As some of you may know over on our sister site (chrisandbarbaraquilts) we have a regular ‘Scrappy Sunday’ post running at the moment. Coming soon is one on Cathedral Window featuring Chris’s class samples from down the years. We’ve done a ‘revamped from class worksheets’ tutorial and put that on our tutorials page but thought it might be helpful to augment it with a few photos.
To start with we need two big squares and a little square (or two). Then we can start folding the big squares – its a bit like making those fortune tellers when we were little (remember?). Start by cutting two large squares of background. Here it is being cut at 8 1/2 inches. If you are sewing by hand, turn under a 1/4 inch seam all the way around. Fold the corners to the centre and press then fold the corners to the centre again, press and stitch the centre ‘corners’ together.
If you are sewing by machine then cut out your squares, fold them in half (right sides together) and stitch the short sides. Press these seams open. Fold the stitched square so the seams meet and you have the raw edges together – look at the photos – then stitch this raw edge, remembering to leave a gap so you can turn it right sides out. Press.
This is the first fold completed, now fold the corners to the centre.
The next step is to join those two squares together. By hand you would simply oversew – as you do with EPP – by machine you can choose to zig-zag them together or open out the flaps of that second fold and stitch down the crease – having carefully matched them first – then stitch the centre ‘corners’ together.
You now have a ‘square’ in the centre of your piece which is where your smaller coloured square goes. Cut it so it is the size of that ‘square’ – too small and the edges will not will be caught and stitched, too large and it will stick out. Put it in place (glue or pin if you wish) then roll the edges of the background over the coloured square and stitch down – with a hand hemming stitch or by machine with a straight stitch or a fancy stitch.
To make a small pincushion you can turn the two short edges to the ‘back’ and stitch them together, stitch the sides together, leaving a gap to put the stuffing in. Roll all the other curves if you wish before adding the stuffing.
Cathedral Window has a sister technique called Secret Garden. When you have done the first fold cut a coloured square of the size formed by the creases of the second fold. Place this coloured square on the background and complete the second fold. Now when you roll the edges back this ‘hidden’ square will be revealed. You can use it on its own or combine it with Cathedral Window.
Aunt Dinah is a variation of the Ohio Star – it has our featured ‘Mary’s Triangles units in the four corners. You can download the instructions for making the block here.
When I first coloured in this block I came up with this
Bu I felt poor Aunty looked a bit dull, so (as it is November and therefore nearly December) I decided to jazz her up a bit with some red and a few snowflakes and stars.
Like Ohio Star this block can be bit ho-hum just straight set on its own and you can lose the stars – they become a pieced sashing.
But add plain sashing between the blocks or alternate the colours of the stars and things look a better.
Or you could turn the corners of the block around and then alternate these with the original, changing the colours of the block as well
Even ‘dull’ Aunt Dinah doesn’t look too dull when given this makeover
Of course, given the time of year, you could always make something a lot smaller –
– give it a border, and maybe ‘pointy’ ends . . . ?
Or you could head over to our Payhip shop and buy a pattern to make a runner – we featured it way back in 2014.
This is a very similar block to last month’s Grandmother’s Choice – the only difference is that the centre rectangles have been split into two squares. You can download the instructions for the Spinning Tops block here.
Try different ways of colouring the block – it can look quite different in pastel shades for example –
Because we have coloured the corners differently and because alternate units are turned the blocks are not symmetrical which means you can have a lot of fun turning them around – alternate blocks, or alternate rows or . . . mixing them with alternate Grandmother’s Choice blocks.
Or you set them on point, with or without sashing. This is what the pastel ones look like –
Have fun playing with these blocks. You can download a blank quilt to colour here – you can print lots of copies, cut them up and design your own unique quilt.
Quite a number of the blocks using the Mary’s Triangles units are 5-patch (sometimes known as uneven 9-patch) blocks. For this reason they are best made at sizes that are multiples of 5 – and 10 inches is usual. This month’s block is Grandmother’s Choice and is a typical (and simple) 5-patch block. You can download the instructions to make this block here.
The block on its own just set straight together is not very exciting, but if you alternate the colours in the block it starts to look a little more interesting.
Add in another colour perhaps, as sashing?
Or go pastel?
Or on point with sashing and cornerstones? It is starting to look very different.
