Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Stacked Diamonds Redux!

I have been busy playing with my Side Kick Ruler and the Diamond Stack tutorial. I took tons of pictures of the process and planned on doing a post. Something I have not shared on this blog is that I spent 15 years of my working life as an Intellectual Property paralegal. Having this background makes me very sensitive to stepping on anyone's toes when it comes to their work. So I emailed Anna who blogs at Six White Horses and asked her if she minded if I showed the making of this block using the Sidekick and making a few tweaks. She emailed me back and said go for it, just link back to the original. If you question in your mind if you should ask before you do something, the answer is, you probably should. Is it 'illegal' if you don't? Maybe, maybe not, but for sure it is being a considerate blogger and a good neighbor :)

OK, HERE WE GO!! :) - Warning, this post is picture HEAVY! AND this is NOT a quick make. . . just saying. Accuracy in cutting and in seams is essential. And STARCH the bejeebers out of the fabric BEFORE cutting. Really, you'll be glad you did. I'm not trying to talk anyone out of doing this - I absolutely love making these, I just want to give full disclosure up front. :) I like to do things backwards, so here is a picture of the resulting block diamond . . . so you can decide whether or not to keep reading :)

This diamond measures 19.25" horizontally point to point X 32" vertically point to point. It's big! :)
First, you can make this starting with whatever size diamond you want - it just depends on how big you want your resulting diamond to be. I used 3.5" strips to cut my diamonds. 

From the strips and using the Sidekick I cut 9 diamonds from three different fabrics. Here's the first way this ruler is handy:

Line up the ruler to the 3 1/2" line and cut end off strip.

Flip the ruler over (notice on the picture above Sidekick is upside down and in this picture it is right side up. Am I the only one that has issues figuring out where to put rulers when dealing with diamonds or triangles? OK, don't answer that! :)
And from whatever fabric you choose for your outside frame, cut eight 1" by 18" (length of fat quarter, if the fat quarter is a little shorter like an inch or less than 18", it can still be used). BAM! You are done cutting! And you have stacks of pretty fabric that will look like this:

Tip, if you are using directional fabric - make sure that all cuts are pointed in the same direction. If you cut your diamonds at the same time, this won't be an issue. . . If you stop and come back a few days later. . . Might be an issue - no need to ask me how I know. . . 
Now take those pretty diamonds and lay them out in your diamond grid.

Eagle eyes will see that the way my grid looks now, is NOT how my blocks ended up. . . :) I have NO idea haha
We are now ready to sew! First, we are going to sew the diamonds to the pink strip. Here's why I can't give you measurements for the length of the strip you will need. . . I plopped those diamonds on and just kept sewing. First, take the three diamonds that are at #1 in each row and sew them with a very accurate AND straight 1/4" seam. I ended up with this:

Just make sure enough strip is left ABOVE the first diamond to make the angle of the diamond extend to the opposite side of the strip. . . sorry, I cut the top off in the picture :(
I could have also sewn the diamonds in the #2 spot onto the strip. . . I don't have a good reason as to why! When I make more, I definitely will!

Now you are going to cut the strips resulting in individual units. Here's how:

Line up the ruler to the 3 1/2 inch line and the edge of the ruler at each side and then, to ensure the angle is accurately cut, see how the top of the pink fabric is lined up with the 3 1/2 inch mark on the top. If all three of these lines do not 'match up', there might be some creative sewing in your future to get all of the units sewn together. . .

For the second cut, flip the ruler over, line up the 3 1/2 inch line again and make the cut. Tip: Sewing an accurate AND very straight 1/4" seam is essential.
Keep cutting and flipping the ruler, cutting, flipping the ruler until you have all 6 (let's assume you have sewn all #1 and #2 diamonds onto the first strip). Until you have this:

Here is the first picture that it is clear, I ended up with a different configuration. . . hmmm I do like this one better! :)
Now we are going to sew the #1 to #2 to #3. A picture to hopefully help when trying to figure out how those darn angles are supposed to be sewn

