This is the penultimate block in the Puzzle Quilt series and is another nine-patch block. This one is called Rolling Stone and features strip-pieced units (we made similar units for Block 4, London Roads) and a new unit: – the Square-in-a-Square, sometimes called Diamond-in-a-Square. I will show you two methods for making these units. As you will need to make two blocks you have the opportunity to try both to see which you prefer, or find the most accurate. The instructions for Rolling Stone, which you can download here, include plenty of different colouring ideas and two blank blocks for you to use. Once you have settled on your colours and placements, write them into the instructions as this can make it easier for you. In deciding my designs for the new blocks I am making I thought I had chosen two very different ones from the original blue and yellow blocks. However, when I came to compare them . . . !
Making the strip-pieced units is fairly straightforward. You will stitch your two chosen strips together and press (carefully so as not to press a curve into the strip) the seam to one side. Straighten one end of the strip – place the ruler so one line is on the pressed seam, not the long raw edge, as (in theory) this seam line is straight and the raw edges may be a bit wavy. Cut squares from your strip – (four in total) again aligning a line on the ruler with the seam.
For the Diamond-in-a-Square units you have choices – using five squares which you stitch and trim, or using a square and four triangles which creates no waste. For the five squares method you cut (obviously) five squares – a large one for the centre and four smaller ones to form the triangles. Mark a diagonal on the wrong side of each small square – this can be with a pencil or by creasing but if you crease remember to press, not rub as the crease is on the bias. This line will be the sewing line. Place the first small square, right sides together, in one corner of the larger square, raw edges matching, so that the marked diagonal runs from the centre of one side to the centre of the adjacent side. Stitch along the marked diagonal. Fold back to check you have a triangle across the corner – if all is well you can trim the excess (take care it is the excess you are trimming!) and press the triangle back. Repeat with the opposite corner next and then the two remaining corners. I have no plan for the waste triangles you have trimmed but you may be able to think of one. (Note – I didn’t trim the excess white from behind the red triangles as they were a much finer fabric (Liberty lawn) and I felt they needed the added bulk of the white behind them).
The square and four triangles method creates no waste. Your centre square is cut at 3 and 3/8 inches – this is the small line on your ruler between the quarter and half longer lines as shown by the red arrow in the photo. The triangles are cut from 2 and 7/8 inch squares – 7/8 is the small line just before the 3 inch line as shown in the photo. Cut these squares in half across a diagonal. If you want to be sure you are cutting exactly you can line the square up with the 45 degree line on your cutting mat.
Find the centre of the long side of a triangle by gently folding it in half and pinching a small crease at the centre. Do the same with the square. Match the creases – the triangle should overlap the ends of the square as this is your ultimate seam allowance – and stitch the seam. Press the triangle back and repeat with the opposite triangle. Finally do the other two opposite sides and trim the ears.
If you would like a PDF tutorial to download for these units you can find one here on my website, along with several others.
Now all the units are made you can put the block together. Lay out the units to make the design and stitch them into three pairs, then into three rows of three and finally stitch the three rows together. I would suggest that you press towards the strip-pieced units each time as the bulky points on the other unit don’t take well to being pressed back on themselves.
Once you are happy with your two blocks you can add the narrow borders as described in a previous post before rewarding yourself with a cuppa (and even a biscuit).
Next month is the final block in the series before we explore putting everything together.