Sunday, February 13, 2011

Diamond quilt - the first steps

1. Cutting

Some patterns call for cutting long strips of fabric and then slicing them on the diagonal. Brilliant! Well, if you only want/need a few diamonds of each color from a fat quarter bundle, this might not be the best method. Plus, a lot of books include diamond templates, making you believe that using template will be just as good...
The problem: cutting around a template is not that accurate, you can actually cut the template which makes it smaller and dulls the hell out of your blade, it takes forever, and seems to produce a lot of annoying-sized scraps. Also, since you are cutting at angles, you are never cutting along the grain so there is a lot of room for stretching which can distort the shape (this stretching is your BEST FRIEND in later steps though!)

Aargh!! I thought I was cutting accurately, but apparently they are not all the same size...

2. Piecing the diamonds

The diamonds need to overlap each other in such a way that when you sew them together with a 1/4 inch seam they press out to have even edges. Because of the stretching that can take place, and any inaccuracy during the cutting stage, this may be difficult to do. (No tutorial or pattern I have seen has ever mentioned this - for them it all lines up and comes out perfect!) The most important thing is that you stitch them together from from the valley that forms at one end of the seam to the valley at the other end. I think that even if the seam is not a PERFECT 1/4 inch the whole way across, that the diamonds will line up well when piecing the strips together if the stitching goes from "valley to valley." This is where the stretching comes in handy in later steps!

This is a good overlap and example of the stitching (hard to see) going right into the valley formed between "peaks":
This is quite obviously a bad overlap (because the diamonds were not cut very accurately), but as long as the stitching goes right into the "valley" and that part is about 1/4 inch from one edge it comes out okay.

aahhh....much better. See how the edges are straight now?

Again, this is not to say that anyone should aim for imperfection, but once I had all these diamonds cut I was determined to make them work!

Thanks for looking - and I apologize to followers like my sister who find the technical quilting stuff less than exhilarating... :)


  1. That's going to be so awesome when it's finished!

    I ran into the same problems when I first attempted a zig-zag quilt with the template on Anna Maria Horner's website (but looking at it now, they're actually paper patterns for half-square triangles). I ended up with uneven pieces, stretching, and rows that wouldn't even lay flat. I scrapped that whole project and finally learned the HSQ technique.

    The point of this rambling comment: I feel your pain! :) Hope the rest of the piecing goes better!

  2. Great article and right to the point. I don’t know if this is in fact the best place to ask but do you people have any ideea where to employ some professional writers? Thank you


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