diamond quilts

Cutting diamond patches for quilts used to be a big pain for me.

Not wanting to drag out a compass, I’d spend hours looking for the right size diamond to use as a template – or to create a cardboard template.

Once the plastic template market expanded, I tried several different styles of templates that were supposed to make diamond patches.

Alas, none of them worked all that well, so I went back to my cardboard templates.

Then a while back, Jan Krentz came out with her diamond template for use with rotary cutters, and I really love it.

It is easy to figure out how to use, and you can make a ton of different size diamond patches using the template.

I used her book in along with the template to create the center star for a simple wall hanging:


For years I avoided sewing stars made using diamond patches.

Well, I did try one – and it came out awful!

The center of the star was like a little mountain, with the rest of the star lying flat.

It didn’t matter what I tried, I couldn’t get the center to lie flat.

I ripped all of the center patches out and re-sewed them.

I adjusted the seams to get the patches to be flat.

I put the star under a giant pile of books, thinking maybe I could flatten it that way.

Finally I decided to make a Christmas Tree skirt out of the quilt and just finished each of the diamond points individually – so the tree trunk could stick through the “hole.”

It was great to have the project finished, and I have enjoyed using the Tree Skirt, but it took years for me to get the right technique and decide to try again.

It turns out that it was really pretty easy, once I read how to sew the points together (and actually followed the directions!).

You’ll see just how it’s done when you visit:


8 pointed star quilt

8 pointed star quilt using diamond patches

Is it the 8 points or the diamonds that makes these beauties difficult to sew?

Once you have sewn one, the answer to that question is simple – it’s the diamonds.

I still haven’t figured out why that is, though.

You are still just sewing seams together.

But, before I knew this special technique, every time I sewed an 8 pointed star, something went wrong.

Either the center would lie flat or some of the sides were wavy.

One day, though, I ran across some instructions that completely solved the problem.

Of course, you still need to take care as you sew:


blazing star quilt block

Blazing Star Quilt Block – an 8 pointed star with diamonds



Have you ever heard of swoon quilt blocks?  I hadn’t until recently but now I am finding them everywhere I look on the internet.  There are swoon pictures, swoon groups and even swoonalongs.  When I looked into swoons I found that they all began with a quilt pattern by Camille Roskelley.  The really interesting thing is that a swoon quilt block is actually a very old traditional block that has been taken on board by modern quilters.

You have probably seen this quilt block before and you probably know it as a variation of Carpenter’s Wheel or Star of Bethlehem.  The name that I love most is Nancy Cabot’s name for it:  Star of the Magi.

There are quite a lot of half square triangle units and these are made by placing two squares with right sides together, marking a line along the diagonal and sewing a seam ¼” either side of the marked line.  Cutting the line produces two half square triangle units.

You will need sixteen of these in light/white, twelve in dark/white and four in light/dark fabrics.  Make these using the 4.7/8” squares.

The total fabric requirement is:

White fabric: twelve 4.1/2” squares, fourteen 4.7/8” squares

Light fabric:  one 8.1/2” square, twelve 4.7/8” squares

Dark fabric:  twelve 4.1/2” squares, ten 4.7/8” squares.

The swoon quilt block is made medallion fashion, starting with the large square in the middle.  Lay the patchwork squares out as shown to create a star block with dark corners.  Sew two half square units together and sew them to the top of the large square and do the same with the two half square units on the bottom.  Sew together the four squares for each side and then sew them to the sides of the block.

The next round starts to use the dark squares along with the dark/light half square units.  Sew together two 4.1/2” dark squares and two half square triangle units and sew them to the top of the star block.  Do the same for the bottom of the block and sew together the six patchwork squares for each side and sew them to the sides of the block.

The final frame of this quilt block uses the white 4.1/2” squares (three around each corner) and the rest of the half square triangle units.  Check the photo to be sure that you have the triangles facing in the right direction.

It’s a lovely quilt block and can change enormously with differing colour placements, which makes it great fun to experiment with.

Quilters often ask how to make a Tumbling Blocks or Baby Blocks quilt.

These quilts are lovely and can be done as a planned quilt or a scrap quilt.

The quilt can be done using only one shape of patch – a diamond – of most any size.

Generally Tumbling Block or Baby Block quilts have a specific arrangement of values in the fabric.

The key is to keep the light, medium and dark fabrics in the same position in each of the blocks.