Lay unit #1 over #2 like so. Make sure you have the "ears" poking out from the top and the bottom. They should be overlapped enough so that when the piece is sewn, the needle can be positioned exactly at the intersection of the two pieces and when sewn, the seam will be an accurate 1/4."
Sew together all units #1 and #2 chain style if you wish :) I even cut the first one off after I had all three sewn, and then sewed #3 for that row, cut the second one off, sewed #3 for that row and sew on... Now you have this:

Now is a good time to snip off those dog ears. I used my straight ruler and just made sure the strip was still consistently 3.5" wide.
Next, sew on the long pink strips on the outside and inside of strip one, the right side of strip 2 and the outside of strip 3 (moving left to right). Again, when sewing on the strips, make sure there is enough strip left to extend the angle to the end of the strip when you cut. Again, when I did this, I sewed the first one on, the second and the third (make sure the strip is being sewn on the correct side!!) on one strip of fabric. Then I cut them apart as I did the diamonds in the first step. Again, the Sidekick ruler can be used to ensure that seams are lining up correctly:

And now you have this.
Sew pink strips on the remaining two sides:

And trim maintaining angles. It is worth noting, that if you want all of your inside frames to be the same width (mine are not and I kind of like the effect) trim the outside pink strips to be the same width as the resulting (we're getting to that) inside frames. If you are using all of the same measurements I am using, you would trim those outside strips to 1 inch (that includes the 1/4" for seam allowance)
Here's the fun part. Now we are going to cut this apart. How crazy is that?? Cut the pink finished strip in half (measure 3/4" from outside edge of diamond) like this:

Sew on the 1 inch strips to the outside and inside of the first strip, the right side of the second strip and the outside of the third strip. Should look like this:

Trim all tails:

Sew outside strips to inside strip to look like this:

Now cut the other way, same 3/4" inch (remember, if you are using different sized strips, just cut those strips in half) the other direction like this:

Confession time. I got sick of taking pictures at this point. . . Here's the rest of the story with no pictures. Sew the remaining four strips to the outside and inside of strip one, right side of strip two and outside of strip three. Trim. Sew strips together and you should end up with this!

 OK, that's cool, now what do you do with it??? :) How about make six, place in a star configuration - how awesome would that be?? I'm gonna be honest, I haven't figured out how I would turn that into a square quilt - but I'm going to ;) 

How about just put them in rows? The 'filling' to make a square quilt would be great negative space to do some pretty stellar quilting, don't you think?? 

If you have any questions about making this, please either comment or send me an email - quiltmusings@gmail.com. If you leave a question in the comments, I will answer in the comments and email you back. I'm guessing if one person has the question, another will have the same :) 

Linking up with Lee for WIP Wednesday and Lorna for Let's Bee Social and Kelly for NTT and Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday.

Until next time, keep on quilting!!
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  1. Great tutorial, Judy! I have that ruler but really haven't spent much time playing with it. I'll have to set some time aside!

  2. I like how the outside of the first border ends up wider using this method - it adds a lot of visual interest to the block. I just did a quick google image search for "6 pointed star quilt" and I think you'll quickly get an idea how to piece 6 of these together into a lovely quilt. :)

  3. Hi Judy... Thanks for the great tutorial - the "block" is just beautiful! Would love to give this a try.... Thanks for sharing.

  4. What a fabulous tutorial.... And design! Love the diamonds. I have not worked with any of those..... YET! Thanks so much for sharing! Great pics!

  5. Lots of possibilities on this one, love that is good and big, great tutorial!

  6. Wow Judy - you sure make sense of what looks to be a complicated block! It's turning out wonderfully too!

  7. Wow from me too. You must have been very precise with all your cutting and seams, because I know diamonds can easily end up not square. Thank you for providing all the instructions. I love the finished diamond.

  8. Yikes, when I read "cut them apart" I was like, what? But it looks great.

  9. Love the fabrics you chose, they're lovely together! Looks like a fun block to make too!

  10. This is a great design but the fabric is what really makes it pop.

  11. Those diamonds are stunning and a labor of love. How do you have the patience to put each little piece together? I am such a wham-bam-slam-done kinda gal. I have renewed respect for you!!! I am putting this block on my after-retirement-to-do-list.


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