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 . . .
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.
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
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 –
Sometimes called Diamond in a Square this unit/block is worth learning how to make as it crops everywhere from a unit in assorted bocks to a simple block used as a ‘spacer’ between more complicated blocks where, as you will see further down the page, it can create the illusion of a star within the quilt design.