This causes the dimensional look of the quilt.

You can fill in between the diamonds with small triangles, or finish the quilt with the “inside and outside” corners.

To see how to sew the diamonds together, visit:


baby blocks quilt

Tumbling Blocks or Baby Blocks Quilt

In yesterday’s online newsletter, we talked about signing quilts and adding labels to your quilt.

In today’s article, let’s explore a little more about adding labels to your quilts.

How you apply a label to your quilt may well be determined by when you make the quilt.

Labels are so easy to add to your quilts these days.

You can order them custom made with your name and stitch them in place.

You can design and print them directly to fabric from an ink jet printer.

You can make them using machine or hand embroidery.

You can even use an acid free, permanent pen to write your information onto your quilt.

Label possibilities are endless!

For more ideas, visit:



Often when someone mentions diamonds, I think of the song “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.

It’s not that the story line of the movie the song came from, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, has any special meaning to me.

In fact, I can’t say I even really remember the whole story.

Nor do I actually remember much of the song.

It’s just the notion of loving diamonds – the beauty and sparkle of the stone as the light hits the various facets; the realization that the process of creating a diamond is quite amazing; and that it takes a great deal of determination to bring it to the surface.

The same is true when you talk about creating quilts using diamonds.

Many star quilts are made using diamond patches instead of using half-square triangles.

This allows for some special kind of quilting creativity, since you can easily cut each point of your star into smaller diamond shapes and then use your color choices to add the sparkle to your quilt.

It’s fascinating to note that some diamonds in nature are formed in days, weeks or months as a continual process.

While others begin to form, then – for some reason – take a rest, and continue the process of forming over much longer periods of time.

The first two star quilts I made using diamonds fell into the “start and then take a break” category.

You can read about them later.

And, as for the determination it takes to mine a diamond —

With most diamonds lying more than 100 miles below the surface of the earth, you can imagine how much determination and perseverance it takes to get to the diamonds themselves, let alone knowing that you’ve spent all of that time and energy getting there only to get a small-in-size reward that has a huge payoff once it is polished and put on display.

And the same is true for creating quilts made from diamonds.

Whether it’s because of the shape, the number of patches, or the fact that you are sewing all of those bias seams that can stretch and cause every quilter anxiety, sewing diamond patches into a finished quilt takes a great deal of determination, patience, and a few critical and specific techniques.

During our summer survey, most of you said that you wanted to explore the world of using diamonds to create heirloom quilts.

And, finally, this information is ready.

Unlike the creation of diamonds in the center of the earth, you’ll see from start to finish exactly how to sew a beautiful star quilt using diamond patches – nothing hidden; no assumptions requuired.

And this information goes way beyond just sewing a simple quilt.

I have included several interesting techniques that you will use in other quilts you make as well:

-          How to “fussy cut” patches. Sometimes you will love a particular design in a piece of fabric – a flower, a tree, a pond, or in my case a beautiful fish. You’ll see exactly how to cut your fabric so you can use those pieces in your quilt blocks – or in the diamonds in an 8 pointed star.


-          Machine quilting on your home sewing machine. As much as we might love hand quilting, the fact is that it takes less time to machine quilt; and some of our fingers aren’t quite as nimble as they used to be.

As a result, many quilters appreciate being able to quilt using the machines we have, and not feeling that we need to go out and spend thousands of dollars on a quilting machine or pay someone great sums of money to finish our quilts for us.

You’ll get fantastic, detailed demonstrations and information about quilting straight lines using a walking foot on your sewing machine, as well as specific techniques that will make your free motion quilting perfect every time.


-          Hand quilting – and for those who love hand quilting, there are detailed techniques for you as well. Including the type of needle to use, how to place your quilt in a hoop, and how to actually position your needle for perfect stitches.


-          And, of course, sewing set-in seams. This is what prevents many quilters from even starting to sew a quilt with diamonds – adding the pieces that go in between the star points using set-in seams. But it doesn’t have to be.

Just like the simple technique for making perfectly square mitered corners in your binding, sewing perfect set-in seams is easy, once you know the simple technique. You’ll see everything you need to know to sew perfect set-in seams every time.

Of course, there is more.

Because this is brand new information, it is available for a short time at a special introductory rate.

Think of it as an early Christmas gift for you or a special quilter you know:


Blazing Star Quilt Block


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