Rubies and Diamonds

Materials

  • 5m (5 1/2 yd of a variety of red and white fabrics
  • 2.5m (2 3/4yd) black fabric for wedges and binding
  • 4.5m (5yd) red backing; the trimmings can be used on the quilt top
  • 0.75m (30in) black and white stripe fabric for back sashing strips
  • 183 x 183cm (72 x 72in) wadding
  • Red and white sewing threads
  • Template plastic or firm card
  • Craft knife and metal ruler (optional)
  • Sewing machine walking foot

Finished Size

Approx 183 x 183cm (72 x 72in)

Skill Level

Beginners

Accuracy is not important until the squares are trimmed to shape and the sashing is started; so you can have lots of fun choosing and adding strips without worrying

Wedge Template

  1. Draw an 11in square on a large sheet of paper.
  2. Mark two points on the edges 3in right and 3in down from the top left corner.
  3. Join these your first point with a straight line to the bottom right corner. Do the same with the second point, this is your wedge template
  4. Trace or copy the wedge template onto template plastic or firm card. Use sharp scissors, or a craft knife and metal ruler, to carefully cut out the shape.
  5. Following the Cutting Instructions below, place the wedge template on the wrong side of the black fabric and draw around it with a fine pencil. Cut the fabric shapes out on the drawn line using sharp scissors.

Cutting Instructions

  1. From the red backing fabric, carefully cut 36 squares 14 x 14in. From the wadding, carefully cut 36 squares 13 x 13in.
  2. From black fabric, carefully cut 36 wedges using the pattern provided.
  3. From the selection of red fabrics, carefully cut 30 front sashing strips 12 1/2 x 1in and reserve. From the selection of white fabrics, carefully cut 30 front sashing strips 12 1/2 x 1in and reserve.
  4. Cut your white and red fabric into strips varying in size from 1 1/2in to 3 1/2in wide. You may wish to do this in stages throughout the project so that you can change the emphasis of different fabrics as you go. Leave the strips long and trim them after sewing into place.

Figure 1

Figure 1: Stitch and flip

Assembling the blocks

  1. Place the backing fabric right side down and put a square of wadding on top of each one, then pin the black wedge into place along the diagonal for every square.
  2. Take a square and pin a white strip, right side facing down, on the edge of the black wedge. Figure 1.
  3. Stitch into place from one side of the square to the other. Flip the strip over, pin, trim and finger press carefully. Do the same with a red strip on the other side of the black wedge.

Handy Hint For the best results, your sewing machine should have the walking foot attached for the entire project.

Figure 2

Figure 2: Direction of stitching used to prevent the block twisting out of shape

  1. Continue to add strips of fabric to the edge of the block using this stitch-and-flip method, with red fabrics on one side and white on the other.
  2. As you sew each square there can be a tendency for the work to twist. To avoid this problem sew every seam in the opposite direction to the one next to it. Figure 2.
  3. It is advisable to work two blocks together, one with red to the right and the other with red to the left of the point. Working in this way will ensure that you end up with the necessary 18 blocks of each pattern.
  4. Once all 36 blocks are complete, trim them down to the exact size of 12 1/2 x 12 1/2in, keeping the black wedge at an angle of 45 degrees.
  5. Lay out your quilt blocks to create the diamond pattern and balance the fabric combinations. Refer to Figure 3 to guide you with the quilt layout.

Figure 3

Figure 3: Quilt Layout

Sashing

  1. Cut strips 1in wide from the black and white striped fabric.
  2. Take the red and white sashing strips and lay them in place over the quilt. As before, check that the fabrics are evenly distributed throughout the quilt. Ensure that the lines of sashing are in red or white in keeping with the quilt blocks see photo.
  3. Now work each row in turn, starting with the top left hand square. Figure 3. Accuracy and alignment is crucial at this stage, otherwise the whole quilt could twist and the blocks will sit out of true and spoil the diamond pattern that is created.
  4. The front and back sashings are attached at the same time with this method. Place your top sashing length right side down along the right-hand edge of your block, and then add a back sashing, right side up, on the same edge to the back of the block. Stitch a 1/4in seam down the edge.
  5. Repeat for the first five blocks in each row. Trim and press.
  6. Take the first and second blocks and attach the two blocks together by stitching the front sashing only to the left of the second block. On the reverse of the blocks, pin under a 1/4in seam allowance on the back sashing and slipstitch in place, hiding your machine stitching. The sashing should hold the blocks tightly butted together.
  7. Repeat for each block along every row. Stitch the remaining sashings together in lengths of six so that the rows can be secured together in the same manner.

Binding

  1. Cut the black fabric into 2 1/2in strips and piece together into a 7.75m (8 1/2yd) length. Press in half lengthways, wrong sides together.
  2. Pin to the front of the quilt top matching the raw edges and machine stitch in place around the quilt with a V4in seam. Mitre the binding at the corners and fold the binding to the back of the quilt. Hand stitch the folded edge of the binding to the back of the quilt. Mitre the binding at the corners.
  3. Remember to label or sign and date your quilt. Snuggle under and dream of rubies and diamonds!

First published in Popular Patchwork October 2007