Last time I muttered in passing about designing ‘blocks’ using hexagons and diamonds and decided to leave them to one side as I am not a hand-piecer. However, my good friend and partner in quilting crime, Barbara Chainey (the other half of ChrisandBarbaraquilts) is a hand-piecer and has often asked me to use EQ to draft hexagon or diamond designs for her, so I thought I would show you a few of the ideas we have come up with over the years (as have many other people!) to give you a start in designing your own patterns. Don’t worry about other people having come up with the same design – it happens a lot as there are only so many ways to divide a square or a hexagon or a triangle into a number of shapes that you would actually want to try to sew together.

In many ways the technique is identical to designing square blocks, you are just using a hexagon or diamond grid instead of a square (or skewed square) one. You can find hexagon and diamond grid graph papers to download from the internet here and here. Then it is simply a matter of dividing those shapes up.

Your hexagons can have the flat edge at the top, or the point at the top – when you come to make them it won’t make any difference which way you draw them.

You could start by dividing the hexagon into six triangles and then divide those triangles up even further. Here’s a few ideas.

Or put a six-pointed star in the centre. If you colour it differently you get Tumbling Blocks.

Has it occurred to you that you could put a conventional block into the diamonds of a Tumbling Block? These are Bird of Paradise – which I have left all the same colour and the Ohio Star Variation block and Mosaic #6 block which I have coloured light, medium and dark to enhance the 3D effect.

You can put a hexagon into your hexagon and divide it up to make a star and another hexagon in the middle – which you can split again . . . .

And if, like me, you cannot abide the thought of doing hexagons on the machine – let alone by hand – then consider dividing your hexagons in half and stitching them in rows. Or into fours and turning them into rectangles as Ann Jermey has with this quilt.

A hexagon is made from six 60 degree triangles as we saw earlier. Thousand Pyramids quilts are made using these triangles. But you can divide the triangles in exactly the same way as we did with hexagons to make different patterns and thus even more intricate Pyramid quilts (perhaps more Million Pyramids?).

This triangle quilt is from Barbara’s collection of vintage quilts, the design is often called Sugarloaf. The eagle-eyed among you will notice the triangles are not sixty degree ones but they do give an idea of what a triangles quilt can look like.

And two triangles make a diamond – so now you can draw diamond quilts too. Another of Barbara’s vintage quilts is this diamond strippy.

If you fancy having a go at making your own modern take on a vintage quilt the patterns for these two quilts can be bought from our Heritage Quilts page on Payhip – a great way to use up scraps too!

For more hexagon and diamond ideas see if you can find books by Sara Nephew – Building Block Quilts and Quilts from a Different Angle or by Jeffrey Gutcheon – Diamond patchwork.