7/8". If done correctly, squares will be 3.5" exactly. If you like to have a little leeway (like me) by using the trim down method, cut your strips and squares to 4" and trim them down to 3.5" square as needed once your HSTs are complete.

Cutting Instructions: (the large solid pieces for the negative space will be cut when we get to design layout)
Color 1 (Center): 16 squares; 3 7/8" x 3 7/8" (or 4" x 4" if you use the trim down method)
  • ~ 2 strips selvage to selvage for both sizes
Color 2 (Diamond): 48 squares, 3 7/8" x 3 7/8" (or 4" x 4")
  • ~ 4 strips selvage to selvage for 3 7/8" squares
  • ~ 5 strips selvage to selvage for 4" squares
Color 3 (Chain): 18 squares, 3 7/8 x 3 7/8" (or 4" x 4")
  • approximately 2 strips for either size
Color 4 (Solid): 48 squares total, 16 squares will be 3 7/8" x 3 7/8"; (or 4" x 4")
32 of these will stay solid for the corners of each block and should be cut 3.5" x 3.5"
  • the number of strips needed will vary

Sewing Your Half-Square Triangles

Now that your fabric is cut, you will need to sew together your HSTs. If you are unfamiliar with how to create HSTs, there is a great tutorial here on the top half of the page for how to use these squares to create them. Once sewn, your HSTs will need to be pressed and trimmed down to 3.5" x 3.5".  The following is a list of how your fabric will be set up; you will pair one square of each named fabric together, sew together and cut apart to create two HSTs:
  1. 16 solids (kept whole at 3.5" x 3.5")
  2. 32 Center/Diamond (16 squares of each fabric)
  3. 28 Diamond/Solid (14 squares of each fabric)
  4. 36 Diamond/Chain (18 squares of each fabric)
If you chain sew these, it will take much less time.
Set up your HSTs to mimic the set up seen in the block.
You will sew each row together separately.
For example, sew all the blocks on the top row together. Press and set aside. Sew all the blocks on the second row. Press and set aside. Remember to press to opposing sides and the pieces will fit together easier.

Once you have finished sewing together all 4 rows, you can begin sewing the block together.
Yea! You've finished one block! You will create seven blocks in this manner. You will also create one block that will have the chain going up/down and side to side like the one below. This will be your intersecting block.

Don't forget to post your fabrics and blocks in the flickr pool, and stay tuned next week for directions on design layout which will include cutting out the large solid pieces.

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