Enjoy playing with this quilt – change the colours around – it looks quite different done in brights and lights for instance.
This little unit crops up in a number of blocks but is also a block in its own right. It has a variety of names including Jewel Box (or Block), Squared Triangles, Square and Triangles and the one I’ve picked – Mary’s Triangles.
You can make these units one at a time by cutting the individual squares and triangles or you can make two at a time with a very nifty method I read about so long ago I can no longer where, or when, but it has become an accepted method – it involves no triangles! You can download the Tutorial sheet for the unit here.
As with all units based on Half-Square Triangles you can have great fun with colour placement, scrappy looks and turning those units round. Here’s just a few ideas to get you started.
Start off by just putting the units together in a straight set, then change the lights and darks around, turn the blocks around, add in another colour for a bit of contrast . . .
And here’s one I made earlier
What will you make? Download the instructions for Mary’s Triangles here – it has a few quilt ideas and a blank quilt for you to colour in or play with.
Chris has started a regular(ish) blog over on the new UK Quilters United website. The plan is to follow the Sampler Quilt class at The Corner Patch each month this year as they learn various techniques – so far they’ve done squares and rectangles (a.k.a Log Cabin blocks) and Half-Square triangles. Next month it will be Quarter-Square triangles.The blog posts are a month behind so the March QSTs will be blogged in April!
You can follow along by reading the monthly posts on ukqu and also by looking at the tutorials for each topic over on our Tutorials page. If you want to make sure you catch every blog post then you have to ‘follow’ Chris (Chris F) on the ukqu website. The same applies to the other bloggers on the site – and there are lots.
There are also Hints and Tips for cutting these Squares and Rectangles to the right size and for both HST and QST units.
Just added to our Meadowside Tutorials page is a step-by-step photo tutorial for cutting octagons using just your ordinary ruler. It includes tables for cutting squares. In addition the Flying Geese tutorial has been updated and now includes Folded Flying Geese. (I made the quilt below for my mother many years ago when she was ill. It is backed with fleece so it was light, soft and warm. However . . . she complained her biscuit crumbs and apple pips got stuck in the folds of the Geese! I’m sure she loved it really as she was nearly always snuggled under it. – Chris)
There are several blocks called Monkey Wrench – this one is sometimes called Snail Trail and is essentially a 4-patch within several squares, so we’ve added it to the blocks associated with the Square-in-a-Square tutorial.
Just set on its own this two fabric block can look a bit so-so . . .
but turn alternate blocks around and you get the classic Snail Trail pattern.
But what if you add another colour?
The quilt could then look more like this
Or add yet another colour
which gives you more opportunities for playing with the arrangements
or this – which reminds me of waves breaking on the shore
or this (which looks more like arm wrestling!)
You can download your free block pattern here.
This block comes under the heading of ‘Square in a Square’ although in reality it is a 4-patch turned on point and then given a fancy border.
There are many different ways to colour it in changing the emphasis of the block by changing the dark and light colours around.
Using the different colourings can add interest to the quilt setting too.
As does turning on point –
It makes a good block to alternate with other blocks – more complicated ones or much simpler ones. Have a play with some of the other blocks we’ve already featured.
You can download the block instructions here.
This time our Square in a Square unit has pieced triangles around the centre square. You can download the instructions for the free block pattern, Right and Left, here. If you need help with the piecing you can download a free step-by-step tutorial from the Tutorials page or go direct to the pdf here.
When put together these blocks form a secondary pattern of Pinwheels at their junctions. You can have fun playing with the colourings of these triangles to create different effects. And, as with most of these Square in a Square blocks, the centre square allows you to play with ‘fussy-cutting’ large or bold prints.
Or you can turn the blocks on point, colour the corner triangles differently and make something like this –
The Improved Four-Patch block is a merger of the Square in a Square and Four-Patch units – essentially a 4-patch ‘on point’. You can download the free pattern for this quilt block here.
You can have fun playing with the colours and shades in this block, changing the emphasis of lights and darks from one part to another. Like the ordinary Square in a Square it isn’t very exciting when straight set on its own, but changing the colours or combining it with other similar blocks can make quite a difference.
or turning it on point –
A similar patchwork block is Coffin Star – this time a 16-patch square turned on point –