Sweet Baby Diamonds Quilt


For those who don’t know me — I’m Tracey from traceyjay quilts (and traceyjay quilts pattern shop)!  I have one handsome husband, two sweet and adorable children, and I love to quilt when I have the time (which is rare these days!)

I made these two quilts for two sweet babies in my life (no, not my own).  This little tutorial has been in the works a long time!  I actually finished a second one for my niece (in Sunkissed) before the original was done.  I hope you can forgive the delay; I would personally like to think I have a good excuse.  ;)  So — even though these particular lines are now hard to find, I have no doubt this design would sew up beautifully in Reunion, the new Lucy’s Crab Shack or even Mama Said Sew… as it already was adorable in two other Sweetwater lines.

I need to note for those who want to make one of their own — there was a lot of “winging it” while making this quilt, and the measurements are not exact and precise in all ways.  This tutorial is then my attempt to give you a bit of insight in to my (less than perfect, but hey they work) methods.  I would not recommend this design for a first project, because you are working with so many bias edges, as well as oddly shaped setting triangles.  If you’re willing to exercise a little patience, I’m confident though that you’ll love the results.


1 Jelly Roll (Pure by Sweetwater featured)
WIP to be finished

1 yd. contrast for sashing (will have some leftover for binding)
1 yd. for setting diamonds and triangles
1/2 yd. or charm pack for border
2 yards backing (might need more if sending quilt to a long-arm)
leftover jelly roll strips and sashing for binding

- Sort your jelly roll strips by dark, medium, and light value

- Group in to sets of five, following the pattern of dark/light/dark/light/dark and light/dark/light/dark/light.  If your sashing is dark in value, you will need three sets with light on the outside, and two sets with darks on the outside.  Switch if your sashing is light (like in the Sunkissed example), and make more groups with dark on the outside (twenty-five strips total, with thirteen light and twelve medium or dark — reverse if using light sashing).  The picture below shows a set of strips that are dark/light/dark/light/dark.

- Sew in to sets with a 2″ off-set for each strip (see picture).  There is no need to trim selvage.  Press very well (either open or to one side; I alternated directions for the dark vs. light strip set)

- Rotate strip set to opposite side (so that the one on top is now on bottom — the green in this picture) and trim at a 45 degree angle.  I use both the line on my quilting ruler as well as the line on my cutting mat, to ensure accuracy and consistency.
- Flip strip set back over, and continuing to follow the 45 degree line, cut 2 1/2″ wide pieced strips.  You can get as many as ten pieced strips per strip set, but you only need to get eight.  Be very careful with your cutting, continuously checking for the accuracy of your angle and 2 1/2″ width and 45 degree angle.

- You will be piecing the strips together like this, alternating a strip with dark on the outside, next to one with lights on the outside.  Here are some tips for helping to ensure good matching points.
- I found that pressing the side down 1/4″ on one of the strip sets was sometimes helpful to see directly where the two sections lined up.
- This picture shows the piece with the 1/4″ pressed over lined up and pinned in place next to the other piece.  You will then stitch directly on the wrong side of the pressed crease.  
This is an up close shot of how it looks at the intersections of your pieces. 


Press seams open when joining sections. 

There is a quarter inch off-set when each section is joined to the next.

- Make eight diamond blocks (each with five strip pieced sections — see pic directly below for what a finished block looks like)

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Setting triangles:

Start by making a template.  I use freezer paper, but regular paper (or something else you choose) would work too.  Trace the diamond on to the freezer paper, and cut it out.



Using the template, you need to make setting triangles for your sides, corners, and top/bottom.  Depending on your fabric choice (if it is directional or not), you will need to pay attention to how you orient your template.  I like freezer paper because I can just iron it down, and then use the rotary cutter to cut my setting triangle.

This is an example of a corner setting triangle (the top right to be specific)  You want the fabric to extend past the mid point of the diamond shape.  It helps to draw midlines on your template (vertical and horizontal through the centers) so that you can make sure your setting triangle is larger than those midlines.

This shows how the template is placed for the bottom middle setting triangle.  When you cut — extend the lines straight at the bottom (rather than cutting along the template edge — the black line in the picture shows the cutting line).
Here is how the side setting triangles will be.  Again — extend the cutting line past the midpoint, and cut straight past the edge of the template like you did with the other pieces.
Lay your blocks out as shown.  If using dark sashing, place the blocks with light at the points for the top three, then dark for middle two, and light again for the bottom row.  You can see how the setting triangles will be arranged with the blocks.  (and yes, having tractors to watch really does help). ;)

This picture also shows how your rows will be sewn together (diagonally).


 Cut and piece 1 1/2″ strips long enough for your length of sashings.  You will need some “short” sashing strips (that go along the edge of the blocks/setting triangles in one direction, and some “long” (that go along the edge of the rows to join the rows together).  Use your template, or measure the edge of your block, and make sure there is enough length to fully extend past the edge, so it can be trimmed later (this is important when dealing with bias edges.

Sew a length of sashing along the “short” edge of your setting triangles or block.  The end of the sashing will extend past the end of the triangle or block.  Use your ruler to trim the edge.

Here is the “short” piece of sashing trimmed.

When joining two blocks together along the “short” edges, use your quilting ruler and measure 2 1/4″ from the edge (as shown in picture), and then trim the overhang of the sashing.

Piece your blocks and triangles together in diagonal rows, and then join diagonal rows to one another, with a long strip of sashing in between.

It can be tricky to join the rows of diamonds lined up when adding the sashing — I pressed a 1/4″ seam along one edge (similar to when joining the strip-pieced sections for the blocks), and then used a pencil to mark where the sashing needed to line up in order to make a straight line of the “short” edges.  (This is another one of those spots I mentioned earlier where I did some “winging it,” and you might be able to tell from the picture that particular seam was ripped at least once so I could get it right.)

Square up your top (I did not have precise measurements here — I just did my best to even out all my edges!), add a 5″ strip or pieced charm squares on each side, and you’ve got a quilt top!

Make your backing; Layer; Baste; Quilt; Bind — Done!

For the variation of this quilt I did for my niece Libby, in Sunkissed, I framed each block with a coordinating solid, then sashed in white, used assorted fabrics for the setting triangles, and used a charm pack for the side borders.  This makes for a bigger quilt overall — just make sure you use the block WITH the framing to make your template for the setting triangles.  The other steps for making this quilt are the same as described in this tutorial here.

Little diamonds for Libby

A very “sweet” quilt measuring about 42″ x 56″

If you decide to make this, I’d love you to stop by my blog and show me!  And please add pictures to my little flickr group!
Tracey Jacobsen

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Tracey Jacobsen
Tracey Jacobsen

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